A 41-year old Madison man was able to stop an attack on a woman Thursday night by pointing his handgun at a suspect who was battering the victim. The gun owner said he feared the woman would be killed if he did not intervene. The incident started inside his Park Street apartment building. He heard screams for help coming from a common hallway and went to find out what was happening. He observed the suspect standing over a 39-year old woman. She was in a fetal position, and the suspect was stomping on her head. He yelled for the man to stop, but his pleas fell on deaf ears. The beating continued. The concerned citizen went back to his apartment.
He wanted to call for help, but could not locate his cell phone, so he grabbed his handgun. He went back into the hallway, and pointed it at the suspect, and once again ordered the beating to stop. This time the suspect paid heed. The woman seized the opportunity to rise, and the citizen yelled for her to get out of the building. He kept his weapon trained on the suspect.
The suspect initially swore at the citizen, but later calmed down, and said he was only defending himself after the woman pulled a knife on him. Feeling the situation had defused, the citizen secured the weapon in his pants, just as police arrived. Officers were responding to reports of a weapons offense. Dispatch had advised there was a man holding a gun, and pointing it at another man. Not knowing the circumstances, both were ordered to the ground and handcuffed.
The citizen was very cooperative, the suspect not so much. He yelled obscenities, and threatened to harm officers as he resisted arrest. Once officers understood the situation, the citizen was released. He explained how he initially tried to find his phone, and how he made the decision to confront the suspect at gunpoint. It was clear he was shaken by the incident. He knew getting the gun out could have resulted in a very bad situation, but was also very afraid that if he did nothing the woman might end up dead.
The woman, who was not seriously injured, claimed she had come to the building to use the suspect’s cell phone. The suspect claims he and the woman were going to have a romantic interlude after meeting in a park, but that did not happen, because she pulled a knife on him. He was arrested on tentative charges listed above.