Thursday, March 15, 2012

Gunfight during home Invasion

“Break into my house and I kill you” said Argentine radio host and actor Angel “Baby” Etchecopar.
Last night as Argentina usually forces you to do, he had to put his life where his mouth was.

Etchecopar and his son where involved in a shooting last night. The attack was pretty typical and there are some lessons to be learned.
It started with a common enough mistake, one that you may be able to get away with in less dangerous places but not Argentina: Last night his 24 year old son Federico was talking with his girlfriend in his car.  You're not supposed to do that. You're a sitting duck.
The well known radio host and actor had already been involved in a home robbery attempt a few years ago and had knocked down with a punch (lucky punch in his own words) and captured one of his attackers. This time they had his son and his girlfriend at gunpoint as they forced their way inside. Inside his house he cooperated with the attackers, opened his safe, gave them watches, cash, etc. They loaded a car with a TV as well but they wanted more. Constantly beating Baby and his son they were still not satisfied and started to touch and threaten to rape his 5 month pregnant daughter and wife.
Etchecopar then, thinking quickly and actually very smart, pretended to suffer a heart attack and conveniently collapse over his night table… where he kept his Glock .40.
“Baby” shot one of the attackers eight times, killing him. His son also picked a 357 magnum and shot back. The other attacker, 17 years old, escaped wounded and was later captured when he showed up in a hospital. Given his age, he’s unlikely to spend any time in jail. There’s a 3rd man that was involved in the robbery that hasn’t been captured yet but has been identified because of the pictures in the cellphone of his dead accomplice and their Facebook pictures.
During the gunfight, Baby was shot in both legs and one hand, his son was shot in the buttocks(punctured his intestine), twice in the chest (collapsed lung) and another shot in the leg. 18 spent cases were recovered in that bedroom, eight of them 40 S&W, the rest 9mm.
“Baby” Etchecopar is recovering well in spite of an exposed bone fracture in his leg. His son is still in intensive care and fighting to survive after two surgeries.
Lets try to learn a thing or two here.
First, what was done right:
1)Being armed, of course. And the weapon of choice is also smart. A .40 Glock and a 357 magnum backup which his son managed to use.
2)Pretending to collapse over the night table where he kept the gun. That was pretty smart given that they had the drop on him. When he saw that they wanted more than the material belongings, started to touch and threaten to rape his daughter and wife and kill him, his reaction was the best given the worst case scenario it had turned into.
3)The will to fight, with any and all means. Etchecopar made clear claims of what we would do if something like this happened and he indeed lived up to it. Even though both him and his son got seriously wounded, something very hard to avoid in a gunfight inside a room at probably extreme close quarters, they are still alive and his wife, daughter and unborn grandson are fine. They could be dead if he hadn’t fought back.
As for mistakes made:
1)His son shouldn’t have been talking in the parked car with his girlfriend. This is VERY risky to do in Argentina and people that become careless like that often pay for it. Its well known that you’re much safer going into a house or bar or coffee house instead if you want to talk.
2)Etchecopar hasn’t received formal defensive shooting training, and is more likely limited to a trip to the range for typical target practice instead. While luck is a big factor, a few lessons on self defense shooting may have been put to good use in this occasion, favoring his odds a bit more.
3)There's a chance that 3 or 4 rounds of 40S&W JHP would have been enough, and that he could have moved to the second attacker after that. Based on research of many similar incidents, I know that its easy to get blinded by the rage of the fight, caught in the moment. Maybe if he had done some defensive shooting training he would have shot 3 or 4 times and quickly moved to the next bad guy. Then again maybe he did need eight rounds to drop that particulat attacker. Its so easy to be technical when you're not the one shooting it out with a couple sociopaths in a bedroom surrounded by your son wife and pregnant daughter.
Things to notice:
1) The patterns of how these things happen. The moments of vulnerability and the window of opportunity provided by one careless action such as fooling around or talking in a parked car at 10 PM. You can do that in other places, not in Argentina.
2) You are only as strong as the weakest link. Even if you do all the training and have all the mindset and awareness in the planet, if your son or daughter is carless then you are as weak as the weakest link in the group. One day they’ll show up with someone pointing a gun at their head. Work on having the entire family involved and know what to do in these situations and which risks should be avoiding.
3) “Baby” got shot in the hand which is typical of exchanging gunfire given that the hands end up placed covering your center of mass as you shoot each other.Make sure you know your non dominant hand shooting skill, single handed reloading, etc.
4) 18 rounds fired, plus maybe another six in the revolver. Still think that you can count on 5 or 6 rounds doing the trick? Better have more ammo, accuracy, ease of reloading and the ability to place quick follow up shots on target.



Patrick said...

Cacolandia boludo, I'm planning a move to Chile later this year...

Was thinking Uruguay for a while but I don't take them seriously enough to build a business there, sorry guys!

Vero said...

Que horrible todo lo que pasa en nuestro pais.Estoy por leer su libro, aunque sobrevivi 24 años en argentina, ahora estoy en Utah, y vivo mas tranquila. Pero mi familia sigue alla.

Anonymous said...

This is my reply to you on the FreeRepublic website posting of your latest

Seriously dude, you NEED to get that thing into Kindle format.

Just ask Travis about sales in that format.

I've had your book for over two years, but haven't read more than a dozen pages because when I get a few minutes it's on my nightstand instead of with the rest of my library....

Anonymous said...

If the 17-year-old perp was hit with .40 S&W, let alone .357 magnum rounds, and was still able to escape, then that says to me that he was not struck in a vital area.

Yes, a revolver does have a limited ammo capacity when compared to a semiauto, but the .357 has an extremely long and justified history of being a superior (perhaps the best) "one shot stop" round. The key, as always, is practice, practice, practice! Become proficient with your chosen weapon and be less concerned with how many rounds it holds - just because you have 18 rounds on tap doesnt mean you have to shoot them all off! Get some adequate practice ammo and become a regular at the shooting range. At home, feed your beast some premium defensive ammo. Be more concerned with putting the rounds you have on target - I don't know what the law in Argentina is like, but in America, you are responsible for any collateral damage you inflict on your neighbors, even in a justifed shooting. And with the flimsy construction of most modern homes here, sending a dozen or more rounds of 9mm or larger at an intruder will likely cause you a whole world of additional problems, since at least some of those rounds are going to enter a nearby structure. As much as the sound of a shotgun being racked can deter some intruders, the sight of a large revolver also says "pain" in its own way.

Okay, enough rambling. To sum up: a revolver in the right hands can be perfectly adequate for home defense. If you need more than that, then you may as well go get a 12 gauge Saiga with 20 round magazine and go for the gusto.

Anonymous said...

The two most important things in a defensive firearm are first - reliability first and second - ammo capacity.

Pick any big bore caliber and you will find stories of people surviving multiple hits. Drugs or adrenalin can make even a .45 feel "like a bee sting" in the words of one bad guy who survived multiple hits.

Hollywood guns breathe huge fireballs and make people fly backward through walls. In real life something like 80% of people shot survive gunshot wounds.

Plan on most of your shots missing. Plan on having to make multiple hits to stop the bad guy. Then get training and practice, practice, practice.

Anonymous said...

Very fortunate he had his pistols stashed closeby.

At that distance though, I wonder how someone with a knife would have faired, I'd wager someone with basic knife training would have killed both bad guys and have been shot only once.

And someone trained with a pistol at those distances can easily score headhots, ending a fight very quickly.

So training can't be stressed enough given the distances of armed encounters.

Anonymous said...

Hello Ferfal,

I hope you are doing well in Ireland.

I don’t want to sound like I’m arm chair commandoing this situation. However, I’d like to hear your opinion on the matter. I know it’s difficult to have a no negotiation policy with thugs , espcially when a son is being held at gun point outside the door. However, by opening the door, Etchecopar, put his daugther, pregnant wife and himself also in deadly danger. Perhaps a better solution would have been, especialy in the enviroment of violence lived in Argentina, to address the call at the door already armed and use the element of surprise get the son back. There’s no guarnatee that him or his son would survive, but allowing the thugs into the house is almost guarantee of an even more nefarious outcome.


Anonymous said...

Those guys were going to kill them all, Baby, his son, daughter, etc. He managed to kill some of them, now it's time to hunt down the rest and wipe 'em out.

Anonymous said...

Hey guys, enough talk about head shots. I shoot a lot of animals and I can tell you, head shots are not a sure stop by any means. Sure, the human head is easier to hit than an animal head, and its shape is more designed to carry lots of brain than carry "enough" brain and defend it against predators' fangs, but the human head is not a milk jug. Something like 3/4's of it is stuff that if you hit it, is gonna make the guy ugly but not dead. And maybe not stopping the threat either.

A shot in the heart/lung area is a sure stopper on animals. And you have to use enough gun, on a possum it's .22 hollow points. On a human, we're talking the .45, .40, or .357 in hollow point. That gives you the choice of many auto pistols and revolvers. I have my sights (lol) set on a Ruger .357 revolver myself as a carry gun.

Anonymous said...

357 is a hot round and will easily over penetrate I have no experience with the 40 cal but carried a 45 for 30 years and used it in close quarters combat several times i have taken off the top of someones head with one shot at close range and have also taken of an arm with one shot very disgusting but if you want one shot one kill use a 45 and double down with a hollow point.

Anonymous said...

The baddie used his sons face to get the door open initially, which is all he needed to then force his way through with his gun.

According to the report that was some good shooting.
Baby Shot his .40 Glock 8 times with 8 hits killing his opponent. No doubt trained.
The baddie with the 9mm shot 12 times, hitting his opponents 7 times.

Pistol shootouts at less than 3 feet distance is undiscovered territory so far. To succeed in not getting shot it's obvious one needs to perform some type of free hand to pistol defensive moves, at the same time as you fire your own pistol. When facing mulitple armed opponents using your enemies body to shield yourself is also logical. I know someone was working on this, but I forgot who they were.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous comment starting with "357 is a hot round".

The comment is pure, unadulterated b*llsh*t.

The poster never "used it in close combat", never "took off the top of someones head", certainly never "taken of an arm with one shot".

The lesson here is to recognize couch-commando BS when you see it. These losers show up like clockwork at gun stores, shows and internet forums.

Anonymous said...

Suarez international has some 0-5 feet pistol gunfighting classes. No videos yet at that distance, but they do have a close range gunfighting dvd available.

Pitt said...

This story makes a strong argument for carrying your defensive pistol on your person, even when you are at home. Even though there were only 3 assailants, there were over 20rds fired at very close range. I use a 9mm and I'm comfortable with level of power because it allows me to make fast, accurate shots at speed. I think that given how extreme their circumstances were, Baby and his son did pretty good in their brush with death.

Anonymous said...

Baby's son left the hospital yesterday