The front page headline of a September edition of your paper blared the fact that a man who had shot several times at the police was himself shot 18 times, as if the number of times he was hit is of great issue.

The fact is, several officers were involved in the final encounter, and they had no way to coordinate how many times each officer shot at the subject. I was a police trainer for many years, and we taught our officers that if they were in a deadly force encounter, they should continue to fire until the offender no longer presented a danger to officers or to innocent bystanders.

No one makes “magic bullets” that are so powerful that being hit with just one of them renders a criminal helpless. There have been numerous instances in which a violent subject continued to fire at officers, even after sustaining mortal wounds. How many shots are enough? The number it takes to stop the offender from being a hazard to others. Was 18 shots too many in this case? Not if that is what it took to stop him from being a danger.

Rick Ellis

retired military officer

New Orleans