Defensive Gun Use of the Day: Practice Makes Perfect Edition

Bart and Melissa Ardis of Oakdale, California, had a practiced plan in place should a perp penetrate their perimeter (sorry, that just happened). Read the story at the The Modesto Bee for the full play-by-play of their recent set-to. The short version is that it ended with Melissa yelling at the intruder, “Don’t you dare bleed all over my (expletive) couch!” Don’t you just love to see a plan come together successfully? Great to see some positive editorializing from a newspaper as well. Jeff Jardine, columnist for the Bee, wrapped up the story with, “…they exercised their Second Amendment rights to bear arms and protect their home. They stuck to their plan. They defended themselves in their home, and the only person who got hurt was the one who had no business being there at all.”

comments

  1. avatar Charles5 says:

    I’m glad everything worked out for them. However, the one mistake the husband made was handing his wife his gun when the guy was still outside and the police were not there yet. I expect had they both fired at the intruder (and not the wife going wild west style) when he entered the second time, that probably would have ended it right there.

    1. avatar AlphaGeek says:

      No, they made two mistakes. When the perp entered the house the second time and rushed the husband, he should have received incoming fire until he was on the floor.

      This is someone who had already been shot at and returned for more. If he had overpowered either of the homeowners, they would very likely be dead now regardless of whether they took the perp with them.

      If you’re going to shoot someone, fscking shoot them, in the head and chest until they go down and stay down. Don’t fsck around with one shot to the lower body.

      1. avatar vioshi says:

        Third, after locking him out, one of them should have covered the BG while the other cleared the house and found the real point of entry. This way they can verify he’s alone and make sure he can’t get back in, the third time.

  2. avatar Rokurota says:

    “At the 911 operator’s instructions and with deputies arriving, Bart relinquished his weapon.”

    In what universe is that good instruction?

    1. avatar Jeremy S says:

      Yeah can’t say I would have done the same. Holster the gun when the police are exiting their vehicles? Sure. Getting rid of it completely when the BG is still a [possibly armed] threat and the cops aren’t right there? No dang way.

      I suppose the post title isn’t accurate, but I doubt any DGU would completely stand up to after-the-fact armchair criticism/review. In this case they worked together as a team and didn’t panic and the end result wasn’t a dead body but it was a safe family. It’s a win. Some mistakes are probably inevitable.

  3. avatar pwrserge says:

    One thing about this situation. That last shot should have beed a double tap center mass. Bart was being a far nicer guy that that scumbag had any right to expect.

  4. avatar dlj95118 says:

    …one lucky intruder!

  5. avatar Ralph says:

    To defend your home, there are three things you must have. 1- a gun. 2- a phone to call 911 and your lawyer. 3- Resolve carpet cleaner. It does a great job on those pesky fresh blood stains.

    “Don’t you dare bleed all over my (expletive) couch!” is the new “Get off my lawn!”

    1. avatar Fiun Dagner says:

      hydrogen peroxide works better, and is much less expensive

      1. avatar 24/7 Pro says:

        So. What do you know about those hard-to-remove bloodstains that we don’t? You speaking from experience here or something? And why the comment about expense? How many bloodstains do you usually have to budget for? XD

        1. avatar Gyufygy says:

          The amazing things you can learn working in the healthcare field. :p

        2. avatar Jeremy S says:

          24/7 Pro, you’ve never gotten blood on anything? I certainly haven’t shot anyone in my own home, but that’s not exactly the only way to end up with some blood on carpet or furniture or a towel or whatever. Or red wine or something, for which the same treatment pretty much applies.

        3. avatar 24/7 Pro says:

          I have. Obviously the joke part of my questions DID NOT make it through. Aka: If he has to factor in the price of cleaner for blood (from shooting people), how many people does he regularly have to shoot?

          I thought it was a funny question.

          So go back and reread my comment. Also see the “XD” at the end. That’s the emote for laughing.

        4. avatar Jeremy S says:

          Oh haha, I actually didn’t know that! (the XD = emoticon for laughing) Good stuff. Learn something new every day 🙂

  6. avatar imrambi says:

    You never shoot a warning shot. You never shoot to kill. You never shoot to injure.

    You shoot to stop the threat!

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      The warning shot should be center of mass. Then you can take better aim for the next one.

  7. avatar ErrantVenture11 says:

    A 10 mm and a .40 caliber. The metric / standard Yin-Yang in that house is very balanced.

  8. avatar BillC says:

    Holy Hell, that was piss poor execution of a “plan”. Giving up his gun because a 911 operator told him, the wife’s wild west john wu double fisting shooting to “scare” him off, not shooting him at more opportune times.

    1. avatar Sertorius says:

      I’m glad everything turned out fine, but I’m with you – that description of the wife firing wildly with a pistol in each hand (hitting only the perp’s ear) strongly suggests their training wasn’t quite so effective as the article claims. Still, a good result.

  9. avatar styrgwillidar says:

    Ya know, if I’m ever in a DGU situation where shots are fired- I plan on suing the perp (and whoever might have enabled their behavior) for the cost of whatever cleanup is required and the counseling I’ll need…

    I also plan to STFU. see the required DGU clip-
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-7o9xYp7eE

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      ServPro — like it never even happened.

    2. avatar Jonathan -- Houston says:

      Careful on the counseling. Who knows who has access to those records these days? State could troll those files looking for disarmament candidates.

      1. avatar Jus Bill says:

        Do counselling with your priest or lawyer. Anyone else can crack under DA pressure.

  10. avatar ThayneT says:

    That article definitely sheds some light on the pro-2A side of CA (the vast rural parts) that are never seen or heard about here or in the news because they are constantly overshadowed by the anti-gun antics of SF, LA, and the leaders that those two liberal enclaves put in Sacramento.

  11. avatar Roscoe says:

    Great teamwork in a gun friendly part of CA.

  12. avatar Al Cohol says:

    Nice to see this on TTAG. Only 15 minutes or so from where I live, and yes, this is a very gun friendly part of CA. CCW’s are /almost/ shall-issue.

  13. avatar Paul B says:

    Good job. To bad the perp walked, or in this case stretchered out.

    Shows not everyone in California is an idiot.

  14. avatar John S. says:

    Lessons from the article:

    At the 911 operator’s instructions and with deputies arriving, Bart relinquished his weapon. He handed it to Melissa, who had her own .40-caliber pistol in her left hand.

    “He kept asking me to open the door so he could shake my hand,” Bart said.

    About that time, lights from the approaching sheriff’s cruisers were visible through the front windows. That seemed to agitate the intruder, who suddenly broke the back-door windows and entered the house again.

    “Melissa fired both pistols at him, hoping to scare him off. One shot nicked his left ear.”

    NEVER EVER EVER ADMIT TO FIRING A GUN TO “scare someone off”. That will land you in jail faster than a car containing an underage child and a well aged bottle of JD.

    Second, screw the operator; until I see the BG in cuffs or a body bag, I am not giving up my weapon despite what some desk jockey is going to say. If the BG had been armed he could have killed both of these fine people before the officers would have been able to do anything about it.

    Thankfully only the bad guy got hurt here but there are some serious lessons of what NOT to do during/after a DGU.

    1. avatar Roscoe says:

      Agreed!

  15. avatar Excedrine says:

    I love reading a (mostly) happy ending.

    I added “mostly” because the perp is not occupying a slab in the morgue. Otherwise, kudos to the dynamic duo!

  16. avatar Jonathan -- Houston says:

    Great write-up by the newspaper. In CA? Wow. Years ago, when I first became awake to the real potential of violent crime, I did the usual research. I was genuinely surprised to learn that a majority of home intruders gain entry through an open/unlocked door/window. Same with car thefts. I get the path of least resistance concept. It just never occurred to me that so many people would carelessly offer such a path.

    In our home, we have a layed defensive plan which includes electronic, positive confirmation that all entries are closed and locked. That open window was their first mistake.

    Other armchairing I’d add:

    Too much focus on the first intruder with no apparent consideration there could be a second+.

    Too much chit chat with the BG. Simple, forceful commands to submit should be all. Although, the lock out trick was cool.

    Should take cover asap, not stand there when he’s locked out, as he may have had a gun, too.

    Don’t disarm until the deputies take control. I’d rather comply with their command to disarm and risk getting shot accidentally by someone who doesn’t want to shoot, than disarm prematurely and get shot intentionally by the BG.

    1. avatar JeremyR says:

      Years back We had an attempted break in while I was working night shift. Luckily my BiL was home. The BG attempted to force a window. The door ten feet away was unlocked.
      The crazy part is that when we divorced, I had no house key to turn in to the court, so I had to pay to let her rekey.
      Trusting? No, I’m a light sleeper, and well armed.

  17. avatar dwb says:

    “Don’t you dare bleed all over my (expletive) couch!”

    See, now this is how a Mom demands action. And gets it. See the look on the husbands face in the picture? Dude, do not bleed on that couch or we are both in trouble.

    Lets contrast that with what another Mom Demanding Action, limousine liberal Shannon Watts, would do – stomp her feet like Veruca Salt and get all hash-taggy on your ass. I feel pretty sure she would not even dial 911, just twitter #intruder. What? the police dont respond to twitter. Then you’d hear in that whiny voice, Whaddya mean you’ll be here in 6 minutes I want my police to come nooow!!!

  18. avatar Salty Bear says:

    You people who are all “too bad the guy didn’t die” are sick.

    The important thing is that the family is safe.

    “Many that die deserve life, and some that live deserve death. Can you give it to them, Frodo?” -Gandalf the Grey

    1. avatar AlphaGeek says:

      When the perp committed the second assault, he should have been shot until he ceased to be a threat. Those shots should have been aimed for maximum effectiveness.

      Whether he died as a result is immaterial, and in fact it would likely be less inconvenient for the defender if he survived.

      If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of shooting for effect in a defensive scenario, then partner, you may have come to the wrong place.

    2. avatar LongPurple says:

      Gandalf was speaking about Bilbo’s opportunity to kill Gollum when he had no NEED to kill. Gollum was guarding the exit, but Bilbo had the One Ring so he could (and did) escape without killing the murderous Gollum.
      That’s quite a different situation as dealing with someone who repeatedly breaks into your home.

  19. avatar CP says:

    It’s important to remember that the criminal had a ‘plausible’ excuse for why he was in the home and how he got in. I think that it is easy to get taken in by this kind of social engineering. If there was any confusion as to whether this guy was legit, escorting him out of the home at gunpoint may have been a good option.

    I think that some of these critiques don’t contemplate the alternatives. Consider the other options:

    a) Shoot him preemptively? Clearly not a good option, especially after the spate of recent news stories of homeowner shootings of ill or drunk people. He could maybe – just maybe – actually be legit.

    b) Have him lie on the floor at gunpoint while you wait for the deputies? Then you have a criminal, possibly armed, lying on your floor maybe 10 feet away (because how far can you back away in a house?). He knows he’s going to jail if he doesn’t escape before the police arrive and you have a long 5-15 minutes (this is the country, after all) hoping he doesn’t try to attack.

    c) Tie him up? Frisk him? You’re inviting a wrestling match with a potentially armed intruder.

    d) Escort him out of the house while he is still surprised by your response, trying his charm approach, and hoping you’ll buy his story?

    Option (d) seems to effectively neutralize the threat with the least legal and physical risk to the homeowners. It’s not perfect, but it looks a lot better when you compare it to the alternatives.

    What do others think? Any LEOs with an opinion?

    1. avatar AlphaGeek says:

      (E) Escort him out of the house at gunpoint, have the wife lock the door behind me, and have him lie face down on the lawn with arms and legs out wide. Keep watch on him from a position which offers at least partial cover until the cops arrive. Holster my gun before the first one on the scene exits his vehicle and step into plain sight with hands raised.

  20. avatar Adam says:

    At the 911 operator’s instructions and with deputies arriving, Bart relinquished his weapon.

    This is a great argument for calling 911, giving them the relevant info, then simply saying, “I’m going to put the phone down, but keep the line open, now so I can keep both hands ready.” and then set the phone down. This way you have a built in recording of whats happening and no opportunity for the 911 operator to give you dumb instructions (which they do) or for you to say anything incriminating (which you might).

  21. avatar Kevin says:

    Glad the family ended up safe, but what a fiasco.

    There is no such thing as “shoot to wound”. So he shot the intruder in the leg? OK, perp’s artery is severed, he bleeds out. Oops. Guess shooting to would didn’t work. Just gonna wing ’em in the shoulder? Dang, accidentally center-punched him in the chest. Dead as a doornail. See where I’m going with this?

    I won’t even start on “shoot to scare”.

  22. avatar sonnyroofy says:

    offender will probably stick to burglarizing gun free zones in the future thanks to this valuable lesson

  23. avatar Chris says:

    Good for them, but the perp should’ve been dead. I think they effed up real bad. The guy got shot in part of his head, didn’t get the hint, and re-enter their home. I think they need to add range time to their plan.

  24. avatar Dann says:

    I grew up in Oakdale, Ca. I miss the Hershey plant. I live in Arizona now. From 20 years worth of living in that town, I can say that though the area is very gun friendly, law enforcement is not very gun friendly. I believe that most of the commentators fail to realize is that if the guy greeted police with a firearm, loaded or otherwise, they pass on the actual criminal and treat the good guy as the bad guy. Also, since it is California, they will need to be able to defend their actions in a court should the bad guy decide that he wants to sue for damages. Glad to see something positive coming out of my home town….

    1. avatar Jeremy S says:

      This is one reason people say it can be legally worse to wound an attacker than kill them, as unfortunate as that is. Either way, if you’ve shot somebody you’ve used deadly force against them and you may have to convince a jury that a “reasonable person” would have also felt that they were in danger of grave physical injury or death, therefore justifying your response with such a high level of force. This is easier to do when there is only one side to the story. I’m not saying that’s right or wrong — the criminal will have clear incentive to lie about what happened and the homeowner may have incentive to lie or embellish to make the threat seem as imminent and as dangerous as possible. A live criminal isn’t going to admit to putting his hand in his pocket and making it pointy and saying “I have a gun!” but a room temp criminal won’t refute you if that’s your side — the only side — of the story.

      In this case I think they’re pretty well in the clear, with the guy breaking their door and being located inside of the home, plus probably fingerprints on the window that he came through originally, etc. Plus a record. He’s not winning a lawsuit and there’s no jury in the Ardis’ future for this. All things considered, I’m sure they are extremely thankful that they didn’t take somebody’s life, and I would be as well. I said as much above, but regardless of any mistakes made along the way I don’t think the outcome could have been better. Safe family, no loss of life, it’s a win.

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