Real Live Tueller Drill, 2016

Thanks to the Boston Herald and for this video; you get to see a real cop threatened by a real knife-wielding nut case. We’re looking at events from a security camera — five cameras in all captured this shooting, as is getting to be more common — as an officer who has not yet been named responds to a call that a man is harassing pedestrians on Broadway in Everett, Massachusetts (a part of Boston in fact if not within the city limits thereof). This video is instructive, and you can get a lot out of studying it. The whole evolution plays out in barely more than half a minute.


First, notice where it takes place. It’s not on a range, it’s not in a classroom, it’s not in an alley with only the officer and the nut job present. It’s in a bright sunny city intersection, with tons of people around and a million distractions — moving pedestrians, moving cars, all the sensations of a busy city.

At first the cop moves right in on the suspect, one Mario Mejia Martinez, whose criminal history and immigration history (if any) are being closely held by the Massachusetts authorities.

Distractions or no, we bet that officer’s perceptual field was stopped down to about f/32. He didn’t see anything but Martinez attacking him — and maybe he didn’t see anything but Martinez’s knife.

(Everett, MA 04/21/16) Police investigate an officer involved shooting on Broadway in Everett on Thursday, April 21, 2016. Staff photo by Nicolaus Czarnecki

(Everett, MA 04/21/16) Police investigate an officer involved shooting on Broadway in Everett on Thursday, April 21, 2016. Boston Herald Staff photo by Nicolaus Czarnecki.

That means he definitely didn’t see his backstop. He seems to have hit Martinez with all four shots (we believe from watching the video that he fired four shots, and witnesses reported hearing four), which reduces the risk to all the pedestrians and motorists you see in the video.

The officer, who hasn’t been identified (Martinez’s family are said to be looking for revenge, in the courts and on the streets), did just about everything right.

  1. He tried to take charge of the situation. This often works. This time it didn’t.
  2. When Martinez reaches back behind his back for a weapon (which turned out to be the knife, the cop backpedals. He doesn’t seem to draw at this time (a point you could argue either way) but he keeps talking to Martinez (who keeps talking also, while moving).
  3. When Martinez attacks, he draws and fires and keeps firing while the threat remains in being.
  4. He sidesteps Martinez, still engaging him.
  5. With Martinez down, no longer a threat, he disengages.
  6. He secures his firearm as the tape ends.

The outcome of the whole thing validates the officer’s training and judgment, in our opinion.

Judgment is hard (but not impossible) to teach meaningfully. But it’s of supreme importance. It’s very rare that a cop, soldier or self/home defender loses his or her life (or gets jammed up in a court) because his or her level of marksmanship did not pass the ultimate test. These unpleasant and tragic outcomes are more often associated with judgment errors.

In a completely unrelated matter, the liberal Republican Governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker, partially reversed the “sanctuary state” policy of his predecessor, liberal Democrat Deval Patrick. Now, the state still will never ask a criminalien where he’s from — that would be waaaaacist with five a’s — but at least they’ll hold him for 48 hours if ICE wants to trebuchet him back over the nonexistent border fence.

The policy shift comes nearly 17 months into Baker’s first term and nearly a year after the feds fully implemented the Priority Enforcement Program. His aides say there wasn’t a particular incident or arrest that prompted the change, and David Procopio, a state police spokesman, said he was unable yesterday to quantify how many detainer requests police may have refused from ICE under the old policy.

Part of the problem, Baker said, is “the commonwealth stopped asking for them.”

The usual suspects — the kind who, like Deval Patrick, would have preferred the incident in this video to end with the cop on the slab — are outwaged. That’s a great weeping pity, isn’t it?

50 thoughts on “Real Live Tueller Drill, 2016

    1. Brian

      Woman on the right has zero situational awareness and freezes upon hearing shots, good grief

      1. Hognose Post author

        Most people do. The first reaction of 99% of humanity to a gunshot or burst of shots is… to perk up and listen for another shot or burst. It takes training to overcome that, I think.

        1. Haxo Angmark

          exactly right. Absent military training/experience, it takes several “events” before one learns to hit the ground and get small. The first time I was shot at/near in NYC, I stayed on the bicycle and kept on riding down the street. Second time, even though not the actual target, I was off the bike and under a car in 1.5 seconds

    2. Steven Drew

      You’re right! He had his LH signal- saw the sit developing and slipped away….

  1. AndyN

    It’s just a guess, but I think he was very aware of his backstop, at least at the beginning. I can think of no other reason for him to rotate through the intersection while he was backpedaling, other than to put a building behind the assailant instead of an open street and sidewalk full of cars and pedestrians.

    Obviously as things progressed and he had to keep his gun on a moving target he lost any ability to control what his target crossed in front of, but I think initially he had the right idea. And the woman in black really didn’t help herself by having exactly 0 situational awareness.

    1. Hognose Post author

      You may have a point. I thought I also saw him waving the person in the SUV to take a right at the intersection, which the driver wised up and did. An alert, responsible cop.

      Wasn’t the woman nose down in a phone? Never a good idea. All these glowing-rectangle addicts think, “I can multitask,” and they’re living (for now) proof that Homo sapiens can’t.


    Damn, that was quick. I know about this stuff in theory, but seeing it for real and seeing how close that cop came to getting stabbed gives me pause. 21 feet seems real danger close, even if you have your sights aligned on centre mass.

  3. Boat Guy

    Concur on all above. Would be very interesting to get the cop’s take on it but legal realities (Andrew?) probably will obviate that for some time.
    As for ICE having a trebuchet – GREAT IDEA! Can we do some kinda crowd-funding project to get them some?

    1. archy

      ***As for ICE having a trebuchet – GREAT IDEA! Can we do some kinda crowd-funding project to get them some?*** Nah. Save it for the illegal entrants and overstays from overseas. And wait until after shark attacks [or at least confirmed sightings] before the grand fling.

      Wouldn’t it be just be as cool as petunias to have one of the expert marksman’s badges tags [ie: rifle, pistol, tank weapons, etc.] made up with *trebuchet* on it. THAT’s *Old Army*!


    We just had one of these in Australia a couple of hours ago. Google “Westfield Hornsby shooting”, and you’ll see a cop shoot a knife wielding attacker who charged from about 21 feet.

    The perp apparently shouted Allahu Akhbar as he attacked a female cop with a knife. He’s mentally ill of course, and this is nothing to do with islam.

    And unfortunately several bystanders got hit in all the excitement. I’m waiting to see if anybody blames the cops for that, rather than the perp.

  5. Matt

    Did he fire his last shot as backup arrived in the SUV? It looked like a muzzle flash at the very end.

    Not questioning the necessity, just curious if anyone else thinks it’s a shot, or a flash off of his badge or something.

    1. Grog

      Matt, that does look like muzzle flash. It appears he fired five shots, the last one that Matt is commenting on seems to be a reflex, because the muzzle is high and the perp is on the ground.

      He drew his PDW at the nine second mark, just before he opened the distance, then it went fast forward.

    2. LSWCHP

      I reckon it was a flash off his badge. It happens twice as he’s moving away from the bad guy.

      I’ve watched this a dozen times now, and hats off to the officer. Great skills all around, great weapon handling. I’d like to buy him a beer.

  6. Bill T

    Cop did it right as far as I can determine in a brief video. Kudos on the cop!! I LIKE the trebuchet idea. To expand it a little, have one every 1000M along the border, 1st timers get an old mil. surplus parachute for the trip, 2nd timers-no ‘chute. There will be NO 3rd timers! I’d bet almost anything this guy is a frequent flyer, NO ‘CHUTE!! (None needed this time) GOOD JOB MR. COP! Winners- USA, Mass., and even Mexico.

  7. Raoul Duke

    I’d echo what previous posters said about the speed of an encounter like this being hard to believe, until you’ve seen it happen. Video like this helps educate the masses who are quick to suggest batons, pepper spray, or Tasers as effective counters to edged weapons attacks.

    Just a side note- I’ve been in a class instructed by Dennis Tueller, the originator of the eponymous drill, and he made the comment that sometimes he wished he’d not invented it or published the article. He went on to say that the context of the “21-foot drill” has been bent by a lot of people into a rule or part of their instructional dogma, rather than using it as an eye-opener to show how fast a person with a knife can close the distance and hurt someone.

    1. Lt. Donn

      I also have attended one of Mr. Tuellers’s classes…had supper with him afterwards…he is the “real-deal”…completely humbled by the decades-long attention his drill has received…stating ” it was just something I came up with to keep my guys safe”…he too added it is not a “hard, fast rule”…especially in today’s amped up, MMA world…but it remains a good starting point…especially for rookies.

  8. archy

    My count also is 5 shots, though yep, maybe the last one isn’t a muzzle flash. Draw looks to be at a tad under ten seconds, though I’d have no problem at all had he cleared leather a little before that; clearly, the cop had confidence in his leather and his skill, and was likely holding off as long as he could to see if his verbal commands would do any good.

    The other good news: the backup car [first of ’em anyway] arriving just as the gunfire had ended. There’s likely a reasonably good first aid kit in the vehicle, helpful had bozo gotten a stick or two in there at the end, and potentially useful for a less well-ventilated perp as sell. Make note to self: check contents of my vehicle jump kit and update contents as needed.

    As for *batons, pepper spray, or Tasers as effective counters* I’d rather have used a good entrenching tool for a response takedown, but I can’t think of a reasonable way to carry one for quick use for a cop in uniform. But I wonder if the perforated Senor Martinez would have come on with his toad sticker against a drawn khukuri. My bet is yes, and that it wouldn’t have taken four or five shots to put him down.

    Anyone know if it was a .40 or 9mm Para in use? Ammo?

    1. Raoul Duke

      Forty Years ago, the average cop was carrying no “less-lethal” devices other than his fists and a large, wooden stick. This worked pretty well to fend off knife attacks if the cop in question was large, strong, and/or well-trained.

      Nowadays, departments have lots of IBO’s (Itty-Bitty-Officers) who can’t muster the sheer physical force needed for those methods, without years of intense training in martial arts. So, we have “devices” to help with application of force. Plus, we are too SENNN-sitive these days, to feel good about letting cops give bad guys a savage beating to subdue them.

      People get confused by all these devices and think they are a good response to a lethal force attack- which they aren’t. I’m not going mano-e-mano against some yob with by own blade, if I have any better alternatives.

      1. archy

        ***Forty Years ago, the average cop was carrying no “less-lethal” devices other than his fists and a large, wooden stick.***

        40 years ago was 1976. There was no large wooden stick being carried in our neck of the woods, there was a large aluminum Kel-Light or B-light, usually a 5-D cell version, but some guys liked the 7-cell C battery unit. I know this because once a year or so, I got to sand the teeth marks and bloodstains off them and refinish them with the same Teflon-based coating we used on turbine engine innards, after which they’d be good for another year or so. Most of the guys also carried leather slappers or saps, a couple had brass knucks [come to think of it, they were both lefties] and me and one other guy had the forerunner of the ASP telescoping batons, the German/Euro *Gestapo cosh* three telescoping springs nestled inside each other inside a flashlight-reesembling handle, with a 3/4-inch ball bearing on the working end. Other big cxity cop may have had sticks [I thing some St Louis city/suburb depts. did] but even the guys who had to buy their own went with the flashlights.

        Chicago cops still used the wooden *Alabama lie detector* nightstick, but the staters and most downstate counties had given ’em up as bad PR in the post Civil Rights march era. There were still 40-inch long riot sticks in the trunks of the state cars, though, and, here and there, a cut-down baseball bat under a cruiser seat.

        I was working my way through airframe & powerplant mechanics school as a night shift PD dispatcher, which lasted all of three weeks before the chief put me on patrol with a pay raise and a takehome patrol car so I could get to my morning classes without having to turn the car in at the end of the shift. I never smacked anyone with bat, stick or flashlight during the 14 months I had in, but I did use the old German field spade I had under the seat one night. And it was also handy for moving roadkill pets and squirrels off the road before the kids on the school bus saw what happened to Fluffy last night.

        1. Air

          “There were still 40-inch long riot sticks in the trunks of the state cars”. I can confirm that the NJSP or at least one Trooper did that.

      2. DaveP.

        “Forty years ago…”
        Oddly enough this video is from about that long ago (well, ’80s but that’s close enough).

        Could you please point out the “Itty-Bitty Officers” in this video? Because I’m seeing a lot of cops getting pureed, and none of them look itty bitty… and none of them seem to be able to do a damn thing about it with their fists and/or wooden sticks.

        1. Raoul Duke

          You missed my original point; I clearly said that less-lethal means were a poor response to knife attacks- but that our level of “social acceptability” with using fists and wooden sticks for other law enforcement situations has changed, along with the “average cop” changing- which also leads to misunderstandings about what those “devices” are for.

          I used to own the whole video you linked to, by the way… “Surviving Edged Weapons” was a classic. :)

  9. Dave

    The biggest takeaway for me is that my draw from concealment under the clothes I usually wear while carrying is waaaaay too slow. I’d have to haul ass the other direction to have time enough to get my gun out, and this guy wasn’t even moving all that fast.

    I need to make some adjustments to my setup. I’ve dismissed AIWB because it’s uncomfortable, but I may need to revisit it. That’s a seriously eye-opening video.

    1. archy

      ***There was a Martinez on the Mayflower, wasn’t there?***

      Could well be, but for certain there was a Lieutenant Damacio Martinez, of the Mexican Army’s Zapadores Battalion, shot dead while trying to pull down the flag of the New Orleans Greys at the Alamo. He didn’t make it to the flagpole, though a fellow officer, Lt. Jose Torres did, and got the job done.

  10. Cap'n Mike

    Great training video.
    Outstanding Job by the Everett PD Officer.
    It looks to me like the 4th or 5th shot hit the Central Nervous System, as the POS drops like a sack of Potatoes.

  11. Trone Abeetin

    Everett Massachusetts is a separate city, not a part of Boston at all, never was.

  12. Trone Abeetin

    On a side note, was in Dorchester yesterday, a neighborhood of Boston. Got to see a seventeen YO black male “dead right there”. When I heard the shots I ran towards them. Homie had pissed himself, was coughing blood in between agonal breathing. It’s funny, when you see a dude laid out with blood all over him you get a distorted idea of age. I thought twenties, turn out to be a seventeen year old HS junior. He was shot forty feet from his school, along with three wounded.

  13. Pangur

    Tangential, but does anyone think that requiring cops to carry around body cams will result in anything other than an overwhelming confirmation of what is known to be true — i.e., the usual suspects engaging in the usual antics?

    On the other hand, there’s guys like Phillip “Mitch” Brailsford, the Mesa AZ cop who executed a citizen for, well, we’re not quite sure yet. I’ve heard there’s body cam footage of that incident, too, although I haven’t had the stomach to look for it. (Note to police departments everywhere: if your new guy wants to carry his own custom rifle on duty, and this rifle has a “You’re Fucked” (sic, and apologies for the language) sticker on it, you might want to keep an eye on him.)

    1. SMLEface

      Yes indeed on the custom dustcovers and such. I have seen a few officers in my agency with “Punisher” patches on their armor or decals on their gear. God help them if they shoot someone and a lawyer notices it. And since they are photographed as part of the investigation, it will be seen and probably noticed.

      The video looks like a reasonable use of deadly force to me.

    2. DSM

      As to “body cams” it’s my earnest belief they will save more good cops than they will hurt the bad ones. As the technology and ability matures, however, I feel the rules of evidence will have to be revisited. Who controls that record? The agency itself or city or county prosecutor’s office possibly. When can it be accessed for rebuttal? It takes resources to sort through an entire shift of recordings to find your 15 minutes of a traffic stop where you’re accusing the officer of “looking at you shifty” (an actual complaint from my days). If the LEO or agency alters or “misplaces” it do we invalidate officer in question’s testimony? What if the camera is legitimately damaged in the course of duty and doesn’t capture anything?

      For a cop to have that on a personal rifle I say who cares. For a cop to carry that on a duty weapon, I would say that, yes, yes he is. That will be a none to pretty picture the lawyers will paint of this bloodthirsty, trigger happy kook on a power trip.

      1. Pangur

        Interesting legal questions: I imagine that a lot of the evidentiary issues would be handled by courts in ways that are similar to how analogous evidence is handled today. So, as you ask who is to control the cam record, a court may ask well, how are dash cams handled? Does it make sense to do it this way for body cams . . . et cetera, as they say.

        Good luck with amending your state’s rules of evidence, historically these tend not to be revised too often. On the other hand, the basic rules are generally ok for accommodating new types of evidence, such as the ones you mentioned.

        We’re certainly in agreement re Brailsford.

      2. Gray


        “looking at you…” Boy howdy, BTDT more than once.

        re. Cameras: I had a discussion (about 8 – 10 years ago) with Bill Lewinski regarding police cameras. I distinctly remember pointing out that jurors be instructed that their first viewing of the video be the one that they use to make their primary understanding of the officer’s actions. The officer does not have the liberty to instant replay it 10 times before acting, and so neither should a jury.

    3. Trone Abeetin

      Actually, the phrase was engraved on the inside of his AR dust cover. So, you know, if it flipped down from firing you were ….. Well you know. So damn witty, huh?

  14. DaveP

    First time through, I thought he had turned his back on the downed guy as the squad car pulled up, but while he was heading that way, we kept checking the target. Good job all the way, from my POV; no fault of his that his backstop ended up being 180 degrees of arc.


  15. Toastrider

    I sometimes give cops grief, because I cannot stand people who abuse and misuse authority.

    This ain’t gonna be one of those times, though. You can see the critter rolling his shoulders, psyching himself up for the charge a few seconds before he makes his move. I’m damned happy the cop was on the bounce, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s a righteous shoot.

  16. Aesop

    The officer appears to have drawn while on the original backpedal; at the 33 second mark on the security video timecode, there’s a black gun-shaped object visible in his right hand, and constantly afterwards.
    Prior to that point the officer’s dominant hand was blocked by the suspect’s body from this angle.
    He kept his service weapon down at his right side until he first pointed at a false charge by Senor Perforado, and when the next charge was executed with vigor, so was Senor Perforado.

    Performance: 10
    Marksmanship: 10

    Well done.

    Martinez’ estate and relatives should be billed for the expended rounds, and street cleaning afterwards.

    But the video being readily and rapidly available tends to defuse a lot of race-baiting and Monday morning quarterbacking in open-and-shut cases, as in this instance.

    1. Chris Hernandez

      But wait! Was the officer giving commands in Spanish? It’s likely that poor, innocent Martinez simply misunderstood “Sir, please put your hands where I can see them”, which sounds exactly like “Pull your knife and come at me” in Spanish. :)

  17. Chris Hernandez

    Several other officers and I raided a meth dealer’s hotel room one night. Dealer was female, a male friend was inside with her. When we entered the room one of the officers freaked the fuck out on the male, pointing his weapon and screaming at him to get on the ground. The male had his hands up and looked terrified as he complied. I told the other officer to calm down because I didn’t know what he was screaming about; all I saw were two unarmed, compliant suspects. After the scene was under control the freakout officer reached under a sofa and pulled out a knife. Turned out the male had a knife in his hand as we entered, but threw it as soon as the other officer shouted commands. He was maybe five feet from me with a knife in his hand, but I never even saw it.

  18. Tom Sweet

    Having been forced to go through a suspect with a knife intent on stabbing me and having to fire on him to stop the assault. I got all kind of grief from every couch cowboy in town about why I shot the guy 4 times (1 in the chest, 2 in the abdomen, and 1 in the shoulder area) and didn’t “Just shoot him in the leg” or “shoot the knife out of his hand” I had a hard enough time hitting him center mass as he was charging at me let alone trying some Hollywood shit to leg shoot him! I always do so love the arm chair warriors who have no damn clue how the real world actually works when it comes to this stuff!

    1. Hognose Post author

      Yep. The most common response to a video like this is, “Damn, that happened fast!.” No kidding, Dick Tracy.

      “Why did you shoot my client four times, officer?”

      “‘Cause he was still charging after three, and didn’t keep going long enough to earn five.”

  19. Anonymous

    I hear that self-contained tasers now fit in 12 gauge hulls. These trail strands of wire with hooks which wrap around the target and turn an off-center hit into an incapacitating hit. A taser will incapacitate faster than anything but an excellent nervous system hit, yet a taser is far less lethal than even much less effective hits.

    Why couldn’t the police officer have been using this type of weapon? The danger to bystanders is far less; the danger to the officer is far less because it incapacitates so much better with marginal hits; the danger to the victim is far less. The answer is, government doesn’t care about any of those things.

    Gun control in the US has been so successful that personal defense weaponry has been frozen in amber for 100 years. Just somebody try to manufacture and sell a less-lethal weapon competitive with the handgun, WHICH THE AVERAGE PERSON WOULD BE MORE WILLING TO USE, and see how fast the government stuffs them in a cage.

    1. Hognose Post author

      Incapacitates better with marginal hits? You’ve been reading press releases not taser AARs. It’s not at all unknown for a freshly tased suspect to have a go at sticking the taser down the officer’s throat (or up his or her other end). Some shotgun-taser hybrid gimmick in that case ends up with the PO cut to ribbons and him (or his backup) blowing away the knife guy anyway.

    2. DaveP.

      There’s been enough cases where an officer under stress and pressure grabbed the wrong handle off of his gear belt and used his service weapon on someone he intended to merely tase… and that’s with two items as dissimilar as a Beretta and a Taser. Let’s not make things more fun by using the SAME weapon with a DIFFERENT load.

    3. Raoul Duke

      Two problems:

      1. The shotgun-launched TASER round has been discontinued, for a lot of reasons, one being that it was about $100 per shot.

      2. Are we, in our SENNN-sitive cities, going to be comfortable with officers carrying the shotgun-launcher around every day? We already are against the “militarizing” of our cops (whatever that means)… are we ready to let them carry long guns (less-lethal or not) around? Because leaving any defensive device in the car is like leaving it on another planet- if you need it quickly, it might as well be on Mars.

      3. What “gun control” has frozen the development of less-lethal devices, exactly? Most aren’t regulated as any kind of firearm, under federal law.

  20. Keith

    In my qualification for armed Security work we had to do a 3-2-1 drill. I later learned why. You engage with 3 rounds first. Still presenting a threat, 2 more rounds, still presenting a threat, 1 round. I pray every day I never have to draw my service weapon in that kind of situation.

    This was up on the day it happened. Lots of good comment there too.

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