Originally published by WUSA-9 on January 10, 2017
Written by Garrett Haake
ALEXANDRIA, VA (WUSA9) – I shot a man this afternoon. In a white-walled conference room with the blinds drawn and the lights off, I pointed my Glock-22 at him and pulled the trigger twice. He fell to the ground, dead, in front of me, and I knew I had made a mistake.
The man I killed wasn’t real. He was an actor in a police training simulation. He played a bad guy. Or at least I think he did. He pointed a gun at me, a police officer in the simulation, and I panicked and shot him. I didn’t order him to drop it. I didn’t wait. I just shot.
I had failed my first test, and my hand was shaking as I holstered my modified Glock; now a glorified laser pointer.
The man I killed was the first person I encountered in about an hour I spent in the simulation, guided by former Fairfax County use of force instructor Bryan Patterson. These days, Patterson works for the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund, based in Alexandria. Occasionally he puts reporters like me through a class and simulation so we can get a sense of what officers experience when they decide to pull the trigger and use deadly force.