Defensive Gun Use of the Day: NM Man Holds Hit and Run Driver at Gunpoint

[via Ammoland.com] On Friday, September 9th, 2016, a man driving a Ford Explorer hit a bicyclist in Abuquerque, New Mexico. The driver did not stop. The bicycle was lodged under the SUV. About a mile further on, the driver, who has been identified as a local MMA fighter, 33 year old Henry Martinez, was stopped. He was held at gunpoint by a legally armed man who remains unidentified. From krqe.com:

A video sent to KRQE News 13 by a viewer shows an armed man holding another man, suspected of hitting a bicyclist and fleeing, at gunpoint until police arrive.

Albuquerque Police confirm a bicyclist was hit by an SUV Friday morning. The bike the person was riding was then dragged by the vehicle as it left the crash scene.

Soon after, however, an armed citizen got the suspect out the SUV and held him at gunpoint while calling police.

The details of how Martinez was stopped and removed from the Explorer have not been published.

The two men are only 10-15 feet apart, well inside the nominal 21 feet discussed in the Tueller drill. The armed man has a problem. How does he notify the police? He solves the problem by calling them himself, on his cell phone. He does not take his eyes off of the suspect, but there are awkward moments.

While I believe he did a public service. It would have been wise to order the suspect down to the ground, and in a position so that the suspect could not observe him. Then he could have called the police from a less precarious position. A desperate or reckless suspect could have used the phone distraction to charge and attempt a disarm.

While no weapon is seen on the suspect, he is muscular and athletic. He is said to have been pleading with the armed citizen “not to shoot him”.

Do not get in a conversation with a suspect. It is a distraction. If you have to shoot, you will have to switch mental gears from talking to shooting. The classic illustration of this is from the movie, “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.” It shows the scene with Tuco in the bathtub.  After shooting his opponent, he says, “When its time to shoot, shoot! Don’t talk.”

I am not suggesting that the armed man should have shot Martinez. I am saying that it is bad policy to get into a conversation with someone you are holding at gunpoint. Give clear, authoritative, short commands. In  the military, we call this “command voice.” You often hear it in police videos.

“Get Down!” would be appropriate here. In this case, if the armed man knew that the video taker was present, he could have asked them to call the police, allowing him to stay focused on the threat.  Use the resources that you have handy. Be willing to enlist available help.

It was later determined that Martinez was driving with a revoked license. There is no indication of any charges against the armed man. The bicyclist was taken to the hospital. He’s expected to recover.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.

Link to Gun Watch

About Dean Weingarten;

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

comments

  1. avatar The Ladder Man says:

    Sorry Dean, this is utter insanity. Our society has hired hands to do work such as this. They wear badges, typically. Not me. Cars have license plates for a few reasons. This is one of them. I will get the license plate number and call the proper folks instead of this kind of nonsense. I know we have plenty of armed, non-badged superheroes around these parts. I’ll stay an armed non-superhero.

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      While I agree with you, I must say the sight of criminal trash pleading for his life from an armed citizen is pretty damned satisfying.

    2. avatar Don Nelson says:

      Agree. Civilians don’t have the authority to “pursue and apprehend,” the actual definition of police power. Unless the guy with the gun is a sworn officer, either police or military (look it up – military officers have that power), he’s likely to be charged.

      1. avatar bob in IN says:

        Ever heard of citizens arrest?

        1. avatar Don Nelson says:

          Yep. Doesn’t include pursuit and only used during a “breach of the peace.”

        2. avatar JR_in_NC says:

          “Doesn’t include pursuit and only used during a “breach of the peace.””

          Not sure where you heard that.

          All citizens can effect arrest for felonies. Let’s clarify that, though, to mean real felonies, not the fiat ones like not signing a form properly.

      2. avatar Chris Mallory says:

        Do we live under a system of delegated powers or not? Yes or No? Are we supposed to be living under a system of delegated powers?

        If citizens do not have the power to “pursue and apprehend,” how can they delegate that power to government employees? No government employee should be allowed any action that a citizen is not also allowed to do.

        1. avatar Benny the Jew says:

          + one zillion

        2. avatar Don Nelson says:

          I agree with you, but the fact remains that you cannot declare war or set speed limits. We collectively delegate to our representatives those powers, and in doing so we give them up. I suspect that explains police powers as well.

      3. avatar Zach says:

        Under NM law, there is no prohibition of pursuit of a suspect by a private citizen, so long as the offense committed by the suspect is punishable by death or a year or more in prison (felony). The only condition is that the citizen making the arrest must testify before a judge or magistrate for arraignment.

        1. avatar Don Nelson says:

          That’s an interesting exception to federal and most other states’ laws. Thanks. I’ll try to put less “implied universality” into my posts.

        2. avatar JR_in_NC says:

          “That’s an interesting exception to federal and most other states’ laws. “

          No it’s not. You are wrong.

          Hell, they even taught this in the Legals courses at cop school in South Carolina. ALL citizens have “arrest powers” for felonies.

          Where ever you are getting your information from, you might want to check the source. Sounds like Statist crap to me.

    3. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

      Wow. You think a badge magically turns someone into a superhero?

      Or do you just employ the term superhero as an exaggeration to misdirect attention away from your jealousy over this man’s courage and self-loathing that you lack it?

      Nobody wants to be a hero. Nobody’s out there looking for trouble they can leap into. Sometimes circumstances just dictate that you take action. This hit and run driver could easily have been drunk as hell and never even realized he’d hit someone. In that case, he’s a clear and present danger to himself and everyone else on or near the road.

      How many bodies must he pile up before you begrudgingly do what must be done?

    4. avatar Johnny says:

      I have just completed the Oklahoma SDA CCW training. The action taken by the armed citizen (if not a LEO) is specifically prohibited here. If I pull my gun and I’m not in imminent danger, I will be charged with felonious pointing of a firearm.

    5. avatar Ebby123 says:

      Its his risk to take. No one is saying you have to follow suit.

  2. avatar LKB says:

    Ah yes, the wit and wisdom of Tuco Ramirez:

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Wallach had 2 classic lines. Tuco’s line from above and the other. “If god had not meant for them to be sheared he would not have made them sheep.”

    2. avatar Geoff PR says:

      At the time of that movie (historically) wasn’t that the age of black powder?

      Could you douse cartridges of that era in a bathtub and expect them to fire?

      1. avatar Ing says:

        I would expect so, as it’s in the same kind of metallic cartridge we use today. If the bullet and primer were seated tightly, it should be good to go. Wouldn’t want to rely on it, though…

      2. avatar M2AP says:

        Yep, they were waterproof enough. Even modern handloaded ammo without any sealant can be submerged in water for a little bit before the primer gets wet.

  3. avatar Pwrserge says:

    This situation is an outlier because another person was still actively being dragged by he scumbag in the car. While I’m not sure if I would get involved, I can’t fault this guy for saving the life of the bicyclist and putting an end to this little snowflake’s rampage.

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      From what I can tell, the bike was being dragged under the SUV but the rider was not.

      1. avatar RatInDaHat says:

        The news report doesn’t make it clear if the cyclist was still being drug or not.

  4. avatar Model 31 says:

    Plain clothes officer or perhaps undercover? Guy with a gun not arrested, name not released, no details on how he pulled the bad guy over, bad guy pleading for his life. My money is on either off duty LEO or at least regular citizen with some serious gov connections.

  5. avatar jwm says:

    I would have followed this guy and vectored the cops in on him. I’ve done it before. No point in exposing yourself to a potential life and death unless it’s realy life and death.

  6. avatar Chris Mallory says:

    What was the gun guy gonna do if the other driver had said “FU, I’m going home” and turned to walk away?

    1. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

      That’s a good question. It goes to the issue of reconciling having the legal standing to use or threaten deadly force, which in Texas is the same standard, and going beyond merely threatening deadly force to actually using it.

      Circumstances vary, of course, but I have a strong bias toward not even threatening deadly force. The situation is either so dire that deadly force must be used, or else find another option.

    2. avatar Hannibal says:

      Exactly what I was wondering.

    3. avatar Klaus says:

      This, precisely. If he had shot him he’d be in jail right now. It isn’t clear but it does sound like the rider was NOT being dragged, just the bike. If the rider was in danger of being dragged further if the guy tried to leave, then I think you have cause to shoot. Otherwise you don’t.

  7. avatar KenB says:

    Stupid, take some pictures of possible, be a good witness

  8. avatar Ralph says:

    I would have shot out the bad guy’s tires and administered a sound thrashing to him about the head and neck.

    Nah, not really.

    But I would have called the police and told them that the BG had just run over the bicycle delivery boy from Dunkin Donuts, just to insure promptness. Otherwise, I might be waiting for days.

    1. avatar Ebby123 says:

      Burn.

  9. avatar Swarf says:

    “Yeah, nice gun. You gonna shoot me in the back for the camera as I walk away, median hero?

    1. avatar jwm says:

      I don’t know about NM but here in CA if you inform someone they’re under citizens arrest and they flee or resist they add a felony charge to whatever else you’ve arrested them for.

      1. avatar Tex300BLK says:

        So what then? Are you honestly going to shoot him if he walks away?

        1. avatar jwm says:

          Nope. Not going to shoot them. But the police and the DA will be informed as to what happened and then we see what the systems does to mister walk away.

          For over 20 years i worked a side job in addition to my regular job. The side job was in security. I worked gated communities, warehouses, loss prevention, hospitals and a bunch more. I’ve arrested people without ever firing a shot or putting cuffs on them. I’ve dealt with combative folk on my own with 911 my only backup.

          Personality plays a big part in it.

      2. avatar Hannibal says:

        Any precedent for that ever being prosecuted in the last century?

        1. avatar Hannibal says:

          Oops, my comment is misplaced. I meant to ask if there is any precedent for prosecuting someone for failing to yield to a ‘citizen’s arrest’ not charges for shooting a fleeing criminal.

  10. avatar Tex300BLK says:

    A little bit foolish don’t you think? I mean the end was a good result and everyone turned out ok and someone didn’t get shot (was our hero charged with anything was he?) but are you really honestly going to shoot the guy if he tries to leave? I didn’t see anywhere that the cyclist was killed or severely injured, and they certainly were no longer in danger from this guy, are you really going shoot the guy for that? If not, then very respectfully why the f*** are you pointing a gun at him?

    Also, if the bad guy is really an MMA fighter, our hero is standing way too close, granted he couldn’t have known.

    1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

      The gun might not be about shooting him if he tries to leave. It’s SELF DEFENSE.

      This driver has already provably and articulably shown that he has no regard for the lives of others. Depending on how the local laws are written, he has just committed Attempted Murder, Assault with a Deadly Weapon and blatant disregard for others’ lives.

      How does the citizen know even just asking him to stop or telling him “I called the police!” would not instigate a violent response toward him?

      Everyone is trying to assume the dude’s intent was to shoot the guy if he tried to leave. Ya’ll need to open your minds to other possibilities; he may well have just been in ‘defense’ mode while confronting a known violent offender in the defense of another, hurt, person.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        Reported on Dean’s blog today:

        “New Orleans police arrested a 73-year-old homeowner after they said he opened fire on two men running from his property. On Wednesday afternoon the court found probable cause to charge Abraham Venson with aggravated battery. He is being held on $10,000 bond.”

      2. avatar John in AK says:

        A ‘self-defense’ claim in this instance, should the suspect have changed the rules instead of standing and pleading, would enter a dark-gray area of law that I wouldn’t want to visit.
        One of the pertinent questions for a DA, and perhaps for a jury, would be whether or not the ‘self-defense’ event only took place after the shooter placed himself into the position of NEEDING ‘self-defense’ willingly.
        One of the tenets of ‘self-defense’ is that you do not go out of your way to put yourself into harm’s way; True, in many enlightened states and jurisdictions one does not have a duty to retreat–but it may not be an ‘affirmative’ defense, only a defense. The idea behind ‘no duty to retreat’ is that it applies most surely if you (or a 3rd-party innocent) are attacked or threatened in a place that you rightfully occupy, through no fault of your own. That is not the case, here. Stretching this to defense of a 3rd party is absent in this case, as well–the victim was no longer threatened.
        I appreciate the sentiments of the Good Samaritan in wishing to prevent the escape of a felon; Yes, under most state laws, a private citizen IS empowered to effect a citizen’s felony arrest (or an arrest for a misdemeanor committed in his presence)–but that really only applies when the circumstances are rather exigent: The suspect still poses an immediate threat of serious bodily injury or death, and can reasonably be assumed to STILL pose that threat if allowed to go on his way. This is also not really the case here, once again. This suspect is no longer an immediate threat, and can easily be identified in future by law enforcement.
        I admit that threatening deadly force in a non-deadly-force scenario can be effective, and is at times ‘legal;’ However, if its presence provokes a violent response and the subsequent USE of deadly force in what was originally a no-shoot scenario, perhaps threatening deadly force is a serious mistake.
        This is very dangerous ground for any non-LEO person to tread.

  11. avatar former water walker says:

    Good guy with a gun stops lowlife. The leftards tell us it never happens. I’m happy it worked out but I too wonder if the good Samaritan woulda’ shot mma boy?

  12. avatar zaphod says:

    The driver hit a bicyclist and drove away dragging the BICYCLE?

    Had I witnessed that, I would have hoped to make note of the license plate &c., but I would have been parked next to the cyclist seeing what aid might be needed.

    Had the cyclist bled out while I chased the driver, his prosecution wouldn’t have bought me any joy.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      The follow-up report says the cyclist is okay. He wasn’t dragged, just the bike.

      1. avatar zaphod says:

        Yup, The BICYCLE was dragged.

        That implies the rider was left behind.

        The follow-up report says that the cyclist was okay.

        A witness to the accident who had access to the follow up report should be buying lotto tickets.

        Not being able to access the future, nor being able to do drive-by diagnosis of injuries, I’ll stick with my plan.

      2. avatar jwm says:

        So in addition to hit and run the bg was stealing the bike.

  13. avatar VaqueroJustice says:

    As far as awkward moments while summoning the police,
    any good bluetooth headset will let you voice dial with the push of a button,
    no need to juggle a weapon and a cellphone, no taking your eyes off a
    potential source of danger.

  14. avatar Nick says:

    Do this in Maryland and they will arrest the GOOD citizen in addition to the hit and run suspect.

  15. avatar AMP says:

    What if the guy simply turns and walks away?
    Do you shoot him on the back?
    I’m quite sure it would not be advisable in most states.

  16. avatar Hi Power Toter says:

    Note that while the MMA fighter is “pleading,” he also has his eyes locked on the armed man, and is inching his way forwards. In other words, it looks like he’s trying to close the distance to the point where he has the advantage. If he hasn’t already been ordered to the ground, as Dean suggests, this inching forward would be an excellent reason to do to.

  17. avatar gargoil says:

    yeah this isn’t a good idea. this is literally one step away from vigilantes. as many have said, if some dude just tells me to get on the ground, probably not gonna do it.

  18. avatar TK says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this guy finds himself in legal jeopardy.

  19. avatar Dave J says:

    I’m not debating whether it is right or wrong. As a cyclist, I am thankful for the story and to the man who did the right thing.

  20. avatar LordGopu says:

    I’m not sure why so many people posting here are unfamiliar with citizens arrests. If the driver had tried to walk away he would have been within his rights to try and stop him. Then if the guy fought back he probably could have shot him.

    There’s no duty to retreat or anything like that while arresting someone for a felony. Especially after the type of crime it will be easy to prove he had a disregard for human life.

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