While probation officer training programs often feature self defense and firearms training, most officers, like their police counterparts, would prefer not to harm anyone unless absolutely necessary for the wellbeing of themselves and the people around them.
Still, sometimes drastic measures are necessary. An L.A. county probation officer, who wishes to remain unnamed, wounded an Ontario man last week in the parking lot of a warehouse grocery chain. The Ontario man, 26 year old Adrian Leatherman, approached the off-duty officer and his wife as they were carrying their groceries to their car. Leatherman demanded a ride from the couple and was refused by the taken aback couple. In response, Leatherman allegedly produced a knife, threatening them as he continued to demand a ride.
Police have stated that after pulling out the knife and being told no, the suspect responded with something similar to “Yes, you are.”
The probation officer then pulled out his gun and ordered the suspect to the ground. While Leatherman initially complied with the officer’s request, he then stood again and was shot.
When police arrived at the scene, they found Leatherman had been hit in the arm and chest. Leatherman was treated at the scene by emergency technicians and then moved to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center. He is currently listed in critical condition after additional surgery at Arrowhead. Once he is able to be moved again, Leatherman will be charged for his carjacking attempt.
While firearms and lethal force are a last resort, the officer’s handgun training stood between his wife and his own safety. Working alongside individuals under probation can be dangerous on its own without people like Leatherman threatening officers on their day off. However, thanks to the training that the officer received, he and his wife were not wounded during the ordeal.