Blaze News original: 15 examples of good guys — and gals — with guns taking care of business in life-or-death situations

Readers of Blaze News likely are familiar with a headline-grabbing story that commenced just after New Year’s Day 2023 about a Houston restaurant customer who was caught on surveillance video fatally shooting a masked robber who took cash from victims at tables.

The armed customer’s next act? He grabbed the stolen money — and gave it back to the victims.

‘He’s a hero. He did what needed to be done. If more citizens would take an active role when someone is being robbed, we would have less murders.’

Surveillance video shows what happened inside Ranchito Taqueria around 11:30 p.m. Jan. 5 — right up to the point where the unnamed customer opened fire. KPRC-TV added that video showed the customer discovering the robber’s gun was fake and throwing it against a wall in anger. Investigators told KHOU-TV the robber’s gun was a plastic pistol. Those inside the restaurant departed before police arrived, KHOU said, adding that there were no reported injuries among customers or restaurant staff.

Some demanded charges against the “vigilante” customer who pulled the trigger, KHOU-TV reported at the time. But the restaurant’s owner and employees called the customer a hero, according to another KHOU story. The “hero” sentiment was reflected over and over in numerous comments under a social media post at the time from Houston police.

The 46-year-old customer was never arrested, charged, or named. Almost exactly one year later, a grand jury declined to bring charges against the customer.

The following are 15 more examples of good guys — and gals — with guns who stepped up and took care of business in life-or-death situations.

Armed bystander shuts down mall shooter; suspect pleads guilty to 60 charges

Image source: Lancaster County (Pa.) District Attorney’s Office

A male pleaded guilty in February to 60 charges in connection with an October 2021 shooting at the Park City Center mall in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office said Jeremiahs Sanchez, now 18, pleaded no contest to two counts of aggravated assault and guilty to two counts of aggravated assault, receiving stolen property, carrying a firearm without a license, illegal possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm by a minor, and 52 counts of recklessly endangering another person.

Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Ponessa stated Sanchez was inside the mall and carrying a loaded gun that was subsequently reported stolen, adding that he was barred from possessing a gun over juvenile judgments against him. Sanchez, 16 at the time, was approached by 18-year-old Elijah Deliz and 30-year-old Sergio Vargas inside the mall. After a physical altercation, Sanchez fired one shot that struck Deliz in the leg and another that struck a 30-year-old uninvolved woman — who was with her 5-year-old child — in the arm. Vargas then pulled Sanchez to the ground, and Vargas was then shot in the hand.

The DA’s office added that an “innocent bystander legally possessing a firearm” shot at Sanchez three times in defense of himself and others, told Sanchez to stop moving, and removed the gun from Sanchez. You can view cellphone video of what appears to be the aftermath of the shooting here.

Amid a mass departure from the mall due to the shooting, an elderly woman fell and was trampled, after which she suffered a broken elbow and an aspired lung, the DA’s office said, adding that she now lives at a personal care facility. Sanchez must pay $24,536.73 in restitution.

Good guy with a gun takes down shooter who’s firing at people outside medical marijuana dispensary

Police said Ashley Porter, 34, drove to a medical marijuana dispensary in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on the evening of March 26, 2020, and parked, the Tulsa World reported. The dispensary owner was outside speaking with a man in a truck, Tulsa police Lt. Brandon Watkins told the paper, adding that the truck was parked behind the dispensary owner’s vehicle, which blocked a lane of traffic in the parking lot.

“It made her angry that the pickup truck was blocking her access,” he told the paper regarding Porter, adding that there was still space to maneuver in the parking lot.

Porter soon exchanged words with those outside the dispensary, drove away, returned about three minutes later, and allegedly pulled a gun and opened fire, the World said, adding that Watkins said she shot from her car at the dispensary owner and the truck owner.

A man also standing outside the dispensary — reportedly a concealed carry license holder, the paper said — fired at Porter, who was found dead at the scene. The man who shot her told responding officers he did so after she began shooting at customers, the World reported, adding that detectives questioned the man at the police department, and he was later released.

Porter was convicted in 2017 of reckless conduct with a firearm, pleading guilty after an arrest on a domestic assault and battery complaint, the paper said.

Armed bystander neutralizes mall killer in just 15 seconds; police chief calls his actions ‘nothing short of heroic’

Surveillance video shows the killer entered the mall shortly before 5 p.m. July 17, 2022, armed with multiple firearms, and spent approximately one hour in a restroom before he opened fire at patrons in the food court at Indiana’s Greenwood Park mall. Police said he exited the restroom at 5:56:48 and was neutralized by 5:57:03. Elisjsha Dicken — a 22-year-old bystander who was 40 yards from the killer — fired 10 shots from his handgun; police said the killer was hit eight times, and none of the wounds were self-inflicted.

“His actions were nothing short of heroic. He engaged the gunman from quite a distance with a handgun. Was very proficient in that, was tactically sound and as he moved to close in on the suspect, he was also motioning for people to exit behind him,” Greenwood Police Chief James Ison said, according to WTHR-TV. “Many people would have died last night if not for a responsible armed citizen that took action very quickly within the first two minutes of this shooting.”

Dicken — whose grandfather taught him how to shoot — was armed under Indiana’s constitutional carry law that went into effect less than three weeks prior to the incident. You can view a video report on the incident here.

Woman shoots gunman dead after he fires rifle at graduation party crowd; detective praises her for saving ‘several lives’

Investigators said Dennis Butler, 37, was warned about speeding near the Vista View Apartment complex in Charleston, West Virginia, with children present before he departed and then returned with an AR-15-style rifle and began firing into the crowd on May 25, 2022, WCHS-TV reported.

Police said a bystander attending the party quickly pulled out her handgun and shot Butler, WOWK-TV reported. Officers arriving at the scene around 10:45 p.m. found Butler with multiple gunshot wounds, WOWK reported, adding that he later died. Officers said Butler had an extensive criminal history, WCHS noted. You can view a video report about the incident here.

Tony Hazelett, the police department’s chief of detectives, told WCHS no charges will be filed against the woman who took out the gunman. “Instead of running from the threat, she engaged with the threat and saved several lives last night,” Hazelett told the station, adding that the woman was “lawfully carrying” her gun and that if not for her actions, “we could have had a casualty shooting.” There were no reports of injuries to those attending the party, WCHS reported.

Good guy with a gun takes lethal action after male pulls weapon from car and threatens to ‘shoot up the crowd’ at family gathering

A fight broke out between two women at a family gathering on Division Avenue and 4th Street in West Palm Beach, Florida, on the night of Aug. 7, 2022, and the fight turned into a brawl involving around 20 people, detectives told WPEC-TV.

A 911 caller said someone had been shot, the station said, and the caller added the person who was shot took a short-barreled shotgun out of a car and threatened to “shoot up the crowd.” Police said the 22-year-old who made the threat refused to drop his weapon after multiple people confronted him, and WPEC added that’s when a 32-year-old man fired his gun and hit the man who made the threat.

The man who shot the 22-year-old had a concealed weapon license and remained at the scene with police and cooperated with the investigation, the station said. Detectives told WPEC that the man who made the threat was pronounced dead at the scene, and they are treating the case as an isolated incident and aren’t seeking other suspects. The station added that no charges are pending.

Off-duty Homeland Security employee intervenes in attempted mass killing, blows away gunman. Neighbors say it could have been much worse.

An armed bystander put a stop to what could have been a mass killing on May 15, 2021, in Fort Smith, Arkansas, by fatally shooting the suspect — and neighbors said it could have been a lot worse.

Police issued a statement two months after the incident, saying that 26-year-old Zachary Brian Arnold stood outside an apartment complex and used a semi-automatic rifle to fatally shoot 87-year-old Lois Hicks, who was inside her unit.

Authorities told KFSM-TV that Arnold continued to fire rounds from his rifle and tried to persuade other residents to come out. A neighbor added to the station, “He was yelling and screaming, ‘You guys get out here, come out here, everyone get out of this building right now!'”

Police said in their statement that 58-year-old off-duty Department of Homeland Security employee Wallace A. West fired two rounds from his balcony using a single bolt-action hunting rifle. The first round missed, drawing targeted gunfire from Arnold to West’s location, police said, adding that West’s second shot struck and killed Arnold. West was compliant, handing over his rifle to arriving officers, and was visibly shaken over the event, police said.

The police statement added that “it is the belief of this department, confirmed by today’s decision of the Sebastian County Prosecutor to not file charges, that Mr. West acted lawfully when he shot Mr. Arnold and likely saved a number of lives in the process. At last count, Mr. Arnold had fired 93 rounds from his semiautomatic rifle before Mr. West was able to stop him. There were no other fatalities or injuries, though a number of residents were home at the time of the assault.”

A resident told KFSM that “if he didn’t do that, who knows how much worse it could have gotten.”

Chicago shooting spree on Independence Day ends after concealed carrier opens fire on attacker

Image source: Chicago police

Officers got word of an active shooting in an alley around 10:45 p.m. July 4, 2021, the Chicago Tribune reported, adding that a police notification indicated a man in his 30s approached the area and “began shooting at the victims.”

Arriving police discovered four people with gunshot wounds and reportedly determined that one of them was the gunman who had opened fire on the other three — and that a 49-year-old man with a concealed carry license witnessed the attack and shot at the gunman, striking him in the arm and the hip.

The Tribune reported that the three victims in the attack included 45-year-old Janina Ford as well as a 32-year-old man and a 49-year-old man whose identities weren’t made public at the time. Ford was shot in the head during the attack and pronounced dead at the scene, police said. The other two victims suffered gunshot wounds to their bodies and were stabilized at a hospital.

The attacker, later identified as 34-year-old Calvin Gonnigan, was listed in serious condition at a hospital and “placed in custody” there, police said. Days later, police said Gonnigan had been charged with one count of first-degree murder, one count of aggravated assault, and two counts of attempted first-degree murder.

‘Hero’ with concealed handgun license shoots armed robbers through Church’s Chicken drive-thru window, wounding one and killing the other

Months after a good guy with a concealed handgun license shot two robbers — wounding one and killing the other — at a Church’s Chicken in Port Arthur, Texas, Jefferson County’s district attorney called the man who intervened a “hero,” KFDM-TV reported. You can view surveillance video showing the concealed carrier firing shots here.

The station said surveillance video the DA’s office released shows the armed pair trying to rob the fast-food restaurant, forcing employees to the back of the business and removing cash from the safe. But an armed citizen saw what was unfolding and shot the robbers through the drive-thru window, video shows.

KFDM reported that one of the shot robbers — Ricardo Guient — died at a hospital, while the other shot robber — Desmond Ingram Jr. — survived only to be sentenced to 30 years in prison for aggravated robbery.

DA Bob Wortham told the station the armed citizen’s actions likely saved lives: “He’s a hero. He did what needed to be done. If more citizens would take an active role when someone is being robbed, we would have less murders.”

Concealed carrier who sees robber holding knife to convenience store clerk’s throat confronts attacker — then shoots him dead when robber charges at him

A concealed carrier pulled up to a QuikTrip service station in St. Charles, Missouri, which is about a half-hour outside St. Louis, and used the convenience store restroom on July 16, 2022, KSDK-TV reported.

After he exited the store and returned to his car, the man — who has asked to remain anonymous — told the station the driver of a black SUV entered the store, immediately grabbed the clerk, and held a knife to her throat: “I saw him grab her and drag her to the front to the counter, something wasn’t right when I saw that, so me being concealed carry, I had my gun on me, and I just waited.”

The man added to KSDK, “I walked up to the door, and I saw him with a knife to her throat. She was emptying out the cash register, and I took a step in and peeked my head in to ask if everything was okay. I couldn’t see his face, but he was saying yes, but I could see her face — she was saying no; she was scared.”

The man recounted to the station that the suspect turned his attention to him, charging at him with knife in hand, and the good guy with a gun shot the suspect four times, after which police were called.

“I don’t think I honestly had a choice. He already had a knife at her throat; he could’ve pulled out something bigger than what I had. Then you would’ve had two people dead instead of one,” the man told KSDK.

The suspect — later identified as Lance Bush, a 26-year-old homeless man from St. Louis — later died at a hospital, the station said, adding that Bush was believed to have robbed at least one other gas station earlier that morning by holding a knife to the throat of the attendant and forcing her to give him money from the register. The black SUV he was driving had also been reported stolen, KSDK reported.

“Taking somebody’s life is not an everyday thing; neither is saving someone’s life,” the concealed-carrying man told the station, adding that “instinct” led him to act rather than call police initially. “I guess knowing that I’m protected, I can protect somebody else,” he also noted to KSDK.

Good guy with a gun draws weapon as thug beats, stomps his pregnant girlfriend — and the brutal attack ends right there

The victim told Pinellas County sheriff’s deputies that her boyfriend — 27-year-old Cole Danisment — got angry and repeatedly punched her in the face in the parking lot of a Publix in Largo around 5:15 p.m. Oct. 1, 2022, the Miami Herald reported, citing an arrest affidavit. Largo is about 45 minutes southwest of Tampa.

The woman fell to the ground, and Danisment allegedly stomped on her head and upper body, the paper said, adding that a witness who said he feared for the woman’s life drew his gun on the suspect, and Danisment ended his attack.

The victim was left “covered in large amounts of blood” and suffered a possible broken nose in the attack, the Herald said, adding that the victim told deputies Danisment knew she was 14 weeks pregnant with his unborn child.

Deputies noted that there was a no-contact order against Danisment following his arrest on a domestic battery charge a week prior, the paper said, adding that the order did not stop his “pattern of violence” against his girlfriend.

The suspect admitted attacking the victim but told deputies he “saw red” and couldn’t remember what happened after “blacking out,” the Herald reported, citing the affidavit. Danisment was charged with aggravated domestic battery and booked into the Pinellas County Jail on a $20,000 bond, the paper said, citing online records.

Two good guys with concealed guns use them to detain suspect accused of shooting at two females outside Bingo Paradise in Florida Panhandle

Image source: Escambia County (Fla.) Sheriff’s Office

The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office said 38-year-old Lee David Wilkerson was standing outside the bingo hall on Mobile Highway when two females tried to enter on Jan. 4, 2023. They got into an altercation at the entrance of the building, and Wilkerson grabbed a gun from his side and hit one of the females in the head with it, authorities said. Wilkerson then began shooting in the direction of the females and continued to fire into the parking lot as the victims fled, authorities said. WALA-TV reported that no one was hit by the gunfire.

Wilkerson then tossed the gun into a nearby dumpster and tried to enter the building — but two citizens who witnessed the altercation pulled their concealed weapons and held Wilkerson until deputies arrived, authorities said.

Wilkerson was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, firing a weapon in public, use/display of a firearm during a felony, aggravated battery/use of a deadly weapon, and trafficking of methamphetamine, authorities said. He was booked into the Escambia County Jail on a $206,000 bond

WALA said deputies found the meth while searching Wilkerson’s pockets. Deputies also located the gun in a dumpster, authorities added.

Fannie Stanford told WALA she saw much of the action unfold: “A young lady came inside, and she yelled. And I heard her say, ‘They got a gun!’ She went back outside, and there was pop.”

Stanford added to the station that she and others fled to safety with help from bingo hall staff: “The manager came, and he was ready. He told all of us to get down. And we got down and headed toward the back. We all were secured in the back. We locked ourselves inside until it was over.”

Despite the scary incident, Stanford told WALA she feels safe coming back to play again: “Nothing’s gonna stop me from playing bingo.”

Robber pointing .45 at store clerk’s head runs into big problems when trio of gun-toting customers come the rescue

Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Ellijay (Georgia) Police Department said husband and wife Shawn Sutton and Melody Sutton, both 39, arrived at the Ideal Mart on Old Northcutt Road just before 6:30 p.m. Jan. 9, 2023, after which Shawn Sutton entered the store pretending to be a customer while Melody Sutton waited in their car.

Police said Shawn Sutton pretended to buy an energy drink, then grabbed a pair of women’s panties that were around his neck and pulled them up so the panties covered his face — and then he went behind counter and pointed a .45 at the store clerk’s head, demanding money.

Unfortunately for Sutton, three legitimate customers were at the store, too, and all three of them had guns they were willing to put to use.

Police said one customer “legally carrying” a concealed gun “intervened in the robbery,” while a second customer ran to his car, got his gun, and re-entered the store to “assist the first customer in subduing the suspect.”

What’s more, as the suspect was trying to leave the store, the third customer at the gas pumps came inside the store with his gun “to assist,” police said, adding that the first customer told the other two customers to refrain from shooting since the suspect had been disarmed.

When cops arrived, one officer told the suspect — who was still trying to leave — to get on the floor, police said. However, the suspect wasn’t complying, so the officer used a Taser on him, after which suspect was taken into custody, police said. Other officers took the suspect’s wife, Melody Sutton — who was in the couple’s car — into custody without incident, police added.

Police said Shawn Sutton faces charges of armed robbery, aggravated assault, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Melody Sutton faces charges of armed robbery and intimidation, WSB-TV reported. Police added that both Suttons were being held without bond at the Gilmer County Adult Detention Center.

Good guy with a gun orders knife-wielding attacker, who slashed restaurant worker’s face, to drop weapon. Knife guy doesn’t test gun guy.

Esteban Padron, 28, entered an Applebee’s in New Hartford, New York, at 6:42 p.m. on Jan. 14, 2023, and started fighting with workers, reported, citing a police news release. New Hartford is just under an hour east of Syracuse.

Workers recognized Padron since he previously had been forced to leave that Applebee’s for disorderly behavior, police added to the outlet. This time, however, Padron began attacking an employee while being escorted out, WKTV-TV reported. Specifically, he ran behind the bar, grabbed a steak knife, and continued fighting with staff members, the station said. Padron slashed a worker in the face with the knife, said, adding that police said another worker also was injured during the fight.

Police said a man eating in the restaurant noticed Padron’s behavior and responded by pulling his gun, ordering Padron to the floor and telling him to release the knife, the outlet said, adding that Padron did exactly as instructed and the patron held Padron at gunpoint until law enforcement arrived. Cops added to the the outlet that the patron is licensed to carry the gun.

Padron was arrested and charged with second-degree attempted assault, two counts of third-degree assault, and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, police told The outlet, citing cops, added that he also was taken to St. Luke’s Hospital for a mental health evaluation.

After suspect opens fire in luxury Las Vegas high-rise apartment, gun-toting employee wounds suspect and ends threat

After a suspect opened fire in a luxury Las Vegas high-rise apartment complex in June 2023, a gun-toting employee wounded the suspect and ended the threat. Then in an October 2023 follow-up report, KLAS-TV said it obtained surveillance video of the moments before, during, and after the incident, which you can view here.

Andrew Warrender, 32, was a guest at the Turnberry Towers complex on June 23, the station said, citing a grand jury indictment out of Clark County. Another Towers employee testified before the grand jury that Warrender “stayed with someone” at Turnberry and was “relatively pleasant” until the day of the shooting, KLAS noted.

“He was wearing an open-face motorcycle helmet and he was covered in sweat,” the employee testified, according to the station. “When he walked in I said, ‘Hey, Andrew, how are you doing,’ which is my normal greeting. He looked straight ahead and then continues on.”

KLAS said Turnberry’s surveillance camera showed in high definition Warrender shooting inside the lobby — and then an employee’s gunfire put Warrender down after he exited the complex. The employee, gun still drawn, is seen kicking away Warrender’s rifle and hovering over him and yelling at him until police arrive, the station said.

That employee was not charged, KLAS reported, adding that a local veterans group honored the employee on July 4 for what they called a “heroic act.”

Warrender was scheduled to stand trial in February in Clark County for attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, along with a related gun charge, the station said, adding that he was out of jail on a $25,000 bond and hired a high-profile criminal attorney. Several of Warrender’s initial court appearances were postponed while he recovered from his gunshot wounds, KLAS reported.

Good guy with a gun isn’t about to let accused carjacker get away with stealing 74-year-old’s vehicle

Marvette Perry (Image source: Volusia County (Fla.) Corrections)

Marvette Perry, 36, tried to steal a couple’s car earlier this month at a Florida gas station, police told WESH-TV. The victim said he parked at the Exxon station in Ormond Beach to use the restroom, but before he could exit his vehicle, Perry opened the door, pushed him out of the way, and got into the driver’s seat, the station reported.

But WESH said Adam McDaniels was visiting central Florida on the day of the incident — June 1 — and just so happened to be getting gas at the station when he saw what was going down and made a beeline for Perry.

“I got out with my firearm,” McDaniels told the station. “I ran over, pointed my firearm with a laser at her chest, and told her not to reach for any weapons.”

WESH noted that McDaniels put his gun away when he realized Perry was unarmed, but he stayed close by: “As soon as she saw my laser on her chest, she stopped, became stone cold, didn’t move or speak. I tried to get her to get out of the car, but she didn’t do anything until the cops got there.”

One of the victims — a 74-year-old man — held on to Perry’s foot so she wouldn’t take the car, WESH said, adding that the victim’s wife was still sitting in the passenger seat.

McDaniels told the station he’s glad he was able to intervene: “I come from a small town in North Carolina where people help each other. I just couldn’t sit there and watch that transpire in a different way.” Perry was being held at the Volusia County Jail with no bond, the station said.

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