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The DGU Week In Review

Got a big weekend planned? Don’t forget your carry piece, OK? Six days ago, I started cataloging defensive gun use articles from newspapers around the US and can tell you that a heater can come in handy. I figured a few minutes a day would be enough to track down and log the few articles I’d find on the Intertubes. Boy, was I wrong. In just six days, I accumulated over sixty articles. Yep, my highly developed Google-fu skills netted an average of ten DGUs a day being reported in the local newspapers across the country. That’s ten citizens defending themselves. Every day. And those are just the ones that made the paper . . .

Of course, not all DGUs are the kind of events we’d hold up as examples of extraordinary performance in difficult circumstances. Like the guy who, after dispatchers warned him to stay in his home, grabbed his BB gun and confronted a man who broke into his truck. “There’s a man in my truck, you better get somebody or I’ll shoot him right through the windshield,” isn’t something you want on a 911 recording after a defensive gun use.

Most cases, however, are lawful and legitimate. What did I discover? There’s no one specific geographical location (although Florida tops the list with the most incidents), it doesn’t matter if the neighborhood is good or bad, and more often than not, robbing just about any kind of store is a great way to get yourself shot.

What can you take away from this, dear TTAG reader? Well, you could just as likely face a life-threatening situation while at work as you could getting cash from an ATM or dropping by the liquor store to replenish your single malt stock. Shit happens and you best be ready for it.

First, let’s take a look at DGUs gone wrong – instances where the gun user made a bad situation worse. As I mentioned earlier, Sanford Ketcham tops this list after holding his truck burglar at bay with an unloaded BB gun. After making sure his threats were recorded by 911. Good thing that particular perp didn’t have his own gun or Mr. Ketcham would have discovered that an empty BB gun is among the the worst things you can bring to a gunfight.

A tragic case occurred in Houston last weekend when a homeowner (later found to be an illegal alien) heard noises outside and saw a guy breaking into his car with a shovel. So he shot him. The shooter’s brother-in-law recounts: “…he heard a loud noise outside and he came out, pulled a gun and shot the suspect,” leaving Kyle Jones, 25 mortally injured.

Under Texas law, according to a representative of the HPD Homicide Department, “…as a homeowner, you have the right to protect your home and yourself. That’s one of the things that can occur in the state of Texas, and according to the homeowner, at this point, that’s what it appears to be.” No charges have been filed, but it looks like the shooter will get a ticket out of the country. Since he was here illegally, he was also illegally in possession of the gun.

In Sumter, South Carolina, a masked bad guy took one in the ass as he was fleeing an armed robbery. No matter how thick the red mist, how adrenaline-pumped and angry you are, shooting at a fleeing crook is a bad, bad idea. The threat no longer exists, there’s likely no way to be aware of what’s beyond the target and if a cop happened by, you could end up perforated, too. If the (former) threat is running away, nothing good will come from pulling the trigger.

Most DGU shooters, though, do the right things – avoiding aggression until it’s determined that a life is at stake, for example – and the articles bear out the horror and fear of facing extermination. Let’s look at a few:

One of the most popular incidents on the firearm and self-defense blogs was the defense of a jewelry store against five robbers by a darling little sixty-five year old woman in Garden Grove, California. This awesome video tells the story better than I can.

On the other side of the continent, another jewelry store faced a group of thugs who thought it wise to dress up as cops and clear out Marcelo’s Jewelry Store. As soon as store owner Marcelo Suarez realized the guys he buzzed in weren’t really police officers, he ran for it, dodging bullets. He returned fire, hitting one assailant.

One of the biggest reasons for carrying a gun is as a force equalizer, especially for women. Imagine being forcefully abducted, kidnapped and raped. On second thought don’t, even though an unnamed Cobb County, Georgia resident lived through that nightmare. But before things could get any worse for her (as in ending up dead), she, “was able to obtain a handgun and she fired upon the perpetrator several times,” according to Clayton County Sgt Otis Willis.

The details aren’t out, but this was one person who didn’t give up. She kept her awareness at a heightened level, actively found a way to escape and executed her plan – not to mention her attacker.

Robbing a liquor store where guys open-carry 1911’s is just a bad idea any way you look at it. The outcome in this case was predictable and two armed robber wannabes are now sporting IVs at the local hospital. (h/t to redditor Travesura for providing the open-carry 1911 info.)

Last, but certainly not least is this heartwarming story of three down-on-their-luck guys who thought it would be the cat’s meow to bust into a gun store, Mad Max style. ProTip: guys who own gun stores are usually really good shots. They usually have access to all the really fun toys and have more ammo than a National Guard armory.

So ramming your truck into a store where the owner and his wife have an apartment in the back, well, that carries a high probability of getting you shot and killed – just like K’Raven Aude Goodwin who left the Guns and Ammo Gunsmith shop with a sheet over his head. And the next time someone asks, “why the hell do you need a large capacity magazine?” you can share this little blurb with them:

According to the report, one of the suspect shouted ‘kill the [expletive],’ and that’s when the owner emptied a 30 round magazine before retreating to his room to get more ammunition.

If you’d like to browse though the week’s DGU reports, I’ve set up a subreddit, /r/dgu over at reddit. Each week I’ll be exhaustively searching the local news around the country to keep the list up to date. If you have articles to share, please submit them to the subreddit. So until next week, keep safe and carry one.


  1. avatar JOE MATAFOME says:

    Great job David, and I hope that “The DGU Week In Review” stays as a regular series on TTAG. I’m hoping the mikey the REALLY NASTY FLAME DELETED is having a hissy fit after reading your great article.

    1. Thanks, Joe. As long as there are DGU incidents, I’ll be writing this column. Mikey’s welcome to post his anecdotes; you guys do a great job of keeping him informed.

      1. avatar Josh in GA says:

        Forever is a long time David :). Thanks for the great read. Keep’em coming.

      2. avatar Jarhead1982 says:

        David, did the same several years ago just to see, I only counted an avg 80 per month over a 3 month span.

        Let us know if that trend is consistent and will update my notes.

        Now the question I have is what exactly are you going to do with the data besides count incidents?

        time of day, where (home or away from home),# of times shots fired, # of times shots not fired, # of people in danger, # of bad guys hit-injured-killed, weapons used in self defense, weapons used by bad guys and the # of times they shot etc, etc?

        It would be really nice to have a number of people saved so you can develop a solid $ amount to attach to people saved.

        Keep it up though, more documented evidence to add to the landslide of data to shove down the antis throat is always a welcome thing.

        1. That’s the plan, once I have a few months worth of data.

      3. avatar Jarhead1982 says:

        Yeah, we got to have our comic relief on this website talking shop with people who agree on most everything is kinda boring.

    2. avatar Mikeb302000 says:

      Well, I don’t know if I’m having a hissy fit, but it didn’t take long to discover that David Liberman is full of it. The numbers are not what he said, and they include people who were arrested for murder.

      His “10 a day” cold be cut in half if we used one basic criterion like “defensive” use of guns. Then of the remaining, we’ve got the usual lying reports by people who fortunately have no witnesses to what they did.

      So, yeah, maybe one a day. Add the ones that don’t make the news and you’ve got your 500 a year that I figure are legit.

      We got down to it recently in the comments of this post if you’re interested.

      1. Here we go again. Mike’s calling me a liar, and now I have to take time out of my day to defend myself. Let’s see, what are the accusations du jour?

        1. I include DGU articles where people were arrested for murder (note he did not state that the shooter was arrested).
        2. I included non-defensive use of guns.
        3. There are “lying people” reports – hearsay – and there were no witnesses to substantiate or refute the report.

        First, Mike, if you took the time to read the sidebar where the articles are posted, it states, “Articles regarding defensive gun use statistics are also welcomed, as are stories of DGUs gone wrong, or incidents where the defensive gun user had no business pulling the trigger.” I am not looking to cherry-pick stories that are beneficial to the to the Secret DGU Agenda.

        Second, if I take the most recent ten articles (note that all you did was whine, you never gave examples, which is typical to your methodology), let’s see what we have (links are at

        Homeowner Shoots Man During Argument: dispute with a neighbor, who drove his truck to the dgu shooter’s house, got out approached him, ignored warnings to back off, including warning shots, got shot. Witness? The neighborhood.

        Teen shot after he and others attempt to rob retired police sergeant: four yoots jumped a guy, tried to grab his gun, got shot. Sorry, no witness on this one except the retired cop and one of the kids who was caught and interviewed.

        Shots fired at thief by elderly man robbed: four old folks walking down the street, guy robs them, one of the senior citizens shoots as he leaves, guy shoots back. Witness? Three other old folks.

        Shotgun robber no match for victim with handgun: guy puts a shotgun to the head of a man in his car at Walgreens, guy in car is a CCW holder, shoots the guy in the hip (car doors are concealment, not cover). Witness? Evidence. Local police who reported finding a guy hiding nearby with a gunshot wound. Shotgun found lying on ground. Guy with hole had multiple warrants including previous robbery.

        Autopsy gives cause of death in deadly force case: guy breaks in to woman’s home, ignores requests to leave, keeps trying to get into her bedroom where she made her stand and shot him three times. He kept coming after the first shot. Witness? 911 recording.

        Bogalusa woman shoots, kills intruder: Guy breaks into a woman’s house, then this happens: “He pulled a gun and demanded money, but she was able to get the gun away from him. He then armed himself with a stick or a board from the yard and went back at her. She shot him with his own gun.” Witness? Two children and her mother.

        Mike, what was it again that you were bitching about?

        1. avatar Jarhead1982 says:

          Lol knew the bad penny would start flapping its lips with nothing more than substantiated emotional ka ka LOL. Go get I’m Dave.

        2. avatar Jarhead1982 says:

          Lol knew the bad penny would start flapping its lips with nothing more than unsubstantiated emotional BS LOL. Go get I’m Dave.

        3. avatar Mikeb302000 says:

          ” I am not looking to cherry-pick stories that are beneficial to the to the Secret DGU Agenda. ”

          Really? You’re completely objective and have no preference yourself?

          You can spin it all you want, but what you did was compile a list that included criminal acts, even murder as well as lots of unsubstantiated nonsense – plus a few legit DGUs.

          Add all the good ones up and add a few for those unreported cases that we suppose take place and you get around 500.

  2. avatar 2wheels says:

    I like the gun store one, it reminded me of the epic Harry Beckwith story. One of the few DGUs where a full auto gun was used.

    Gun store, pawn shop, and jewelry store owners are some of the people I’d avoid if I ever decided to turn to a life of crime. They tend to be the kind of guys who pack serious heat (especially on the job), and know how to use it. Almost all of the craziest DGU stories I’ve ever read involved one of those three types of shop owners.

    1. avatar IdahoPete says:

      Yeah – “serious failure of the victim selection process.”

      Gotta be some Darwinian selection going on for any idiot who would try to rob a gun store.

    2. avatar Jarhead1982 says:

      Donut shops arent exactly safe to rob either as they tend to attract guys wearing blue and pistols!

  3. avatar greg says:

    They tried to rob a gun store in Augusta-where the cops petitioned the gov’t to allow them to carry automatic weapons?

    1. avatar Josh in GA says:

      The Augusta one is even better because the robbers yelled “kill the ******”. That is a pretty good reason to escalate to deadly force. With an AR-15 no less.

      But seriously, why would you even attempt to rob a gun store? You have to know that the owners and workers are going to be packing some serious heat. Thats just pure and simple dumb, even for a criminal.

      1. avatar 2wheels says:

        I’m assuming in this case that they did not know the owner lived in the back of the store. Or maybe they’re stupid… Could be both!

      2. avatar BuddhaKat says:

        Dumb is implicit when you’re a criminal. The choice to turn to crime is rarely a smart one.

        Uncle Ted put it best when he said “I don’t like repeat offenders, I like dead offenders.”

  4. avatar Silver says:

    Good article. Unfortunate that 99 percent of the country will just hear more about the theater shooting on the MSM rather than these stories that show how any lives were saved in just one week by guns.

  5. avatar Greg Camp says:

    Someone tell Mikeb302000. He made the claim a few days ago on his blog that the low number of defensive gun uses reported here was evidence that there are hardly any in reality.

  6. avatar Aharon says:

    Thanks, that was fun to read over my Saturday morning coffee. Your piece reminded me of a pro-gun site I haven’t visited in years that compiles and reports daily gun self-defense.

  7. avatar jwm says:

    in the last 30 years i have had 3 dgu’s that were unreported to anybody but my immediate circle. no shots were fired and since i had no permit i wasn’t in a hurry to call the cops. beyond that i’ve been in a dgu where shots were fired by both parties. this was in wva where these things sometimes happen and because law enforcement was stretched so thin they were never involved. i was not hit and i don’t believe the other guy was either. to thid day i believe it was either mistaken identity on his part or it was an attempt to get payback on my rat bastard uncle. either way i was glad for my gun. there have been other time where iwas comforted by the presence of my gun as some are by their bibles.

  8. avatar Lance says:

    What is up with that grip? Also, it looks like a 1911, but… the silhouette isn’t quite right somehow. I would say bushing compensator, but the front sight would then be on the bushing.. weird. But not as weird as that grip…..

    1. avatar FCMatt says:

      It’s probably one of the extended 5inch + competition pistols that don’t have the full length guide rod. Like a 5 inch version of the springfield FBI pistol.

    2. avatar Matthew says:

      Third digit/middle, trigger finger. Supposed to help with point shooting.

      1. avatar Don says:

        Here is an explanation. I don’t personally like this method because while the point your finger thing is true it drastically reduces the strength on your grip on the gun which I find hurts more than the pointing helps.

  9. avatar Matt says:

    Very thorough surveillance video from the Tampa jewelry store incident:

    Also, great article! I love seeing DGUs but its so frustrating to see how they are so thin in journalistic substance most of the time and almost always used as filler in the back pages of the newspapers. Keep it up TTAG!

  10. avatar Rokurota says:

    Who names their kid K’Raven? Unless it’s a family name or you’re a Spider Man fan (or Nicolas Cage), you’re just dooming your kid to a fate like this.

    1. avatar SCS says:

      Ain’t No Cure for Stupid!

  11. avatar philthegardner says:

    Greetings Mr. Liberman. Just thought you may want to peruse the following site:
    They have an interesting trove and the topic is similar.

    1. Thanks, Phil, I’ll give it a look.

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