Menas had disarmed "hundreds" of people without violence, he said: the man who charged down a flight of stairs with a knife, an armed thief he pinned to a restaurant wall and the man who stabbed himself repeatedly in a bathroom to get out of going to Vietnam.

"Come on, Carl," Menas said. "Let's talk about it."

Robinson didn't say a word. He pushed his girlfriend away. Knott saw his knuckle pull out of his pocket.

"He's got a gun," Knott said.

In an instant, Menas saw the gun pointed at his head, then a puff of smoke.

Menas owned a clamshell holster for his Smith & Wesson .38 special. The holster purposefully unclasped frontward instead of from behind, allowing for a quicker draw. As Menas grabbed for his revolver, he took a simultaneous crouching step left as the police academy had instructed.

Robinson's bullet whizzed by. The recoil of the powerful gun kicked Robinson's hand above his head — just enough time for Menas to fire three times.

A bullet pierced Robinson's abdomen and sliced into his spleen. Another hit his neck and carotid artery. Knott shot Robinson in the arm, dislodging the gun.

"By the time I fired the third shot, I had the gun up to my eye," Menas said, "but I could see him going down."

Menas ran over to Robinson and stood between him and the gun he had dropped. He took off his police hat. "How'd he miss me," he thought.

He couldn't comprehend why Robinson had fired the gun, and he felt pity as the man gurgled blood on the ground.

"Why'd you do a stupid fool thing like that," Menas muttered.

Knott called in the shooting, and a crowd of officers and paramedics arrived.

People on porches had witnessed the gun battle, and Menas asked to borrow a phone. He called his wife in case she heard about the shooting. He told her he wasn't hurt.

Knott and Menas were both sent to speak to internal investigators. Menas, who had remained calm the whole time, remembers jumping when a firearms investigator took his gun and fired two rounds into a water barrel to compare the bullets to the ones at the shooting scene.

It didn't take long for police and the state's attorney's office to deem the shooting justifiable, a ruling a police spokesman confirmed last week. The department even awarded Menas a Bronze Star for acting under fire.

"Whatever happened to Carl, I never found out," Knott said.

All Menas knew was that Robinson was mostly unresponsive after the shooting and that prosecutors declined to press charges against him because his condition didn't improve over several weeks.

"That's what I was told," Menas said. "Poor guy."

It's unclear how the rest of Robinson's life played out. A family member found through public records directed questions to his sister, who declined to provide her full name. A teen when Robinson was shot, she said her brother was a talented artist and that his death was a "travesty." She declined to say much more.