Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Spree shooter in Alabama

In the news this morning is the story of the gunman who killed nine people yesterday in Samson, Alabama.

The reporter is saying that he had an automatic weapon, which is very unlikely, but if I were to take a guess I would say it was a semi auto type rifle like an SKS or a High Point carbine. One of the victims said that the rifle jammed at one point. Either way, the gunman fired a bunch of rounds out of the window of his car, and eventually chose to end his own pathetic life instead of being gunned down by the police.

There is another report right now of a school shooter in Germany who killed eleven kids in a high school yesterday. Unfortunately, he didn't end his own life, so police are still looking for him.

Why these people can't decide to quietly end their own lives out in the woods somewhere is the question of the day.

Update: CNN is claiming that eleven are dead in the Alabama shooting, including the gunman, and that he used a "semiautomatic weapon," but then they say "He fired a 30-round burst with what appeared to be an M16 rifle, grazing Police Chief Frankie Lindsey with a bullet." A 30 round burst would be from an automatic rifle, not a semiautomatic.

Update: ABC news reports that the gunman shot the Geneva Police Chief, but that the Chief's vest stopped the bullet. The reason I point that out is that either the Chief was wearing the ceramic rifle plates that are standard issue for the US military, or the round hit something first which caused the bullet to fragment. The .223 Remington cartridge will easily puncture a standard kevlar police vest as they are only designed to stop standard handgun cartridges, but that does not mean that the gunman was using "armor piercing bullets."

Update: CNN is reporting that the gunman in Germany was killed by police. Good.

Update: I might have missed it from the above linked articles, but the Alabama gunman's name was Michael McLendon.

Update: McLendon had a Bushmaster AR and a Russian SKS, but there seems to be some confusion as to their rate of fire:

"He opened up on us with an AK-47," said Geneva Police Chief Frankie Lindsey, who was wounded in the shoulder. "That's what it looked like. It could have been an M-16, but it was an assault rifle, automatic. And he burst about 15 to 18 rounds on our vehicle, all at once."


It was later determined that McLendon was armed with two high powered assault rifles, a Soviet-made SKS and a Bushmaster. He also had at least one . 38 caliber pistol, police said. He fired more than 200 rounds, police said at a news conference today.

Actually, they're not all that high powered, not when you compare them to the average hunting rifle that country bumpkins across the nation use. Powerful enough, I guess. Neither the SKS nor the Bushmaster come in full auto, and do not constitute an "assault weapon" by any standard. It's possible that McLendon could have modified them to fire on automatic, but that is unlikely unless he had access to a machine shop and possessed the know how.


Anonymous said...

I was under the impression that standard procedure for police was to use a ceramic trauma plate insert over the heart area, which would stop the same range of calibers as a basic hard armor vest (but would leave the rest of the vest open to compromise). Is this belief mistaken? 'Course this is the 'educated media' we're talking about.

Unknown said...

I'm sure that some departments may have the SAPI plates, but it's pretty rare. Those plates are very expensive and heavy, and considering that most encounters with armed scumbags involve handguns, I would bet that no department wants to spend the money on SAPIs.

Just my guess.

Mike W. said...

Maybe some SWAT guys use SAPI plates, but the average LEO wears a Level II or IIA vest with no inserts.