Kenneth Anderson had his vast collection of weapons confiscated when his mother reported his schizophrenia to the police. He eventually got them back — and shot his mother. Then he started shooting off rounds from his SKS into the neighborhood — and then at responding police.
Officer Pete Koe, former recon Marine, pulled up soon after the first officer went down, got his rifles, and moved to the sound of guns:
Koe grabbed his rifle, inserted a magazine, and started to answer [the other officers coming up to him] as he switched on its optical sight. Suddenly, the air was filled with scorching lead and the roar of gunfire. Koe dropped to the pavement behind the trunk for cover, brought the M4 into firing position and started scanning for a target, but the other two officers were unable to react as quickly. Startled and caught further away from the open trunk, they were both hit in the barrage—Essig in the arm, shattering the bone in two places, and Troxell through his hand—and withdrew into the darkness.
Although behind decent cover, Koe was at the vortex of the firestorm. Shards of metal, shattered glass and flying asphalt crashed all around him, and he still had no target. He was looking for a muzzle flash or even a hint of movement in the shadows to help him locate the shooter when a chunk of metal—probably a bullet fragment or piece of metal from his left rear wheel—crashed into the top of his head, tearing a hole into his scalp and sending blood gushing down into his eyes.
He knew it couldn’t be anything too serious because he was still conscious and alert, but the blood was making it hard to see. He rolled, got up onto one knee, and kept looking for his invisible assailant. It was then that he took another round, this time in the right knee. There was a telephone pole just a few feet away that would make better cover than the patrol car. He rolled over to it, stood, shouldered his M4, and, once again, began looking for Anderson.
Amazingly, although the bullet had hit Koe’s femur straight on, it just punched a hole through it without breaking the bone. There was no pain, but the realization that he’d been hit again made Koe acutely aware of his vulnerability. He felt no fear, however; only deep concern about how he could finish the job if the next round penetrated his body armor and mortally wounded him. He remembered from his SWAT training that human beings can often live for as long as 12 seconds after being mortally wounded, and then he knew what he would do: He would move forward, find his target, light him up, and keep moving and shooting until the threat was terminated.
Using the sound of Anderson’s gunfire as a guide, Koe looked over to his right toward the backyard of the house on the other side of the intersection in front of him. There was a small garage in the yard, and he could see a hint of movement and dark contrast against its light-colored wall. He pointed the M4 at the spot and switched its weapon-mounted light on, instantly flooding his target in its beam. Anderson, a very large man whose stance conveyed a message of angry determination, was still firing the SKS at Koe, but now with greater vigor and less accuracy.
It was just the chance Koe had been waiting for, and he answered the gunman’s rifle fire with two quick, well-placed shots of his own.
Anderson’s torso twitched with each round, confirming that both had hit center mass, but he didn’t go down. Instead, he darted off to the left and started moving toward the front of the house. He was heading toward a Jeep Wagoneer parked in the driveway, and his route took him past a well-lit window that briefly silhouetted him in its light. The movement gave Koe another opportunity to get multiple rounds on target, but he realized that someone might be on the other side of the window and held his fire.
Even now, as Anderson took cover behind the Jeep and opened up on him again, Koe was conscious of the fact that other officers were down the street behind the man.
Still, Anderson had to be stopped, and Koe was the only officer in position to do it. Lowering the muzzle of the M4 to alleviate the risk to the officers downrange, he targeted Anderson’s lower body and legs. It worked. Anderson slumped to the ground, landing on his back with his head pointing toward the rear of the Jeep.
But he was still moving, holding the rifle and growling incoherently. Koe stepped from behind the pole and advanced, firing as he moved. His M4 went empty just before he reached the Jeep, but he couldn’t stop now. Aware that it would be harder for Anderson to shoot him if he approached him from the direction his head was pointing, Koe moved around the rear of the Jeep and approached him from there. Anderson’s right hand was still holding the SKS, finger on the trigger. In his right hand was a .357 magnum revolver.
Koe moved in closer and ordered him to drop the weapons, but Anderson ignored the command and started to lift his rifle. With his own rifle now empty Koe had to improvise. He swung the M4 hard, connecting solidly with the side of Anderson’s head. Anderson dropped the SKS, but then started to lift it again.
Again, Koe ordered him to drop it, and again Anderson ignored him. Koe countered with another butt stroke, this time shattering the man’s jaw and causing him to drop the gun. But Anderson wasn’t finished yet. He lifted the magnum toward Koe, and once more Koe crashed the rifle butt into his face, smashing the eye socket.
The blow seemed to take the fight out of him. He lowered the revolver, but then in a sudden burst of fury, he thrust it up toward Koe’s face. Koe instinctively dodged his head as flame thundered from the muzzle, sending a slug whizzing past his left ear. Koe kept moving, drew his Glock, and fired three .40s into the gunman’s chest, followed by two more to the head.
Anderson had seemed unstoppable, but no one could stand up to these last five rounds. All three to his chest had ripped through his heart, and the two to his head had lodged in his brain stem. The nightmare was over.
Even assault-rifle rounds to the torso won’t necessarily stop an attack.