James Banks, Owner / Instructor
The Battle. The Story of Sgt Marcus Young, Ukiah Police Department, California.
In the May 2018 newsletter, my article discussed how to develop a defensive mindset and I outlined five key points on how to do this. For June 2018, I would like to discuss a true hero who personifies what it means to have a true defensive mindset. Sgt Marcus Young of the Ukiah California Police Department lived his life continuously developing himself having served in the United States Navy, was a second-degree black belt in Shorin-Ryu karate, and served 18 years on the police department. Sgt Young took his training, learning and personal development very seriously and little did he know that one day he was going to be tested in the ultimate exchange of mortal combat. March 7, 2003 was your normal Friday in Ukiah and Sgt Young had a 17-year-old police cadet named Julian Covella accompanying him on his patrol. His shift was about half over when a call came in at 9:48pm, Shoplifter at the local Wal-Mart. Sgt Young turns the car in that direction and heads over to investigate. Little did young Julian and Sgt Young realize, they would be saving each other's lives in the minutes that followed. Sgt Young and his ride-along arrived and Sgt Young took custody of Monica Winnie. Ms. Winnie was a pale, thin eighteen year old but, having lived a tough life, looked much older. Wal-Mart security guard, Brett Schott, watched as Sgt Young politely escorted her to the patrol car and put her into the back seat. In the shadows of the dark parking lot a man moved swiftly in the direction of his girlfriend, Monica Winnie. His name was Neal Beckman. He was tattooed with the horns of Satan on his forehead, had a violent rapsheet and was a member of the Nazi Low Riders. Beckman decided that night was not going to be the night that his girlfriend went to jail.
As Beckman approached, Sgt Young commanded him to take his hands out of his pockets. Sgt Young could not see that Beckman concealed a fixed-blade hunting
knife in his left hand and a late Smith & Wesson Model 637 stainless Airweight in
his right, with all five chambers loaded. Beckman continued his purposeful approach and Sgt Young again, in a stern voice, commanded Beckman to show his hands. Beckman replied with, "I have a knife". Beckman pulled the blade out and Sgt Young instantly reacted in accordance with his training as both policeman and martial artist. He grabbed the knife-hand and pivoted off mid-line, wrenching the suspect's arm into the double-ninety-degree configuration known in California police circles as a "twistlock". Sgt Young could feel something snapping and popping in Beckman's arm, but he refused to let go. Both of them slammed into the side of the patrol car.
Suddenly, there was a bright flash and a searing heat and Sgt Young realized he had just been shot in the face at close range. In the moments that followed everything happened lightning fast but Sgt Young mentally processed this incoming stimuli and time and space seemed to slow way down. Beckman continued to shoot Sgt Young and the hot bullets tore through his right arm and his back, and something smashed into his left side as if he has been struck in the rib cage with a baseball bat. Beckman had fired five shots, four of which struck Sgt Young.
Brett Schott, the unarmed Wal-Mart security guard, jumped into the fight. He closed the distance with Beckman, grabbed the revolver and wrestled it away. He did not yet realize that he was holding an empty gun. Beckman transitioned the hunting knife from his left hand to his right and savagely sunk it deep into the left side of Schott's chest, almost immediately collapsing his lung and opening a wound so big that lung tissue was visible. Beckman pried the blade and tore the wound wider, completely severing Schott's deltoid muscle. Schott is instantly weakened by the massive wound and realized that he had massive bleeding. He retreated to a nearby car and fully believed that he was dying.
Sgt Young regained his composure and worked his way to his feet. He reached for his duty weapon but his strong arm was not responding. In the melee, Sgt Young did not realize that his humerus had been shattered and his right arm was rendered completely paralyzed. Sgt Young saw his gun arm and attempted to draw his service weapon with his support hand, which was a technique that he had trained for on numerous occasions. Sgt Young was also unable to use his left hand as he looked down he could see that it was completely ripped open, torn apart, with separated tendons visible through his opened skin.
Beckman had now made his way into the driver's seat of the patrol car. He wasn't stealing the car rather, he was looking for the release switch to allow himself access to the Remington 870, 12 gauge shotgun and the HK33, a 5.56mm rifle capable of truly changing the dynamics of any situation. Both of these long arms were kept secured in the front seat of the cruiser and Beckman was looking for the release switch to allow him to gain access and control over them.
During this commotion, the cadet, Julian Covella stood by as a spectator. He had been instructed to never, under any circumstance, involve himself into any altercation. This had been weighing heavily on young Covella as he sensed a strong compulsion to help. Sgt Young yelled to Covella, "Take my gun out and put it in my hand." Covella fumbled for a second and released the thumb-break strap of the Level One duty holster. Covella meticulously drew the pistol, a Beretta 96G, and placed it into the bloody left hand that Sgt Young extended to him. Sgt Young had trained to shoot one handed, support hand only and that day would be the true test of his training. Sgt Young lifted his hand holding his service weapon. It was bleeding profusely with visible tendons showing through his open wound. Sgt Young understood that in this situation that he would not be able to get a precise sight picture and thus used a stressed sight picture. During this stressed sight picture at close range, Sgt Young understood that all he needed to do was point his service weapon at Beckman and super-impose his gun over the target. Sgt Young needed to act hastily as Beckman was furiously trying to gain control of the police issue long guns.
Sgt Young fired his first shot at the car door, knowing that the .40 projectile would pierce the door with ease. It did not hit its mark. Sgt Young fired a second time and again Beckman was not hit and at that point realized that the officer was now shooting at him. Beckman turned and looked directly at Sgt Young and the Sergeant raised his weapon up a bit higher and fired a third time. The bullet left the muzzle with precision and struck Beckman in the forehead which caused him to violently thrash and throw himself around in the front seat. Sgt Young fired a fourth time and this time Beckman went completely still. Sgt Young continued to cover Beckman until the Sergeant was satisfied that the fight was over. Sgt Young felt himself grow weaker and realized that he was soon to lose consciousness. Sgt Young knew that he had been shot numerous times in the upper torso and head. He placed his service weapon on the ground without activating his decocker as his torn up hands would not allow him. Sgt Young called out to Covella to get on the radio and summon help.
Emergency Medical Service responded quickly, but the receiving hospital was
only equipped to perform emergency surgery on one patient at a time. Schott, the Wal-Mart security guard who had jumped into the fight unarmed to save Sgt Young was near death and went onto the table first. Schott had lost about half of his
blood and it took three hours for the surgeons to stabilize him and save his life. Sgt Young had to wait and doctors would not allow him to have any painkillers as his blood pressure was much too low.
The first shot that Beckman fired from his .38 Special had struck Sgt Young in the left cheek and exited the back of his neck, barely missing his brain. Sgt Young never lost consciousness. Sgt Young does not remember the exact sequence of the following hits, but one round smashed his right arm. Another round went past his body armor and penetrated his back, causing serious injuries which, like the right arm wound, have required multiple surgeries since to repair. The impact to his right side that he remembered felt like a baseball bat had been a bullet stopping in his Level III-A ballistic vest. This impact caused extensive bruising, but caused no serious damage. Doctors believed that if this projectile had not been stopped by the Kevlar, it would have likely killed Sgt Young. Doctors determined that he had not been shot in the left hand, but it had been so badly disfigured during the fight that it took hours of surgery to repair the tendon damage.
Beckman died at the scene. The third shot that Sgt Young fired, hit him square in the forehead. Because Beckman was down on the seat with his head back, the angle of the projectile caused it to skid off the skull beneath the scalp, emerging at the crown with a big, hideous exit wound but did not inflict any life-threatening damage. As Beckman convulsed and twisted to retreat from the returned fire, he had presented his buttocks toward Sgt Young and his final shot struck Beckman there and traveled up deep inside him, piercing his liver and lodging in his neck. This had been the fatal shot.
Of all of the lessons that can be learned from this incident, the largest lesson is that you will have to be able to operate under intense physiological and physical impairments. This is not done in any other way but training. Sgt Young spent most of his adolescent and adult life training and preparing himself for "the fight". He attributes his ability to survive to his mental and physical preparedness. Sgt Young did indeed sink to his level of training. He trained for this. He prevailed.
Click HERE for pictures of this incident. Please be warned that these pictures may be disturbing to some but they reveal the gravity and horrific reality of deadly threat engagements.
"A LEADER THIRSTS FOR KNOWLEDGE."
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