Wednesday, May 04, 2016

CCW holder shot and killed.

In Arlington, Texas, a man with a CCW tried to make a "citizens' arrest" when a gunman who had just shot his wife in the leg was attempting to flee the scene. The gunman knocked the CCW holder's gun aside and shot him, killing him.

'He thought he could help': Concealed carry gun-wielder intervenes in domestic dispute and is shot dead.

This is sad, to be sure. The CCW holder had the best intentions here, but damn... this was a poor choice, probably brought on by poor or no training. So let us take a minute and look at two of the main issues here, the tactical and the legal.

Tactical fail: The bad guy in this case was already fleeing the scene. He was in his truck and getting ready to drive off when our CCW holder, who had just gone to his own car to get his gun, commanded him to stop and get back of his truck. The shooter got out, but smacked the CCW holder's gun away then shot him. Few things wrong here, beginning with the way that this started. The CCW holder here was in the store as the bad guy fled. Overlooking for a moment the fact that there was no real need to leave the store to go after him here. The store was cover. The CCW holder ran to his car to get his own gun. That car was cover. The CCW holder left THAT cover and ran right up to the shooter, danger-close and unprotected. Not tactically sound at all.

Then there was his trying to give commands to an armed man who he know has just shot someone else. To quote Tuco... "When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk." This ain't the movies, and you don't have discussions with armed bad guys. You either shoot them before they can shoot you, or you do not engage at all. Period.

Finally...citizens' arrest? Really? How many CCW holders are trained to make an arrest at all, much less in a situation like this? (Answer = 0) Even assuming that the bad guy doesn't shoot you right off, now what? Got handcuffs? Know how to secure a "prisoner" until the police arrive? Can you safely disarm and search him? And the answer to all of these questions, of course, is "no". So why even try something like that? Because it looked cool in old movies? Those were movies. Don't "arrest" armed bad guys. Either shoot them or don't engage them.

And then there's the Legal fail: The CCW doesn't make you a cop or empower you to make arrests. It basically puts the weapon on your person so that you can, in accordance with the laws of self-defense, protect yourself or others from threats of immediate death or great bodily harm. It doesn't grant you police powers. Here, our shooter had been a threat to the woman that he'd shot at, but he was leaving when our late would-be hero decided to act. Is the shooter a bad person? Yes he is. Does he need to go to jail? Yes he does. But that's the job for the real police at this moment and the smart thing to do is to be a good witness--get his description, his license number and direction of travel. Round up other witnesses and get EMS coming for the victim. There's plenty of helpful things to do without playing John Wayne.

My thought here, without knowing our CCW holder's background, is that he likely didn't have the training that told him stuff along the lines of what I just wrote. Maybe no one ever told him that he could not and should not try to be Dirty Harry all by himself against an armed felon, something that even real, properly-trained cops know better than to do. All I do know about our CCW holder here is that he left a wife and three kids behind, and that's also something all of you need to think about before to go out and jump into a fight that's not even your fight. Protecting yourself or your family members from immediate harm IS your right and duty, but stepping into someone else's fight, or trying to stop a fleeing bad guy whose identity is surely know to the victim and/or which can be divined from his license plate, is just not smart or fair to your own family that may shortly have to get by without you forever.

Your thoughts?


  1. YEP.
    We ain't Supermen!
    Or cops.
    Part of CCW training is (or should be) learning to engage as the last resort.
    I've walked away from dicey situations a number or times, while armed and unarmed.


  2. I live in Arlington. Yes, most of what you point out is covered in the CHL class. With emphasis on the legal aspects.

  3. I agree with everything you said here, but you left something out: Making a citizen's arrest is legally complicated, and if you do it wrong you run the very real risk of being sued or prosecuted.
    A lawfully armed citizen has no duty to pursue and apprehend (Damn, I'm tired of saying this!), and no concomitant qualified immunity if something goes south. If it doesn't directly affect you or your loved ones, never get outta the boat.

  4. Nope, no good answer except let him leave. Get a description and plate number to the cops, provide first aid to the victim.

    Unless you or another person is under IMMEDIATE threat of death or injury, let him go.

  5. Never been sure if citizen's arrest was even real or came out of movies. Bad guy moving away from scene, get as much descriptive information as you can and report it.

  6. Hey Murphy;

    You are right, crap like this gives us CCW owners a bad name. I can't even start the line of screwups this clown did and unfortunately reality is a harsh instructor. This cascade of events should be incorporated into a lesson plan on what not to do to newbie CCW holders.

  7. I guess some guys just lose their judgement when you shoot their wife. I'd probably just have shot the SOB and then done time for it.