Editor’s Introductory Note: Today’s feature article is unusual. I have confirmed the veracity of the recounted events. They occurred just a few months ago. This first-hand account from a SurvivalBlog reader illustrates three things: 1.) Why the Second Amendment is so vitally important; 2.) The importance of always being armed and vigilant; and 3.) The importance of regular training. The way that you train will be the way that you fight.
Because you never know when…
Please respect the author’s privacy in your comments. Please do not link to any news articles about it. And do not add any details if you know them, or if you ferret them out. Even if you know the name of the city where this incident occurred, please do not mention it. Thanks, – JWR
It was 1 p.m. on a Tuesday. As I drove past the downtown district of my “safe” suburban town, I heard “pop, pop, pop!” This caught my attention and I turned the radio down. As I approached the next stoplight, less than ¼ mile down the road, I saw a couple of cars in the intersection and assumed it must have been a car crash, and that is what I had heard. As I came to a stop behind another vehicle at the light, I could see over that car and there was a person lying in the middle of the road. Three or four people then came out of their cars to render aid. However, none of them touched him. I assumed that he got hit by a car and was in bad shape. I assumed wrong.
Just then, two or three more shots ring out right behind my truck. As I’m looking forward, I see the people that got out running for cover. At the same time a hear a bullet tear through my truck, and what feels like a shotgun blast of glass hit the back of my head. It’s at this point, I realize there is a shooter and that my truck just got hit. I immediately look out my window, and back some, and see a gunman standing over a soon to be victim, in the middle of the road, pointing a gun at his head. I recall vividly seeing the pistol in his right hand, with not just an extended mag, but a drum-fed mag sticking out the bottom of it. I immediately draw my gun from my holster and put my driver’s window down. I remember having my gun up, and sights on him before the window being down, almost shooting through the window. At this time the victim was laying on his back in the middle of the road, and the gunman was standing directly over him, leaning down. I did not want to hit the victim so I waited for the window to come down to have a clear shot.
Again, I had the sights right on him, who was positioned about 25 feet away, 30-45 degrees back, out my driver’s window. He was facing towards the rear of my truck, so his front left side was facing me. At this angle, still sitting in the driver’s seat with my truck in gear and foot on the brake, the muzzle barely poked out my window opening, and my left forearm rested on the door panel, giving good support. With my sights lined up, I was still amazingly calm and collected. I paused for a split second and asked myself how do I know I’m shooting at the right person? I listened, the gunman was silent, no police commands like “show me your hands”, “Stop resisting”, just dead silent. The victim was begging for his life, “No, no, no, don’t shoot…” as he was pawing at the gun being pointed at his head.
This is when I took my first shot. It was well aimed but intentionally high as I did not want to hit the victim I was trying to save. I truly thought that I would hit him once, and he would drop the gun and give up to get aid. That was not the case. He stood straight up, gun still in hand, and started looking for who just shot him, this is when I started to get nervous. I told myself at this point I would keep shooting until he dropped the gun, or went down. Luckily he started spinning to his right, which was away from me. Since I was nervous at this point, I do not recall a clear sight picture, and was really just pointing and shooting. I shot three more times and he kept spinning around, 270 degrees, looking for who was shooting at him. He was to the point of his right side facing me, when after the fourth shot, he fell flat on his back, with the gun only leaving his hand when he hit the concrete.
He’s Down, Now What?
I put my truck in park and started to open my door–thinking I would make sure the gunman is down, and secure the weapon. That’s when the victim, who was still laying on his back at the feet of the gunman, jumps up and starts running at me thanking me for saving his life. I was still unclear of the situation, so I remember staring at his hands and pockets the whole time he came up to me. He actually put his hands on my door, and I had to tell him to get back, and shoved him some. I then closed my door, put it in drive and quickly went to the other side of the street and up in the grass some to get out of the danger area. I put the truck in park again. I got out with the gun at low ready, staying behind the bed of my truck. I could see the gunmen was still not moving, and the victim had wandered to the shoulder off the road, opposite the gunman.
I go back to my cab and get my extended magazine from my center console, strip my partial magazine and leave it on my floorboard, and insert my extended mag. I go to the rear of my truck again to check and gunman is still down, and I don’t see anything else. At this point the sirens are getting close. I know that I don’t want to be the one holding a gun when they arrive to an “active shooter” call, so I holster my Glock 23 back in my Crossbreed holster, but leave my shirt tucked up behind it so it is in plain view.
As the police arrive, they come from the other side of the gunman, so I start walking that way. When the first officer gets to me, I tell him I shot the gunman, he was trying to kill the guy across the street, here is my gun, and I pointed to it. He removed it from my holster and reached for his cuffs. I said” “You’re not cuffing me. I will sit here on the ground.” He hesitated, then allowed me to do so.
I ended up going back to my truck, the rear driver’s side door window was blown out, and I see the bullet hole going into the side of my driver’s seat, but not coming out. There’s one good reason to get leather seats! I put my window up, turned off my truck and locked it up. I wandered across the street to where the victim was, that I saved. He was pretty shaken up, and on the phone with his wife telling her his best friend was just killed. He sees me and asks if I was the guy in the truck. I nodded yes. He came over and hugged me, thanking me for saving his life. I asked him if he was hit at all, and he wasn’t. As the police were putting up their tape, I asked him what happened.
He told me that he and his buddy were working in the cemetery when this guy walked up to them with a gun in his hand. He was incoherent, but he had heard him say, “What am I suppose to do now?” Then raised up the gun and started shooting at the two of them. Luckily he was a bad shot, not hitting them with the first dozen or so rounds, then the two of them ran out across the road. His buddy got hit a couple times at this point, and he watched as the gunman walked up to him in the middle of the intersection, and executed him with three rounds to his chest. These were the three gunshots that I had first heard, while driving. The gunman looked up and spotted him and began chasing him down. The gunman chased him around a couple houses, and over two fences. He ran out behind my truck, crossing the road, but tripped from running too fast. That is when some more shots were fired that went through my truck.
The police wanted a statement from me and took me back to the police station, about ¼ mile away. I was put in an interrogation room and the detective gave me a form to initial and sign, and when I got to the good old : “Anything you say can be used against you…” I told him I would seek counsel and get back to them with a statement. They were polite and fine with that, but the sooner the better. They said they needed to process my truck and would let me know when I could pick it up, and my gun would be evidence until the case was closed, but I would get it back. With that, I was free to go. My wife and kids picked me up at the police station, there’s a family moment they’ll probably always remember!
Some Back Story
So, long story short: The gunman, 22 years old, no prior record, was an undiagnosed paranoid schizophrenic who saw demons and spirits. As he drove by the graveyard and saw two people, he thought they were demons. Supposedly the family was going to have him committed later that week, but still thought it okay that he drive around town with a gun. In the state I live in, we have the red flag laws, that were created for this situation, but yet the family did nothing. The gunman had a 50 round drum fed mag, he shot about 25 rounds total in this incident, so had another 25 left. I asked if his gun had jammed since he didn’t take any more shots after I engaged him. They said it was still fully functional with a round in the chamber–no jam. I was shooting a Glock 23, .40 caliber loaded with 180-grain Winchester Ranger T-series. My first shot went down his back as he was leaning over the victim, shots two and three missed, but then shot four hit him in his right temple, no exit, causing instant death.
I got my truck back the next day, and the police were very polite and cooperative. The police wrapped up the investigation stating the only one that committed any crimes that they could see was the deceased gunman. The police captain told me it is up to the county prosecutor now, and to wait for a decision. About two weeks later I received a very nice letter from the prosecutor thanking me for what I did, and saving a life, and potentially many others that day.
I am morally fine with what happened, knowing I saved a man that got to go home to his wife and two kids that night. I am glad I was able to act quickly enough to make that difference. It took about four days for it to stop replaying in my head over and over, having some anxiety, and not being able to focus on tasks.
The main lessons I want to pass on from this:
- Carry all the time, this was 1pm on a Tuesday, in the middle of the road.
- If you see a shooting in front of you, drive away! There were at least seven cars in the immediate area, not one person drove away as the shooting happened and he chased after another victim. Instead several got out of their cars and onto their phones.
- Do not render aid until the threat has been eliminated. There were three cars near the first victim that the gunman walked/ran right by. He was focused on just these two “demons”, and I believe he may have gotten back in his car and left after killing them both, and not target any witnesses, but you never know.
- Train well. I have been shooting since I was six years old, I’m now in my forties I have a range in my back yard and have taken one defensive pistol class. But I still got tunnel vision on the target and not my sights when the fear kicked in — as I became the target.
- Never think that just one shot will end it.
- If you are a good enough shot and have the time to be well-aimed, go for the head, to begin with. That is the only shot that is an instant fight stopper.
Stay Safe, – R.