Police in Australia recently stopped a man who had taken the passengers of a tram hostage while armed with a knife.
When police arrived it started with a contain and negotiate strategy, until the offender stated that he was going to kill people on the tram and grabbed a woman, pointing the knife at her.
With the imminent threat to the life of the woman, Members of the Critical Incident Response Team entered the train armed with a Taser and rifle, a combination of lethal and less-lethal force which is an important detail here.
The first discharge of the Taser did fail, probably due to the thick jacket the offender was wearing.
Luckily this Taser model has two cartidges that can be fired in succession, and the second shot was effective at achieving neuromuscular incapacitation.
Being in a confined space like this with someone who is armed with a knife is extremely dangerous, watch my video about police in knife vs gun scenarios to understand more.
If the Taser failed as they often do, using the rifle was extremely risky, as there were multiple members of the public behind the offender and any shots fired can miss, pass through the offender or ricochet and potentionally harm or kill the victims. Going hands-on could potentially result in the police getting killed themselves.
They were faced with an extremely dynamic and unpredictable scenario with no perfect options and potential negative outcomes no matter what they did.
This could have gone horribly wrong but it didn’t, well done to these police who managed to achieve the best outcome.