Altercation With Car Thief Puts a New Spin on ‘Defensive Driving’

masked man sitting in a car

In a bizarre incident near Raleigh, N.C., Bernard Antonio Downing, whose motoring skills are highly suspect, was driving a stolen car when he crashed into another vehicle. Then he crashed into a parked car. Then he turned around and sped straight toward the guy whose car he had just hit.

The car owner drew his gun and shot Downing’s stolen vehicle once as Downing collided with his car a second time. Downing, still behind the wheel, then fled the area.

Whoa, Nelly.

Shortly afterward, officers found the heavily damaged stolen car and took Downing into custody. He already had an outstanding arrest warrant for violating probation following a previous burglary and is now being held without bail.

This seems to have been one of those rare cases in which a vehicle was being used as a potentially lethal weapon, justifying deadly force in return.

Have you ever experienced a self-defense incident on the road? What do you think you’d do in a situation like this?

comments

  1. avatar Mark C says:

    “whose motoring skills are highly suspect”, True, but it’s his consumption of intoxicants that appears to be award-winning.

  2. avatar Gralnok says:

    What would I do? I’d go after him if my car could drive, or open fire if I was disabled. Either way, beatings aplenty.

    1. avatar raptor jesus says:

      That’s a good way to get charged with murder.

  3. avatar Geoff "Mess with the Bull, get the Horns" PR says:

    “This seems to have been one of those rare cases in which a vehicle was being used as a potentially lethal weapon, justifying deadly force in return.”

    I doubt it’s all that rare, frankly. Numerous cops have claimed that they were threatened by a car and opened fire…

    1. avatar FedUp says:

      What’s rare is when it’s actually an attack by the driver and not a cop who jumped in front of a moving vehicle and then shot the driver after the driver took evasive action and went around him.

      1. avatar the ghost of ironicatbest says:

        With a vicious attack poodle riding shotgun, take no chances. Mag dump.

    2. avatar Rm says:

      … well then, maybe we should consider a ban on all assault cars.

  4. avatar ANONNYMOUS says:

    This post is based on what I’ve read here (above), The links contents has nothing about this incident.

    In this instance I did not read where there were other occupants in the victim(s) vehicle. The victim shot the vehicle; did I read that correctly, subsequently the perp fled? Did the perp flee under her/his own power or was there an accomplice with another vehicle?

    Ok, enough of that …

    Let the insurance company handle it. Once you see the perp can’t keep the vehicle under her/his control, just move to safety, then call the insurance company and 911.

    Was the perp attempting a mass casualty event? If not let the moron go in the already damaged vehicle s/he is unable to control. The victim(s) vehicle is already damaged.

    To shoot at or chase the perp (no longer an immediate threat to you and yours), for what valid reason? That said, regardless of any Federal, State or local law applied:

    1) The perpetrator(s), if caught, ‘may’ get convicted, get sentenced, then released; all at tax payers expense. A slap on the wrist. Your property remains damaged; now your doubly pissed because ‘you’ the victim –don’t taste a flavor of justice you were hoping for.

    2)Should the DGU[sers’] shot(s) have hit the perp, if lucky or fortunate, will only face a civil suit, and the expenses thereof, from the perpetrator(s) surviving relatives.

    I could be wrong.

  5. avatar Michael Stilinovich says:

    Have you ever experienced a self-defense incident on the road? What do you think you’d do in a situation like this?
    You mean after I crap my pants ?

    1. avatar ANONNYMOUS says:

      Yes, I live, and work on the road. I deal with this behavior everyday. Not everyone can be prepared for instances such as this, or think on their feet fast enough. Key= ‘move out of the way’; don’t play chicken with a moving vehicle just because you have a handgun. In this case, a car was shot, the vehicle is still damaged. I bet the perp will be out in less than 7-10.

      1. avatar Gralnok says:

        Of course you don’t just stand there with your gun, you move out of the way. That done, open fire when it is safe to do so. If that means firing at the back of the car or rear window, do so.

        1. avatar ANONNYMOUS says:

          If you are out of the way, the engagement has been terminated, unless the actor repeats the threat or the DGU\ser reignites the issue; I have not read (yet) where the initial actor presented a repeat threat to cause intentional grieves bodily harm to the defensive gun user a second time, Any which way you slice or dice it, based on the original posting ‘here’, the property is already damaged.

          Shooting the perp/actor is going to serve what purpose (exactly)? You cannot get restitution from a corpse or an un/under employed inmate.

          Let the insurance company handle their business. Or you can handle it as you see fit/otherwise. Let TTAG know how that works for you.

  6. avatar the ghost of ironicatbest says:

    What would ironicatbest do? Get out of his car and cuss at the damage caused….. the ghost of ironicatbest wonders why did the guy shoot the car? And where is center mass, or do you aim at the baby Groot sticker or the Sig sticker, all this happens fast I’ve not got time to dilly dally making decisions..

  7. avatar Mad Max says:

    Seems like a job for a .50 BMG. I guess a S&W .500 might do in a pinch😀.

    Or maybe a .44 Magnum; didn’t Dirty Harry say something about it going clean thru an engine block?

  8. avatar Ralph says:

    “one of those rare cases in which a vehicle was being used as a potentially lethal weapon”

    Actually, they aren’t all that rare.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicle-ramming_attack#List_of_terrorist_attacks

    And those are just major attacks, and don’t include the run-of-the-mill @ssh0le attacks.

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