Vargas: Luck kept officer alive after suspect pulled gun and fired at point blank range

By Joe Vargas

Lots of people wonder what it’s like to be a police officer and if the job is as dangerous and it seems to be. The answer: it can be.

Check out what happened to Louisville, KY, police officers on March 31. At about 1 a.m., Officers Eric Goldschmidt and Ian Stuart responded to a call of an occupied suspicious vehicle in an apartment complex parking lot. Mind you, a resident felt there might be something going on.

Stuart asked the driver to exit the vehicle. The driver complied with no problem. Goldschmidt asked the front passenger, Elijah Eubanks, to exit the vehicle. Unlike his friend who complied, Eubanks argued with the officers.

“Why are you harassing me, sir?” he asks. The officers very politely explain they had a call of suspicious persons in a car.

It doesn’t take a highly trained and experienced police officer to see Eubanks is obviously nervous and trying his best to avoid cooperating.

“If everything is fine then we don’t have a problem,” Goldschmidt says. With still no compliance from the passenger, Goldschmidt opens the door.

This is when things get really crazy.

As the door opens, Eubanks points a revolver at Goldschmidt’s head and fires a shot. The officer immediately drops back and yells, “Gun! Gun!” and both officers begin firing their weapons.

Eubanks falls to the ground outside the car and Goldschmidt starts yelling profanity laden commands to show his hands. Really, can you blame him? He was just shot at from a distance of about a foot.

Eubanks was eventually provided first aid by the same officer he just tried to kill. According to police officials, Eubanks’ health is stable.

Goldschmidt is a blessed man. No amount of reaction time would have been quick enough when Eubanks pointed his weapon at Goldschmidt’s head and fired. Providence and sheer luck kept Goldschmidt from dying that day.

In a world filled with lots of bad guys with guns, it’s no wonder police officers have to be hypervigilant. They want to see your hands and they need the public’s cooperation in order to safely do their job.

Monday morning quarterbacks and critics are quick to judge, but you can’t have a conversation about police shootings without considering the conditions under which police have to operate.

After looking at this video, can you blame any officer for wanting to see your hands?

Officer-involved shooting 03/31/18

Posted by Louisville Metro Police Department on Saturday, March 31, 2018

Joe is a retired captain. He can be reached at jvargas@behindthebadgeoc.com.