Tuesday, July 17, 2012
It's a life changing event - a decision made in seconds - when an officer fires his weapon at a crime scene. It's already happened seven times this year. Four of those times, officers killed a suspect.
Chief Norman Williams says shooting someone and being shot in the line of duty has changed his life forever. It's been 32 years since Williams pulled his trigger, killing a suspect who shot him first, yet he still remembers every detail.
"It was 1:40. The weather was below zero and it had rained and snowed the night before," said Williams.
Williams was a patrol officer in January of 1980. He and his partner were called to a northeast Wichita business on a domestic violence case.
"The suspect was Bradly Howe," said Williams. "He fired five rounds before we could fire one."
Williams was hit twice in the groin. His partner was shot three times. KAKE News interviewed Williams from his hospital bed in 1980.
"I was moving over towards the tree and I kept firing at the subject. After the third time shooting at the subject, my revolver just jammed on me," said Williams then.
But the two wounded officers managed to shoot and kill the suspect.
"Even 30 some years after being involved in a fatal shooting, it's still part of my life," said Williams.
Over the years, the chief has been involved in four different shootings while on duty. He carries the memories, and the three bullets that are still lodged in his leg, with him everyday.
"One of the things I tell the officers is that they have to be patient," said Williams. "You are going to have flashbacks. You are going to have a lot of emotions running through you as you make that first call. "
This year, Williams has seen his officers involved in seven shootings, four of them fatal. He's still looking for an answer.
"The one question we can never never answer is why," he said.