it seems though it would have been a much better idea to go ahead and indict him, even if there wasn't sufficient evidence to convict. (or even if they believed he was innocent) That would have had several important effects. First, the indictment itself would have cooled people's heads a little, Second, it would have gotten a lot more media coverage of the evidence, (which we've actually not seen a lot of, because if it DID go to trial, they will need to find jurors that haven't been exposed to it before being sequestered, meaning you either can't get a jury together or you have to make it up from people that have been living under a rock, which isn't a good thing) Third, just overall it would have given people more time to cool down before the possibly inevitable "not guilty" verdict. They've had some time already, but have mostly been using that time to GET people wound up in expectation of the failure to indict. This would have let the air out of their tires I think.
I think the basic rule of thumb here is that as a thug if you go for someone's gun, (or take down someone that has a gun) you really ought to expect to get shot. (by police OR private citizen) The bigger difference there actually is probably whether or not they empty the magazine on you. Joe Citizen will typically empty their weapon, which lowers your odds of survival quite a bit.