CAPE CORAL, Fla. Deciding whether to fire at a gunman could be the last decision an officer ever makes.
Cape Coral Police Cpl. Philip Mullen has been there before.
Mullen was one of seven officers who shot and killed 21-year-old Tyson Richardson in a Steak ‘n Shake parking lot in 2009.
“It was a hard thing to do, but I was ready for it through my training,” he said. “I knew some day I might have to do it, and unfortunately that day came.”
The state attorney’s office ruled the shooting was justified.
Cape police Officer Cristian Munoz-Luna was cleared of wrongdoing in a March 2016 incident in which he opened fire on 66-year-old John Toles.
Toles died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound and not from one of Munoz-Luna’s bullets, according to an autopsy.
A Lee County deputy shot and wounded 46-year-old Nicole Kramer last month on Interstate 75 near mile marker 139. She had attempted suicide by cop by pointing a black airsoft pistol at the deputy, the sheriff’s office said. Airsofts are replica firearms primarily used in a game similar to paintball.
“There are some airsofts that look like an AR-15, or an MP5, or an exact copy of my glock. They’re replicas. There’s no way to tell,” Mullen said. “If you wait until it’s all the way to you, you’re probably already dead.”
Kramer survived and was arrested for aggravated assault after she was released from a hospital, deputies said.
“Some people are going to be scarred for life by something like that,” Mullen said. “It takes some mental fortitude to take a life and know that it wasn’t my fault, it wasn’t malicious. I didn’t want it to happen, but I didn’t have a choice in that situation.”
n that situation.”