Excerpt from "In The Mind of A Mountie" by T.M. 'Scotty' Gardiner

Chapter 7: The Bank Robbery

As previously explained, soon after my arrival in Winnipeg Detachment I became friendly with Cst. George Currie. In July, 1952 he was relieving simultaneously at two Detachments, Stonewall Detachment to the north-west of Winnipeg and Transcona Detachment to the east of the city while the respective members-in-charge, Cst. John Mansbridge and Corporal George "Harp" Harpell, were on their standard, three-week annual vacation. Why a second relief member was not assigned remained an unanswered question.

George lived in barracks at Headquarters and by being the only policeman to attend to all calls in those two areas seven-days-a-week, 24-hours-a-day, George was either 'going', 'coming', 'just coming or just going', 'trying to get some sleep', 'investigating this or investigating that', or attending to some other requirement. He was the proverbial whirlwind. The best one could do was snatch a glimpse of him dashing down the hallway, spot him hastily driving from the parking lot, or see him having a fast meal in the Headquarters dining room with his table surrounded by a group interested in yet one more account of some investigation he was involved with.

At one very early breakfast, George gave a first-hand account of his previous night's assistance with an investigation into injuries sustained by Cpl. Gordie Shook who was then In-charge at Morris Detachment some 40-odd miles south of Winnipeg. Being alone and endeavouring to arrest the driver of a wanted car that he had trapped in a field, Cpl. Shook reached through the open window of the car to remove the ignition keys. The driver sped off, dragging Cpl. Shook through a barbed wire fence. The wire caught Cpl. Shook's throat and tore open his neck, luckily leaving his jugular vein uninjured. George, then on night patrol by himself, had responded to the urgent call for help. The offending car had been encountered by George and a high speed chase around country roads ensued. George was able to corner the car in yet another field, only to have the culprits take off on foot. Wearing the standard uniform of britches and boots, George gave chase and with a combination of Olympian speed and Herculean endurance, he was able to arrest all culprits single-handedly. This was typical of his zest for work.

From our trip together delivering the dragging irons to Oak Point Detachment followed by the party at Winnipeg Beach Detachment to celebrate Cpl. Bud Wildgoose's transfer, a strong element of compatibility had developed between George and myself. That paved the way for a sunny Sunday in July 1952 unfolding in a most unforgettable way.

The case began earlier, on the Wednesday afternoon, July 15th, when two men walked into a bank in the East Kildonan community on the east side of Greater Winnipeg. Brandishing firearms they ordered all employees and customers to lie on the floor whereupon they began to empty cash from the teller's cages. From a prone position one employee was able to activate the bank's alarm system. The alarm rang in the East Kildonan Police Office which was directly across the intersection from the bank. The Chief Constable of East Kildonan Police had been a war-time security guard who became Chief through the absence of competition. 'Chief' was a title to be taken lightly. Receiving no response to his prearranged telephone call back to the bank in the event it was a false alarm, the Chief told his men he would respond to the alarm himself and alone. He did. He soon joined the tellers and customers face down on the floor. The two gunmen made a clean getaway.

Now in 1952 bank robberies were a relatively rare occurrence. When they did occur they received the highest possible level of police investigation. News of this offence was immediately reported to the Force's Headquarters and to all 13 Municipal Police Departments then existing in Winnipeg prior to amalgamation. This created an air of tenseness that junior Constables could detect as the cooperative dragnet was spun around the city, with all Police Forces participating. All available men, some removed from office duty, were assigned and road-blocks went up at once. Those RCMP Detachments surrounding the city established their own coordinating road-block network. Criminal records were searched for any recent data in relation to bank robberies. Plainclothesmen met with and interviewed informants seeking any possible assistance about the identities and whereabouts of the robbers. It became one full-scale, around-the-clock operation with the telecommunications office acting as the command centre where an experienced NCO took charge. Those of us with very limited service were given less onerous assignments under senior direction. I found it extremely exciting!

Throughout the Wednesday night, all day Thursday and again all day Friday, leads were investigated, analyzed and, to the inexperienced, disheartingly dried up. Eventually only one clue remained: the report of a Doctor's stolen, black-coloured 1951 Oldsmobile. Those of us with little experience enjoyed listening to the senior men as theory replaced theory, investigative lead after investigative lead was explored, plan after plan was put in place. Friday night passed into Saturday. By Saturday evening there was still no evidence at all. A feeling was emerging that the robbers had possibly made a clean escape. More than a few uncharitable comments were being expressed about a certain Chief Constable.

Sunday morning was quiet in barracks. Enquiring early at the telecommunications office, I learned there were still no developments about the bank robbery. I returned to my room and chose to press some clothes. I positioned the communal ironing board half in my room and half out in the hallway. That was the most efficient use of space in those small barrack rooms; they were not just small, they were tiny. I had placed my uniform trousers on the ironing board and had the iron steaming well when Cst. George Curry emerged from his room. He had been all over the place during those previous three days. That Sunday morning it was obvious from his appearance a full night's sleep had not been his lot. He was one step ahead of standard barrack room garb: towel slung around his neck, shaving kit in hand and trousers on -- trousers were the step ahead! George was clearly en route to the washroom. As he passed me, steam iron held at the ready, I asked George what he was up to.

"Oh," he answered sleepily, "the Duty NCO just wakened me. There's a report that two suspicious men were seen leaving the water tower at Vivian. I've to go and check them out."

I didn't know what a water tower was and all I could assume about 'Vivian' was that it must be in either Stonewall or Transcona Detachment area.

"Can I go with you?" I asked.

Never breaking pace, George replied, "Sure." Then, after taking a few paces he followed with an over-the-shoulder instruction, "But bring your sidearm [revolver] with you."

It was about 9:30 that Sunday morning when George and I drove off the Headquarters parking lot. I learned Vivian was in a sparsely-populated, bush-covered area some 30 miles or so due east of Winnipeg and had a CNR siding, hence the water tower. There was little else in the community, it was within the Transcona Detachment area which George knew reasonably well. George drove the Transcona Detachment car, a new 1952 Plymouth which Harp, then drawing near to his retirement time, kept highly polished. I asked what we would do if we encountered the two robbers.

"I don't know, Scotty," was his reply. "It's one of those unknowns policemen face. We'll decide when we get there."

In about an hour's time we arrived at the water tower. Two local people met us. They explained they had been out for an early morning walk and had seen two men leave the water tower. Knowing every local resident well, it was clear to them those men leaving the water tower were strangers in the community. Because of the news coverage about the bank robbery, these strangers' presence was reported to the police. Physical descriptions of the robbers from the bank staff were sketchy. One element of description was conclusive however: one robber wore boots described as 'cut-off, calf-length bush boots.' This was an irrefutable description, viewed from a distance of about six inches from a teller's nose as she lay prone on the bank's floor. The two residents however had not been close enough to get anything more than a vague, general description but they did know the two were men.

What to do now? The area was heavily bushed and in July everything was in full foliage. We decided to drive around the area to determine what it was like, what possibilities might be revealed, what houses or hide-a-way places might exist and generally gain an insight into the area immediately around the water tower. Our hope was something of the two strangers might be seen or learned.

We followed one main road which ran due south from the area of the water tower. Stemming out from that road on both sides was a spider's web network of trails. Some led to a gravel pit to the west of the main road, others to the odd house; still others led farther south where the dense bushland gave way to marginal farm land. The day was bright and the sun was high overhead. When we came to a house we would interview its occupants. Periodically we left the car and on foot searched trails for tire-tracks, footprints or any other sign that may offer help. We kept alert for anything that would give any indication the two strangers were still around as we had to suspect they were. We scoured the gravel pit which at the time was not heavily used. The most annoying thing was the area was a 'dead area' for radio contact with Headquarters. It was a failing of the equipment of the day which for some technical reason was incapable of transmitting a signal from certain areas, Vivian being one. If we wished to transmit our findings to Headquarters and call for assistance, we'd need to drive some distance out from the search area, causing a delay in the search. Instead we followed the accepted practise of the day and continued the search on our own.

Our whole day was spent searching an area of about four square miles. No scrap of evidence was found. Then at about four o'clock we came upon one more, isolated house. We approached, knocked on the door and a young woman answered. A wee lad of about six or seven years old held tightly to her right leg as he peered at George and me. We were in uniform. There was no doubting our identities. George explained our task, adding as he always had that day, "Have you seen any strangers?"

"Yes," the woman replied. "On Wednesday evening around supper time two strangers came to my door and asked for water."

She was interrupted by the little chap. "Boy, were they thirsty," he said. "One had six glasses of water and the other had seven."

Looking down at this wee fellow, George asked, "How do you know?"

"Because I counted them," came the innocent but confident reply.

"Did you see anything else about them that you remember?" George enquired of the boy.

"Sure do," came his response. "One had cut-off bush boots up to here," motioning half-way up his little leg.

George and I exchanged glances. We gave the woman some cautionary advice to take extra care and get company for help if possible, then we returned to our car. (From that day on I always listened carefully to and put faith in what a child said. Repeatedly I found a child of tender years gave accurate information.)

George's interests were obviously at a high pitch. Briefly we discussed what we had: two strangers asking for water on the Wednesday evening, one wearing cut-off bush boots, then that Sunday two strangers at the water tower. It was not much, but it had some vital points. We knew now we needed assistance and drove out from the area to where our radio signal with Headquarters was strong. To myself I thought, "Now this is real police work and I am really involved."

On the radio to Headquarters, first we asked for the Police Dog and Dogmaster but on that sunny Sunday afternoon they were nowhere around. Each Sub-division had only one police dog. Time was against calling the one from Brandon, some 140 miles west. We then asked for the aircraft, but the pilot was not available. We then asked for more men. At about 6 o'clock three cars arrived, each with two men. George and I took some humorous criticism for disturbing some chaps on their Sunday off!

Among those who arrived was Corporal Ed Stanley from the Winnipeg CIB [Criminal Investigation Branch], a 20-odd year serviced, experienced, grizzled Irishman who was a Bisley Rifle Team competitor. If ever a countenance showed dour determination against crime it was Cpl. Stanley's. On the remote chance that the countenance didn't do it, the Irish brogue left no doubt. To Cpl. Stanley a rifle equated with a right arm. That day he had both. George gave him a briefing and as the senior member there Cpl. Stanley took charge.

The Corporal put his plan in place. Using a quickly-prepared grid plan, the bushy area south of the water tower to the east of the main north-south road would be searched first. I was teamed up with Constable Ken McNichol, a British Army veteran who had seen active service in the jungles of Burma. He gave me fast instruction on 'sound shooting': "Hear a sound, turn, point and fire. Do not aim, just point and fire."

I got the message. All teams entered the bush on a controlled grid for this on-foot search. Ken was comforting to me. After all, I thought, he had survived the Burma campaign, he'll know what to do.

As Ken and I advanced along our grid we came to a small cabin all but totally concealed in heavy bush. We inched forward. There were no windows to the rear. There were no windows on the sides. One window was beside the only door which was on the front of the little cabin. Cautiously Ken approached the window and peeked in. Quietly he explained to me that an old man lay on a makeshift bed. There appeared to be no others in the small place. Guns drawn, we sprung inside the cabin startling the old gent who sat bolt upright on the bed.

"Have you been up near the water tower recently?"

"No."

"Have you walked around any of the woodland trails over the last few days?"

"No."

"Have you spoken with anyone in the area over the last two or three days?"

"No."

"Have you seen any strangers lately?"

His reply still rings in my ears: "No," he said, "nothing ever happens around here."

After hearing about his choice of lifestyle and explaining the reason for our searching, Ken and I left requesting his assistance if anything unusual came to his attention.

With the first phase of the search completed we all assembled at a pre-selected spot on the main road. Cpl. Stanley then gave the assignments to search the area to the west of the road. One car was to go further south; George Currie took that assignment. Cst. Johnny Friend and his partner Cst. George Annand, both being plainclothesmen and therefore in civilian dress took the 'back-up' for George. They went south about three or four car lengths, then turned west onto a trail that George Currie and I had taken a number of times earlier in the day. Cpl. Stanley had just started to give the foot-searchers their assignments when we heard rapid gunfire coming from the direction in which Johnny Friend and George Annand had just gone.

In a flash Cpl. Stanley who was then standing beside a car already facing south, ordered me to drive. He jumped into the passenger side and ordered the other men to follow. One car with Cst. Hal Ramey and his partner, Cst. Jack Clarkson, was ahead of us. We simply flew up that trail. Upon leaving the main road the trail took a sweeping curve to the right, then turned sharply left around an area of brush vegetation that blocked our vision. As we entered the sharp left curve we met George Annand running towards us. He was firing his revolver in the air.

"They've shot Johnny! They've shot Johnny!" was all we heard him say. There, on the trail before us was the car Johnny Friend had been driving, its driver's door open, its rear window shot out. It was clear the robbers were somewhere ahead of Johnny's car. I drove around the passenger side of the car and found Hal Ramey and Jack Clarkson's car stopped a few yards further on. Their car was empty. I drove in front of it and stopped. The area was vegetated with short, thick scrubby willow trees maybe 10 or 12 feet tall. The trail appeared to diminish as it extended into the bush ahead of us.

No one was in view: nothing moved. There was total silence. Clearly Hal and Jack had left their car and taken cover somewhere in the bush. Ed Stanley jumped from our car. As he did I heard him activate his rifle's lever action. I left the car, my revolver drawn. Ed and I merged in the front of the car, eyes and ears straining. Something moved ahead in the bush. Up popped a man from the scrub about 25 or 30 yards in front of us and he instantaneously fired directly at us. Ed's shout to "Get down!" was unnecessary -- I had already dropped to the ground by the same method I'd used during my soccer goalkeeping days when short range shots came at me.

I lay in the trail's left rut while Cpl. Stanley lay in the right rut. Another shot came our way. Instinctively I ducked, drawing my head into my shoulders and turning my face towards Cpl. Stanley. He did likewise but looked my way. Another bullet ripped the soil between us. Dirt flew into our faces. Noticing I still wore my uniform forage hat, the top of which offered a dark, 14-inch diameter target to the robbers, Cpl. Stanley roared, "Get your hat off!" Realizing my error I removed the hat and heaved it the furthest any forage hat has ever been thrown.

In front of Cpl. Stanley and me, bullets began to fly. Hal Ramey and Jack Clarkson were somewhere between Ed Stanley and myself and the robbers. At one point I had a clear sight on one robber. I took aim, only to have my vision blocked by Hal or Jack in front of me. Clear sightings were difficult, the range was very close, extreme care had to be exercised as many shots were exchanged. There were these few brief moments of extreme tension but I found I could remain completely calm and with clear thoughts. Our other men were now in cover of bush behind and beside us.

Suddenly there was a shout from ahead of us, "You've got one, you've got one!"

Everything was still. Then, within a few seconds, the second robber, later found to be Zakopiak, rushed off to our right from the bush and into a small clearing as he headed for the gravel pit. As he ran he threw handfuls of bank notes to the wind. Cpl. Stanley fired one shot and Zakopiak fell.

The echo of gunfire subsided and again there was absolute silence. It was tense. We knew one robber was down in the bush just ahead of us with the second off towards the clearing to the right. Both were out of sight. But was there a third? Cpl. Stanley gave words of caution. Forming a controlled abreast line we inched forward into the bush. We came upon Hal and Jack -- both unharmed. But now we could hear a faint click, click, click sound ahead of us. With caution the four of us now moved forward, then came upon an unforgettable sight. About ten feet ahead of me was the first robber, later identified as Proulx, a hole through his chest, blood pumping out, sitting, propped up by a gradually weakening left arm, his head falling over, his right hand holding a revolver pointing directly at us as he pulled 'double action' on the trigger. In that instant -- and a split second before a volley of bullets would have killed him -- he crumpled in death. He had been pulling the trigger on the five spent shell casings in his revolver which gave the click, click sound. His strength failed him as he tried to pull the trigger the last time. Had he succeeded, the hammer would have detonated the only live shell he had left.

We now moved cautiously forward towards the fallen Zakopiak. We manoeuvred to see him clearly. He responded to commands and surrendered. We learned the bullet from Ed Stanley's shot had from a distance of about fifty yards, penetrated up through the sole of one foot as Zakopiak ran. [That shot in the foot was not intended. All factors supported the intended death shot through the body but a hastily-made, incorrect reading of the distance or a twig deflection caused the shot to go low.] Handcuffed and hobbling, we brought Zakopiak back to where Proulx's lifeless body lay. His foot was bleeding surprisingly heavily so we propped it up in the Y-shaped branch of a small tree. He asked for and was given a cigarette.

Looking at Proulx's body, Zakopiak said, "Why did you shoot him? Don't you know he's got a wife and kid?"

Right then several revolvers and at least one rifle were pointed directly at him. I held my breath, feeling that at any minute, either through tenseness of the moment or otherwise, Zakopiak too would lose his life.

Once the scene got organized, the scattered bills from where Zakopiak ran were gathered up. About $7,000 was recovered. The entire encounter was over in a matter of five or ten minutes. As we stood there, George Annand returned to the area and shouted, "Did you get Johnny? They shot Johnny, he's by the car."

George had run past the car but never stopped. In the tension of the time, Johnny Friend's absence went undetected by the rest of us. Cpl. Stanley assigned me to go back to find him.

I walked back the 40 or 50 yards, went around the car to the driver's door and saw Johnny lying about ten feet out from the car. He was in some short scrub bush, lying partly over an old tree stump, inclined on his left side. He lay motionless, blood all over his upward positioned right cheek and face. For some unexplainable reason I checked my watch. It was 6:35. Momentarily a great calmness overcame me. I felt John was dead.

Then as I stood there I noticed blood was faintly pumping up through his right cheek proving a heart beat was still present. I looked closely at his cheek. It appeared to be split apart, similar to a piece of rubber having had a blunt object thrust through it. At that moment movement to my left caught my eye. Now kneeling over Johnny and with my revolver drawn, I quickly turned. Behind Johnny's police car stood the elderly man from the cabin Ken McNichol and I had checked about 15 minutes or so earlier. He looked at Johnny, muttered something, turned and left on a fast run.

My attention went back to Johnny. I gently placed my thumb on the bleeding wound. I felt his jaw move. It looked like he was trying to talk. Gently I lowered my ear close to his mouth. Yes, he was trying to say something. Cautiously I felt around his head without moving it. No other blood was apparent. I lowered my ear again. Again he tried to talk. I yelled to get an ambulance. I listened again. Finally I deciphered his words, "Get my gun, it's sticking into my ribs!"

Gently I felt inside his jacket. His shoulder holster which he carried under his left arm had turned sideways as he fell. This caused the butt of the revolver to stick directly into his ribcage. He had never drawn his revolver.

At that moment, movement again caused me to look up and to my left. Now running towards me was the same old man from the cabin. Not only was he running with considerable speed but as he did so he was tearing into strips the whitest of white sheets that ever existed.

"Here," he sputtered as he handed me the torn strips. "Use these as bandages."

Two thoughts flashed through my mind: Where did that old man get the strength to run at the speed he did, and where, just where in that tiny woodland cabin in the bush did he keep so clean a sheet? I never got answers, only that he came to the scene upon hearing the sound of the gunfire.

Johnny was made comfortable. The body and prisoner were guarded as George Annand quickly explained what happened. As he and Johnny drove around the trail's sharp left-hand curve they were startled by finding the two men standing close to the left rut of the trail. So close were they that John just rolled down his window and asked who they were.

"Hunters," they replied.

Johnny identified himself as a policeman and was stepping from the car, producing his police badge and intending to check the two's identities when he was grabbed.

Immediately overpowered by the two men, Johnny fell to the ground. He succeeded in overpowering one man and was kneeling on all fours over him. George had jumped from the car and ran around the back of the car intending to come to Johnny's aid. At that point the one man standing over Johnny placed a revolver near the back of John's head and fired at point blank range. Johnny collapsed on the spot.

Now alone to face two armed men, George chose to summon aid by running back around the trail's curve, firing his revolver to attract our attention as the robbers fired some shots at him. Hal Ramey and Jack Clarkson, being the next car in, passed George and found the two robbers trying to start the car Johnny had been driving. Failing to get the car started they exchanged gunfire with Hal and Jack, shooting through the car's rear window. As Hal and Jack returned fire the robbers fled on foot into the bush. It was at that point Cpl. Stanley and I arrived. Johnny's police badge was found on one robber.

Again radio communications had to be made by a car driving out from the scene of the shootings. Cpl. Stanley instructed me to go to the intersection of the north-south road with the highway coming east from Winnipeg and refuse entry to 'anyone but the Coroner.' The intersection was reasonably close and I chose to walk to it. As I left the trail and turned north to the intersection, I noticed a car approaching at great speed from the south. The car was almost airborne as it turned into the trail. Its driver? Cst. George Currie. He had been on a south part of the grid and had heard but missed the entire shooting.

Responding to the news broadcasts that hit the airwaves, citizens and media reporters flocked to Vivian. Dutifully I disallowed entry and they drove on to seek access by another route. Then this one particular car approached. It was being driven slowly and it came to a stop beside me. Lowering his window the lone occupant spoke to me.

"Constable, I'm Doctor so-and-so."

"That's fine, Doctor," I said, "but it's only the Coroner that I can let through."

A broad grin crossed the Doctor's face. "I am the Coroner," came his reply.

My thoughts at the time were on so many things my mind totally escaped a point I already knew: in all likelihood the Coroner would be a Medical Doctor.

The ambulance arrived and Johnny was whisked off to hospital. The death scene was inspected by the Coroner, the body viewed, then the prisoner and the body were taken away. That was the first dead body I had seen, or that I had carried as we placed it in the trunk of a police car. We all returned to Headquarters which by then was a hive of activity. Junior Constables were not required so I went up to my room. Others gathered and the action of the day was discussed over and over again. I went to bed but was unable to sleep (I slept little for the next two nights too!). Well after midnight the door to my room opened. George Currie stuck his head in.

"Scotty," he said, "will you ever volunteer for anything ever again?"

He left before I could answer.

Next day at daybreak the area of the shooting was searched. We found a skilfully-concealed tent in thick bush close to where Proulx and Zakopiak had first been encountered by Johnny and George. It was well-equipped and had been there for some time. The robbers, both with lengthy criminal records, had recently arrived from Vancouver. They had made their get-away from the bank on a motorcycle, then abandoned it for the waiting Oldsmobile they had stolen earlier in the day of the hold-up. On that fateful Sunday they had become unnerved by the searching done by George Currie and me -- we didn't realize how close we were to their concealed camp. As explained by Zakopiak, they saw "two men in uniform in the morning and having had them in our gun sights just before they were lucky enough to step away."

That influenced their decision to abandon their tent in the evening unaware of the intensified search then underway, walk across the gravel pit and try to make their way along the train track. Their plan was thwarted when they encountered Johnny Friend and George Annand.

But where was the black 1951 Oldsmobile? Time passed. The insurance company offered a $100.00 reward for its recovery. George Currie was determined to find that car. He searched diligently and even flew over the area when road and foot searching failed.

Zakopiak received a lengthy prison term. Being determined mentally disturbed, he was committed to a mental institution. Escaping and being recaptured twice, he eventually died within the institution without ever regaining his legal freedom.

Lady Luck shone on Johnny Friend that Sunday. The point blank shot had miraculously caused no serious injury. The bullet had entered his neck muscle below his left ear and came out through his right cheek, never even chipping a tooth. He made a complete recovery. Johnny and George Annand received the standard bank appreciation gift for policemen apprehending bank robbers: a gold watch. [Civilians received $1,000.00 cash.] Johnny's recovery was rapid and he went on to serve a full career in Headquarters, Ottawa in the Commissioned ranks. George Annand also went on to Headquarters, Ottawa. He retired at the senior NCO rank to take other employment with the Federal Government.

And, yes, that black 1951 Oldsmobile. In the fall of 1952 a hunter in the Vivian area found the car. It had been run off a road at high speed and into an area of bush and small trees some distance south from the robbers' tent. Trees along each side of the car had been slashed with an axe on the side nearest the car, the trees then pushed over allowing the sap to run up the outside of the tree and form a leafy canopy over the entire car. This concealed the car all summer. George Currie never got that $100.00.

To my regret that was the last opportunity I had to work with Cst. George Currie. Two years later while stationed at Lac du Bonnet Detachment about 100 miles north of Winnipeg, returning from an evening off duty, George's borrowed 1953 Chevrolet car collided at a rural intersection with a loaded gravel truck. George's left arm was badly injured and upon healing it was weakened. This influenced him to leave the operational side of the Force where physical encounters were to be expected. He embarked upon a career in the administrative side where he was very successful through to Commissioned rank.

During the night of July 19, 1952 and in the days immediately following I relived this encounter at Vivian many, many times. Having only six weeks actual service I received good experience that day, indeed valuable life-preserving experience that I put to use through the balance of my career. It was to be my good fortune to never again be involved in another shooting.

Note: The Force's policy involving firearms in the 1950s and throughout the balance of my service, placed judgement on the member. Basically, firearms were authorized if loss of life was a sincere belief. A warning shot was to be used, unless faced with a more life-threatening scene. At Vivian, facts were clear. The robbers shot first with the clear intent to cause death. They continued to exchange shots after other members arrived. That gave full justification for members to return fire with intent to take life. No member involved that day at Vivian faced criticism.

 

Copyright 2010, T.M. Gardiner

Read an excerpt: Chapter 20: The Toddler.

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