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10 Times a Good Guy With a Gun Saved Lives

Marion County Sheriff's Office

Last weekend, a law-abiding citizen with a gun quickly ended a mass shooting in progress at an Indiana mall as soon as the gunman began firing. Less than three weeks after the state's constitutional carry law took effect, the armed bystander, identified as 22-year-old Elisjsha Dicken, delivered the kill shot that stopped the active shooter who is accused of murdering three victims and wounding two others, including a little girl who suffered minor injuries.

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Although it's against Simon Property Group's code of conduct for anyone to carry a weapon inside its shopping centers, local leadership was thankful the young man was "very proficient" with a pistol and took swift action regardless. Greenwood Police Chief Jim Ison told reporters at a news conference that "the real hero of the day is the citizen that was lawfully carrying a firearm in that food court." The city's "grateful" Mayor Mark Myers praised the "good Samaritan" who "saved lives" during the Sunday shooting and prevented "further bloodshed."

"Many people would have died" if not for Dicken responding within two minutes of the assailant opening fire on mall-goers, Ison noted, adding that the young man had no police training or military background.

Predictably, establishment news sites like CNN tried to downplay the "good guy with a gun" narrative by claiming it's "rare" for gunslinging citizens to rise to the occasion in the absence of police. CNN's article about the Greenwood Park Mall shooting spree even attempted to counter Dicken's courageous act, concluding: "Having more than one armed person at the scene who is not a member of law enforcement can create confusion and carry dire risks."

Local media focused on Dicken and his Glock violating the major shopping outlet's no-weapons directive that made the popular attraction a so-called "gun-free" zone by corporate policy alone, not by law. WANE 15 emphasized in its headline that Dicken "broke mall rules" and FOX 59 dedicated an entire report to covering the mall's restrictions on weapons-wielding. Of course, they're ignoring the fact that the now-dead rampaging fiend, identified as 20-year-old Jonathan Douglas Sapirman, blatantly breached the property owner's gun guidelines. Thus, a ban on guns had not thwarted a criminal from committing a heinous crime.

On the contrary, a mall spokesperson issued a press statement expressing gratitude for the "Good Samaritan" who saved lives. And according to the newly-released Bill of Rights for gun-owning Hoosiers, the document explains that, in general, it is not against the law for pro-Second Amendment residents in Indiana to ignore no-firearms signage at a private business.

As the media ghouls vilify Dicken for stepping up and protecting his community, here's a collection of overlooked heroic tales in recent years of good Samaritans taking down would-be mass shooters as well as little-known stories of law-abiding gun owners defending themselves and others from armed thugs:

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1) May 25 Vista View Apartments Attack — Charleston, WV

Such examples of an eyewitness exercising lawful and responsible gun ownership while demonstrating a readiness and willingness to protect others "happen much more frequently than most imagine, because they rarely get national news coverage," wrote Crime Prevention Research Center president John R. Lott, Jr. for Newsweek. According to research by Lott's organization, there have been at least 10 cases similar to Greenwood over the past year and 21 since the start of 2020. "And there is no reason to believe those tallies are comprehensive," Lott observed, emphasizing how they're often underreported by the mainstream media.

A recent case of good triumphing over evil unfolded not long ago on May 25 in Charleston, West Virginia, where a gunman with "an extensive criminal history" launched an all-out assault on a crowd celebrating birthday-graduation festivities near the Vista View Apartments complex. A woman packing heat interrupted the spontaneous attack in a fight-or-flight moment and killed the shooter, identified as Dennis Butler, 37. Investigators said an irate Butler, who was not legally allowed to carry as a convicted felon, had returned with an "AR-style rifle" after he was warned beforehand about speeding in the area with children present.

Refusing to run away, the brave woman lawfully carrying a pistol "engaged with the threat and saved several lives," Charleston Police Department chief of detectives Tony Hazelett said. Thankfully, no injuries were reported among the dozens of party attendees. Hazelett announced no charges will be filed against the woman.

The policeman stated there was a high school graduation party as well as a birthday celebration with kids in attendance. "We could have had a casualty shooting there..." Hazelett said. "I credit her with being vigilant."

In the aftermath of the incident, reporters at a presser tried to tie the event to the horrific Uvalde shooting where 19 students and two teachers were shot dead at Robb Elementary School. "Can you speak on the timeliness of this?" a journalist asked Hazelett, citing the Texas tragedy from one day prior. "And now something like this happens." Another pressed Hazelett to answer if he recommends others confronting danger or fleeing in fear. "You have a right to save yourself and several [others]. She did the right thing," Hazelett replied.

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2) 2019 West Freeway Church of Christ — White Settlement, TX

In December 2019, concealed handgun permit holder Jack Wilson, 71, took out 43-year-old "religious fanatic" Keith Thomas Kinnunen who committed a fatal shooting that killed a deacon and a parishioner during a Sunday service at the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas, just outside of Forth Worth. Wilson ran a firearm training facility in the area.

NBC 5 revealed that Kinnunen's violent record included charges of assault, theft, arson and possession of an illegal weapon across multiple states. Church leaders said Kinnunen was wearing a disguise, including a fake beard and a wig, when he stood up from a pew during communion to pull a shotgun from his dark clothing.

Six seconds later, Wilson killed Kinnunen with a single shot, as seen in the church's live stream of the service. Wilson, head of the church's security team and a former reserve deputy sheriff as well as a firearms instructor, estimated that approximately 20 members of the congregation were armed when Kinnunen attacked.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he hoped more houses of worship will learn from the church's response to the shooting and take a similar approach to gun-violence preparation. "They [the West Freeway churchgoers] had done their training and I think you can see from the results...this church responded in seconds and reacted and saved the lives of potentially the rest of the people in that church, which I was told was well over 200 people..." Paxton stated on-air. "I think they are the model for what other churches and other places of business need to focus on."

The armed worshippers were able to carry guns into church due to a Texas law that had just passed in response to a 2017 deadly shooting that claimed the lives of 26 victims at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Spring. Three months earlier, Senate Bill 535 took effect, allowing licensed handgun owners to legally carry their firearms into established sites of worship such as churches and synagogues.

Wilson was honored by former President Donald Trump at the 2022 National Rifle Association conference.

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3) 2007 New Life Church Shooting — Colorado Springs, CO

Ex-veteran cop and volunteer security worker Jeanne Assam saved the day 15 years ago at the massive New Life Church in Colorado Springs when a 24-year-old shooter, Matthew John Murray, rained gunfire down on thousands of parishioners exiting Sunday Mass. Instead of joining in the exodus, Assam ran toward the line of fire, striking the perpetrator in the femoral and carotid arteries using her Beretta .9mm handgun.

"Did you know he had maps of other locations?" Assam remarked years later in a 2021 interview. She was on high alert that day after Murray had targeted the Youth With A Mission training center in Arvada the night before the church shooting. "He had 3,000 rounds and an AK-47 in the trunk. Why do you think he waited until the uniformed officers left? He didn't know I was there. He was going [to] keep killing until he ran out of ammunition."

Assam, a former Minneapolis Police Department officer, was the senior pastor's personal bodyguard as a member of the church's plain-clothed safety team. The guard's hands "didn't even shake" when she faced off with Murray at the midday service. "Holy Spirit, be with me," Assam recalled saying, giving "the credit to God," according to a 2007 report by The Denver Post. "I say this very humbly. God was with me," Assam stated.

4) 2012 Palms Internet Cafe Armed Robbery — Ocala, FL

Only in Florida would you hear the legendary chronicle of a gun-toting grandpa who foiled a 2012 attempted armed robbery caught on surveillance camera. At the crowded Palms Internet Cafe in Ocala, 71­-year-­old Samuel Williams shot and wounded two whippersnappers suspected of trying to rob the joint and demanding money from the 30 or so inside. "Don't none of you [expletives] move," one of the robbers yelled at the patrons.

A seated Williams, who had a concealed weapons permit, took a literal stand and pulled out a .380-caliber handgun on the pair of 19-year-olds that stormed the shop brandishing a gun and swinging a baseball bat at a $1,200 computer screen. The septuagenarian donning a golf cap, white polo and khaki cargo Bermuda shorts shot both masked suspects, forcing the teenage partners in crime to flee the stick-up scene with their tails between their legs like a Scooby-Doo character. "They fell on top of each other trying to get out of the cafe," said Marion County Sheriff's Office spokesman Judge Cochran, per NBC Miami. 

After the chase, delinquents Davis Dawkins and Duwayne Henderson made a pit stop at the hospital en route to jail. "If he wouldn't have been there, there could have been some innocent people shot," a customer said of the senior citizen.

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Ocala.com reported that Williams was not likely to face criminal charges thanks to Florida's own Stand Your Ground law that allows someone to use lethal force if they feared death or serious injury. "Based on what I have seen and what I know at this time, I don't anticipate filing any charges," said Bill Gladson of the State Attorney's Office for 5th Judicial Circuit, believing the shooting to be justified, according to the security footage.

5) 2021 Three Corners Apartments Killing — Fort Smith, AR

Also in 2021, Zachary Arnold, 26, killed 87-year-old Lois Hicks in cold blood inside her Fort Smith, Arkansas, apartment before shooting at occupants in neighboring suites at Three Corners Apartments, firing a total of 93 rounds from his semiautomatic weapon. 

That morning, Arnold had exited his apartment firing off while yelling at his neighbors to come outside. The elderly shooting victim was lured and opened her door to check on Arnold, who chased her into her home and shot her multiple times. Fellow tenant Wallace A. West, described as a 58-year-old off-duty Homeland Security employee, woke to the sound of gunshots and gunned down Arnold with a bolt action rifle, which was scoped and loaded, from his gun cabinet. West "acted lawfully when he shot Mr. Arnold and likely saved a number of lives in the process," a Fort Smith Police Department news release assessed.

After reviewing investigative reports, Sebastian County Prosecutor Dan Shue concluded that West's use of deadly force was justified under Arkansas law. Shue wrote in a letter to Forth Smith Police Chief Danny Baker that West believed Arnold, in addition to being armed and dangerous, committed first-degree murder and was actively committing more serious crimes, including terroristic threats. Shue found it "objectively reasonable" that West felt it was necessary to use deadly force in the situation to defend himself and other residents, determining that "had West not acted in a swift and decisive manner, my office could just as easily be dealing with multiple homicides rather than the homicide of Lois Hicks and the justified shooting of Zachary Arnold."

6) 2018 Peace In The City Scare —  Titusville, FL

A shooting terrorized community members at a 2018 back-to-school event in Titusville, Florida, where the majority of the 200 participants were children. But, a concealed handgun permit holder was quick to neutralize the attacker. 

The gun violence began due to a dispute between two men over a "weeks old" game of basketball at the time when students were retrieving free school supplies and backpacks. A video recorded from the DJ at the event shows shots ringing out as a swarming body of school-aged children scatter from bounce houses searching for exits. The gunman was shot by "someone who had a legally concealed weapon," in Isaac Campbell Park, per ClickOrlando. The hero bystander's name was not revealed.

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"This person stepped in and saved a lot of people's lives," Titusville Police Sgt. William Amos commented. Law enforcement regarded the responding gun owner carrying a licensed concealed weapon as "a hero" and called the man's response "a miracle." The unnamed shooter was hospitalized in critical-but-stable condition.

7) 2016 Playoffz Nightclub Shooting —  Lyman, SC

The same month as the 2016 Pulse Nightclub massacre, 32-year-old gunman Jody Ray Thompson started shooting at the Playoffz nightclub in Lyman, South Carolina, where he struck three victims. Before Thompson could shoot a fourth victim, a concealed carry permit holder shot and wounded him in the leg. Thompson still had over 100 rounds when the good Samaritan intervened. At least one South Carolina sheriff credited the man with preventing further violence, FOX 5 Atlanta reported. Investigators believed the lawful gun owner acted in self-defense. The Spartanburg Herald-Journal reported that Thompson was arrested on four counts of attempted murder.

8) 2021 Lodi Street Shooting —  Syracuse, NY

Last year, 39-year-old property manager Richard Morose was applauded by Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick for having "saved the lives of several individuals" after he used a legally possessed .9mm handgun on Demetris Jackson, 28, who fired off his gun in the direction of a crowd outside a building on the 1800 block of Lodi Street in Syracuse, New York. Officials said before Jackson was struck by Morose, who had a valid pistol permit, the former had threatened multiple people at the location. Jackson was shot in the head and pronounced dead at the scene after Morose intervened. Police and emergency crews arrived to see about 50 onlookers gathered.

According to local outlet WSYR-TV, Fitzpatrick's office stated in a press release that authorities were aware that Morose, as well as other witnesses on the street, received threats and "suffered property damage" in acts of "what appears to be retaliation." Syracuse.com reported that Jackson was not a tenant of the residence there.

9) 2020 Brownsburg Cemetery Homicide —  Brownsburg, IN

In a 2020 unprovoked daylight attack, Joshua Christopher Hayes, 22, shot at two men working in an Indiana cemetery before a passing motorist who had a permitted concealed handgun exited his car and returned fire.

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The first Brownsburg Cemetery worker was chased by Hayes to an intersection where he was shot dead. Hayes stalked the second victim and then wounded the third man who fatally shot the suspect at a traffic light. "This tragic event could have been much more disastrous. So, victim three not only saved victim two's life, but he saved potentially the lives of many others," remarked Brownsburg Police Department Captain Jennifer Barrett. 

"Victim three did exactly what anybody would have wanted him to do at that scene that day," she added.

10) 2006 Media Madhouse Hold-Up — Elkhart, IN

During a 2006 failed robbery, both staff and customers were saved by an armed employee at Media Madhouse, a DVD store, in Elkhart, Indiana. After the attempted robber entered the business and held up an employee at gunpoint, demanding money, another worker retrieved a gun from behind the counter and shot the suspect right in the chest before the robber could fire, according to The Times of Northwest Indiana. The wounded man was dropped off at Elkhart General Hospital and underwent surgery to remove bullet fragments.

Later that year, 20-year-old Ryan S. Fisher was convicted after entering a guilty plea to armed robbery in the Media Madhouse incident. Fisher received an eight-year prison sentence, The Goshen News reported.

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