First of all, result. While many of you who would have preferred to see the armed robber suffer lethal lead poisoning, the “good guy  with a gun” stopped the robbery before any innocent person was injured or killed. Second of all, I make the following comments from a place of love. Any American brave enough to stand up to a criminal gets my respect, no matter how well or badly he or she does so. OK, so . ..

Our armed protagonist was perfectly within his rights to shoot the robber. The gun-toting bad guy posed an imminent, credible  threat of grievous bodily harm or death. That said, how much of a danger was he? We don’t know if the robber shouted threats or appeared agitated, but we can see that he didn’t physically assault anyone in the store. Was the CCW holder itching for a fight or being appropriately proactive?

There’s no getting around the fact that the good guy with a gun returned from a position of relative safety to initiate a gunfight with someone who hadn’t [yet] been violent. A ballistic conflict that made the CCW holder a bullet magnet. Which put the people behind and around him in harm’s way. Which didn’t include his companion, whom he’d already led to concealment and possible escape.

Regardless of the defender’s tactics once push came to shove, ignoring his gun handling faux pas, what do you reckon? Was he a hero or vigilante? All things being equal, allowing yourself the luxury of armchair quarterbacking, imagining an ideal world where you can think clearly and act decisively, what would you have done?

80 Responses to Question of the Day: Hero or Vigilante?

  1. Stay behind cover, call the Man, and be ready to defend as needed. I’m not seeing myself going in the open when I don’t have to.

    • “Stay behind cover, call the Man, and be ready to defend as needed. I’m not seeing myself going in the open when I don’t have to.”

      Right, confront the perpetrator when you are directly the focus of [his] threat, that way it’s a fair fight and you’ll have a 38% [rather than 36%] chance of justifying your actions to a jury of your peers.

      How about we let cops deconstruct all motives, actions, and results, once they have been alerted by the people in trouble that the cops should arrive on the scene. Or how about we let DA’s, attorneys, and judges, decide what was the best and appropriate course of action months after the fact, ’cause – that’s their job (description) and they might similarly have several minutes of footage from multiple camera angles to really get to the bottom of it..

      18:58:30 to 18:59:30 Perp entry to exit-under-fire.

      What would YOU do???

      Yeah, wtf ever.

      • “Right, confront the perpetrator when you are directly the focus of [his] threat, that way it’s a fair fight…”

        I don’t want it to be fair. I want whatever advantage I can get. Like, say being behind cover when the perp is in the open.

        I’m surprised that the good guy didn’t get capped when he was unable to fire his pistol and he was (as it turns out) temporarily trapped by the gate. It should have been an easy shot…for the perp.

        • I was attempting sarcasm through nearly all of that post, sorry.

          YES + what the heck! watching that progress gets your heart thudding. Safety! Coulda been a derp cc moment of the year if the perp chose to hose everyone down.

          But yes, it does go to show, that even pulling a gun can make someone rethink the need to perpetrate crime, the other people just looked like . . . targets? Yeah, wouldn’t have had any less options if they were mannequins or silhouettes.

    • Then why was everyone standing around with their hands up? The only person retreating was the robber after taking fire.
      A better definition than vigilante or hero of the armed citizen in this video is “free man”.

    • retreat anyway. The perp is the store’s problem. The wife could be a widow now if this went sideways.

      Rule #1: Don’t be a hero. The perp could have had a toy gun, or it could have been a stupid reality TV show, or who knows. Let the cops ventilate the guy. Instead the good guy with the gun should have escorted all the bystanders safely away, not escalate the situation.

      I wouldn’t be caught dead defending walmart.

      • Tommy Gunn,

        It is not about defending the store. It is about defending the good people of our community, which includes ourselves. If we let people like that armed robber casually walk out, they might get the drop on you or a family member next week and escalate all by themselves.

        Furthermore, not everyone has the mental and physical attributes that are necessary to apply a firearm effectively for self-defense during an attack. Those of us that do have those attributes have a minimal moral obligation to at least try to help and protect others. (e.g. the Golden Rule in practice)

        I am not saying that those of us who are armed have an obligation to run into a meat grinder to help others. If you are the only armed “good guy” in a facility when three criminals come in with rifles, it is time to get yourself and as many other people out as possible. What it is NOT time to do is confront overwhelming numbers and firepower all by yourself in defense of others. That is nothing more than a suicide mission and runs counter to the overarching goal to save as many lives as possible.

    • There is no duty to retreat unless you can do so in clear safety. Which is usually not the situation when the bad guy can throw little bits of metal at the speed of sound in your direction.

  2. The poor perpetrator, as well as many others, has been repeatedly trained that people will be disarmed, compliant rob-ees, and a good public defender, or attorney for the defendant, will be able to sue the state and the people in the store for specific performance under implied contract.

  3. It’s an individual and personal choice.

    The correct choice is one where the optimal result is you don’t suffer injury, litigation, and not causing unnecessary collateral damage.

  4. Rather than armchair quarterback – it is what it is. No one was injured/killed and the miscreant will hopefully spend a LONNG time in prison. That is, if the judicial system operates the way we think it will.

    If it doesn’t and the knucklehead is back on the street, well maybe he’ll think twice before committing another armed robbery.

    • The perp doesn’t appear to be a “undocumented immigrant” but he is doing the job that most Americans just won’t do.

      • I may be wrong, but do believe the responder is a Muslim. Good for him.

        Folks…ONE in the PIPE, safety OFF. Observe, Orient Decide, Act. Practice the cycle. Think how you act when perps gun drawn before it happens.

        • Over all, he did good. But Israeli Carry? Really? Ummm, no. One in the pipe and with a 1911, one thumb click from firing, with enough practice that it is a solid reflex that the lock is off as the front site is placed on target.

          I really like Glocks, but since I OC, I have a level two retention holster; but I also like having the extra step to make the gun ready to fire if by some method, the gun is taken from me after a struggle.

          The other reason I like the 1911 is the accuracy I get from the 1911 platform. For whatever reason; with a 1911, at 7 yards, at speed, I can keep the grouping of holes touching each other. Other people might get better accuracy with a Glock, but for me, the grouping, while the size of my palm, is definitely not touching. and in a DGU, that could be the difference between a miss and a hit.

        • Have one robber in a store is almost laughable with that many folks wandering around. Note how folks sorta lock up because the minds are processing something new and trying to connect the dots. Truth about the responder is he carried in case he needed it. He was a good observer and got the mrs to concealment, reoriented observed and decided to act. He went all in, aimed pulled trigger and nothing. That moment when he looked down and fiddled was the oh crap moment, the only thing that saved him was the robbers back was turned.

          The lesson is its all giggles carrying until it ain’t. The moment one clears holster, your all in, strictly business and ambush is better than a gunfight. Having the pump primed simplifies the action component of the decision process.

  5. It’s sad to think that we have to back off when bad people pull this crap. Sometimes ‘discretion if the better part of valor’.

  6. Me, personally, I’d be trying to get as many people down and/or away from the bad guy as possible before trying to engage him… way too likely to get someone caught in the crossfire.

      • It ended luckily. With as much of our lives given over to the fickleness of fate, it’s probably not a good idea to double down on a rigged game and make stupid moves.

        That man’s wife should be explaining to his young kids why Daddy’s never coming home. Instead, he just got very, very lucky.

  7. In my opinion, you answered your question before you asked. How much of a danger was he? “The gun-toting bad guy posed an imminent, credible threat of grievous bodily harm or death.” That bad guy is fair game, even here in Illinois. Action is always faster than reaction. It would have taken no time at all for him to open fire once he decided to do so. I think our good guy basically did what I would do. First, loved ones to safety if situation allows. Then ambush from cover. Speed, surprise, violence of action. No warnings, no ‘drop the gun’. I didn’t hear any audio, so I don’t know if our good guy said anything or not. I wouldn’t have. Maybe this wasn’t a perfect dgu, if such a thing even exists, but it was good enough and that’s what counts.

  8. “Our armed antagonist was perfectly within his rights to shoot the robber” – I’d refer to him as the protagonist, IMO

    Others are free to disagree.

  9. “Our armed antagonist was perfectly within his rights…”

    The robber was the antagonist. Perhaps you meant protagonist?

  10. The criminal has already demostrated that he is not big on good judgement. I don’t think that hoping everything will turn out okay is such a good idea. Much better, to me, to be proactive. And, let’s not discount the moral obligation.

  11. I feel like I’ve seen this video before, like last year. IIRC perp was hit in the leg, and the CCW holder was facing legal action from the store.

    That said Good shoot.

  12. Hindsight is 20/20. It probably wasn’t a perfectly conducted DGU but most importantly nobody got hurt, crime was stopped and it appears to have been conducted legally. I don’t know the exact laws of the state but at a minimum, the robber is committing armed robbery, kidnapping (forcing people to move or not move) and assault by pointing a firearm. So one can assume that in many, if not most, states the criteria for a legit DGU have been met.

    • We know you won’t shoot graygay. You’re just a poseur. Unarmed bike rides,perfect neighborhood,wonderful basement view. Would you shoot for your mommy? Oh wait-you’re not even a gun owner.

      • Where are your “moose-lim” slurs with this story Kankakee-Zim? Truth is, if you were in that store at that moment, that Muslim gentleman with a gun would have saved your fat, frozen-up a$$.

  13. This situation ended well enough no innocent person was harmed. What more could you ask for? Beside a dead perp.

    I don’t know what I would have done. The perp has his gun in his left hand moving people with his right. He looks right handed. If he had his gun held with both hands and pointing the gun around and not his right hand then no questions asked pop him.

  14. Needs to use a an actual holster, looked like:
    1: pistol got caught up in his jacket
    2: safety on

    Both could get you killed if you decided to draw.
    I believe the decision to shoot would have been better if the bad guy wasn’t already on his way out.

    • If law abiding citizens mimicked or took their cues from LEO shootings, most of us would be in jail.

      The legal disparity and room for interpretation for justifiable weapon use between citizens and LEOs is laughable and so rife with abuse.

  15. It would really depend on how the robber and others are acting. i don’t think its ever a good idea to develop carte blanche responses to something like this.

  16. He didn’t say safety was on, he said he was engaging in “Israeli carry” and the gun went click instead of bang.
    He acted because the robber was threatening to blow the pregnant cashier’s head off after she gave him the money.

    In the video here, he speaks out for Constitutional Carry, and points out that the purpose of gun control is to violate the rights of ‘people of color’.

    He had to sue Milwaukee for stealing his gun.
    And now the FBI treats him like a terrorist.

  17. The Milwaukee Police Department took Al-Mujaahid’s gun and it took legal action and several years to get it back, even after the DA decided not to charge. The MPD were real jerks about returning the gun.

    Soon after the CCW law went into effect (Nov, 2011) “No guns” sign went up at the Aldi near us, in a Milwaukee suburb. We stopped going as much as we could. About a year or so later, wife and I needed to pick up a few items and went to the local Aldi and the “no guns” sign was gone, so we now shop more at Aldi. I don’t know if the signs going up or coming down was a individual store decision or a regional one.

    • I live in the Milwaukee -metro area and have visited many an Aldi in the area. All of the Aldi’s I’ve been in since this event seems to have removed their anti-carry signage.

  18. He was protecting the flock. I’m glad he did what he did.
    What stops future criminals is watching or hearing about people defending themselves, not the fact that gun sales are up because of Obama.

  19. Hard to say what I would do but the CCW citizen was definitely nowhere in the wrong. The instant someone points a gun at another human, unprovoked, they sign their death warrant. He could have been singing “Kum ba ya” the entire time. It doesn’t matter. He deserved to be ventilated immediately.

  20. Tough call. Very tough call. I have no idea what I’d do. My first instinct would be to seek cover I suppose. Sad to say, I’d hate to get tangled up in the legal aftermath. No easy answers here other than carry with a round in the chamber. The civilian is lucky in this regard.

  21. I am not going to argue right or wrong, because I was not there, I was not in his shoes, but I will say this: carry your gun loaded! Too much can go wrong in a short amount of time. Keep that chamber loaded. This man was lucky to have time to get ready, that is very seldom the case. This is also why I prefer guns with NO external safety levers, when adrenaline hits the less you have to do to get your firearm into the fight the better. They have proven that people cannot even dial 911 under stress. Everything you do with that gun should be trained until it’s muscle memory. Remember very few people rise to the occasion, most fall to their lowest level of training. And never be in a hurry to re holster unless the cops are coming through the door.

  22. Narrator of the video discusses “moral obligation”. Seriously. Shove your mere-human judgement of my moral obligation.

  23. I think he did this pretty much right. The simple fact is that waving a gun around and demanding money and deliberately pointing the firearm at people is a credible threat of lethal force and the defender in this case had no way to know if the guy was going to shoot someone or not.

    As for this drawing fire and the people behind him, IMHO, that’s on them. They should have moved to a safer spot and not just stood there. I count at least 16 seconds where the person in the pink pants just stands there like a robot that’s been turned off. Each person’s actions are independent of others. Those people made the decision not to move and if that decision puts you in the line of fire that’s your problem.

  24. What a great guy! Take a look at the video posted above by FedUp. He’s a latino/African American/convert to Islam and changed his name accordingly. He gave a wonderful clear concise description of what happened, admitted that he didn’t have a round chambered and forgot to rack the slide under stress but in the end got it done.

    People like him and Colion Noir should be front and center in the ‘debate’ that we have regarding CCW and the 2nd amendment in general. I can almost visualize the progressives minds exploding trying to process the fact that it’s not purely OFWG’s carrying, it’s everyday folks of all colors, races, religions and sexes.

  25. Carry a revolver. Too many NDs with semi-autos and too many of these OOPS moments when the actions starts.

  26. This guy had potential to be worse than a negligent discharge. He was almost a good guy with a guy–and a hero complex–who damn near got people killed. He was safe and should have kept going. Yes, I get it that anything can happen, but the way this played out, that robber wasn’t going to hurt anybody as long as he felt he was in control.

    Don’t get me wrong, I understand the legalities here. Had the robber been splattered across the wall, well, it goes that way when you play the game.

    I’m just saying that the most likely outcome based on the robber’s body language, actions, and that he was alone, strongly suggest he wouldn’t have hurt anyone if he just got the money. I didn’t say prove or guarantee; I said strongly suggest. Sometimes robbers shoot you in the face after you just complied. Sometimes.

    You must continuously evaluate the situation and your next move. This carrier moved from better to worse positions repeatedly and voluntarily. He’s very lucky to be alive, despite his actions.

  27. The guy did a great job of getting his wife out of harm’s way before making a move. I hope I have the presence of mind to do as well in a similar situation.

    I carry with a round in the tube specifically to avoid the issue our guy ran into here. My firearm of choice has a decock-type safety – sweep the safety on the draw and the gun is hot in double-action; subsequent shots are SA. Watching this makes me feel better about all the hours I’ve spent building muscle memory in the draw/sweep the safety process.

    I also thought the guy holstered the gun too soon. As big a chicken as I am, that gun would have been out at least until I saw the guy drive away. Probably longer…until I was certain he was gone and acting alone, or until the police arrived.

    Hero? Vigilante? I’m thinking more like Sheepdog.

  28. I saw lots of things I would have done differently, but I cannot fault him for trying.

    Wife there, I wouldn’t have engaged after getting her to safety. Ex-wife? Might have used her as a human shield.

    I wouldn’t have closed with the shooter. Criminals are lousy shots at range, less so the closer you get. He also ran into the gate that closed the checkout aisle.

    I would have stayed farther back, maneuvered for a better angle on the shot, and taken it when the robber stopped moving around. But, I can’t fault him for trying.

    • Interestingly enough, if he could get his wife out of the line of fire- completely out of sight, as a matter of fact -so could he.

      I couldn’t help but to think he was taking a huge, huge risk moving back in to get a better angle. The amount of distance he had to cover just to get the shot was should have been noticed several times, let alone acted upon. We can say the results speak for themselves, but the fact that he didn’t become a person of interest to the robber was amazing, frankly. Fortune favors multiple adjectives, I guess.

  29. “…the good guy with a gun returned from a position of relative safety to initiate a gunfight with someone who hadn’t [yet] been violent.”

    Were we watching the same video? The violence began when the armed robbery began. Just because no one was physically injured yet doesn’t mean there wasn’t violence going on. Economic injuries were taking place as well as emotional injuries. There was the implied threat of death or other physical injury. To label what happened as not yet violent plays into the Monday morning quarterbacking, mindbending exercises the anti-gun left love to do in order to create an environment toxic to gun ownership.

  30. You can take the Yankee out of Rhode Island, but you can’t take the New England values out of the Yankee.

    Robert, this man did what was required. What kind of man wouldn’t have done this if he were able? Not a man at all.

  31. “Question of the Day: Hero or Vigilante?”
    “That said, how much of a danger was he?”

    Clickbait article is clickbait. The situation is clear-cut and any speculation into how much of a danger the assailant was is moon gazing at best. He had a gun. Not only was the defender well within his rights, pointing a gun at anybody should justify enough danger to not even warrant these questions.

    Article would have been better framed as a lesson… And ironically, the video does that when TTAG couldn’t do so for itself.

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