The old saw about not bringing a stick to a gunfight has a lot of truth. Under the same general category, one could also say don’t bring a headlock to a gunfight. A woman in Glendale, Arizona learned that the hard way. Police say she became enraged in traffic and attacked the occupants of another vehicle. The physical violence ended when the rampaging hothead took a round to the gut as she beat another motorist while holding her in a headlock.

The incident reportedly began when one motorist supposedly cut off another vehicle. Remember what RF wrote last week or so about not antagonizing obnoxious drivers?  Seems no one in this incident read or applied that sage advice.

The offended driver pursued the other vehicle several blocks to a stoplight. Immobilized by cross-traffic, all hell broke loose for the occupant of white sedan pictured below.

The aggressor left the maroon minivan in a rage. She broke out a window of the sedan and punched the passenger in the face. She then dragged the passenger out of the car and continued beating her.

The sedan’s driver exited the car, warning the attacker to stop her attack. Instead of ceasing hostilities, though, the enraged attacker turned her attention to the driver.

Ignoring warnings by the driver that she was armed, the attacker brazenly punched the driver in the face. The assault continued with the attacker putting the driver in a headlock and continuing the beating. Despite more warning of an armed response, the bully doubled down on the blows and the sedan’s driver shot her, ending the melee.

Police interviewed witnesses and the cooperative armed driver. In the 12news.com report an attorney summed up the local deadly force law nicely:

“If you’re going to use deadly force you have to either fear for your life or fear serious physical injury,” attorney Russ Richelsoph said, “so you have to fear basically you’re going to get broken bones, your life’s in danger or you’re going to die.”

Richelsoph said the woman may have a case for self-defense. If she was being choked or the other woman had a size or weight advantage — shooting her might have been justified.

“It comes down to a reasonable person standard. Would a reasonable person in this circumstance feel that their life was in danger?” Richelsoph said.

Well said, Mr. Richelsoph. And good advice for anyone who chooses to carry a firearm to keep in mind.


This incident proves yet again that the only thing that stops a bad person with evil in their heart is a good guy or gal with a gun.  Stern warnings, societal norms, and laws mean little to violent criminals.   Especially when consumed by rage.

Thank heavens the driver of the sedan had a gun.  It might have saved her life and that of her passenger.

Lord knows I hope I never find myself with a lunatic road in a rage breaking into the passenger compartment of my vehicle.

52 Responses to Glendale, AZ Road Rage Attack Ended With a Single Shot

  1. Yeah, I’d say if someone broke a car window, punched an occupant, dragged someone out of the vehicle, and put them in a headlock whilst still punching them is reason enough to use deadly force. When you’re that close to an attacker, you never know what they might have on their person that could be a deadly weapon.

      • This is true. after a bar fight an individual died after a blow(fist) to the head. The attacker is very unstable and after the investigation ,I would be shocked if she did not have something documented in her past with reference to mental illness/violent outbreaks etc. It will be interesting. I am a small framed male 56 years old. I have a documented history of severe injuries to my left arm (7) surgeries-post traumatic and surgical injuries to right shoulder, basically rendering me very easy to seriously harm or cause permanent damage qt that point I believe this becomes her problem for attacking a disabled person. If a 200 lb angry whale started beating me until it was through with me who knows what kind of damage could have been dished out by this nut job. I have a ccw. I do not want to use it. I just may have. We are taught to terminate the threat. If I could have not been able to run or get help, I may have felt it be necessary to stop her. Thinking about it is disturbing enough. It sounds like the permit holder should be unscaved, especially if it can be proven the attacker has previously displayed vicious and violent propensities.

  2. She deserved to get shot, no doubt about that. Still, it would be nice if more people would learn a softer art like BJJ so that it didn’t have to come down to a ballistic application of kinetic force so often.

    Ah well, in my perfect world I guess.

    • When “more people” morph into buff 20-somethings, with icewater in their veins, then sure, BJJ or whatever martial art one favors is a practical response. As long as the bad guys follow the rules…

      The reality is that most people aren’t in the same shape as the animal trying to drag them from their car, not to mention adrenaline. Bruce Lee carried guns for the simple reason that outnumbered, surprised, or both, all the drunken-monkey-snake-puncher-style in the world is effen worthless – even for a master. You’ll get a few JJ moves in from muscle memory, the best you can hope for is a Krav Maga-esque response – at least if you want to leave without getting the Hong Kong Phooey stomped out of you.

      Personally, I want to see more high speed kinetic energy transfer objects placed into car jackers and road-ragers. When they understand the odds are really high that they’ll be perforated, all but the true psychos adjust their behavior.

      • One of my favorite YouTube dashcam videos, and I can’t find it at the moment, is a road-rage incident where a white sedan pulls in front of a car and blocks him in. The driver of the white care exits, grabs a pipe from the back seat and advances on the blocked-in car, yelling Russian obscenities.

        Suddenly this man drops the pipe, drops to his knees and puts his hands behind his head as we see from the left of the screen a man advancing with a pistol. After a few “I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” the first driver quickly returns to his car and speeds away.

        Perfect.

    • Yeah I don’t know about that. I’ve been in and seen enough real fights to know how fast one solid blow to the head can kill you. I carry daily, and will never let anyone get a chance at cracking me in the head. Hand to hand combat is a last resort, when you’re out of ammo.

      • You and me both. I’ve got a plate and 6 screws in my neck that tells me to kill anyone who tries to either punch me in the face or put me in a headlock. Especially the latter.

    • No. Just no.

      The onus of restraint is (or was) on the person who started the attack. Once a level of deadly force has been reached by the attacker, the attacker should have no expectation that their victim will respond with anything less.

      If you choose to learn a less-lethal method, and take on the additional risk that entails, good for you; but that’s your choice. If it “should” be something most people do, that’s the first step on the logical path that leads to Great Britain’s approach of having effectively no legal response available to the victim. (Or no response that is effective and legal, perhaps).

      • Exactly.

        If this becomes the standard then next they’ll be requiring that you carry pepper spray and a taser and try them first before you actually take out your pistol and do what should have been done to start with.

        “…an armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life. For me, politeness is the sine qua non of civilization. That’s a personal evaluation only. But gunfighting has a strong biological use. We do not have enough things that kill off the weak and stupid these days….” – Robert A. Heinlein in “Beyond This Horizon”

    • I’ll roll this all up into one response:

      “When “more people” morph into buff 20-somethings, with icewater in their veins, then sure, BJJ or whatever martial art one favors is a practical response. As long as the bad guys follow the rules…”

      No offense here but you clearly know something on the order of nothing about BJJ and this comment reveals that ignorance. Go take a free month at a good school, get your ass handed to you by a 17 year old girl half your size then come back and tell me about how you have to be a buff “20-something”. Further, no ice water is required. BJJ will chill you the fuck out rapidly or you’ll get put down for a nap for being stupid. Either way, you’ll learn something.

      The fact that Bruce Lee carried guns is immaterial and a straw man since I never said “Don’t carry a gun, train hand to hand”. It should also be noted that Mr. Lee, in his younger days, was known to carry chains and knives while engaging in street fights as a member of a gang.

      “I’ve been in and seen enough real fights to know how fast one solid blow to the head can kill you.”

      Very true, but it’s also true that by the time someone is dragging you out of a car the chances you’ll get your pistol into the fight are very, very slim and that struggle greatly increases the chances that you shoot yourself or someone that you don’t mean to. This person was lucky and the attacker was stupid. Those are facts.

      When you’re tangled up with someone, generally speaking, you’re not going to be able to pull your gat without turning it into a struggle for the gun (if you can draw) and you really don’t want to go from a “fist fight” like this to a fight over your heater.

      “The onus of restraint is (or was) on the person who started the attack…”

      Did I say that it wasn’t? No, I did not. My point is that having some basic training in hand to hand gives you options other than having your only option be pulling a burner and blasting someone.

      For example you don’t need a gun to kill someone who puts you in a headlock. There are a bunch of ways to slightly elevate them and drop them on their head, methods which use physics and require little strength. Doing such a thing on concrete will often prove fatal. However, modifications to those defenses, and some practice, can allow you to put the person down fairly hard and without killing them. That allows you to step back, draw and start yelling at a person who’s probably dazed and in enough pain to stop (barring meth intoxication or something).

      I view such an ability as “insurance”. You might not use it, hell you might not have the chance to use it, but if you do it’s another layer of protection between you and prosecution because you’ve added yet more layers of “I can prove they were a threat to me” to the situation. More tools in your toolbox is never a bad thing.

      • No offense here but you clearly know something on the order of nothing about BJJ and this comment reveals that ignorance. Go take a free month at a good school, get your ass handed to you by a 17 year old girl half your size then come back and tell me about how you have to be a buff “20-something”. Further, no ice water is required. BJJ will chill you the fuck out rapidly or you’ll get put down for a nap for beinay, you’ll learn something.

        None taken – BJJ isn’t taught by any military special forces because, well, they learn Krav Maga….I’ll be happy to put your 17 year-old girl who is close to my size (let alone half of it) on her ass, though I might kill her, so I’d really rather not. BJJ is just another martial art, and as such, only “works” when the participants play by “the rules” of the game. Protip: streetfights have no rules.

        Bruce Lee is not a “strawman”, he’s an illustrator of those who actually realize the limits of their skillsets, and substitute others when they know theirs won’t work.

        Apparently you do not. Good for you, and all that. But if you think Barra will save you, best of luck

      • I’m not calling you a liar, but I’ve gotta call out your whole “17 year old girl” story for what it is. Not a lie, but, a controlled environment with rules. I don’t care what she knows or how she trains. A 17 year old girl has little chance in a real world situation where people don’t square up a have a proper fight. It’s more likely to be in an enclosed area, with nobody else around. Think about it this way, if you wanted to ambush somebody, where and how would you do it? I agree with you about the tool box thing, and training to fight. But I think you may be letting what you’ve seen on the mat effect how dirty the real world gets. Like, have you ever been in or watched military units train (especially when there’s brass present) then see how they perform in actual combat? The later is messy and people panic and all kinds of shit happens. Now training certainly helps but it’s no indicator of how someone will fare in the real world.

      • Multi-spectral training is good. I have some kempo, aikijutsu, and arnis experience, and a lot of aikido.

        However, I separated my support side shoulder on the mat a couple months ago, so my odds of applying much technique at this time are not so good.

        IE, physical conditioning AND condition are limiting factors that may negatively impact MA as defense.

        OTOH, I am still pretty good at not providing a striker or grappler an easy target.

        But at present I am more likely to rely on a .45 or 9mm should a road rager attack than I would normally be, due to constraints from an injury.

  3. Once again I’m glad to live in a state where “fear of x” is not a requirement to use deadly force in self defense. Is the attacker committing a forcible felony? Yes? Good to go.

    • Pretty much the same in Florida.

      If the glass broke and the hands reach in and try to pull me out, I’m in fear of great bodily harm…

      • Right on and the glass doesn’t even have to be broken. Reaching/getting into a car in was one of the things that is specifically covered by the concealed class I took a long time ago (in Tampa). That’s a car jacking.

  4. Fear is such a subjective thing. I would fear that even if she didn’t seriously hurt me, that she’d run me over when I was unconscious after her choke hold. Size doesn’t matter if an enraged, aggressive, attacking person has access to a car

    • While a headlock is very unlikely to knock someone unconscious throwing punches combined with a headlock very well could.

      I would argue that any situation where someone, who’s an aggressor, could reasonably knock you out is a justification for use of whatever force puts an end to that situation because once you’re out cold they can do anything they want to you and you’re absolutely defenseless to stop it.

      That fact, IMHO, allows for a lot of leeway in use of force due to the incapacitating nature of what the other person is doing/trying to do to you.

  5. “I would fear that even if she didn’t seriously hurt me, that she’d run me over when I was unconscious after her choke hold. ”

    Might be a “reasonable fear” for POTG. But for the average “reasonable person” sitting on a jury, unschooled in the law or firearm use for self-protection? Not likely.

    It is the “reasonable” DA, thinking of the “reasonable” people not smart enough to avoid a jury, who ultimately decides to charge or not charge.

    • What a jury in Massachusetts may find unreasonable, a jury in Florida may be just fine with.

      The politics of your jurisdiction do matter…

    • The lady ran my car down, dragged me out, assaulted me. Can you guarantee she would have stopped there? We’re not dealing with a person in a right state of mind. Reasonable people don’t chase down and attack others over minor traffic violation.

      That phrase is enough to provide reasonable doubt for a conviction.

      • “Reasonable people don’t chase down and attack others over minor traffic violation. ”

        But “reasonable people” on a jury are likely to start with “two wrongs don’t make a right”, and go from there. If your position would be you cannot know what the attacker would do if you are unconscious, therefore deadly force is justified, the counter is that since you cannot know what the person would do…you cannot know they would use your depleted state to do further harm; they might just claim victory and go away.

        The “reasonable person” on a jury is not likely to be a gun owner, someone trained in self-defense and self-defense law. That “reasonable” juror is more likely to find no common ground with you, at all. And that is because the “reasonable” juror has the “flight” part of the “fight or flight” equation down pat. A “reasonable” person would find a way to break off the fight and run away. Or drive on the sidewalk to avoid further injury. Or a dozen other excuses.

        The “reasonable” juror is steeped in the culture where “violence never settles anything”, where it is just wrong to take a life under any circumstance, where a person attacked should make every effort to escape and protect themselves from further injury. The “reasonable” juror should not be counted on to be “rational”.

  6. Why is there even a question of use of force? In my state the moment the window broke would have been it.

  7. That is not actually the legal standard in AZ. The standard is one may use deadly force to prevent a “forcible felony”.

    “Fear for your life or fear serious physical injury” is a decent shorthand, as that would elevate simple assault (misdemeanor) to Aggravated Assault (felony). It also “aggravated” if the victim is restrained, cannot get away, a minor 15 years or younger or a member of a “protected class” (i.e. firefighter, cop, court officer, medical professional plus a bunch more).

  8. Locale unfortunately does play a part in the aftermath. In the UK a man is being charged with crimes for taking one of his attackers’ guns away from him and shooting him with it, after they forcibly invaded his house. I would have given him a stern talking to for missing the second perp myself and sent him on his way.

  9. Also under Arizona’s use of force laws. If the person who was shot is charged with, and convicted of, aggravated assault, then the person who defended him or herself is considered Justified and cannot be sued in civil court.

  10. Road rage is just one reason I carry a gun. Here in Florida its a daily occurrence someplace. Im on a motorcycle as I use my bike to commute to work daily and have seen plenty of crap on our roadways.
    I look at it this way. Im on a fully exposed 700lb motorcycle and your in a 3500 pound+ car. Now tell me who has the potential deadly weapon??

  11. “This incident proves yet again that the only thing that stops a bad person with evil in their heart is a good guy or gal with a gun”

    Eh, I’ve beaten the crap out of many a bad person with evil in their heart with just my hands.

    • Hm. And did that stop that person from repeating the offense the following day, against someone more defenseless? You did not stop him, you directed his attention elsewhere.

  12. She showed enormous restraint. It seems she really didn’t want to kill the attacker. She waited far too long, she could have been killed just with a punch to the head.

  13. I just don’t get the whole “road rage” thing. Yeah, I’ve dealt with bungholes on the road like every one else. But I’ve never felt the need to get out of my vehicle and start beating someone.

    Besides, it’s so much more satisfying to mutter things like “nice girlfriend – hey, who needs teeth?”, after the fact. At least for me it is.

  14. Wait a minute…..

    The UNARMED driver started the fight? That can’t be right. The Anti-Gunners area always telling us it is the ARMED drivers who are going to shoot people when they get cut off in traffic or someone steals their parking space.

  15. In my state, all you need is for an attacker displaying hostile intent to cross into the plane of your car’s (domicile) interior to qualify deadly force for self defense.

  16. “The incident reportedly began when one motorist supposedly cut off another vehicle. ”

    They can’t all start this way so I believe none of them do.
    “Cut off” is fake news.

    • No kidding, I would also be curious to how castle doctrine applies to a motor vehicle in a state like AZ. I would think pretty favorably.

  17. This lady broke a car window, beat the snot out of someone, and when threatened with an armed response, assaulted the person threatening her- indicating that she was either very confident or a complete lunatic. Either way, that creates reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm.

  18. I think we inappropriately use the word “fear” when describing self defense law. Fear is an emotion and is subjective. Fear is the belief that a danger exists and that you are helpless to control it, unable to deal with it.
    When you are armed and prepared to defend yourself, you will not feel fear. You will sense that a danger exists and believe that armed response is necessary to stop the threat, and you are capable of doing so.
    For that reason, “Fear for your life/injury” is not what the law says. The law doesn’t care about your emotions at the time.

    ARS 13-411
    A. A person is justified in threatening or using both physical force and deadly physical force against another if and to the extent the person reasonably believes that physical force or deadly physical force is immediately necessary to prevent the other’s commission of…(a list of crimes.)

    B. There is no duty to retreat before threatening or using physical force or deadly physical force justified by subsection A of this section.

    C. A person is presumed to be acting reasonably for the purposes of this section if the person is acting to prevent what the person reasonably believes is the imminent or actual commission of any of the offenses listed in subsection A of this section.

    D. This section includes the use or threatened use of physical force or deadly physical force in a person’s home, residence, place of business, land the person owns or leases, conveyance of any kind, or any other place in this state where a person has a right to be.

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