On Friday I received a surprise call from the gun owner who has been in the press this week for saving lives at a Richmond store. The gun owner used a replica 1875 Remington Army .45 Long Colt with a 7 1/2 inch barrel to stop a criminal who had shot the store's owner.
He wanted to remain anonymous, but called so that the story could be set straight, as much of what was in the press wasn't accurate. Probably also the Blasphemes story.
Board member Dennis O'Connor and I ended up meeting with him at the Golden Market store, where the shooting had taken place one week earlier.
Besides being able to actually see the layout of the store, Dennis and I got to see the security videos of the shooting!
We also got to meet the store owner who had been shot twice during the hold up, but is now back at his store.
Here is what we know from talking to the gun owner and watching the videos:
The gun owner (A.K.A. White Hat, because he's one of the good guys) was in the store waiting in line to pay for an item when the bad guy (A.K.A. Black Hat, because he's a scum sucking villain) came in wearing dark sunglasses and trying to coverup his face while brandishing a revolver. The Black Hat yelled for everyone to get down and before anybody could react, immediately walked over to the store owner and in a cold-blooded fashion shot him twice. The owner then dropped down behind the counter. It wasn't more than 2 seconds after the Black Hat first walked in the doors that he shot the store owner.
Those shots at the store owner missed a teenage boy's head by inches.
The White Hat yelled for the Black Hat to drop his gun as the White drew his gun. Black opened fire on the. White returned fire, hitting Black as White dove hard for the floor behind some barrels full of ice and drinks.
Black Hat ran towards the back of the store, aiming his gun at an innocent man laying prone on the floor. Luckily Black Hat was too distracted by White Hat to shoot the man. There is no doubt in my mind that the man would have been shot in cold blood that day if it weren't for White Hat returning fire.
Black Hat kept trying to get to the front of the store by walking up various aisles and firing shots at the White Hat as he did so. At one point cans of tinned meat exploded on a shelf as Black took a shot at White Hat.
What was bizarre was that Black actually was strutting around like he owned the place while under fire! As he approached the front of one aisle, he again pointed a gun at a person on the ground and was about to execute him, when he was again distracted by White Hat.
Finally White Hat spotted Black Hat at the front of an aisle standing in the open.
Much to his surprise, White discovered that when he dove hard for the floor he had somehow broken the trigger on his gun!
Although seriously wounded three times, Black Hat came at White Hat. Black tried to grab White's gun since Black was out of ammunition. A life-and-death struggle began. White got a grip on Black's gun and White hit Black, twice, hard on the temple with the 7 1/2" barrel on his rather heavy gun.
Black Hat finally broke off the engagement, tried to run out the front door, but collapsed at the door.
White secured Black's gun and keeping an eye on the now unconscious bad guy, called 9-1-1.
Black Hat has now died (he was in critical condition since the shooting).
The police showed up a minute or so after the 9-1-1 call and initially had everyone in the store at gun point and handcuffed some until they could figure out who was who.
What really impressed me was that on the surveillance video, the owner, while shot twice by Black Hat, was walking around making sure that all of his customers were OK after the shooting had ended. He only let himself collapse after he was sure they were OK! Words fail me on this. I am so glad that he made it. What a dichotomy - Black Hat who shoots an innocent person without provocation, almost killing a teenager while doing so - caring for no one but himself. And then the store owner who, while seriously wounded, making sure his customers were OK. Evil exists and so does Good. Both were on display in those two minutes of terror. Luckily only the bad guy was killed. The owner was walking with a limp, clearly in some pain.
A lot of people owe their lives to White Hat. However, he is having none of it, saying that he simply did what he had to do.
The White Hat wanted me to share the following points:
* Buy a quality gun - don't use some cheap $90 gun to protect your life. He considered his gun to be a good one and even then the trigger broke under the extreme stress of a life-and-death battle.
* Practice with your gun, get training, and be good with that gun.
* More and more Black Hats are choosing to kill in cold blood to get what they want. If they can't live the "good life, " then they don't care if their crimes send them to jail.
* He also noted that fewer and fewer Black Hats are getting any jail time.
Here are my thoughts from watching that tape:
* Talk about a cold-blooded, fast attack where an innocent was shot without warning! Unbelievable. Situational awareness is really important. Luck doesn't hurt, either.
* Open carry was an advantage in this case because in the video I saw just how fast White Hat managed to draw his gun and begin to return fire. You always hear about how open carry is so bad tactically - you'll be the first one shot, etc. Oh, yeah? White Hat had a HUGE gun in plain sight and he was NOT shot. Who got shot first? An unarmed store owner.
* I am betting that the Black Hat was on drugs, big time. He was hit with THREE 45-CALIBER BULLETS, with at least two of those hits causing grievous injury, and he continued the fight as if he had not even been hit at all! In fact he was strutting like a peacock who owned the place as he was walking up and down the aisles trying to get to a position where he could shoot White Hat. As a gun owner, you need to be prepared for that eventuality and keep shooting the bad guy in his center of mass until he stops his attack. Don't think one shot, or even two shots, are going to do it. And a head shot might well be what it takes to stop such an attack quickly.
* If you are out of ammunition, a gun does make a great weapon with which to bludgeon someone in hand-to-hand combat.
* This shooting bolstered both sides of the argument about how much ammunition one should carry. The good guy got off only four shots (of course his gun had a broken trigger and that didn't help). The bad guy got off six shots and ran out of ammunition (thankfully). But in my mind, and having had some advanced training, I think an extra magazine for a semi-auto, or a reloader for a revolver, is a good idea. With someone like Black Hat above, if you run out of ammunition before he does, he will execute you. Period.
This exclusive came to us from Philip Van Cleave who is the president of Virginia Citizens Defense League. http://www.vcdl.org/
PS - the pictures are of Roy Rogers and some random villain found on Google Image search. The two illustrations are meant for allegory only.