The Pasadena Police Department Les Early Firearms Range was the sight of this year’s Texas Narcotics Officers Association Annual Multi Gun Tactical Police Challenge held Jan. 19-20. The Les Early range is named after Pasadena SWAT Officer Les Early, who was killed in the line of duty in the early morning hours NoV. 5, 1993 during an early morning drug raid in Houston’s near north side.
Officer Early was the point man on his department’s SWAT team, which was conducting the raid. As he entered the residence, a fortified drug house, the suspect opened fire with a 9mm handgun, striking the officer near the collarbone. He was transported to a local hospital where he passed away.
Officer Early had served with the department for eight years. He was survived by his wife and young son.
As a passing mention, this author had the suspect stopped on traffic inside his compound just the night before this terrible incident but was unable to verify city warrants the suspect had at the time and was forced to let him go with additional tickets. I have always felt bad about that.
Out of this incident grew the realization that officers needed to be better prepared with better lifesaving equipment and tactical training and efforts to rectify this soon began to grow. In memory of Les Early and all the tactical officers who have given their ultimate sacrifice, TNOA felt this range was befitting a place to hold competition designed to benefit fallen and injured Officers and their families.
Texas Law Enforcement three-gun shooting matches are designed to present challenging stages that combine natural terrain and stages in spacious tactical bays which feature unique props and sometimes moving steel targets. The skilled competitors are challenged, while at the same time, shooters at every level are provided a fun tactical learning experience.
The three guns of course are pistol, shotgun and carbine. The experienced three-gun shooters are often noticeable by their customized three-wheeled “baby” strollers which hold their “babies” of shotguns or carbines and match ammunition.
According to online sources, the objective of these matches is to allow Law Enforcement participants to become more familiar with and to improve and test their skills in a simulated CQC (close quarters combat) environment with their three main defensive tools: pistol, shotgun and rifle. It also provides a venue where shooters can show how well rounded their combat skills are in one match.
The TNOA 3 Gun Match consisted of four to six stages, where participant shooters used one, two, or all three guns to negotiate a Course of Fire. Standardized targets were used for the Handgun and Rifle stages and other reactive targets for the Shotgun stages.
Principles including use of cover, engaging targets in tactical priority etc. were utilized. No “competition only” equipment was allowed and all equipment was of practical law enforcement use only.
Scores were based on time and accuracy using time plus scoring. In addition to random gun drawings awarded to the top shooters in each division, each shooter was awarded the chance to walk the prize tables based on their individual scores.
This year’s annual shooting competition event brought together 40 officers from across the state who braved the cold and wet weather, competing in five skill- and scenario-based courses of fire.
Captain Craig Bellamy, Sergeant’s Mike Junco (Midwest) and Matt Lem (Narcotics Division) placed in the Top 10.
High Overall winner was Scott Ragsdale (Pasadena PD).
High Overall Female – Meghan Schromen (Houston PD). Schromen has been the top female shooter at this match for the past four years.
Division A – 1st Jason Bright (Pasadena PD), 2nd Ricky Wiley (Pasadena PD), 3rd Jimmy Meeks (Metro PD).
Division B – 1st Dale Jowell (Lufkin PD), 2nd Erwin Gonzalez (Pasadena PD), 3rd Josh Ridings (Pasadena PD).
Division C – 1st Doug Dillion (Houston PD) 2nd Steve Forrester (Houston PD) 3rd Doug Hrncir (Houston PD).
According to event organizer, TNOA Training Coordinator Jerry McClain, a significant portion of the proceeds of the event were donated to Assist the Officer Foundation. Jerry asked that special thanks be given to event sponsors that included Springfield Firearms, Hoffner’s Knifes, Safariland, Collector’s Firearms, Primary Arms, Relentless Apparel, Trinity Armory and Battlefield Rifles.