In a case that can either be considered extraordinary marksmanship, or extreme luck, a Colorado deputy saved his own life from would-be armed robbers in January, when a “one-in-a-billion” shot he fired travelled straight into the robber’s gun, through the barrel, and came to rest against the bullet in the chamber, rendering the gun inoperable.
On January 26, 2016, Deputy Jose Marquez of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department in Jefferson County, Colorado, was visiting his girlfriend and making supper for her and her children when he had to go to the apartment building’s parking lot in order to get something from his car. While walking through the parking lot, two men wearing black clothes with masks covering their faces, approached the off-duty deputy, who was dressed in plain clothes at the time.
According to the Denver Post, one of the men said “Hello, brother,” as they approached Deputy Marquez. Then, as the two men passed Marquez, one of them said, “Give it up.”
It was then, Deputy Marquez said, that he knew something bad was about to happen.
One of the young men had pulled out a pistol as Deputy Marquez turned to face them, and as the off-duty officer was pulling out his own weapon, the gunman fired at him. In total, the gunman fired 12 shots, and Deputy Marquez fired four. Of the four shots fired by Marquez, one hit the gunman in the leg, while another, that’s being called a “one in a billion” shot, landed square in the barrel of the gun, where it travelled into the chamber and collided with a.40 caliber bullet that would have been aimed directly at Deputy Marquez had his own bullet not left the gun completely unusable.
It was a one in a billion shot that saved Deputy Marquez’s life.
“I’m not dying today. Not today. Another day, maybe. It’s not my time yet.”
Both assailants fled, but when 17-year-old Jhalil Meshesha — the suspect who Deputy Marquez shot in the leg — called 911 and reported being shot, he was found by police officers and arrested. Officers also found a pair of black gloves, as well as a gun whose bullets matched those that had injured Deputy Marquez, in a nearby yard. The black mask Meshseha wore was later found in a stolen Chevrolet Equinox that was connected to the teenager.
The other assailant has yet to be caught.
Deputy Marquez sustained injuries to his intestines, colon, and liver, as well as having suffered fractured ribs. He is still recovering and has not yet returned to active duty, but doctors and sheriff’s department staff are hopeful for a full recovery.
Jimmy Graham, the director and lead instructor of the Active Shooter Response Training Center in Centennial, Colorado, who spoke to 9News about the one in a billion shot, said that though it is obviously possible to shoot a bullet down the barrel of another gun, it’s extremely difficult. Considering the conditions under which Deputy Marquez fired the shot, it highly unlikely to be recreated under such circumstances.
“He presented and he aimed for center of mass and he just happened to hit down the barrel of the gun which was effective.
“I consider myself a decent shot, but under those conditions, I don’t know that that can be done again.”
On Wednesday, Arapahoe County prosecutors, who investigated the officer-involved shooting, determined that Deputy Marquez “acted reasonably in shooting Meshesha, and that he used an appropriate level of physical force.”
Deputy Marquez was therefore cleared of all potential charges in the shooting and is thankful that his life was spared, whether due to luck or skill, when he fired that one-in-a-billion shot.
[Image via Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office]