SWAT Experts on the Situational Side Effects of Tear Gas

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The Sacramento County Sheriff’s SWAT leader said tear gas is among the more effective tools they have when dealing with a dangerous suspect.

“Unfortunately, some of the most effective chemical agents we use in law enforcement are incendiary, pose a potential fire hazard, or risk,” Sgt. Randy Winn told FOX40.

A deadly standoff with law enforcement, apparently ended Tuesday evening, from a fire that started shortly after officers shot tear gas into a cabin with Christopher Dorner inside.

Investigators believe Dorner shot and killed his fourth victim, then hid out in a cabin where officers used tear gas. A fire erupted soon after.

“This is a bad guy who didn’t have the ability to confront his own shortcomings, and therefore took it out on innocent people,” Ret. Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinness said.

“If a fire was started and the suspect were to perish, it could be considered objectively reasonable in light of the circumstances,” Winn said.

We’ve seen that kind of deadly inferno last year in Modesto, where they later found the charred body of a gunman who killed a deputy and locksmith serving an eviction at his apartment.

SWAT often use tear gas, once they know the suspect is there, to prevent the suspect from escaping or to keep him cornered.

“In a situation like this, where the situation poses extreme risk to the officers and the community, the incendiary chemical agents are certainly more effective, that may be the case where deadly force certainly is appropriate,” Winn added.

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