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A quick-thinking Chicago motorist shot and killed an aspiring car jacker, displaying many of the techniques that an armed self-defender should master.

“Police believe that Ronald Morales, 43, made eye contact with the motorist who was pumping gas at the time, exited the store at the gas station, walked over to the car and pulled out his gun,” reports. “By the time Morales was near the car, the motorist was already back in the car.”

As you can see in the video, Mr. Morales hid his weapon from the un-named motorist — until the perp opened the passenger door. At that point, the armed citizen saw the firearm and took immediate evasive action.

He might have shot through the window. But, as Jon Wayne Taylor pointed out in yesterday’s Tactical Fitness Vehicle Close Combat post, a car is a coffin. Failing the ability to drive away, leaving the vehicle was the right choice. Which may also have been motivated by the defender’s need to stand up to draw his firearm.

The motorist’s choice of cover was also laudable. That’s right, cover. As JWT told us, a vehicle’s wheel and axle joint can stop bullets.

If you were being churlish, you could say that that our hero got married to cover. That he should have moved away from the vehicle after shooting; the bad guy could have easily repositioned himself for a clear shot. But hey, result.

Also worth noting: the attacker didn’t die on the spot. He was fully mobile after taking a round center mass.

Thanks to an armed good guy, there’s one less bad guy walking around the streets of the Windy City.

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  1. Good shoot and quick thinking. Not to Monday morning quarterback, but it’s also worth noting that there were non-combatants in the Explorer pulling up behind he pump just as the shots started. Lucky ending, but know your target and what lies beyond it.

    • Lucky ending, but know your target and what lies beyond it.

      Serious question:
      (1) The carjacker has absolutely ZERO regard for where his/her bullets land and sprays to his/her heart’s content.
      (2) The sooner that the defender incapacitates the attacker, the sooner the attacker’s bullets stop flying toward bystanders.
      Do those facts justify a more urgent effort to incapacitate the attacker as soon as possible — even at the expense of the defender using less care to “know what lies beyond your target”?

      • Logically, yes. Legally, no – you’re still criminally and civilly responsible for every round that leaves your weapon. Especially in places like Chicago.

        • General Zod,

          Good observation. Yes, I meant from a logical sense … wondering (more like dreaming) that it might go all the way to actual legal doctrine some day.

        • Criminal culpability and civil liability depend on the state. It isn’t absolutely your responsibility. That means there’s a threshold to meet. Don’t act recklessly, and be sure the D.A. or jury agrees with you, and you’re fine.

          Obviously, it’s more complex than just that, but neither is it tge case that you take blame for every shot you fire regardless of the circumstances. In fact, suppose the defender had hit and killed the SUV occupant. That death would accrue to the car jacker, had he lived.

        • Any link to a good guy being held liable of damage done by a defensive stray bullet in a scenario like this?

      • They would if I was on the jury, but I wouldn’t want to be put in that situation if I could avoid it. That being said, it doesn’t look like this defender could have done much else other than die in place. Just because you know your target’s background doesn’t mean you have the luxury of not shooting. I suppose it’s better to live with the consequences of a stray round than get killed. Either way, this guy pulled it off and that’s what counts.

    • Good luck with that in a firefight. Great advice for the range but in real life, it ain’t happening. Sorry, it just isn’t. If someone is shooting at you, you ARE going to lose your peripheral vision. You ARE going to lose focus except on the target (tunnel vision). You are probably also going to get severe auditory exclusion. You might be deafened. You’re quite possibly peeing yourself. All of this is going happen unless you are a tier-1 operator who has experienced all this enough to make it routine. And even then you’re not going to have the benefit of knowing who might be ‘behind’ your target because you can’t see through physical obstacles (including the bad guy but also thin walls, etc).

      So, you say ‘not to monday morning quarterback’ but that’s exactly what you’re doing. If you were there (assuming you’re not spec ops) you’re almost certainly not going to see that other vehicle coming, register/process that information, make a decision and act on it before you get blown away.

      • Listen, the lecture isn’t necessary. Knowing your surroundings starts before the fight, and it’s absolutely possible to keep your wits when SHTF. I have 3 tours to Iraq and 3 to Afghanistan, none of which were on the FOB and 2 of which were with MARSOC, so stow your ego trip my friend. I’m not saying I wouldn’t do the same as he did in that scenario, but I have been there and know what your mind and body does when it happens and don’t need to hear it from some keyboard commando. I was just pointing out another lesson that could be learned from this scenario.

    • It’s all the same to the chop shop or the scrapper.
      Maybe he wanted what was in the car instead of the car itself.
      Heck, some thugs will smash a window just to grab the change in a cup holder.

    • Carjackers approach the driver’s side. There is more to this story than post-mortem tactical analysis. These guys/possible lady all probably knew each other or the passenger insulted the aggressor inside the store or the passenger was female and a former love interest of the aggressor. This situation is more Aaron Hernandez and less Massad Ayoob.

      • ^ This.

        Was my thought after watching it a few times. The way he pointed the gun at them as he was walking up, opened the passenger door. Smells a little fishy to me.

    • I suspect the thug was actually after the passenger’s purse.
      Also note that passenger does not seem to be capable of manually locking the passenger door.

    • No. No, he doesn’t. Jesus loves the thug as much as you and me. Jesus weeps when this happens.

      I’m not a good enough Christian to love the thug that much. And I realize that the real tragedy happened over the course of many years as a baby grew up and eventually became an adult thug with no regard for the lives of others and little regard for his own.

        • Yes, we hate evil. Ideally, we can do that without rejoicing in the death of evil doers. I confess that I find that difficult sometimes.

          And the Psalms are not irrelevant, but they were written centuries before Jesus arrived and offered redemption for us all by paying the price for our sins. He changed the whole perspective on how we deal with sin.

  2. Another scumbag off the streets…..forever, thanks to a good guy with a gun and the 2nd Amendment. Well done!

  3. No armchair quarterbacking from me. The motorist survived and the carjacker didn’t; sounds like a net gain for society as a whole.

  4. Note that the entire event took less than 11 seconds from the first moment that the carjacker revealed his intentions until the carjacker was running away. Also note that the firefight lasted less than 4 seconds.

    Back to the fact that the entire attack was only 11 seconds: can someone please explain to me how police are anything but utterly useless DURING such an event? Sure, police might, MIGHT capture a criminal after the fact and prevent future events. That means precisely ZERO during all of the attacks before police catch the attacker.

    Disclaimer: my commentary is not cop bashing. I am simply emphasizing that good people are on their own when goblins attack. Fail to be prepared at your own peril.

    • It’s not bashing at all. You’re correct — the police are useless to prevent attacks like this, and you are indeed on your own. When they say “call the police”, that presumes that you have time to even make a call, much less wait for them to show up!

      The police can be helpful; I witnessed a woman trying to escape a car and being pulled back in — I followed them until encountering a cop (this was before cell phones) and once I caught the officer’s attention, he was able to intervene and capture the perpetrator. Which was very lucky for the woman, of course. But the whole situation could have been rendered unnecessary if she’d been carrying a weapon and was willing to use it.

    • This.

      Thinking police can keep you from becoming a victim is like thinking homeowner’s insurance will stop your house from burning down. It’s their job to deter crime with their presence, either implicit or explicit, and to apprehend those who commit crimes, but any honest cop will tell you straight-up that they can’t be everywhere at once and it’s not their job to swoop in and save the day when shit goes down. Ask anybody who’s ever successfully sued the police for failing to keep them safe; they’ll be the ones holding a freshly-bagged snipe and selling you a deed to the Brooklyn Bridge.

      • Ask anybody who’s ever successfully sued the police for failing to keep them safe; they’ll be the ones holding a freshly-bagged snipe and selling you a deed to the Brooklyn Bridge.


    • Hmmmm, I don’t know,… this sounds like politispeek to me, as though he was minding his own business and got shot: “Video released by Elmwood police department shows the fatal shooting of Ronald Morales… Morales was killed in a shootout after leaving a convenience store….” No mention of him beeing a gang banger, no attempted car jacking, no mention of a defensive shoot, etc.

  5. Man, that driver in the Explorer was exactly in the victims line of fire. Know your target AND what’s behind it. Glad no innocent bystanders were hurt. That could have easily gone a different direction.

    • People keep saying know what’s behind your target. You all realize he wasn’t hunting a grazing deer right? Yeah it would have been bad if something had happened to an innocent bystander either at the hands of the perp or the vic. Either way when seconds count and you have to make a decision that is going to affect you living or dying, I don’t think the vic really considered what was behind the deer. At that moment he was trying to save his own life. Not call a time out and talk over the scenario before checking the other side of the perp. I can tell you one thing that was on the other side of the perp, a gas pump. Just accept that in the real world this is an ugly grey area that you don’t have time to consider when facing off with an armed perp. The vic got lucky and so did the woman in the ford. It looks to me like the vic did the best with what he had, if he had done something else he may very well be dead instead of the SB perp. That’s all there is to it. Anyone that says otherwise needs to share their thoughts after they have been in those shoes.

    • You have no idea of the physiology of what happens to someone in full fight\flight response. You think he had time to scan to see that vehicle coming and figure out what to do with that information in the two second he had to both make a decision and start shooting?

      Try it next time you’re in a gunfight in between peeing yourself and struggling not to die.

  6. My job takes me through that area regularly; I have used that gas station. Never seen anything like this in person, but that is an area that you need to keep your wits about you. Borders Oak Park (very wealthy, VERY anti-gun) and Maywood (very violent, ANTI-LEGAL gun)

  7. It appears that there was a passenger in the car (see the passenger side door close at the start of video), perhaps the driver did not want to risk the passenger getting caught in the crossfire or wanted a clear field of fire.

  8. Carjacker chose his victim poorly.
    Old car. Black shirt, baseball cap, heavy beard stubble, and that majestic flowing man mane.
    That dude has been metal since Dime Bag Darrel was barely a nickel. Zero fux were to be given.

    On the purely tactical side, note that he opened his car door as the other guy walked up. Good situational awareness, had a plan of action, and committed to it.

  9. This has to be something from Hollywood. We all *know* DGUs don’t happen in real life.

    Just ask Shannon and her boss.

  10. …from the video, I could not tell that Morales had been shot. There was no body jerk or any visible indication of a bullet hit.

    Where was the infamous “get shot, get knocked off your feet” that we see in the movies? *8)

  11. Glad it ended this well.

    11 seconds ain’t much time. 4 seconds in the blink of an eye.

    Attacker did not go down immediately but was retreating while shooting.

    Shooting immediately is the right course of action (IMO). The attacker was already threatening with the gun.

    Hope it never happens to me. If it does, hope it ends like this.

  12. Great job by the defender. There was a lot going on, but he doped out the situation as quickly as he could, responded effectively and put round(s) on target.

    In the end, he’s alive and the dirtbag is not. As it should be.

  13. Was this an attempted carjacking or another case of “You looked at me the wrong way?” Either way, it ended well. The right people survived unhurt and the right person didn’t. The video (fantastic quality) resolved any ambiguity about who was the aggressor.

    This was a scenario right out of Tom Givens’ textbook — a violent attack in well lit transitional space where the winner was the one who first got rounds on target.

  14. Know your background when you shoot? Most shootings occurr in densely populated urban centers. You will likely be surrounded by occupied houses, stores, businesses. With traffic flowing nearby, vehicle and pedestrian.

    I’ve never seen a situation where I would stop my vehicle on an isolated country road and engage in a gunfight. Not in civilian life at least.

    If you’ve chosen to carry a gun then you’ve chosen to fight back. With all the legal risks that involves.

    It’s still better to stand trial than to have your throat coat.

  15. Good comments above. Something should also be said about the driver of the Ford Explorer. My situational awareness throughout the week could stand to be improved, but with gas stations (for me) it’s always, in the words of Cmdr Riker, Red Alert. Without so much as a pause the driver pulled next to what is at a minimum a suspicious situation that deserves a second look from a distance before committing to pulling in close to it.


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