On July 11th, 2018, two men in Las Vegas shot and killed Thomas Romero, who died as a result of multiple gun shots in his chest while he was at a car wash. While investigating this crime scene, Las Vegas PD spotted a black SUV matching the description of the vehicle being driven by the two men who carried out this murder.
The two suspects, identified as Fidel Miranda, 22, and Rene Nunez, 30, led police on a high-speed chase though Las Vegas while shooting at police officers from their vehicle. In total, the two suspects fired 34 rounds at pursuing police officers who were thankfully not hit by any of the rounds.
As the pursuit continued, the two suspects turned down a road that led to an elementary school that was in session for summer school. Since these two criminals obviously had no regard for innocent victims, the pursuing officer knew there was an increased danger if these two men made it into the school.
Prior to arriving at the school, the lead police officer fired multiple rounds from inside his patrol vehicle while continuing to pursue these killers. As the two criminals approached the elementary school, their vehicle crashed outside the school and pursuing officers exchanged more gunfire with the two men. Fidel Miranda died at the scene while police took Nunez into custody.
According to Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Tim Kelly, “The officer could have backed off, but he didn’t.” Las Vegas Police policy states, “It is policy of this department that officers will not discharge a firearm at or from a moving vehicle unless it is absolutely necessary to preserve human life.” The fact that the officers were being shot at while in pursuit clearly shows that lives were in danger and their actions that day were no doubt correct.
The thing is, we live in a dangerous world and while we all aren’t police officers, you never know when you may be confronted by a threat directly in front of you while you are driving and you might have to shoot from your vehicle.
First, if you do find yourself with an immediate threat, you need to know how to draw your gun from the seated position. I recommend trying this with a safe and empty weapon or a rubber training gun, if you have one. You need to make sure you aren’t muzzling your leg, meaning you aren’t pointing the gun at yourself when you draw.
Next, you need to practice how to lean forward or backward to ensure you have the distance needed to punch out your stance and have your elbows in the proper position. Of course, this might not even be possible, however, you want to get in the best position to shoot as accurately as possible.
Also, this is where one-handed shooting can become so critical. In the dramatic video of the story mentioned above, the police officer is shooting one-handed while continuing to drive his vehicle. While this isn’t ideal, it’s something that might have to be done.
Lastly, it’s important to understand how bullets affect car glass. Side and back windows are usually made from tempered glass, which means they will typically shatter when shot through. In other words, the first round will break the glass and cause it to shatter so the following rounds shouldn’t have any glass in the way.
However, vehicle windshields are made from laminated glass, which means they won’t shatter. In short, you can fire multiple rounds through a windshield and it should stay in place since it’s held together by plastic.
Another factor to consider when shooting out of a car through the windshield is the distance from your gun to the windshield. You want to make sure your muzzle isn’t directly touching the windshield as this can cause a semi-auto pistol to malfunction.
When it comes to shooting from inside a vehicle, you need to take into consideration how the windshield deflects the bullet since the windshield is at an angle. When you are shooting FROM inside a vehicle the bullet trajectory will usually be higher than what you aimed for.
On the other hand, if you are shooting INTO a vehicle the bullet will usually be deflected lower than what you aimed for. (The amount of deflection varies, but it can be around 6 inches higher or lower depending on if you’re in or out of the vehicle.)
Remember, you need to be prepared to deal with a threat whether it’s in front of your vehicle or to the side. For this reason, I would practice drawing and dry firing from your vehicle. Of course, make sure your firearm is clear and safe to dry fire, otherwise you might need a new windshield.