Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Dinkheller Incident - A Sobering Look At How Everything Can Go Wrong, Fast

Thanks to Andrew Kirch on the book of the face, I got to look at a rather sobering and quite horrifying video on how badly things can go in an armed encounter.

This is the incident involving Deputy Kyle Dinkheller of the Laurens County Sheriff's Office that took place in 1998 after he pulled over the driver of a pickup truck, Andrew Brannon, for speeding over 98 mph.

The deputy never fully takes control, and completely loses control of the situation 21 seconds into the encounter, and he never gets it back.

Brannon acts irrationally, refuses to comply with Dinkheller's commands and acts aggressively towards the deputy. The deputy fails to aggressively respond and protect himself - according to one source he had been recently reprimanded that he was too quick to draw his weapon and too aggressive - here the lack of his willingness to draw and act aggressively led to his downfall.

41 seconds into the encounter, Dinkheller gets charged by the driver, but fails to secure and stop him, and is charged again by him at 50 seconds only hitting him with a non-disabling baton strike. Sadly at 1:08 he backs off and does not maintain contact with the driver, allowing Brannon to go back to his vehicle and take cover from the deputy. The driver enters the driver's side of the truck, now too far away from the deputy for Dinkheller to stop him, and things really go upside down.

Brannon in his truck retrieves and presents an M-1 Carbine, all the while the Deputy is ordering him to put the gun down but not firing at him even after the weapon is presented, and then Brannon begins firing and maneuvering toward the Deputy.

The Deputy, firing 33 shots with his pistol only makes one hit while being hit several times by Brannon and is finally brutally murdered at close range, 2 minutes and 53 seconds after the start of the encounter.

The deputy was killed, and sadly and ludicrously Andrew Brannon is still breathing. He's been sitting on death row for 14 years. While I'm not a fan of the death penalty due to the potential for mistake, government and prosecutorial malfeasance and the like, here there is no question as to proof beyond a reasonable doubt, or any doubt for that matter. Brannon committed murder, of a deputy, on video. If there was ever a textbook case for a swift and sure application of the death penalty, this is it.

Some excellent analysis of this incident can be found at Police Marksmen and at Real Defense. Lots of lessons to be sadly learned here for both police and CPL'ers.

As civilians, we won't and should not be in a situation of pulling over another driver, but we may come up against an encounter with someone like Brannon while peacefully going about our lives under normal circumstances. Seeing the signs of the attack develop here, including the irrational actions, threats and posturing may hopefully help development of appropriate responses should someone come across the likes of a Brannon.

RIP Deputy Dinkheller, and hopefully the lessons learned from your untimely death have already saved lives and will save lives in the future.


ProudHillbilly said...

So sad. One unheeded "put the gun down" should have been all Dinkheller needed before firing. It clearly isnt a case of mistaken perceptions on the officers part.

Keads said...

Excellent writeup and lessons to be learned from your links. Thanks for that.

Aaron said...

PH: Yes, or even before then when he was first assaulted by Brannon. This seemed to be a very sad case of a good and decent fellow meeting a monster and being unprepared and overhwelmed.

Keads: You're welcome, and thanks.