PULASKI COUNTY, Mo. -- When two Pulaski County deputies were called to a house near Dixon in January, they were to check on the wellbeing of a man who was threatening to kill himself by any means necessary including suicide by cop.
What Corporal Lynn Bays and Detective Howard Brickner didn't know until they arrived was that Marcus Lavender had a gun. While Bays went around to the back of the home, Brickner yelled for him from the front of the house. "I could hear it in his voice. I knew something was wrong," recalled Bays.
Bays bolted; he said, "I get about two steps into my run, and I hear a gun go off, and I knew instantly it wasn't his gun. It sounded way too big."
With his body camera capturing the entire ordeal, Bays rounded the corner of the house. "I really expected to see him, my partner Brickner, laying on the ground and that I was going to be in a fight for my life," he stated.
Bays saw his partner wrestling with Lavender over the man's weapon, which left the corporal only an instant to make a life and death decision.
According to the video, Bays drew his gun and repeatedly ordered Lavender to drop his weapon.
After a few seconds, Bays jabbed his gun back into the holster and jumped into the struggle to help Brickner. All three men tussled until Bays shot his taser at Lavender, subduing him.
Throughout the video, Lavender can be heard begging the officers to end his life.
After watching the footage and reading the reports, Sheriff Jimmy Bench said the deputies would have been justified if they had used deadly force; however, he's relieved there was no bloodshed.
"But like I say, you have to live with that split second decision. And if you take a life, you have to live with that the rest of your life and these officers know that," said Bench.
It was also a relief for Bays who was all too aware how it could have ended.
"I didn't want his death on my conscious," Bays explained. "When it comes down to it I'm going to talk to them. I'm going to try to be their friend because that may be what they need."
Lavender was sentenced to a total of 11 years in prison after his conviction on two charges related to the incident.