finger gun gesture point
(Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
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In Pennsylvania, making the “finger gun” gesture is a crime. In Missouri — a constitutional carry state — you can use it to to stop a crime. Last week, Mark Dino Russo witnessed an auto accident and the driver attempt to leave the scene after hitting two pedestrians.

According to, Russo was stopped at a red light when he witnessed the crash.

“…I just saw this car, a black sedan, coming fast, with its lights off, north on McCausland. And it hit a curb, went up in the air and rolled, and I think it hit a telephone pole,” he said. (Police report that damage was done to an Ameren utility pole.)

Russo said right before the crash, while he was waiting at the light, he noticed a woman on a path near the park. “After the car crashed, there was all kinds of dust and debris flying in the air, and I wondered about her,” he said.

Russo drove across McCausland into the park’s lot, got out of his truck and saw the woman lying on the ground.

Russo noticed the driver attempting to slink away. 

“I just had a feeling he was going to run away. And I just decided I wasn’t going to let him.”

Sure enough, Russo said, “when he got about 150 feet away, he started to break into a run.”

So Russo first yelled “hey” at the suspect, who stopped and turned to look at Russo. That’s when Russo, standing behind the open door of his truck, drew his deceptive digit and yelled his command.

That’s when Russo drew his digit.

…he raised an empty hand, pointed his index finger at the driver and yelled, “Stop, (bad person), or I’ll shoot.”

To everyone’s surprise, the fleeing driver stopped. At Russo’s command, he even hung around long enough for police to arrive and charge him with leaving the scene of an accident, careless and reckless driving, driving without a license, without insurance, and without valid license plates.

We know what you’re thinking. Russo took a chance in pretending to draw down on a fleeing suspect. He says that didn’t occur to him in the heat of the moment.

“I know, what if he’d had a gun? But I didn’t think of that at the time,” said Russo, who has a daughter.

“All I was thinking was if that’d been my daughter lying there, I wouldn’t want someone to let that guy walk away.”

All’s well that ends well. Though look for this incident to be included in the next batch of Giffords “gun violence” statistics.


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      • Actually it’s any pistol with a hammer, represented by the thumb, once the thumb drops the weapon has discharged. A safer decision would be to go with a striker fire finger gun; thumb down.

        • It’s a fully semiautomatic if he can yell pew pew pew fast enough. Was the good Samaritan black? That would make the finger gun even more scarier.

  1. Uh, you can’t shoot someone for running away from a car accident. You might give then cause to shoot YOU, however, if you make them reasonably believe that you are (illegally) threatening their life.

    • In some jurisdictions the cops might be able to and often people make assumptions when a command is given with authority. Who says “Stop or I’ll shoot!”? Cops.

      Must be an off duty cop. Better surrender… or run faster. Think a lot of people.

      A friend of mine used to have the job of testing security for TSA. You do not want to know what he was able to get away with by saying things like “Do you know who I am? Do have I have to call Washington!?”. He was able to use that kind of thing to bullshit his way through things with a regularity that is deeply, deeply disturbing.

      If you want to do what you want to do it’s really surprising to many people how often you can get it by either acting like you’re in charge or acting in a way that makes people very uncomfortable.

      • In days gone by I found that a clip board and an attitude got you through a lot of stuff. I don’t know if that would still work in the smart phone age.

        • Yup. I’ve done that myself. A clipboard in the hand, tape measure or radio on the hip, and a furrowed brow are force multipliers for making you look like someone who means business.

        • If anything it works better provided you have a phone.

          His go to threat was “Am I going to have to call the ASM?! Or… JOHN!?” while pulling out his phone.

          Who the fuck is John? An imaginary bigwig of some kind. Apparently you don’t want to be on his “list”.

          People who work as the lowest level peons for bureaucracies apparently fear two things. Acronyms for things they know and people named John.

      • There is no jurisdiction in the US that allows a cop to shoot someone for running from a car accident, even a fatal one. Federal caselaw did away with all that in the 80s. While it’s true that someone might decide to comply when someone shouts it someone ELSE might decide to draw a gun and start firing on the person making that threat- and would, arguably, be legally justified in doing so.

        I have, on occasion, bluffed. But I should be very careful to not bluff that I’m going to do something which is illegal to do. So there’s a big difference between “open the door or I’ll break it down (illegally)” and “stop resisting or I’m going to taser you” when in the latter case I have no taser but would be justified in using one if I had it.

        • “There is no jurisdiction in the US that allows a cop to shoot someone for running from a car accident, even a fatal one.”

          Just like the way no jurisdiction says, on paper, that blasting on a homeowner through a window when the cop is creeping around at night at the wrong address and sees a citizen not breaking the law when the cop has not identified themselves. Yet that happened and the guy wasn’t charged or even reprimanded.

      • Exactly. A lot of people get through life not knowing what they are doing, but because they act like they do, people assume that they do.

    • I hear the middle finger is the .50 BMG of the “finger trigger” world. Commands much more attention.

  2. Lt. Col. Jeff Cooper said it best. I paraphrase, “Do something. You might get hurt. You might get killed. But do something.” Once the bad guys realize everyone is likely to interfere with their nefarious activities you’ll see it decrease. See the Northfield, MN raid.

    • See also every post 9/11/2001, attempt to bring down a U.S. aircraft by terrorist hijacking or a terrorist suicide bombing.

      • Ranger, it’s older than that. Lt. Col. Cooper liked to tell the tale of an Air Ibera flight. A passenger stood up and announced a hijacking. The passengers took umbridge. They beat him to death. His body was placed in a latrine. The stewardess opened the bar. The flight continued to its destination. This is how violence is met. If you’ve never read Cooper, search Wisdom Publishing. She’s a charming woman and our sons should aspire to what her father achieved.

  3. Lets not make Pa sound like a commie state, the finger pointing wasn’t the crime, it was his previous actions and harassment of his neighbor that he was charged with, not a fake finger gun.

    Just because the news spins a story to make things sound bad doesn’t mean TTAG needs to perpetuate it.

  4. Hmph, big whoop. I once shouted “6.5 CREEDMORE!” and every perp within half a click immediately surrendered.

    One guy even confessed to the Kennedy Assassination….


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