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DGUOTD: Atlanta Mother Shoots Burglar Edition

TTAG reader Christoff writes:

The home defense story out of Atlanta on Friday undermines two myths that, since the Newtown school massacre, have been much bandied about by pundits, most of whom have as much authority to talk about gun use as they do the mechanics of cancer research. In this case, a burglar armed with a crowbar ransacked a house until he found a woman and her two children cowering in the attic. Instead of being defenseless and at his mercy, the woman was armed with a 6-shot .38-caliber revolver. She opened fire, striking him five times. He escaped, collapsed later and is now in the hospital. One data point doesn’t prove anything, but casts a couple articles of anti-gun orthodoxy deep in doubt . . .

1. The average citizen shouldn’t carry weapons because he or she can’t shoot as well as the police.

In this case, the mother hiding with her children in the attack hit the home invader 5 times out of six shots fired. That kind of accuracy is better than just about anything displayed in an average police shooting. Consider that a study by the Police Policy Studies Council showed that a local PD the author considered one of the better trained in the nation, the Baltimore County Police Department, had a hit percentage of only 64 percent over the 13 year period that was studied.

2. High capacity magazines are unnecessary for regular people and should be possessed only by the police and military.

First, the police and military weren’t in the house ready to defend this woman and her children. She had to defend herself, and even her accurate shooting left the home invader able to flee. A more determined, or perhaps more drugged, offender might have been able to continue his attack when she ran out of ammo. If a second or third intruder had accompanied him, it could have turned out very badly for the family. The much-demonized Glock handgun, with 15 or more bullets, would have been a better defense. An AR-15 with a 30-shot magazine, better still.

There are plenty of well-meaning but naive anti-gun people who, if they had their way, would have left this woman and her children defenseless in the face of an armed intruder. If they succeed in passing magazine limits and restrictions on semi-automatic rifles, they will not prevent a single crime, but will clearly reduce the ability of citizens to defend themselves when faced with multiple intruders.

[DGUOTD = Defensive Gun Use of the Day]


  1. avatar Saul Feldstein says:

    Be careful, the usurpers will just say the above case proves nobody needs more than 6 shots.

  2. avatar Swarf says:

    Obviously we can’t assume they were all center mass, but damn! 5 hits and the guy was still ambulatory? I’m thinking meth was a factor here.

    That or I need to rethink my .38 as an “answering the door” gun.

    1. avatar Sammy says:

      My “doorman” is a .45

      1. avatar S.CROCK says:

        5 to the face! dang, i would think a even .22 would have done the job…correctly. i still trust 9mm

        1. avatar duke nukem says:

          my “butler” is a S&W Sigma 9 and her” servants” varies from AR to AK to good old Mosin

    2. avatar CarlosT says:

      Face and neck shots.

    3. avatar In Memphis says:

      Just imagine 30 of .223 or 5.56

      1. avatar S.CROCK says:

        those are just for the bad guys. they obviously can not be used for self defense by responsible gun owners. only purpose is mass murdering. (sarcasm mode off)

    4. avatar Mark N. says:

      The news article I read on this shooting said he had a bullet wounds to his stomach, liver and lung, and face, and that four of the shots were through and through.

      1. avatar William says:

        Through and through. This message brought to you by .45 ACP. We don’t go on looking for secondary targets.

    5. avatar Evan says:

      If you can shoot it well, its a good door gun.

  3. avatar OkieRim says:

    I wonder if she will purchase another gun, one that has a clip (LOL) that holds more than 6 rounds, just to be on the safe side & all that?

    1. avatar Rick says:

      Hopefully it will be a 9mm or 40 with a full size magazine in the gun and a 2nd in the pocket. The only thing I need a clip for is more rapid loading of my AR

  4. avatar jwm says:

    Shotgun and .38. Apparently she didn’t get the memo.

    1. avatar Jay Dunn says:

      Apparently she didn’t get the Speer Gold Dots for short-barreled revolvers.

      1. avatar TTACer says:

        Speers didn’t do that great in the AR review a couple months ago. I am switching to Golden Sabers.

        1. avatar jwm says:

          I use the old FBI load in my snubby and 4 inch mod. 10. Lead semi wadcutter hollow point +p. But caliber and load really don’t mean much without a solid hit. If even one of those 5 hits had penetrated his skull we wouldn’t be having this talk.

          Grazing wounds through the fleshy part of the neck and head, while painful and messy don’t tend to be fatal.

          The handgun, regardless of caliber should be a back up to a shotgun or rifle. I happen to prefer a shotgun. YMMV.

        2. avatar Jay Dunn says:

          Golden Sabers and the old FBI loads are fine for your 4 and 5 inch barrels but pretty much only CCI Speer makes the +P JHPs for 2″ barrels.

    2. avatar Rick says:

      I would think a shotgun or AR style would be a bit unwieldy in a crawl space. A larger caliber gun with a lot more ammo would work well where she was. It is a pity that he didn’t go tango uniform before he made it to the hospital where the taxpayers will have to fork over the money to keep his worthless self from becoming DRT.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        I myself would not have retreated all the way to the crawl space. You’ve breached my door with my loved ones in danger. You get a large, ugly well armed southern boy in your grill.

        1. avatar BlindKyle says:

          Well said.

        2. avatar Mark Chamberlain says:

          The problem is she is not a large ugly southern boy. Whether she was well armed is debatable. We all enter a fight with what we are and the tools at hand. If we are not Rambo before the fight, we will not be Rambo when it starts. Given the circumstances, she did well. She achieved a “stop”. That’s the ultimate goal of a DGU. Most likely a psychological stop with a little pain compliance added. The perp decided his life was not worth continuing the attack and retreated. She did her job. She successfully defended herself and her children. I do believe more ammo capacity would have served her better though.

  5. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    I was going to point out what Christoff said, that the 6 round capacity in the handgun was marginal for one attacker — imagine if there had been more attackers and the women were not as accurate. And the home invader apparently had plenty of time to search through the whole home and then venture to the attic before police arrived.

    But this women may not have been able to defend herself and her children under many elements of gun control. This is why gun control is insane.

  6. avatar flboots says:

    Good for her. Point is you don,t mess with a women with kids. They get very mean when defending the children.

  7. avatar SPEMack says:

    Somewhere there is an MSN article calling the Mother a “trigger happy mommy”

    1. avatar Brian says:

      Apparently, MSN changed that wording. Wonder if anybody got a screen shot of it before they took it down.

  8. avatar SCS says:

    Sorry to hear the POS scumbag will live. Where is Darwin when we need him??

  9. avatar Lance says:

    Shows we need 15rd mags to kill deadly fellons six shots dont count it. By the way for revolvers I prefer .357 mag or .44 mag they do the job .38 and .44 spec wont.

  10. avatar Adam says:

    She hit him with five shots in the face and neck. The guy then ran to his car and drove away. Five shots in the face/neck!?!?! And he was able to run off!?!??! What was this guy on?!?!?

    1. avatar Carrymagnum says:

      Don’t know but that’s something on all the doomsday preppers checklists.

    2. avatar Rob says:

      That doesn’t surprise me to be honest.

      The notion of a “one-shot-kill” is a hollywood fantasy.

      The laws of motion prevent someone from being thrown back after being shot. (Unless they happen to trip backwards.) Think about it: A shot powerful enough to throw someone backwards, is also powerful enough to throw the shooter back in the opposite direction.

      The shooters in the miami shootout of 1986, one of them was shot in the chest, and while he was bleeding to death, he managed to take a couple FBI agents down with him.

      The bad guy could be drugged out of his mind, and won’t know what planet they are on, let alone any pain, or it could be adrenaline keeping them going.

      Shoot to stop the threat. If that means to shoot to kill, then so be it.

      1. avatar Matt in FL says:

        “The notion of a “one-shot-kill” is a hollywood fantasy.”

        Exactly. Barring a direct central nervous system hit, someone who is shot is going to die by exsanguination. A perforated femoral artery gives you 8-10 seconds to live, virtually anything else is going to be longer than that. You can pull the trigger a lot of times in 8 seconds.

  11. avatar W C says:

    Why did she call her husband, and not 911?

    1. avatar great unknown says:

      Whom would you trust more? Calling 911 would bring the police probably after it was too late, and for advice, she definitely trusted her husband.

      1. avatar William says:

        I agree. Plus, they may have shot her instead of the perp.

    2. avatar S.CROCK says:

      10 minutes isn’t a luxury everybody has.

    3. avatar Bob says:

      Calling the cops can often be a very bad idea. These days, especially around where I live, the cops are experts at escalating situations in order to make additional arrests. I know, sometimes you have to, like in this situation when shots are fired and a perp was hit, but cops are all to often out to victimize otherwise peaceful people by their escalation tactics. Google “Antonio Buehler” for a prime example.

    4. avatar Alex says:

      I saw a report stating that she called the husband to ask if he expected to have anyone come over that day.

  12. avatar great unknown says:

    In fairness to the well-trained police out there [and by that I specifically exclude NYPD and Chicago], she was shooting at point-blank range.

    As far as gun capacity, she had the composure to threaten to shoot again – even after she realized the gun was empty. That’s what broke the perp. I wonder who trained her. Or is this SOP for a mother protecting her cubs.

    1. avatar Herb says:

      Need the toxicology report on the perp who must have been higher than a kite. He is still stealing oxygen which is a shame.

      My answering the door gun is now a .45 auto rim revolver.

  13. avatar darkstar says:

    I’m curious as to what revolver she had. 5 hits with a (probably) double action revolver, under stress, and a (probably) heavy DA pull….pretty darn good. Too bad the guy didn’t go toes up, but still she was able to stop the threat at least.

  14. avatar great unknown says:

    Relating this to the previous post about MSM: has anybody seen this story on any outlet besides Fox, which picked up a local story?

    1. avatar OkieRim says:

      No, i just checked CNN and it aint on there….

      1. avatar Rick says:

        Why would it? It doesn’t play into their desire to emasculate the public and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t get published.

    2. avatar CarlosT says:

      You won’t see it. That’s part of the problem. The black swan cases of some unstable nut shooting up a school will be in the headlines for months while cases like this, which happen much more frequently, make the local news and then are quickly forgotten.

      Part of the reason for that is the nutjob cases are so rare and so attention grabbing. But an even bigger part is that guns as a positive force doesn’t fit the worldview of those who select stories to run on the networks. Guns are evil bringers of violence and nothing good could ever come from them. Good people aren’t supposed to have anything to do with them.

  15. avatar Ivan w/ an AR says:

    And THIS is why I use a wonder-9. Sometimes 6 shots is not nearly enough (or 10, for that matter)!

    1. avatar WC says:

      And this is why I use a wonderful K-9. One look at my 100+lb shepherd mix, and the bad guy rethinks breaking the door that stands between him and my dog’s teeth.

  16. avatar Greg Camp says:

    Another point–this answers the question of why anyone would “need” more than one gun. If Alpha doesn’t do the job, there’s always Omega…

  17. avatar Jon says:

    I really like the way the father talked to the media. Polite, pointed, and…done.

    1. avatar Sammy says:

      Even took off his hat. He didn’t do such a good job of hiding his pride in his wife. Well done Mrs.

  18. avatar Sammy says:

    MSN’s twitter page still has the “trigger happy mom” text as of 5:30 et. If the person who composed this has kids, I wonder to what lengths they would go to in the same situation.

    1. avatar In Memphis says:

      “I wonder to what lengths they would go to in the same situation.”

      They would wait for the good guys

  19. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Not that rights are “need” based … but I will humor those who argue that citizens don’t need “high capacity” magazines and military style firearms. So building upon Christoff’s points that every day citizens have a profoundly legitimate need for high capacity magazines and military style semi-automatic firearms, here is a quote from the FBI’s 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment. If this doesn’t justify a need, I don’t know what does.

    “Gangs encourage members, associates, and relatives to obtain law enforcement, judiciary, or legal employment in order to gather information on rival gangs and law enforcement operations. Gang infiltration of the military continues to pose a significant criminal threat, as members of at least 53 gangs have been identified on both domestic and international military installations. Gang members who learn advanced weaponry and combat techniques in the military are at risk of employing these skills on the street when they return to their communities.”

    “Gang members are acquiring high-powered, military-style weapons and equipment which poses a significant threat because of the potential to engage in lethal encounters with law enforcement officers and civilians. Typically firearms are acquired through illegal purchases; straw purchases via surrogates or middle-men, and thefts from individuals, vehicles, residences and commercial establishments. Gang members also target military and law enforcement officials, facilities, and vehicles to obtain weapons, ammunition, body armor, police gear, badges, uniforms, and official identification.”

    You can read these quotes and the entire report here:

  20. avatar JAS says:

    Good for her! It’s simple math. I you use the police numbers cited a 15 round magazine is really a …. wait for it ….. A 10-ROUND MAGAZINE! 15 x 64% = 9.6 rounds. If you meet two attackers with a true 10-round magazine you have 10 x 64% = 6.4 rounds to resolve the issue, that’s three apiece. It’s not nearly enough, ask the lady shooter….

    This should be the main argument against magazine bans. And then, have some military people testify at hearings. Everyone of them will tell you that a handgun is a last resort, desperate situation DEFENSIVE weapon, used only when the rifle is either out of those 30-rounds or inoperative.

  21. avatar Matt in SD says:

    She went 5 for 6 to the neck and face and the guy was still able to get in his vehicle and drive away…thank God there wasn’t two bad guys….

  22. avatar mountainpass says:

    Another home invasion shooting happened the very same day in a different Metro Atlanta city, with a starkly different result:

    The lady homeowner heard the intruders, ran, and hid….unarmed …..and was shot multiple times when they found her.

  23. avatar stormchaser says:

    For those of you who have never been shot, you have to remember a few things.

    First, only hits in the vitals count; heart, lungs

    Second, the human skull is very strong, if you don’t hit in the sinuses, basically a small triangle between the eyes and mouth, the 9mm or .38 is not going to penetrate.

    We have people getting shot in my town every night (average 7 victims/night). Wounds that just go through muscle get bandages and pain killers. I remember one not too long ago the lady had like five or six gunshot wounds and was treated & released.

    Also, shotgun, home carry, stfu, etc.

  24. avatar 40&2000 says:

    No way this happened. We all know the intrude would have taken the gun away from her and murdered the whole family with her gun.

  25. avatar g says:

    Mom defender her kids against a felon with a crowbar. Glad to hear she and her family are OK. Hopefully this story gets more press!

  26. avatar RockThisTown says:

    A perp who picked the wrong Mama Grizz . . . a pistol-packin’ Mama Grizz. Atta girl.

  27. avatar Alex says:

    Why exactly isn’t this mom being venerated on every news channel in the country for being the hero that she is? Why do we celebrate when government agents kill a bad guy, but a brave mother protecting her children gets no respect? Why do we think it would be more noble if this mother sacrificed herself to save her kids rather than showing them the virtues of strength, determination, and the will to survive? Why can’t anti-gun advocates understand that guns are merely tools – tools that can be, and are, used to save innocent lives?

  28. avatar Saltyfly says:

    If Mom had the AR handy should could have saved all the tax payers some $$ by finishing the job as he tried to drive off. Never mind that he was trying to flee…….once you enter my families space as an uninvited guest you are going down.

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