Defensive Minivan Use of the Day: Aliquippa Altercation Edition

courtesy pittsburgh.cbslocal.com

“’She had no duty to retreat,’ said Beaver County District Attorney Anthony Berosh. ‘You don’t have to wait to find out whether or not this is a real gun or not, and she was acting not only out of her own defense, but the defense of those two children.’” Berosh is talking about an unnamed Aliquippa, Pennsyvania woman who was driving and noticed Cameron White sauntering down the street with what she thought was a sawed off shotty. She dialed 5-0, but noticed that he was headed toward a couple of yoots on their bikes and decided she had to take action . . .

According to cbslocal.com, Ms. Motorist figured her only choice was to punch it.

“She thought he was going to do something to them, so she yelled out of her car window, ‘Hey, they’re just kids, leave them alone,’” said Detective Sgt. Steven Roberts, of the Aliquippa Police Department. “He turned and pointed this at her, and she thought it was a real weapon and that she was about to be shot or that the kids were in danger, so she gunned her car and struck him.”

Wait! How did she know he was up to no good? Open carry’s legal in the Keystone State. Could he have been just a dood exercising his right to haul iron? Could this have been the case of a needless freak-out at the sight of a gun?

Aliquippa’s finest, after some sleuthing, figure he was really on his way to knock over a nearby Circle K with what turned out to be an airsoft gun. Instead he ended up spending some quality time in the ER having his ear sewn back on the side of his head.

The whole thing looks like the woman came a hair’s breadth from a charge of vehicular manslaughter. The moral of the story is, as with a gun, be sure of your target. And while in most cases a firearm makes an almost ideal self defense tool, a 2500 lb. land barge doing 30 mph can do in a pinch.

comments

  1. avatar William Burke says:

    The lady’s clearly a devotee of Davy Crockett!

  2. avatar abo412 says:

    More like 4000 lbs. for a minivan!

    1. avatar Accur81 says:

      Very much so. Add carseats, diapers, and post-marriage weight gain and your looking at 4500-5000 plus.

      1. avatar JPD says:

        Listen to you! Sounds like you have some personal or inside information on women and vans.

      2. avatar Matt in FL says:

        “…post-marriage weight gain…”

        I done lol’d.

      3. avatar JeremyR says:

        LOL, worked with a gal some years back who was a little pudgy. not bad, a cute kind if you know what I mean. Well, she got hitched, and right after, her schedule was changed, and she was working exactly oposite me. We also had a very over weight woman who pushed 500 easily. I’ll call her Kate. A few months later, I had to work where I overlapped her shift. She had gained a bit of weight, and was now bigger then Kate. I passed her in an isle, I was pushing a tool chest, looked up, and said “hi Kate”.
        Well, she went off on me, really went off. Told me it was a gland problem, and I agreed it probably was, Saliva glands, then I ran like hell.
        Company manager told me I really should offer an apology, and I did…. To Kate.

  3. avatar Vhyrus says:

    I would need to read more about this particular event, but this kind of concerns me. While I doubt I would ever be sporting a pistol grip pump in a populated area, is the mere sight of a gun just cause to mow someone down? This was an airsoft gun as well. Since she was close enough to feel threatened by it then SURELY she was close enough to see the bright orange tip of the damn thing!

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Body language speaks louder than what’s in your hands. This guy was on his way to a felony. I imagine he looked like a man up to no good, not just a citizen taking his gun for a walk.

      She’s a mother, note the mini van, she keyed on his bad vibes and percieved him to be a threat to children nearby. Don’t piss a mother bear off. It never ends well.

      1. avatar DAN III says:

        Hey JWM….so this woman had a crystal ball ? Unbelievable that you or anyone else justifies what she did.

        1. avatar jwm says:

          Dan lll, the post states that he was on the way to knock over a store. She percieved him to be a threat to nearby kids.

          Maybe she had crystal balls. The state of cosmetic surgery being what it is she may well have had crystal balls. She certainly acted as tho she had a set. Which is probably more than a lot of the keyboard comando’s commenting here have.

        2. avatar Tomy Ironmane says:

          He turned and pointed it at her.

          You don’t need to read body language.

          From what I read this wasn’t a case of open carry. Open carry involves a holstered firearm or a firearm being slung, not one in your hands that you are pointing at someone.

          Momma bear comments aside, had it been me and MY car, I would have done almost the same thing, except I would have been ready to run him over AGAIN if he kept moving.

        3. avatar Dan says:

          “He turned and pointed it at her.”

          Tomy, not to pick nits*, but isn’t that body language?

          Anyway, that really is the end of the story. Someone points a gun at you and yours, you stop them. If all you have available is a really slow, really heavy bullet, and that works, that’s just fine.

          *I am absolutely nitpicking.

        4. avatar Tomy Ironmane says:

          Body language is generally considered to be less overt clues such as how he’s walking, where he’s looking how he’s moving and at what pace. Body language was what would let me know on a black night without the aid of PVS-14s that THAT shape is lance corporal so-and-so coming back from the can, whereas THAT shape is gunny walking my way, pissed off as hell. Once the weapon is pointed, you’ve left the happy realm of body language. Moreover it seemed to be the salient point of the decision making process, which the prior commenters in this thread had blatantly missed, rambling on about ESP and crystal balls and such crap.

          As for “Slow, heavy bullet” why, it works for the .45ACP, I don’t see why it shouldn’t work better with a slower, heavier bullet like a Ford.

    2. avatar Mike chandler says:

      Did you mss the sawed off part ? Those orange tips are easy to pull off.

    3. avatar Julian says:

      If you do, don’t be a dumbass and point it at anyone. From the story, that’s what got his ass run down, and if that’s truly what happened, rightly so. Also, reading fail:

      They say White was carrying an Airsoft pellet gun which had been sawed off to look like a shotgun, and the orange tip had been taken off.

      1. avatar Matt in SD says:

        Exactly.

    4. avatar dwb says:

      “he turned and pointed”

      regardless of the legality of open carry, its aggravated assault, or at least brandishing. If openly carrying a shotgun, dont point the business end at something unless you intend to kill it.

      1. avatar DisThunder says:

        Yup, there you go. Never bring an airsoft gun to a car fight.

    5. avatar Clay says:

      Really? Almost no one I know plays with airsoft guns, nor do they know an orange tips means it’s okay to have one pointed at you.

    6. avatar Hannibal says:

      Guns now come in pink, orange, and every other color. I’ve seen gang awareness posters that have photos of shotguns modified cosmetically to look like supersoakers. A little orange tip means nothing to me absent context.

    7. avatar Kyle says:

      I really doubt the guy would have left the orange tip ON if he was going to use it to rob a convenience store. Logic. Simple logic.

  4. avatar crzapy says:

    Ban minivans… it’s for the children!? Also stupid criminal should know never to bring a toy gun to a game of chicken. That being said, this could be used by the antis as further fuel to ban toy guns, you know, for the children.

  5. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    3 cheers for the quick thinking lady.

  6. avatar dwb says:

    Open carry is perfectly legal, turning and pointing a gun, not so much.
    Robbing a circle K with an airsoft gun? Suicide mission.

    1. avatar Jim R says:

      I know that Circle K. Robbing that place with an Airsoft gun IS a suicide mission. Aliquippa is not a nice neighborhood. That clerk is armed to the teeth. This punkass is lucky this lady hit him. If he’d made it to that store he’d have been perforated.

      1. avatar JamesNC says:

        I’m not really sure what it is about that word “perforated” that makes me chuckle. I suppose it could be that (in this case) I’m aware of the context, and the mental image of a bad guy catching some street justice just makes me smile. It brightens my whole day.

        Ventilated does the same thing…

  7. avatar tdiinva says:

    She may have saved the guys life. The clerk in the Circle K might have had a real shotgun

    1. avatar DavidT says:

      Not likely, Circle K supports gun buy backs (sic), which is why they only get my money in an emergency if there are no other options.

      1. avatar Jim R says:

        That’s a bad neighborhood that place is in. You better believe he’s armed.

  8. avatar ACL9000 says:

    2500 lbs is impossibly light, and no “land barge” was ever so trim.

    Typical minivan driver behavior; caked in fear, all judgement suspended.

    1. avatar Bret says:

      I would agree, but the moron pointed it at her.

      1. avatar Hannibal says:

        …she says.

        Maybe he did. Maybe he meant to. Maybe he was startled and did so accidentally. I’m not shedding any tears over the guy getting ran down since it appears he was a thug on his way to commit a crime, but I think this soccer mom is gonna end up killing someone innocent and ending up in jail if she pulls this a couple more times. Too many variables.

        1. avatar Mike H says:

          How do you “accidentally” point a shotgun… airsoft or not… at someone? The only way you can point a gun at someone is to raise you arms to one degree or another. Even shooting from the hip would involve raising your lower arm to ~90 degrees.

    2. avatar Charles5 says:

      So, put yourself in her shoes. What would have been your response when A) you saw the person with the real looking shotgun (let’s say you can’t see the orange tip) and then B) He pointed said real looking shotgun at you?

      1. avatar Accur81 says:

        First, I would probably be dead before being stuck driving a minivan. Secondly, darn near any car is a deadly weapon in the hands of a deliberate operator. Third, that car is just as deadly in the hands of a drunk, distracted, sleepy, and / or clueless driver. I’ve investigated fatal crashes and murder with a vehicle, so I have some experience in the matter.

        1. avatar Charles5 says:

          I’m confused…are you trying to answer my hypothetical, or did you post under the wrong comment?

        2. avatar Ardent says:

          A car (or van) is such an effective weapon that many tacticians and trainers suggest using it rather than suspending its operation in order to draw a gun. That is, rather than brake and draw they suggest simply running over the threat. It’s faster, in some ways safer, and it’s always effective.

  9. avatar Matt in FL says:

    If he really did turn around and point it in her direction, then he got what was coming to him. Stupid people, stupid places, stupid things. Sounds like at least two of the three applied to him.

  10. avatar jim says:

    The bit about the missing ear got my attention – the most fun I ever had in 20-some years as a music critic/ urban affairs reporter was a missing-ear story.

    http://www.houstonpress.com/1995-06-15/news/bad-trip-to-kerrville/full/

    Fvcking hippies…. I’ll see your peace and love and raise you a folding-stock 10/22, But as far as the airsoft thing goes… I’m in the process of cleaning out the house of a dear friend and fellow Navy vet who died unexpectedly recently, and while I was cleaning out his arms locker I ran into what I would have sworn was a classic Walther PPK. Upon examination, it turned out to be a Walther/ Crossman CO2 BB gun. Both of the lawyers involved with the estate, as I was turning the guns over to them for safekeeping, agreed that it was something that would get you shot dead in a Houston moment.

    1. avatar B says:

      The good airsoft guns are nearly indistinguishable. I have Hogue grips on my airsoft 1911 and Magpul stuff on my M4. You’d have to be insane to brandish one.

      1. avatar Pascal says:

        You are correct, my KWA P226R has everything the same as my real Sig including the manual decocking lever and Sig logos and the weight is almost identical

      2. avatar DisThunder says:

        I’m really torn on them. I mean, on one hand, they serve the goal of “normalization,” since they’re cheap, can be owned by teenagers, and I’m sure once their age and fundage allows, they probably invest in real ones. On the other, one of my worst feared outcomes of a defensive situation is being forced to shoot a kid with an airsoft gun in hand, who was too stupid to know you just don’t point them at people, “toy” or not.

      3. avatar Mike H says:

        8-10 years ago, a former roommate drew an airsoft M4 on me as I walked through the door as a joke. I nearly crapped my paints The worst part was he just stood there a second for effect… I thought I was going to get shot. Then he and his buddy started laughing and clued me in on the “joke”.

        They then proceeded go outside and run around the wooded yard area between our apartment building and the neighboring ones shooting each other with it. I told them I wasn’t bailing their rear-ends out of jail when the cops showed up.

    2. avatar Russ Bixby says:

      So did anyone ever apprehend “Bill,” or is he still roaming the countryside and eating the occasional toddler?

      1. avatar jim says:

        No clue. I had a LOT of fun writing that story – I mean, the guy whose ear got bitten off by a dog? – but to the best of my knowledge no arrests were ever made, Just all kinds of fun spinoffs – a friend of mine’s dad swore he had a… moment.. with Sherriff Kaiser when she was a deputy (but he was a notorious liar) and some peace/ love/ dope vegetarian gay carpenters I met on a job site (only in Houston) were adamant that if Kerrville was vegetarian it never would have happened, because meat causes violent crime. Regarding the grab-the-elbow-and-bite-off-the-ear thing: I talked to a SEAL and a Green Beret I was beer-joint buddies with. The squid said “sounds like a Green Beanie thing” and the guy in the Girl Scout hat said “Only a SEAL would do something so disgusting..”

  11. avatar Jesus says:

    Was it a dodge?

    1. avatar Charles5 says:

      No, it was a solid hit (sorry, couldn’t resist)

      1. avatar Grande says:

        +1, I see what you did there. Lol!

    2. avatar Russ Bixby says:

      I drive a Dotge Battering Ram 2500…

  12. avatar RandallOfLegend says:

    The mall ninjas exercising their open carry rights had better watch for cars now.

    1. avatar Bret says:

      No they just need to avoid aiming at people

    2. avatar jwm says:

      Cars are much more effective weapons than guns. And think about this, how many people shot once stay on their feet and mobile as opposed to how many people get run over once and stay down.

      Talk about a one bumper stop.

      1. avatar Russ Bixby says:

        As usual, I’m the exception to the rule.

        Run over toe to shoulder by an F250 dual-cab pickup loaded with gear and fat guys and I got up, dusted myself off and was walking away when bystanders detained me ’til the ambulance got there.

        Ontheother and,a 30.06 in the leg, and I was down hard.

        1. avatar jwm says:

          Damn, Russ. Run over, shot with a .30-06 and had to repel boarders with a crossbow. If we ever meet I want to be swaddled in kevlar and driving something armored. You just attrack sh1t to you.

        2. avatar chuck (slave to nj) says:

          I was run over and dragged 30ft when I was 8yrs old by an underage local cops kid driving a ranger. It took 9 volunteer emt and police to hold me down when I decided I wanted to go home. Adrenalin can make you do some incredible things.

      2. avatar Ropingdown says:

        Just one thing, JWM: Some people will say a Dodge Caravan is a one-bump thumper, but I’m gonna tell you that you want a Jeep. Everybody knows Jeeps have been fighting vehicles for, well, a long time. Hvll, Earnest Hemingway liberated Paris almost single-handled with one. Some people will say you’re best off with a vintage Jeep, but frankly a new-issue Jeep (if set up right!) will do the job every time, or pretty nearly so, and better than any of those polymer-bumpered turbo-charged keyless ignition imports, that’s for d@mned sure. Frankly, I don’t care about fancy but needless innovations. It just wouldn’t feel right defending my loved ones with a car built by one of our godless (or possibly excessively religious!) foreign rivals. Get a Jeep. Get a Jeep. ‘Nough said. -JB

  13. avatar Ralph says:

    “He turned and pointed this at her”

    How do I know that he turned and pointed anything at her? “Because she said so” is not proof of anything. I’m not saying he didn’t, but I’m not taking her at her word either.

    1. avatar Pascal says:

      I am with you Ralph. This story assumes to much.

      If someone has any long object and someone to their side yells and startles you, you are more likely than not going to turn your whole body. At the point you turn, are you pointing something in the direction of the shout or at the person who shouted at you. She may have had an over reaction.

      It seems like this women had a panic attack. Would this women know the difference between a real shotgun versus an airsoft gun even if had the orange tip on? I know for fact, that several people after the Newtown shooting were stopped and one person tackled by police for having a black umbrella that people said was a gun that had been pointed at them. All charges for the three where dropped one sued.

      It could go either way. There is not enough information although it sounds plausible. The news is playing it up like she is a hero, she could just as easily been a panicked moron. She could have been lucky. Right now we have a kid walking on the street with a toy gun. This could turn around on her quick depending on the lawyer this kid gets or is assigned.

      1. avatar Accur81 says:

        What’s a grown-a$$ (allegedly, anyway) man doing with a sawed – off airsoft gun out in public? I’m guessing he’s not trying to sell magazine subscriptions. Certainly there are more details to this story, and the possibility that this was merely a distracted mom minivan crash still exists. Or it was some creepy dude brandishing a modified airsoft gun in public – the purpose of which is yet to be ascertained.

        1. avatar Ralph says:

          the purpose of which is yet to be ascertained

          That’s precisely the point. Nothing has yet been ascertained. So far it’s just a case of “she said” and “he ain’t talkin’.”

          I wonder what the cops’ take would be if the genders of the two parties had been the opposite of what they are.

        2. avatar Max says:

          I wonder what the races of those involved are?!?!?!

          NOT!!!!!

      2. avatar int19h says:

        >> If someone has any long object and someone to their side yells and startles you, you are more likely than not going to turn your whole body. At the point you turn, are you pointing something in the direction of the shout or at the person who shouted at you. She may have had an over reaction.

        If you’re carrying a gun – or what any reasonable person would take for a gun (he removed the orange tip, too!) – in public, the onus is on you to not make moves that can be interpreted as an attack. You cannot expect the others to give you a benefit of doubt and ask whether the thing in your hand is just a toy or not, especially when you deliberately made it look less like one.

    2. avatar LTC F says:

      The important question is what was the ethnicity of all parties involved? White woman (or white Hispanic) woman and black yoot? She needs to go to jail. White yoot? Who cares. Certainly not Al, Jessie or any of the other baiters.

  14. avatar Steve says:

    If she honestly perceived a lethal threat as viewed by a reasonable person, and either no charges are filed or a jury backs her views, she’s justified. Especially if the guy was dumb enough to point the gun at her. Yes, GUN. End of story. Airsoft-ers take note. Nobody is going to ask you if it’s real, they are just going to kill you.

    But one has to wonder whether twenty+ million grain guided, steel/composite/expanding/frangible- low velocity projectiles should be possessed by anyone but the military and the cops.

  15. avatar Clay says:

    If it’s not a real firearm it should be painted YELLOW with purple stripes. Other wise all bets are off.

    1. avatar Trogdor says:

      Fuck that. No mandatory toy gun paint regs. Then all criminals need to do is paint real guns those colors to fool people right up to the moment they “cap” somebody. Hell they can do that already with all of these orange tipped toys.

  16. avatar Out_Fang_Thief says:

    At some point, shouldn’t we have a rational conversation about what sorts of firearms are expected be open carried in public? Does open carry mean any gun we want to carry, any place they want to carry it? This came up with the two guys in Waco. TX who decided to test that assumption in a Walmart parking lot. Sure, they had the right to open carry, but does anyone believe they acted wisely?

    As a gun rights supporter, I get the feeling that some of us believe we should be able to tote an AK-47 to Starbucks or the local grocery store, and that nobody should be able to tell us we can’t. Do we really want to be a society where open carry means we can carry anything we want, wherever we want? This shotgun schlepping dood should be the object lesson of this conversation. I have always taken concealed and open carry to mean hand guns or side arms, especially in urban and suburban areas. The police don’t walk around with shotguns or long arms, so why do some of us think that we should? If I see dood in public, walking around with what looks like a shotgun, I’m not going to assume that he’s just exercising his right to open carry, I’m going to assume it’s for criminal purposes, like this woman did, and react. If a car is the only heat I’m packing at the time, so be it. Where do we draw the line on open carry? Anything we want, anywhere we want, or should it be anything within reason?

    1. avatar Max says:

      Anything we want and anywhere we want, so long as nobody explicitly prohibits it on their private property.

      Isn’t a long gun better than a handgun in most applications?!?!?!?
      Why the hell would you ever compromise on freedom!?!?!?

      Get your rear end off the fence on these issues because you can either relax and recognize that everyone should just live and let live for the most part, or you can subscribe to the notion that people can’t be trusted with their own lives and need to be subjected to control.

      Sure there’s definitely a discussion on the pros and cons of open vs. concealed carry strategically, but why would you limit yourself to just one? I’ts the exact same argument to say you shouldn’t be able to drive your Corvette on the average street because the Corvette is way capable of exceeding the speed limit. Both arguments, however, are arbitrary.

      1. avatar Heathen says:

        ^ This

      2. avatar Out_Fang_Thief says:

        If you think you need to carry an AK-47 to the mall and Starbucks, or a shotgun to pick up some groceries, I think it’s you that has a problem, not me. Do you believe you and your AR-15 or AK-47 will save the day, and be cheered as a hero from sea to shining sea? That sounds like some sort of savior complex? Does time and place have any meaning at all for you? Or do you feel that insecure without a rifle, because you’re that poorly trained with a side arm? It makes me wonder. Also, I’d like an answer to my question instead of your nonsensical and irrelevant comparisons to powerful cars. If the police don’t walk around with rifles and shotguns, why should you be allowed to? Don’t give me the “it’s my right to carry anything I want” crap, or “isn’t a rifle better in most applications” without a qualifier. That sort of argument automatically requires an accounting of what those applications are. As I mentioned in the Waco article, if open carry means anything I want, anywhere I want, taking my sniper rifle to the Texas bell tower in Austin should be A-OK, right? Is it also OK if I walk around outside of the 300yd gun free school zone with my Barrett M107A1? Why should that should draw anyone’s attention? After all, I have the right to open carry anything I want, wherever I want, right?

        In my book, in urban areas from 0-15yds, a side arm is more than good enough for personal defense. In this setting, if a side arm isn’t good enough for you, it’s because you aren’t good enough with your side arm. 0-15yds is not rifle territory.
        If you think it is, then I’m not the one who is being unreasonable.

    2. avatar PavePusher says:

      Unless it’s actually pointed at you, your “assumption” will land you in jail.

      Yes, anything, anywhere, as long as you aren’t pointing it at anyone. Why not? What’s your justification for restrictions? Specifics, please.

  17. avatar g says:

    Minivan missile strike. Ouch.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      The shame of telling your cell mates you got took down by a soccer mom in a mini van. Guess who the b!tch is going to be in that cell.

  18. avatar T-DOG says:

    This is why we need common sense toy gun laws now!!! Just like what Lakewood,WA is looking in too.

    http://www.thenewstribune.com/2013/08/09/2723060/lakewood-bans-brandishing-toy.html

    The proposed change would come in the wake of a Lakewood municipal judge dismissing the case of a woman who allegedly waved a toy gun in front of her roommates in a way that made them feel unsafe. The city had charged her with a weapons violation, but the judge concluded the item was not a weapon.

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