I had just finished the last of my finals for the semester and planned to spend the night playing video games at a friend’s place. My car was having problems, so I borrowed my friend’s car to pick up a few items at the nearby store while they were setting up. I parked the car, and before I opened the door, a man asking for gas money approached me. After responding that I didn’t have cash on me, he began walking away. I kept an eye on him as I exited the vehicle. Right after I shut the door, someone grabbed me from behind and I felt a piece of metal against my neck. The man I was originally watching came back and demanded my keys and wallet. It took a second or two for me to realize that I was being robbed at knifepoint.

Once I realized I was being attacked, my options were to comply and possibly be killed anyway (allowing them to gain access to my firearm) or to try and fight back. I decided that a cut hand would be better than a slit throat, so I grabbed the knife with my left hand and managed to pull it away from my neck. After a struggle, I managed to push the man behind me away, stepping back to create distance.

As the man with the knife recovered and started walking towards me, I drew the Taurus 651 .357 Magnum I had concealed in a paddle holster under an untucked polo shirt and fired three shots one-handed in about two seconds until he turned and tried to run, only to collapse a few feet away. I had been completely focused on the armed attacker, and after stopping that threat, I turned around prepared to fire at his partner, but he was already running across the parking lot.

I holstered my revolver and dialed 911, but an officer on an unrelated security detail was soon flagged down by witnesses. After explaining to the officer I had been forced to shoot him in self-defense, the revolver was taken and I was put in handcuffs and briefly detained in the back of his patrol car.

The officer rolled the attacker’s body over to check for vital signs and saw the knife still clutched in his hands. After a few moments, I noticed I was bleeding, having suffered some minor cuts to my hands and wrist as well as a small puncture wound to the neck that paramedics determined needed stitches.

I wasn’t sure where I had shot the attacker until I was at the hospital being interviewed by the investigators, only that I had seen the paramedics attempt to revive him with no success. I had apparently managed to put two 125-grain, .357 Magnum Hornady Criticial Defense rounds into his chest as well as a third into his head.

The police were very professional in the aftermath of the ordeal. After I was released from the hospital, I filled out a statement and was free to go. The police announced that there would be no charges soon after, in part because several witnesses corroborated my story. My revolver was returned in about five months and now serves as a backup to my Glock 21. I have been licensed to carry since 2009, when I turned 21, but never expected nor wanted anything like this to happen. Fortunately, I was armed that night and it wasn’t one of my friends or another innocent shopper who was attacked and possibly killed.

—LM, GA

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