Police officers are often required to make split-second decisions, and the stakes are higher when a subject is armed. This week, a Treasure Coast officer diffused a potentially dangerous situation.
Port St. Lucie Police Officer Christopher Kneidel was called out Monday after a report that Courtney Miller had argued with his mother, pointed a gun at his nephew, then ran off from their Tulip Boulevard home.
“We got a whole bunch of people out on the street for Labor Day. I was in fear for their safety and I was in fear for his safety because he’s armed and I don’t know how many officers we have out on the perimeter trying to get him," said Officer Kneidel.
When Officer Kneidel arrived at the home, contact had been made with Miller.
“What are you wearing right now Courtney?" Kneidel asked Miller so he could relay that information to other officers arriving on the scene.
Kneidel, who was familiar with Miller, said this conversation felt like a long one but he managed to calm him down, convincing him that the best course of action would be to surrender. On the radio transmissions, you can hear Officer Kneidel specifically telling Miller what to do with the weapon.
“Gun’s going to be 5 feet to your left, magazine out, chamber locked to the rear," says Officer Kneidel over the radio.
“I wanted to make sure that every officer going to him, realized he was complying with our directions," said Officer Kneidel.
Kneidel, a 15 year veteran, said he wasn’t nervous, but he wanted to make it clear what was expected of Miller.
"So that we could resolve it peacefully. It could have gone another way but it didn’t and I felt confident he was doing exactly what he was saying on the phone," said Officer Kneidel, who added the key in this case was good communication.
"We police a community, we know our community doing the right thing and trying to deescalate situations.”
Miller faces a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. His family members were not hurt.