Shootings Happen Fast, #32767

So, meet Karsten Cuthair, who looks like he’s in pain. He’s in pain because he just got shot. The dry facts of his shooting are recounted in this news story about his indictment in the Las Cruces, NM Sun-News.

Shortly after 11:30 p.m. Nov. 14, two NMSU police officers, including Officer Jarod Colliver, were dispatched to the Chamisa II Village Apartments, an on-campus housing complex.

The indictment alleges that Cuthair was assaulting another NMSU student who lived in the complex with a Glock 9mm handgun.

Footage from Colliver’s body camera shows that when he made contact with Cuthair, he commanded Cuthair to drop the gun. “Instead, (Cuthair) allegedly turned toward the officer and pointed the gun at him,” the indictment reads.

New Mexico State University Police Officer Jarrod Colliver, responding to 911 calls of a man with a gun at a campus apartment complex, fired two shots, one striking student Karsten Cuthair, 28, in the right leg. Cuthair survived.

That’s a very, very dry recounting of the story. Let’s watch it in detail. We think the lead up matters, but it’s just cops in corridors until about 1:15 in this ~4 minute video.

Some impressions we had:

  • That cop had very little time to make his shot before he was back behind cover. But he hit his target.
  • Compare the dry text of the report (“turned toward the officer and pointed the gun at him… Officer Colliver fires two shots”), that sounds like it happened with all deliberation, like a chess match, with the speed in which the whole thing actually went down, on the video. No time for complete sentences or punctuation in the actual event, was there?
  • There’s a long lead up to the shooting and a bunch of stairs. So Colliver’s heart rate was up before the shooting began.
  • Compare that dry text again to the uncertainty of the encounter. Was that a gun? (It was). Did the cop hit the suspect? (He did). Is the injury serious? (It was).
  • One question not worth asking till the situation’s under control: Why? Indeed, that doesn’t seem to be answered at all. In a defensive firearms use, it’s all about the what; there is no time for why. 
  • Some people disparage campus cops, kind of the same way some LEOs disparage armed citizens. Felons are remarkably indifferent to what the lettering on a cop’s badge says. They’re equal-opportunity cop killers. Fortunately, bullets stop them just the same, no matter who’s behind the gun. Felons are also equal-opportunity bullet magnets.
  • Cuthair does not seem to have set out with the intent to commit felonies and get shot for it. It seems as if this was nuclear mismanagement of some interpersonal situation, in the megaton range.
  • Cuthair was compliant after being shot, but seemed… sluggish. Along with his original position, supine against the corridor wall, this makes us inclined to suspect Judgment Juice. In his case, maybe, combined with some Native American ancestry? Make your Injuns and Firewater and Firesticks jokes in the comments if you like, but it’s a real thing that some individuals and some entire races have problems metabolizing ethanol. We’d bet he can’t even recollect the incident clearly.
  • The questions Cuthair asks also make him sound drunk. “We’re on the third floor, right…?” and “Who’s in command?”
  • Note the cop, once he realized that Cuthair really was shot, and was shot high in the thigh, trying to deploy a tourniquet. Someone in his department has been keeping up to date. (Still, it wasn’t an arterial bleeder, or Cuthair might have been a goner). There are some new TQs and other devices coming for dealing with high-extremity and even groin and torso wounds, but they’re probably too specialized for the individual soldier or law officer to carry — something for your medic’s bag.
  • Finally, everybody’s got Glocks… cops, suspect. You can’t get away from the Tupperware Tribbles.

And, is it just our impression, but this seems like an old No-Tell Motel or something; maybe it’s our New England snobbery or something, but it looks like a beastly place to go to college.

Cuthair was booked into the Doña Ana County jail on Nov. 18 after he was released from University Medical Center in El Paso, jail records show.

He was indicted in December on two counts of assault d/w (one against a PO, and one general) and a few related misdemeanors. Maybe the why will come out at trial. We’re glad he lived, but we’re more glad he didn’t shoot the cop or anybody else.

Act like a jerk with a gun, and you’re asking to get shot. If you’re lucky, you live to go to jail.

Hat tip, old blog friend Chris Hernandez, author of the great Afghanistan novel, Proof of Our Resolve. (Update: Dang. We’re sure Chris’s blog led us to this, but can’t find it on Chris’s blog now. -Ed).

28 thoughts on “Shootings Happen Fast, #32767

  1. John M.

    Hognose, just a comment on modern southwestern architecture: this looks to me like an apartment complex that was converted to student housing. It’s very, very common for apartment complexes in the southwest to have outdoor “hallways” of the type shown here. In fact, the typical New England-style apartment complex with an indoor lobby, indoor elevator and indoor hallways is vanishingly rare in this part of the country.

    It’s possible that the place was a motel, as the outdoor style is common to them as well. Hotels are more commonly set up with a traditional indoor hallway plan.

    -John M.

    1. Hognose Post author

      Oh thanks for the insight, John. I never spent much time in the Southwest; a year in Monterey, CA doesn’t count, nor does a few months in West Texas.

      1. John Distai

        I just noticed he was 28. This may have been “married student housing” and not your typical dorm. The school I went to had some housing like this. It typically had grad students, married undergrads, or other older grad students that wouldn’t fit in with the 19-20ish crowds.

        1. Hognose Post author

          Students are getting older, because more of them are taking a nine-year meander towards their Bachelor in Middle School Skills degrees.

          1. John M.

            I believe there are a fair number of GWOT veterans who spent their 20s on the two-way rifle ranges and are now taking advantage of GI Bill benefits, also, which tends to raise the average age, too. Anecdata: I know a few who attend the local State U.

            -John M.

    2. John Distai

      A refined Motel 6.

      If you substitute the shooting threats with spanking threats, it sounds like the nightly bedtime rituals of a family with young children.

  2. Loren

    Cop take one “Saw a gun – yelled at drunk guy and immediately shot twice and ducked”
    Cop take two. Cop commanded Cuthair to drop the gun. “Instead, (Cuthair) allegedly turned toward the officer and pointed the gun at him,”
    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
    Wonder where the missing round went? Course 9mm won’t penetrate 1/2 drywall. Well not more than 12 anyways.

  3. Nadnerbus

    Your suspicion of Judgment Juice is correct. Officer pulls a plastic bottles of booze out of his right pocket around 3:20.

  4. Hillbilly

    I don’t know if it’s my 1/4 Injun heritage, but as a young Cav Trooper I saw my share of firewater fueled bar brawls in Korea. I eventually gave up drinking completely and have never regretted it.

    1. Hognose Post author

      Eh, sorry for dragging you in to some other guy’s shooting, then, and apologies to whomever I did get it from. I was sure it was you.

    1. John M.

      One of Steve Sailer’s commenters awarded Manning the “Maxwell Q. Klinger Award for resourcefulness under extreme duress”. (Think M.A.S.H.)

      -John M.

    2. Hognose Post author

      It gets better. On account of his PTSD. Phony Trauma Seeking Dough. (There are real PTSD cases but they seek help. Most PTSD “cases” discontinue therapy the moment they get their 100% service connected.

  5. Ward Hopper

    How important is a “POLICE!” declaration at the start of one of these confrontations?

    1. Hognose Post author

      Or perhaps you’re unusually intuitive. Perhaps it is an ancient Native American name for the least of the tribe….

    2. Mike_C

      Huh. If he’s Amerind then that makes him a red Cunthair. Those are supposed to be the skinniest, which he does not appear to be. There’s something, er, fishy about all this.

      Pardon the old engineer humor, I’ll let myself out….


    He is drunk for sure When the cop searches him after cuffing him, he clearly tosses away a small bottle of clear booze.

    Seems the cop was surprised himself that he actually hit the guy. “did that hit you?” is said a couple of times.

  7. MD

    Officer Colliver keeps a cool head under pressure. Shots on target, suspect cuffed, situation stabilized. Nice composure.

Comments are closed.