For a dramatic example of how quickly a fight can go bad even for a trained, experienced, and armed police officer against an unarmed aggressor — an example with eerie parallels to George Zimmerman’s defensive shooting of Trayvon Martin — see this bit of cellphone video.

It captures a Kansas City Police Officer having to go for his gun after an unarmed suspect he was attempting to arrest got the upper hand and started beating the police officer’s head into the sidewalk. The officer fired twice, with one of those rounds tearing through the attacker’s diaphragm, liver, and heart, and killing him.

Although these events took place last December 1, the video was only just released when the grand jury empaneled to review the shooting returned a “no bill” against Police Officer Donald Hubbard, meaning no criminal action will be taken against him for the shooting death of the attacker, 26-year-old Anthony Bruno.  Bruno was himself an off-duty firefighter.

Bruno had been celebrating his marriage that evening when he got into an argument with a taxi driver outside the Kansas City Marriott Downtown and began to beat the driver.  Officer Hubbard was working off-duty security at the hotel, wearing his uniform, and responded to the conflict, catching up with the departing Bruno some distance down the street.

Hubbard attempted to arrest Bruno, who was non-compliant.   Soon the men were wrestling on the ground, where it appeared that Hubbard had the upper hand.  In an instant, however, Bruno had flipped Hubbard onto his back on the sidewalk, and begun raining down vicious blows that caught Hubbard’s skull between Bruno’s fist driving down from above and the concrete below.  Hubbard’s injuries would include a broken eye socket and a fractured cheekbone, although it appears that Bruno had only time for less than a handful of blows.

Sensing the loss of consciousness and fearing he would be beaten to death, Hubbard drew his service pistol and fired twice into Bruno’s chest.

(The facts in this post are as drawn from reporting by The Kansas City Star.)

The parallels to the Zimmerman defensive shooting are striking, including the fact that the attacker was unarmed, the relative positions of the attacker and the defender, the beating of the defender’s head against a concrete sidewalk threatening loss of consciousness, the failure of observers to provide assistance, and the relative lack of injuries to the attacker other than the bullet wound inflicted in self-defense.

The dramatic fight, up to the sound of the gunshots, can be seen in the cellphone video captured by two bystanders below.  CONTENT WARNING for graphic language and brutal physical violence.

Backup copy of above video:

–-Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog, (paperback and Kindle), Barnes & Noble (paperback and Nook), and elsewhere.


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