Man Enters Watertown Fire Station With Pistol, Taken Down With Bean Bags
An armed man was taken down with a bean bag round Monday (February 14) in Watertown, South Dakota.
According to Dakota News Now, a disturbed man armed with a pistol walked into the fire station in downtown Watertown on Monday.
As police rolled up to the building, the man walked outside and threatened to hurt himself. Officers gave repeated commands to drop the pistol and told him they would help him but he did not follow the commands.
Eventually, one officer fired two beanbag rounds out of a shotgun. Another officer was able to subdue him right after being hit with the bean bags and took him into custody.
Bean bag rounds are essentially the same thing as a regular shotgun shell, but instead of firing the very lethal lead buckshot, they instead fire a fabric bag or sock that is filled with #9 birdshot. The flexible projectile is not rigid enough to penetrate the skin. Instead, it delivers a blow to the body in the same way a baseball bat or baton would. They are designed to be a "less-lethal" tool for police.
The shotguns themselves are usually dedicated to using only for bean bag rounds, often made with bright-colored furniture to differentiate it from a shotgun that would be loaded with lethal rounds.
The term "less lethal" does not mean that it is "not lethal." One supplier of the rounds has a warning displayed saying "Danger: Shots to the head, neck, spine, thorax or heart can result in fatal or serious injury. For use only by qualified personnel trained in the use of these products."