Not Just An Onlooker

People stood by watching as a man high on meth got the upper hand in a violent struggle with a Mount Vernon, Ohio, police officer.

In June of 2015, Corporal Michael Wheeler responded to a report of a homeless man sleeping on a porch in a north-side neighborhood, about 50 miles northeast of Columbus.

Wheeler found the disoriented trespasser, who wouldn’t move without a fight. The officer couldn’t call for backup because his shoulder microphone was stripped away in the fray. Next thing he knew, the man was atop Wheeler, grabbing for his gun.

“There were people standing around,” Wheeler recalled recently for Inside Edition. “But they were just watching.”

There were no armed citizens around, except for one man, Dylan DeBoard, who drew a handgun and announced that he had a concealed-carry permit. With that distraction, Wheeler soon had the suspect in cuffs.

A year later, the Mount Vernon City Council presented DeBoard with the Citizens Award of Valor. “Every time I see him, I let him know how much I appreciate what he did,” Wheeler said. “I wish a lot more of society would do what he did.”

Carjacking Thwarted

armed citizens carjacking
Kenneth Harrelson

A motorist in southeast Albuquerque, New Mexico, moved fast when a man put a blade to his neck and tried to force his way behind the wheel, according to police.

The July 2016 incident took place in a Wal-Mart parking lot when the alleged attacker approached the vehicle around 4:00 p.m. and briefly talked to the driver. Then he pounced.

Police confirmed that the driver slid out of the vehicle and dropped his wallet. As the other man reached for it, the driver grabbed a gun from a backpack and shot him once.

The attacker, later identified as Kenneth Harrelson, 33, fled. He was arrested after being treated and released at the hospital. He was still in jail a month later.

Backside Bullet

The air conditioner on the floor, still plugged in, was proof that the noise Marquita Turner heard was a burglary of her home in Birmingham, Alabama.

Two teenagers had attempted to break into her home in the early morning hours. Police said Turner, who was pregnant, shot one suspect, age 17, “in
the backside.” The other suspect, a 13-year-old boy, fled before police arrived.

Officers “found the suspect laying on the living room floor suffering from a gunshot wound,” said Lieutenant Sean Edwards, police spokesman.

The wounded teen was hospitalized, and his accomplice was arrested later. “Both were charged with burglary,” Edwards said.

Deadly Consequences

armed citizens defense

A loud noise from the bathroom startled a man and his wife who had been asleep in the second-floor master bedroom of their Atlanta-area home. It happened shortly after 4:00 a.m. in July of 2016 on the south side of Snellville, about 25 miles east of Atlanta.

The husband found a burglar in the master bathroom and shot him—fatally. Police arrived and subsequently learned that the intruder lived only a half-mile away from the couple’s home. “It appears that the suspect used a ladder to gain access to the window,” police said in a news release.

Police added that the homeowner was “well within the boundaries of Georgia laws” to defend his household and “will not face any criminal charges.”

Shoot First

A man reportedly pulled a gun this past summer on a 23-year-old woman in Glendale, Arizona, in an attempt to rob her, but as we’ve seen in other cases with armed citizens, she shot first.

Frank Taylor, 27, died at the hospital after the shooting, which took place around 1:00 a.m. on August 1, 2016, just outside a convenience store on Camelback Road. The woman, Carol Miracle, ran with her sister to her nearby home and called 911.

The case was sent to prosecutors for review, but no decision was made by the end of August. “Statements were made that Taylor pointed the firearm at her head during the attempted robbery,” police said in a news release. “She then drew her own handgun that was holstered on her hip, and shot him one time while she was in fear for her life.”

Tennessee Showdown

Early in the morning on August 23, 2016, a 23-year-old man kicked in the door of a home in Kodak, Tennessee, and pointed a gun at the homeowner. He said that someone was chasing him.

The incident quickly became a showdown because the homeowner also had a gun. According to a report from local news sources in Knoxville, the homeowner had been asleep upstairs, and when the break-in jolted him awake, he armed himself.

Thankfully, the suspected burglar chose not to fight the homeowner.

Responding Sevier County deputies searched the man and found meth and a syringe, according to reports. The suspect was later jailed on charges of burglary, drugs and possession of a gun by a convicted felon.

Lethal Road Rage

armed citizens road rage
Gary Lynn Durham

A motorist was giving first aid to another man when deputies arrived on scene at 6:30 a.m. on August 10, 2016, in Plant City, Florida.

But Gary Lynn Durham, 40, died in the roadway about 17 miles east of Tampa. Robert Padgett, the man trying to save him, said he fired the fatal shot in self-defense.

“What’s known at this time is that Durham and Padgett were involved in a traffic road rage incident that ended up on Martin Luther King Boulevard and Forbes Road,” deputies said in a news release.

The two men had gotten out of their vehicles, and the roadway altercation “ended with Padgett firing at least one round from a handgun that struck and killed Durham,” according to the news release.

Deputies said Padgett cooperated with them, but the case was still under investigation at month’s end. Meanwhile, local media organizations reported that Durham was convicted and served time for another road-rage death in 2001.

Textbook Defense

armed citizens justified shooting

Don’t mess with elderly armed citizens. Around 10:30 a.m. on August 22, 2016, a 91-year-old man warned a much younger 30-year-old to back off in the parking lot of a Detroit-area pharmacy.

But the younger man kept coming. His target yelled that he had a concealed-carry license and pulled out his handgun to prove it. Still, the man kept coming.

The 91-year-old man and witnesses told police that the aggressor, Richard Ashford, had some sort of object raised above his head in a threatening manner. That’s when the elderly man decided he had enough and shot Ashford in the neck.

Ashford survived and faced charges of assault with a deadly weapon, said Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith. “This elderly man’s self-defense is an entirely appropriate use of force,” Smith said. “Facing imminent assault, he announced that he was armed, made attempts to withdraw, warned again that he held a weapon and fired only when completely necessary. This is a textbook case for why concealed pistol licenses are issued in the first place.”

Domestic Disturbance

Around 8:00 p.m. on August 19, 2016, a heated argument raged through a home in Louisiana, about 20 miles southeast of Baton Rouge.

According to Ascension Parish Sheriff’s deputies, a neighbor “came to see if he could help.” He then encountered Nicky Wilkinson, 43, who had a handgun, deputies said.

But the neighbor was armed, too.

According to the news release, “Wilkinson pointed the gun at the neighbor, prompting the neighbor to fire a shot, striking Wilkinson and killing him.”

Deputies subsequently learned that Wilkinson’s wife had filed a restraining order against him in February. They were “due in court” on August 26 to address the matter, the release stated.

The neighbor, meanwhile, “will not be charged” in Wilkinson’s death, according to the release.

Heist Gone Wrong

armed citizens robbery

Three young men entered a Houston jewelry store on August 27, 2016, allegedly to get loot, but they encountered an off-duty police officer instead.

Houston Police reported that Officer I. Almasri was working a department-approved off-duty security job at the store when the trio showed up at 5:15 p.m.

One of the men noticed Almasri, who was in full uniform, and opened fire.

“Fearing for his life, Officer Almasri exchanged gunfire with the suspect, but no one was struck,” police said in a news release.

The men ran from the store, but police arrested two of them after a foot chase. They faced charges of aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon, police said. A few days later, officers were still looking for the third man.

This article was originally published in ‘Personal & Home Defense’ #187. For information on how to subscribe, please email [email protected] or call 1-800-284-5668.

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