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Blaine Tyler was shot in the chest and killed last week by Toby Smith, Jr., both of Richmond, VA. Tyler has just stopped for gas and was open-carrying his pistol when he headed inside to pay. Smith and another yoot, Tyee Marquel Hamiel, followed him inside and snatched the gun from Tyler’s holster. And that’s when Tyler made his fatal mistake…

Tyler, 48, had a concealed-carry permit, but his handgun was plainly visible that night in his holster, Johnson said.

“The suspects walk in and one immediately reached for Mr. Tyler’s gun,” Johnson said. Tyler did not draw his weapon.

According to court papers, Smith took Tyler’s gun during a struggle and shot Tyler in the chest after the victim chased Smith inside the store.

Smith went on to use Tyler’s gun seven hours later to kill another robbery victim while he sat in his car. The poor misunderstood lad had something of a history of unfortunate scrapes with authority.

Smith, who was arrested Monday and charged in last week’s two killings, was convicted in 2010 of malicious wounding, grand larceny and burglary, according to court papers filed in Richmond Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court.

But Toby was a juvenile, and as Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Andy Johnson told,

…it is rare in Richmond for a juvenile to be sent to detention after his or her case is adjudicated. Our goal is to try to get through to these kids before they become adults so we don’t automatically lock them up every time they do something wrong,” he said.

Somehow the state failed to get through to young Toby. Perhaps a young man who commits malicious wounding, grand larceny and burglary requires more than a stern talking to. Just a thought.

Sure, Tyler might have used a retention holster to keep his gun from being grabbed in the first place. Especially if he planned to open carry. But as a general rule, chasing the little scumbag to who just stole your heater is never a good idea. Given that he’s now armed and you’re not, the the potential outcomes aren’t in your favor.

It’s tragic Tyler paid for it with his life. The same for the second victim. Here’s hoping Assistant Attorney Johnson will be able to successfully argue that Smith be tried as an adult this time.

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  1. At least no one can say that Blaine didn’t make an attempt at stopping said killer before he went on to take his 2nd victim. I know one could argue that the first slaying ‘opened up the gates’ for the 2nd crime, but I’m going to remain positive.

  2. And here’s your proof that concealed carry > op—

    You know what, scratch that. If there’s one thing I learned yesterday, it’s that generalizing from one experience just isn’t cool.

    BUT! I still say this story is another case for carrying a backup weapon.

    • Its not concealed > open, it is concealed != open. If Illinois didnt suck, i’d do both, albeit with a level 3 holster for the open carry gun, and a BUG in my off hand pocket.

  3. All good points. Part of gun training is weapon disarming and retention training–a must for anyone who carries, open or concealed

  4. Gun grabs are nothing new.Those among us with law enforcement experience are quite familiar with the disturbing event of a felon lifting a weapon off its owner, even if by third hand knowledge.

    Whenever one bears arms it is a wise technique to stand with your back against a wall or object as that prevents someone from walking behind you and lifting your weapon right out of the holster.

    Another lesson I take away from this tragic event is to never underestimate one’s potential opponent.

    Many who lawfully carry have the attitude of considering criminals unintelligent fools, when the proven reality is that the foolish criminals are the ones behind bars.The ones who are loose in society possess great skill in law, human nature, the use of force, and physical combat.

    Since criminals do not answer to surveys, just how much skill can never be tabulated for neat publication.

  5. Always use a holster with a retention devise when openly carrying. A lot of cops have been killed by their own gun during a physical struggle with a perp. Learn from their unfortunate mistakes and choose gear suited to the task. I know many don’t like it but a external safety, as another level of retention for open carry, would also be wise.

      • Funny, that’s exactly what I was contemplating! I’d go with ankle, though- anyone who gets hold of my primary is likely to clean out my pockets, too.

      • Dude. really. That’s your answer to this situation. That’s pretty non-chalant dontcha think? It almost seems like you don’t care if someone ganks your primary sidearm because you pocket carry a Smith & Wesson 642. OR. Your saying that it is much safer to pocket carry your 642 than open carry a ‘whatever’ on your hip? I’m not trying to cause a fight, I’m just not sure what message you’re trying to convey.

  6. While this is tragic, THIS is THE reason why open carry should be done unloaded. Load your mag up, put it in your oposite pocket, or in a mag holster on your other hip, but don’t put it in the gun. When the guy grabs your gun, all he’s gonna get is the gun. No mag, no bullets. Now, if you have the chance to take it back, you can since he doesn’t have the ammo (that doesn’t mean to go chase the prick). If he just runs away, call the cops. All he has is an empty gun.

    Yeah, yeah… I know. I didn’t say it should be illegal. I said don’t do it. If you don’t like carrying an unloaded gun, get a CCW. If you live in California, where you can’t do either, just move to another state.

    Concealed carry = loaded.
    Open carry = unloaded.

    • Having it unloaded would make you an even bigger target for a quick snatch and run. Seeing that you are armed but a big gaping hole in the pistol where the magazine would be a giant signal saying “Grab the gun and run, this guy won’t even know what hit him and if he does, won’t have enough time to do anything about it”. Even without the magazine the thief could get some quick cash because there are two things worth more on the black market than their store price: prescription drugs and guns.

    • So, you’re saying openly carried firearms should be unloaded? Then why even bother carrying one at all? Is someone going to have time in load the magazine and rack the slide, under stress, in the time needed to dispatch an advancing BG? Really?

      • I smelled this coming a mile away…

        Yes. You’re still armed and your ammo is only a extra second from the gun. If you don’t have the extra second to spare, you should have a CCW.

        To clarify, we should all be able to open carry, but it makes you a target as the article clearly demonstrates. IF you have to open carry, (cuz you don’t have a permit) get a retention holster and train with it, or carry the mag seperately.

    • Having it unloaded would make you an even bigger target for a quick snatch and run. Noticing that someone is armed but seeing a big gaping hole instead of a magazine would be like a giant sign saying “Grab the gun and run, this guy won’t have enough time to do anything about it”. Even without the magazine the thief could get some quick cash because there are two things worth more on the black market than their store price: prescription drugs and guns.

  7. This is one of the reasons police departments like mag disconnect safeties. A perp goes for your gun, you drop the mag, and the gun is now a paperweight.

    • For open carry I consider a magazine disconnect a mandatory feature.More than a few lawmen are alive today because they hit the magazine release a minor fraction of a second before a scumbag seized their piece.Indeed it may be the only option to avoid being killed by your own weapon should it be removed from your hands.

  8. An unloaded gun makes a piss-poor club.

    Protect yourself – that means your weapon, too. Open carry? Fine. Pay attention. Your weapon is now a target.

    I can almost hear mikeb302000 now…

  9. This is why you never Open Carry alone. If you plan on open carrying, do it in a group of 2 or 3 so at least nobody will be stupid enough to mess with 2-3 armed guys as opposed to one.

  10. The point to open carry isn’t just self-defense- the point is to “normalize” guns. Get people used to seeing them.

    If you’re gonna open carry at all (I’ll pass), open carry a gun that’s either empty or in condition 3. And conceal a backup with one in the pipe.

  11. Its not an open carry or concealed carry question at all. The results would probably have been the same if an inopportune gust of wind or a poorly timed scratch had revealed the gentleman’s concealed weapon.

    The problem is that he didn’t know what he was doing, and it got him killed. He made very dumb mistakes.

    He was not aware of his situation. He was not skilled in retention. He chose to peruse an adversary who was armed, when he was not. He was neither tactically nor technically proficient. And when you aernt, and you face opposition, you die.

    And everyone who thinks that carrying a gun unloaded or even carrying without a round in the chamber…Watch this video.

  12. It wasn’t the fact that he was open carrying that got him killed. If he had been concealed carrying, and a poorly timed gust of wind or fit of self scratching or holster adjusting had happened, it would probably have gone down the same.

    The problem is that he was unskilled. Plain and simple. He did not have situatonial awareness. He did not have any retention skills. And he was stupid or brave enough to persue an armed adversary when he himself was not armed.

    For everyone that thinks carrying an unloaded gun, or even a gun with out a round in the chamber…Watch this link.

  13. It wasn’t the fact that he was open carrying that got him killed. If he had been concealed carrying, and a poorly timed gust of wind or fit of self scratching or holster adjusting had happened, it would probably have gone down the same.

    The problem is that he was unskilled. Plain and simple. He did not have situatonial awareness. He did not have any retention skills. And he was stupid or brave enough to persue an armed adversary when he himself was not armed.

    For everyone that thinks carrying an unloaded gun, or even a gun with out a round in the chamber…I have a video for you to watch.

    • Either that or a malfunction, you can see him work the slide multiple times. Another reason to have a backup. Was that guy a customer or clerk, is there a detailed news article that goes along with it?

  14. Yes sir, open carry really discouraged and thwarted a crime from happening in this case, sure did. In fact, the snatched weapon actually facilitated the murder of the second victim. Way to go!

    Yet another good example of why Georgia law needs to be updated to require concealed carry and concealed carry only by any Georgia permit holder, except when hunting in the field, just like in Florida.

    Not to worry though, it will come in due time. The open carry zealots and other 2A extremists are their very own worst enemies, and given time it will be through their actions and their actions primarily that the legislators in this state come to their senses and plug the loopholes that currently exist in Georgia gun laws. Events such as these tend to serve as a “wake up” call for common-sense minded individuals everywhere.

    • This is what your post says to me.

      “Instead of making any attempts to educate people properly and teach those who wish to protect themselves by open carrying how to be more properly situationally aware, let’s pass more laws that will further restrict the rights of the citizenry, since it’s obvious that we can’t trust them to take care of themselves based on this one single incident.”

      Making open carry illegal is not going to stop things like this from happening. When a guy wants to commit an armed robbery, he’s going to commit an armed robbery – this poor chap just was the bumbling fool who happened to unwittingly enable the criminal. Without Tyler in the BP that day, or if Tyler were paying more attention and didn’t allow anyone that close to him/practiced better retention techniques, two things would have happened differently – Tyler would still be alive today, and Toby would have gone on to find a way to procure another weapon from someone else with which to commit armed robbery.

      The correct answer? Continue trying to make retention training and situational awareness training more readily available for people who wish to protect themselves via carrying a firearm. Stress the importance of knowing your surroundings at all times and understanding the importance of the responsibility you choose to bear.

    • So your for having cops only conceal carry and to get rid of the long guns in their cars? If not then how is it different?

  15. This is a great reason to carry a back up gun. If the bad guy gets one of your guns, you can still take him out with your spare.

  16. Chasing hostile armed criminals and being unarmed may be hazardous to your health. I usually do not like to advertise the fact that I have a gun.

  17. Personally, I open carry every day – but I also know what’s going on around me, and I keep my head on a swivel to make sure no one is sneaking up behind me. I use a Level 3 retention holster and any time I am standing still, my strong arm’s elbow rests on the thumb break. These preventative measures help to prevent this exact kind of thing from happening. It has naught to do with whether or not open carry is a good or bad idea.

    • Agreed. I open carry as well and use a level two retention holster. I like Mark above have a heighten sense of awareness to who and what is around me.

  18. This story should go out to all those “experts” who say that ‘civilians’ don’t need a retention holster for carry use,and that only LEO and Military need them. Gosh. I’m glad I’m not an “expert”. And mine is a Level 2 SERPA. Let the SERPA bashing begin in 3,2,1…….

    • The Serpa bashing happens because the Serpa is a POS. I carried the system on duty for three years, and have seen dozens if not hundreds of Serpas in use by other officers.

      I tired to make the system work, gave up since some of the issues can not be overcome with training. Todd Jarrett still flubs his draw from a Serpa, and I dare say he is well trained.

      That the Serpa also breaks easily, and can be easily jammed by debris so that the gun won’t come out, are issues that can not be refuted.

  19. Open carry seems like an invitation to trouble. It is true that the gun being carried by the rightful owner does give that person the ability to defend himself in many situations (and no offense, but I do not see how the goal is to make people more comfortable around guns). But at the same time, the gun is temptation and a target for criminals. Recent studies have shown a strong connection between ADD/ADHD and criminal behavior, and one of the most prevalent traits for the people with these conditions is impulse control problems, especially for younger people. Why openly carry an object that criminals want, especially since many of the criminals have a very hard time controlling the impulse to take it?

    • Open Carry is a both a strategic and tactical mistake. If you have a CCW, why give up the one big advantage you have, the element of surprise? Honest Citizens are always in reactive mode, we need a way to level the playing field. Concealed carry is one way, better training is another, and carrying a second weapon is a third. OC is just an invitation to be shot. I get the political point some want to make. There has to be a better way to make it.

      • I disagree. While the element of surprise may be very useful in some situations, so is the deterrent factor of someone who is clearly armed. Furthermore, the reaction time of someone who is openly carrying is shorter than one who has to move articles of clothing out of the way of his self defense weapon.

        Finally, why do “honest citizens” always have to be “reactive?” That means you’re sitting around, waiting for something to happen. Therefore, in your opinion, “honest citizens” can also be called “sheep.” I find this to be extremely offensive on a personal level, because I pro-actively scan my environment for things that may be unsafe and I ensure that I take protective measures to avoid trouble, rather than waiting for something dangerous to come to me and cause me to have to react in defense. According to your brief comment, that takes me out of the “honest citizen” bin.

        • “Honest citizens” ARE always in reactive mode, and on the defense, because until a criminal makes the first move there is little else to do.

          The bad guys pick the place and the time, we don’t.

          That you try and spot trouble coming doesn’t change this, if you see a suspicious person doing something hinky, and then react to that observation, you are still in reactive mode.

      • Guess I get to be tossed in the dishonest citizen bin as well.

        I don’t open carry everyday or in fact all that often but I do at times do so. Why should I be forced to hide it because of the sensibilities of some? What deterence value does it have hidden? I also generally have two weapons on me at all times and generally two handguns when one is open carried.

        • Which brings me to another interesting point – open carry used to be referred to as Gentleman’s Carry, because an honest man who has nothing hide has no reason to hide the fact that he’s armed.

  20. The anti-OC crowd has been waiting years for a story like this. No more what if scenarios… Now they have a single real story to reference. I suppose we’ll never hear the end of it.

    A retention holster would have prevented the entire event.

  21. Im seeing a lot of comments suggesting hardware solutions to a software problem.

    The issue at hand here is mindset. This man did not have the mindset to observe his environment well enough to identify possible threats and to react accordingly. A person in “condition White” is so clueless to their surroundings that you could drive a car next to them and they would not notice it.Hanging a gun on the belt of such a person does not improve their ability to defend themselves, any more than tacking on a supercharger to Mom’s Grand Caravan makes her minivan a sports car.

    Open carry was not the problem. In fact open carry has defused many cases where a person considering violence changed their minds upon seeing the exposed firearm. The problem was mindset, and giving this victim a Serpa Holster would not have changed the outcome one bit. Had this victim been in condition yellow this headline likely wouldn’t exist.

    While I encourage the widespread ability and rights of people to carry firearms , it must be remembered that only a fraction of the general population has an idea of what the true cost of carrying a firearm really means. Like anything else in life a price is paid-the responsibility of carrying a lethal weapon means being in condition yellow all waking moments of the day.It is foolish to believe that all gun owners who carry -including law enforcement-have the mental willpower to do that.

  22. One more point that I’d like to bring up, though I know I am going to upset some of the members of our community. I am a bit amazed at the “head on a swivel” comments, the “I am always aware of my surroundings and always vigilant,” claims. None of us are ALWAYS vigilant and aware, not when we are hunting, on the range, behind the wheel, doing our jobs, riding our motorcycles. As a personal example, I was nearly removed from this life when a driver turned left in front of me as I was motorcycling–ironically just a block from Harley Davidson’s original factory. As a rider of some 25 years at the time, I knew that the left turn into a motorcycle’s path is the single most prevalent cause of a car/motorcycle accidents, but I was a fraction of a second slow in reacting, and I had not positioned myself in the lane correctly to deal with such an occurrence. I hit the car’s rear quarter panel and flew over the trunk; after two days in the intensive care unit and then five more days of recovery, I got to go home. This was his fault for breaking the law, but it was my fault for losing focus for a few moments).

    I wish we were perfect and really could act in such ideal ways, but I have a feeling many out there will recognize inattention as a human reality.

  23. IMO, if you open carry(which i do), you should take some sort of weapons retention class. i feel like that is one of the best things you can do to prevent this kind of thing from happening. Being aware of your surroundings is another HUGE factor in this. This sort of thing does happen. Often? No, but it has happened to me, lucky for me i have a level 2 retention holster and i just got my pants pulled up by my sidearm. All im saying is, if people are going to open carry i feel they should be smart about it.

  24. I would love to open carry. But this is the one scenario I’m afraid might come to pass. And the way my luck’s been going recently, my gun being snatched up by some piece of shit wouldn’t surprise me a bit.

    So I don’t. CC only. Unless I’m upstate Pennsylvania at my friend’s house. Where there’s significantly little reason to worry about personal protection compared to down here outside of Philly.

  25. This sort of thing is my biggest objection to open carry.

    Yes, it’s your right, yada yada yada. Whatever. Tactically speaking OC is just plain retarded as hell.

    The only reason to OC is if you are stuck as a uniformed officer or soldier, AND carrying your pistol in a holster that will help keep bad guys from taking ir from you.

  26. “In fact open carry has defused many cases where a person considering violence changed their minds upon seeing the exposed firearm. ” from ST.

    I would like to see the empirical data on that. What are the chances of case study fact, with statistics, where perps were actually canvassed and admitted… “I wuz gonna knock down dat 7-11 but some dude come in wit a gun on he hip”

    Not saying it hasn’t happened but I doubt it’s quantifiable.

  27. Massad Ayoub does not recommend open carry, this being just one of the reasons. Another reason is that if someone is going to go on a shooting rampage, who’s he going to shoot first?

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