Over the past couple days we've been hearing a whole lot about deadly rampages that have occured throughout America, but what we haven't heard much about are the deadly rampages that have been prevented thanks to armed, trained, responsible security and citizens. Yesterday in San Antonio, an off-duty police officer prevented mass murder after taking out a gunman before he could kill anyone.
Gunfire erupted at the Mayan Palace Theatre on Southwest Military Sunday night just before 9:30 pm. This shooting comes just days after a deadly rampage at a school in Connecticut and sparks memories of the the mass slaying at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo.
Investigators tell News 4 WOAI the gunman is 19-year-old Jesus Manuel Garcia. They say he worked at the China Garden restaurant right next to the Mayan Palace Theater. Police say Garcia opened fire at China Garden because of relationship problems with his girlfriend who also worked at the restaurant, although she was not present at the time. Officers explain that Garcia then continued to fire his weapon across the parking lot and into the theater. Garcia even opened fire on a San Antonio Police Department patrol car explained Detective Lou Antu, spokesman for the Bexar County Sherriff's Office.
“Everybody was just coming out of the side of the theater, running out the emergency exits. And everyone was screaming and running,” explained a moviegoer named Megan.
Garcia was finally stopped by a deputy who was working an off-duty job at the theater. The deputy shot Garcia four times.
Back in 2007, a woman named Jeanne Assam volunteered to work security at her mega-church in Colorado Springs. She prevented a massacre when she shot and killed a man storming the building to kill as many people as possible. Assam is a former police officer.
Glenn Reynolds has also written extensively about armed citizens preventing murder, in particular on college campuses.
In fact, some mass shootings have been stopped by armed citizens. Though press accounts downplayed it, the 2002 shooting at Appalachian Law School was stopped when a student retrieved a gun from his car and confronted the shooter. Likewise, Pearl, Miss., school shooter Luke Woodham was stopped when the school's vice principal took a .45 fromhis truck and ran to the scene. In February's Utah mall shooting, it was an off-duty police officer who happened to be on the scene and carrying a gun.
Police can't be everywhere, and as incidents from Columbine to Virginia Tech demonstrate, by the time they show up at a mass shooting, it's usually too late. On the other hand, one group of people is, by definition, always on the scene: the victims. Only if they're armed, they may wind up not being victims at all.
"Gun-free zones" are premised on a fantasy: That murderers will follow rules, and that people like my student, or Bradford Wiles, are a greater danger to those around them than crazed killers like Cho Seung-hui. That's an insult. Sometimes, it's a deadly one.
Unarmed citizens are sitting ducks for those who want to do harm, whether it's in a movie theater, a church or on a school campus.