“They don’t make them like Mike anymore,” said Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman. “I respect the guy for his entire career. He’s one of the best of the best, and I really do not want him to retire. It will be a loss.”
It’s been almost three decades but how Mike Plumb, a Columbus SWAT sniper, saved a man’s life and restored peace to Ohio’s capital with a single incredible shot is still vivid in the memory of the police force in Columbus along with many others.
How Plumb is still being regarded as a hero is evident from a recent post on Reddit with the following caption:
“In 1993, Columbus Division of Police sniper Mike Plumb did the unimaginable: He shot a gun out of a suspect’s hands from 82 yards away. Today, he remains a hero at SWAT headquarters and a legend to many.”
The historic event happened in August 1993, when a certain overwrought man named Doug Conley caused great disturbance at the center of a residential intersection on the northwest side of Columbus.
Conley had a .38-caliber revolver which he would sometimes point at himself, then toward the police and passing vehicles. His demand was to see his former girlfriend.
The standoff went on for two hours in the sweltering heat, with the SWAT commanders finally deciding it was time to put an end to the situation.
Plumb received the order. Plumb who’s deeply aware of his marksman skills since boyhood but had not yet used it before in the line of duty, even during the time he was assigned as a Marine in Vietnam.
With his Austrian-made Steyr SSG PII black sniper rifle, Plumb was lying on his stomach under a pine tree that was 82 yards away from Conley. Having given the order, he waited for the right opportunity which came when Conley momentarily dropped his guard, lowering his revolver between his legs with his right hand.
And then the shot!
The shot hit and split the revolver into three pieces, all of which fell to the ground.
It took a while for Conley to realize what happened, but it was too late. The SWAT officers were all over him and he was quickly handcuffed.
All Conley could say was, “That was a great shot.”
Today, Plumb’s rifle hangs in the hallway at SWAT headquarters with what’s left of Conley’s revolver below. The memorabilia are accompanied by a plaque that proudly proclaims, “The shot seen ’round the world” because the historic incident was captured by live TV cameras.
Plumb finally retired, but his celebrity status never changed his humble character.
When asked about his opinion of the movie American Sniper, which was inspired by the extraordinary feats of US Navy SEAL sniper Christopher Scott Kyle, Plumb commented, “It was good; I liked it. The point of that film is not about the number of people he killed, but it’s about the lives he saved. That’s why we do what we do.”