UPDATED: Compiling Cases where concealed handgun permit holders have stopped mass public shootings and other mass attacks

20 Sep , 2016  

This past Friday, an Uber driver with a permitted concealed handgun stopped what likely would have been a mass public shooting.  Police arrived on the scene quickly, but the Uber driver had still already taken care of the situation before they arrived. From Mitch Dudek in the Chicago Sun-Times (April 2015):

An Uber driver put his concealed carry permit to use Friday night when he pulled a gun and opened fire on a man he saw firing a pistol into a group of people on a Logan Square sidewalk, according to prosecutors.

Six blasts from his gun injured a 22-year-old man identified as Everardo Custodio.

Custodio suffered wounds to his shin, knee and lower back . . . Cook County Judge Peggy Chiampas refused to grant [Custodio] bail on charges of aggravated battery with a firearm and illegal possession of a firearm.

The 47-year-old Uber driver “was acting in self-defense and in the defense of others,” Assistant State’s Attorney Barry Quinn said. . . .

The Uber driver had dropped off a passenger minutes before the shooting occurred, said Uber spokeswoman Jen Mullin. She had no comment on the driver’s actions other than to say the company requires all its drivers to abide by local, state and federal laws pertaining to transporting firearms in vehicles. . . .

Police patrolling the area heard the shots and arrived to find Custodio on the ground and bleeding. Police also recovered a handgun found near Custodio, Quinn said. . . .

[The Uber driver is] a registered gun owner who has a concealed carry license. He doesn’t face any charges. . . .

In a Washington Post column, Eugene Volokh asks: “Have civilians with permitted concealed handguns stopped such mass shootings before?”  We provided Volokh with a list of cases that used.

The Uber driver case isn’t even the first mass public shooting in Chicago that has been stopped by a concealed handgun permit holder.

Chicago, July 7, 2014, from Geoff Ziezulewicz in the Chicago Tribune:

A Gresham man fired on a group of people leaving a party, only to be shot himself by one of the victims, a military service member with a concealed carry permit, authorities said.

The military member and three others were leaving a party Friday night . . .

One of the victims had noticed a cup of liquor on top of her vehicle and asked attendees of a party next door who it belonged to, Hain said.

When she removed it, Denzel A. Mickiel approached her, shouting obscenities and threatening her and her friends, according to Hain and court records. . . .

As Mickiel fired at the victims’ vehicle, the military member retrieved his gun and took cover near the vehicle’s front fender, according to Hain. Two unidentified people also shot at the group, she said.

The military service member fired two shots and struck Mickiel twice, she said.

A 22-year-old woman in the group was injured by Mickiel in the shooting, suffering wounds to the arm and back, according to court records and Hain.

The four victims escaped the melee in two vehicles as two unidentified people continued to shoot at them, Hain said. . . .

A note: A concern is often raise that a concealed handgun permit holder who stops an attack might accidentally shoot a bystander or might himself be accidentally shot by the police.  In none of these cases has that occurred.  As noted below, it is very likely that we do not have all the cases where a permit holder stops a mass public shooting, but if a permit holder were to shoot a bystander, it seems clear that such a case would get news coverage.  Thus it seems pretty certain that such cases don’t occur during these types of events.

Some other cases include [This section has been updated]

Note that most all these cases have just a couple of local news stories on them.  There is no reason to believe that this list is comprehensive given how little media coverage is given to mass public shootings that were stopped by concealed handgun permit holders.  Even in the cases that got massive news coverage, only a few of those stories would mention that it was a permit holder who stopped the attack.  In addition, there is no attempt here to list here the very large number of defensive gun uses that are reported daily in the US.  This list here only includes cases where mass public shootings were stopped.

Lyman, South Carolina, June 30, 2016 (Fox Carolina)

Just a couple of weeks after the Orlando massacre, man, 32-year-old Jody Ray Thompson, started shooting at others at another nightclub.  Fortunately, unlike Florida, permitted concealed handguns were allowed in bars in South Carolina.  Before he could shoot a fourth person, the permit holder was able shoot back, wounding Thompson in the leg.

“His rounds struck 3 victims, and almost struck a fourth victim, who in self-defense, pulled his own weapon and fired, striking Thompson in the leg,” Lt. Kevin Bobo said.

Bobo said the man who shot Thompson has a valid concealed weapons permit, cooperated with investigators, and won’t be facing any charges. . . . .

Also this

and at least one South Carolina sheriff [is] crediting a man with a concealed carry permit  with preventing further violence at a nightclub . . .

Winton, Ohio, Sunday, July 26, 2015, Fox 19 in Cincinnati and Fox News

The shooter in this case directly fired at four different people. Fortunately, because of the permit holder’s quick actions, no one was seriously injured.

[Thomas] McCary [62-years-old] was arguing with a woman around 8 p.m. Sunday night and, when the woman’s brother, Patrick Ewing, approached, McCary pulled out a .38-caliber handgun and fired three shots at him, Cincinnati police said.

Ewing didn’t get hit, but he did get his own gun and returned fire, wounding McCary in the leg. Ewing had a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

Injured, McCary went into his house to get a second gun and, holding a weapon in each hand, he fired three shots in the direction of the woman, Jeaneta Walker, her 1-year-old son and a third man.

Ewing fired at McCary again to try to distract him as the victims fled indoors. McCary squeezed off a few more rounds, hitting no one, before withdrawing into his apartment, Cincinnati.com reported. . . .

Conyers, Georgia, Sunday, May 31, 2015, The Rockdale Citizen

Often it is claimed that citizens who stop mass public shootings don’t get news coverage because they stop anyone from being killed.  But in this case two people were killed before the permit holder was able to stop the attack.

A customer who fired back at the suspect who killed two people in a Ga. Highway 20 liquor store Sunday afternoon is being hailed as a hero.

Rockdale County Sheriff Eric Levett said at a press conference Monday that Todd C. Scott, 44, a resident of Covington, very likely prevented other customers in the store from losing their lives.

Levett said store video from Magnet Bottle Shop showed that the suspect, Jeffrey Scott Pitts, 36, came in the store Sunday afternoon firing a handgun.

“I believe that if Mr. Scott did not return fire at the suspect then more of those customers would have hit by a gun,” said [Rockdale County Sheriff Eric Levett]. “It didn’t appear that he cared who he shot or where he was shooting until someone was shooting back at him. So in my opinion he saved other lives in that store.”

From the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

Pitts fled after another patron, Todd C. Scott, of Covington, opened fire with his own hand gun. It is still unclear whether Aikens died before or after Scott returned fire with Pitts, but the sheriff credited Scott with saving lives.

I consider him to be a hero,” [Rockdale County Sheriff Eric Levett] said.

New Holland, South Carolina, May 5th, 2015, Fox Carolina (cases such as this where the people who stopped the attack didn’t fire a gun don’t tend to get that much news attention):

FOX Carolina 21: “CWPs likely stopped deaths of children, firefighters”
Firefighters said they may have stopped a massacre after a gunman surprised them at their station Tuesday.

The Aiken County Sheriff’s Office said deputies responded to the New Holland Fire Department’s Station 2 around 6:30 p.m. for a report of shots fired.

Firefighters said Chad Barker pulled up to the crowded fire station parking lot full of children and firefighters, got out of his car, and began firing in the air and at his vehicle. They say he also pointed the firearm at individual firefighters for lengthy periods of time.

“I came out of the office, saw the man with the gun, told everybody to leave out the back quickly that there was a man in the parking lot with a gun, and I was not kidding,” said Gary Knoll, a firefighter for New Holland.

Knoll said he and another firefighter who have concealed weapons permits pulled their guns on the gunman.

Knoll said Barker returned to his vehicle and firefighters carefully followed him with their weapons still drawn. After encouraging Barker to put the gun down, Knoll said Barker ultimately complied and Knoll grabbed the gun. . . .

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 2015, NBC Channel 10:

Police say a man likely saved the lives of several people when he shot and killed a gunman inside a West Philadelphia barbershop.

A 40-year-old man was inside Falah Barber Shop Inc. on the 600 block of Preston Street shortly before 3 p.m. Sunday when police say he began fighting with another person inside. . . .

The fight quickly escalated and the 40-year-old man took out his gun and opened fire on customers and barbers, police said. , , ,

As he was shooting, another man outside heard the gunfire, ran into the shop and took out his own gun, according to investigators. He then opened fire, striking the 40-year-old man once in the chest. . . .

“The person who responded was a legal gun permit carrier,” said Philadelphia Police Captain Frank Llewellyn. “He responded and I guess he saved a lot of people in there.

Darby, Pennsylvania, July 2014, John Lott in the Philadelphia Inquirer (Other details on the case are available here).

The attacker, Richard Plotts, is a convicted felon, which bans him from legally owning a gun. . . .

At Mercy Fitzgerald, caseworker Theresa Hunt was killed when Plotts opened fire during a regularly scheduled appointment with Dr. Lee Silverman. Fortunately, the doctor had his own gun and returned fire, hitting Plotts three times and critically wounding him.

After firing all the bullets in his gun,  Plotts still had 39 bullets on him, bullets that he could have used to shoot many other people . . .

Portland, Oregon, January 11, 2014, Oregonian

Thomas Eliot Hjelmeland, 43-years-old, was ejected from a night club, but he returned 30 minutes later with a gun and wearing a mask.  He shot the bouncer who had ejected him and shot at others.  The bouncer was shot in the head and critically wounded. Two others were also wounded: one patron in the foot and a waitress, who had been standing at the front of the club, in both of her legs.  Hjelmeland was on probation at the time of the incident.  Given that Hjelmeland was shooting people all around the club, Bouncer Jonathan Baer, a concealed handgun permit holder who fatally shot Hjelmeland, appears to have had good reason to fear that other people at the front of the club would also have been shot by Hjelmeland.

Here is a February 1, 2014 article in the Oregonian.

Baer, 31, followed the masked gunman out of the club’s interior doors to the entrance foyer and drew his own Glock .40-caliber pistol from his hip. He looked back one or two times to check on Rizzo, who hadn’t gotten up.

While using one foot to prop open the club’s inner door, Baer said he saw the masked man reach the front door. The man stopped and looked as if he were going to turn around. Baer said he leaned forward and fired two to three rounds.

Baer, who has a concealed handgun license, . . .

Baer later explained to detectives that he had thought about two dancers and two customers who were standing outside the club smoking. He said he didn’t want anyone else to get hurt. . . .

And this January 21, 2014 article in the Oregonian.

Club co-owner Connie Barnes said she did not know Baer was armed that night, but she called him a hero.

In a Facebook post, Baer wrote, “I did what I felt was right to stop the shooter…I carry every day, and will continue to, and will so with the hope that I will NEVER have to pull it out again.” . . .

Portland, Oregon, December 2012 KGW Staff:

 Meli is emotionally drained. The 22-year-old was at Clackamas Town Center with a friend and her baby when a masked man opened fire.

“I heard three shots and turned and looked at Casey and said, ‘are you serious?,” he said.

The friend and baby hit the floor. Meli, who has a concealed carry permit, positioned himself behinda pillar.

He was working on his rifle, said Meli. He kept pulling the charging handle and hitting the side.

The break in gunfire allowed Meli to pull out his own gun, but he never took his eyes off the shooter.

“As I was going down to pull, Isaw someone in the back of the Charlotte move, and Iknew if Ifired and missed, I could hit them,” he said.. . .

I’m not beating myself up cause I didn’t shoot him, said Meli. Iknow after he saw me, I think the last shot he fired was the one he used on himself. . . .

Plymouth, Pennsylvania, September 2012, article by Bob Kalinowski Citizensvoice.com

. . . It’s the gun prosecutors said Ktytor used to put an end to a 26-year-old man’s shooting rampage on Sept. 9, 2012 in Plymouth.

Ever since Ktytor, who has a concealed carry license, dropped the killer with several shots on Main Street in Plymouth, . . .

In October, the murder suspect, William Allabaugh of Plymouth, pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and attempted murder, then was sentenced to 25 to 50 years in state prison.

Authorities say Allabaugh critically wounded Stephen Hollman, 30, by shooting him in the head inside Bonnie’s Food and Spirits on Main Street. A short time later, Allabaugh fatally shot Scott Luzetsky, 39, outside the bar. Police said both victims were innocent bystanders who didn’t provoke the attack by Allabaugh, who was angered he was being kicked out of the bar.

More importantly see this (emphasis added):

The video footage and the evidence reveals that Mr. Allabaugh had turned around and was reapproaching the bar. Mr. [Ktytor] then acted, taking him down. We believe that it could have been much worse that night,” Luzerne County A.D.A. Jarrett Ferentino said.

Early, Texas, August, 2012, KTXS ABC Channel 12:

An armed citizen, Vic Stacy, shot and stopped a deranged man who had just murdered two neighbors and was firing at police with a rifle. Stacy made a very long shot with his revolver, three times as far as the perpetrator was from the police officer, who had an AR-15 type rifle.

Santa Clara, California, July 26, 2012, Reuters:

. . . 21-year-old Richard Gable Stevens, was subdued after tense moments Monday evening at a shooting range and gun store in this town 30 miles (48 km) south of San Francisco.

“He intended to go out in a blaze of glory,” Morec said, noting Stevens had accumulated more than 100 rounds of ammunition for his rented 9mm semi-automatic weapon.

“It certainly looks like he intended to take a lot more people out.”. . . .

After several minutes on the range, however, Stevens returned to the club’s gun store and shot at the ceiling. He then herded three store employees out the door into an alley, saying he intended to kill them, Morec said.

Unknown to Stevens, one store employee was carrying a .45 caliber handgun concealed beneath his shirt. When Stevens looked away, the employee fired, hitting Stevens several times in the chest and bringing him to the ground. . . . .

Salt Lake, April 27, 2012, ABC Channel 4, Original story is no longer available, but this is its content:

A citizen with a gun stopped a knife wielding man as he began stabbing people Thursday evening at the downtown Salt Lake City Smith’s store. Police say the suspect purchased a knife inside the store and then turned it into a weapon. Smith’s employee Dorothy Espinoza says, “He pulled it out and stood outside the Smiths in the foyer. And just started stabbing people and yelling you killed my people. You killed my people.” Espinoza says, the knife wielding man seriously injured two people. “There is blood all over. One got stabbed in the stomach and got stabbed in the head and held his hands and got stabbed all over the arms.” Then, before the suspect could find another victim – a citizen with a gun stopped the madness. “A guy pulled gun on him and told him to drop his weapon or he would shoot him. So, he dropped his weapon and the people from Smith’s grabbed him.” . . .

Another media report is available here: Lt. Brian Purvis noted “This was a very volatile situation that could have gotten even worse.  We can only assume, judging from what we saw, that it could have gotten a lot worse so he [the permit holder] was definitely in the right place at the right time.”  A brief description is available here.

Aurora, Colorado, April 2012, Fox 31 Denver by  Tammy Vigil:

Kiarron Parker rammed his car into another in the church parking lot, got out and attempted to kill multiple church members. He was only able to kill one before a member of the congregation, the nephew of the lady killed, and an off duty police officer, drew his handgun and shot Parker, stopping the killing.

Spartanburg, South Carolina, March 2012, article by Jenny Arnold at GoUpState.com (see also here):

. . . About 11:20 a.m., Jesse Gates returned to the church. The Rev. Guyton’s grandson, Aaron Guyton, 26, was in the recreation building separate from the church and saw Gates get a shotgun from the trunk of his car.

“At that point, I knew I had to do something,” Aaron Guyton said. “I wanted to try to contain him outside.”

Aaron Guyton went into the main building and locked the doors.

Henry Guyton said he was in the pulpit, preaching about how Jesus spoke the word of God and healed the sick, when Gates kicked open the side door of the sanctuary and entered with the shotgun, pointing it at the pastor and congregation.

Church members, including Aaron Guyton, a concealed weapons permit holder, acted quickly.

Aaron Guyton held Gates at gunpoint, as church members Jesse Smith and Leland Powers held him on the floor and waited for deputies to arrive. The Rev. Guyton said he stepped onto a chair, climbed down a 3-foot bannister surrounding the pulpit and took the shotgun from Jesse Gates. . . .

No shots were fired and no one was injured, according to deputies.

During a news conference Sunday, Wright called Aaron and Henry Guyton, Jesse Smith and Leland Powers “everyday heroes.” . . .

Oklahoma City, December 2009, KWTV NEWS Channel 9:

. . . Police said the man started firing multiple shots in the parking lot of the Tammaron Village apartments around 4 p.m. Thursday.

Witnesses said the man initially went into the apartment complex’s main office. When employees locked him out, he opened fire in the parking lot.

As the man was firing shots, another citizen armed with a gun came around the corner and ordered the gunman to put his weapon down. The gunman dropped his weapon and ran into his father’s apartment and barricaded himself inside. . . .

Richmond, Virginia, July 2009 (this first description is based on a video of the shooting and an talk on the attack is here):

The gun owner was in the store [the Golden Market] waiting in line to pay for an item when the bad guy came in wearing dark sunglasses and trying to coverup his face while brandishing a revolver. The [bad guy] 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. . . .

The [bad guy] ran towards the back of the store, aiming his gun at an innocent man laying prone on the floor. Luckily the [bad guy] was too distracted by the [gun owner] 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 that [gun owner] returning 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 the [gun owner]. . . .

College Park (near Atlanta), Georgia, May 7, 2009, WSB-TV 2

“Apparently, his intent was to rape and murder us all,” said student Charles Bailey.

Bailey said he thought it was the end of his life and the lives of the 10 people inside his apartment for a birthday party after two masked men with guns burst in through a patio door.

“They just came in and separated the men from the women and said, ‘Give me your wallets and cell phones,’” said George Williams of the College Park Police Department.

Bailey said the gunmen started counting bullets. “The other guy asked how many (bullets) he had. He said he had enough,” said Bailey.

That’s when one student grabbed a gun out of a backpack and shot at the invader who was watching the men. The gunman ran out of the apartment. . . .

More information is available from WFXI in Atlanta:

The resident of the apartment, Charles Bailey, told police that he thought it was the end of his life. He and ten other people were in his apartment celebrating at a birthday party when two masked gunmen burst through the patio door. . . .

Bailey further informed authorities that the suspects counted their bullets. Apparently Hill was guarding the men when one of the victims retrieved a gun from a backpack and turned the tables on the situation. Hill reportedly fled the scene.The victim with the gun then proceeded to the next room where Lavant had watch over the females at the party.The guy was apparently was about to rape one of the females, said Bailey. . . .

Bailey said if not for the quick thinking of that party goer, it is likely that all the victims would have been killed. I am thankful that one student risked his life for others. . . .

Winnemucca, Nevada, May 2008, KOLO ABC Channel 8 (Reno):

. . . Winnemucca Police Chief Bob Davidson says the violence erupted around 2:30 A.M. Sunday when a man entered the crowded Players Bar and Grill. He fatally shot two brothers, 20-year-old Jose Torres and his 19-year-old brother, Margarito. The shooter was later identified as 30 year old Ernesto Villagomez. All three were from Winnemucca.

According to witnesses, Villagomez at some point stopped to reload his high-capacity handgun and began shooting again when he was shot and killed by another patron – a 48-year-old Reno man who had a valid concealed weapons permit. . . .

Colorado Springs, Colorado, December 2007, by Solomon Banda with the Associated Press:

After a year of accolades that followed her shooting of a gunman who killed two teenage sisters at her church, security guard Jeanne Assam remains “low key” and says she thinks of the family of gunman Matthew Murray. . . .

Assam shot and wounded Murray after he opened fire at New Life Church on Dec. 9, 2007. Murray then killed himself, ending a spree that killed four people in two cities.

Assam said volunteering as an armed security guard at the church remains the highlight of her week. . . .

Murray began his shooting spree at the Youth With a Mission center in the Denver suburb of Arvada just after midnight Dec. 9. There, he killed Tiffany Johnson, 26, and Philip Crouse, 24.

Hours later, he drove 65 miles south to New Life Church in Colorado Springs and began shooting as worshippers left a Sunday service. Sisters Rachel Works, 16, and Stephanie Works, 18, were killed. . . . .

Wearing a trench coat and carrying an assault rifle [sic], Murray opened fire in the church complex’s parking lot and headed into the church. He walked past a playground, which church spokeswoman Amie Streater said was empty that day because it had been snowing, and entered a hallway that led toward the sanctuary past a children’s worship area.

Outgunned and stationed near the children, Assam stepped out from a doorway, confronted the gunman and then fired 10 shots from 63 feet away, hitting Murray once in the wrist and twice in a leg. Murray died in the hallway barely 40 feet from where he entered. . . . .

Memphis, Tennessee, March 2007, WBIR TV NBC in Knoxville, TN:

Police in Memphis say a gunman firing a pistol beside a busy city street was subdued by two passers-by who were also armed.

No one was hurt during the incident that apparently began with a minor traffic accident, but one passing car was believed hit by a bullet.

Brothers William Webber and Paul Webber told police they stopped their car and pulled their own pistols when they saw a man firing a handgun yesterday.

The brothers said they ordered the man to drop his weapon and then held him at gunpoint until police arrived a few minutes later. Police say the Webbers did not fire their pistols.

Police arrested Dementrius Roberson and charged him with reckless endangerment. Police say the Webber brothers and Roberson have licenses to carry firearms.

Paul Webber says Roberson was firing across traffic and they couldn’t tell why he was shooting. . . .

Memphis, Tennessee, July 21, 2006.  Here is another knife attack that was stopped before the police were able to arrive.  From Fox News:

A knife-wielding grocery store employee attacked eight co-workers Friday, seriously injuring five before a witness pulled a gun and stopped him, police said. . . .

The attack apparently stemmed from a work dispute, police said.

Five victims, one in critical condition, were admitted to the Regional Medical Center, the main trauma hospital for the Memphis area. Three others were less badly hurt and treated at another hospital.

The attacker, chasing one victim into the store’s parking lot, was subdued by Chris Cope, manager of a financial services office in the same small shopping center, Higgins said.

Cope said he grabbed a 9mm semiautomatic pistol from his pickup truck when he saw the attacker chasing the victim “like something in a serial killer movie.”

“When he turned around and saw my pistol, he threw the knife away, put his hands up and got on the ground,” Cope told The Associated Press. “He saw my gun and that was pretty much it.”

Police arrived within minutes . . . .

Tyler, Texas, February 2005, Fox News (see also here):

. . . Wilson, a licensed concealed handgun permit holder, heard Arroyo’s shots and saw the commotion from his apartment window. He grabbed a handgun and headed toward the attacker. Arroyo had already wounded several police officers and there was no one left to prevent his rampage.

Arroyo had also shot his 22-year-old son and was about ready to shoot him again from very close range when Wilson fired his gun, hitting Arroyo several times in the chest. Arroyo was wearing a bullet resistant vest and flak jacket and Wilson’s shots did not seriously wound him. Yet, Wilson’s shots forced Arroyo to come after him, and it used up a couple of minutes of his time. Unfortunately, in the exchange of gunfire, Arroyo eventually fatally shot Wilson. With police arriving, Arroyo fled the scene and was later shot to death by police as they pursued him. . . .

Grundy, Virginia, Jan. 16, 2002, Josh White in the Washington Post recounting the testimony of Mikael Gross, one of the two students who had :

. . . Odighizuwa accepted responsibility for the shootings that began after school officials told him that he was failing out of the program. On Jan. 16, 2002, he took a .380-caliber pistol to the offices of Dean L. Anthony Sutin and Prof. Thomas Blackwell and killed them before opening fire on a crowd, killing student Angela Dales, 33, and wounding three others. Odighizuwa was subdued without incident by armed students. . . .

— More details of the attack are available here, including interviews that Lott conducted with the two students who stopped the attack as well as various reporters who covered the case.

Edinboro, Pennsylvania, April 1998, from Robert Moran and Susan Q. Stranahan in the Philadelphia Inquirer

 . . . Yesterday, Andrew Wurst, 14, was charged with fatally shooting John Gillette, 48, a science teacher at James Parker Middle School, as Gillette was chaperoning a prom for Wurst and his eighth-grade class at Nick’s Place.

After Wurst shot Gillette in the head, police said, the teenager entered the banquet hall where his dressed-up schoolmates were dancing Friday to the final song of the evening, “My Heart Will Go On,” from the movie Titanic.

Wurst shot and wounded two students and another teacher, police said, then fled from the hall. None of the three was seriously injured.

As the 240 youngsters and teachers ran for cover – some diving into a closet for protection, singing and praying to stay calm – hall owner James Strand grabbed a shotgun and followed Wurst out the door, police said. Strand caught up with Wurst, who lives in nearby McKean, and held him until authorities arrived. . . .

Pearl, Mississippi, October 1997: In the Pearl, Mississippi, case, Myrick stopped the killer from proceeding to the nearby junior high school and continuing his attack there.

Student eyewitnesses and shooting victims of the Pearl High School (Mississippi) rampage used phrases like “unreal” and “like a horror movie” as they testified Wednesday about seeing Luke Woodham methodically point his deer rifle at them and pull the trigger at least six times. . . . The day’s most vivid testimony came from a gutsy hero of the day. As- sistant principal Joel Myrick heard the initial shot and watched Woodham choosing his victims. When Woodham appeared headed for a science wing where early classes were al- ready under way, Myrick ran for his pickup and grabbed his .45-caliber pistol. He rounded the school building in time to see Woodham leaving the school and getting into his moth- er’s white Chevy Corsica. He watched its back tires smoke from Woodham’s failure to remove the parking brake. Then he ordered him to stop. “I had my pistol’s sights on him. I could see the whites of his knuckles” on the steering wheel, Myrick said. He reached into the car and opened the driver-side door, then ordered Woodham to lie on the ground. “I put my foot on his back area and pointed my pistol at him,” Myrick testified. [Bartholomew Sullivan, “Students Recall ‘Unreal’ Rampage,” Commercial Appeal, June 11, 1998, p. A1 as quoted in the 1st edition of “More Guns, Less Crime”]

Muskegon, Michigan, August 1995, The Chronicle:

Plans to slay everyone in the Muskegon, Michigan, store and steal enough cash and jewelry to feed their “gnawing hunger for crack cocaine” fell apart for a band of would-be killers after one of their victims fought back. Store owner Clare Cooper was returning behind the counter after showing three of the four conspirators some jewelry, when one of the group pulled out a gun and shot him four times in the back. Stumbling for the safety of his bullet-proof glass-encased counter, Cooper managed to grab his shotgun and fire as the suspects fled. . . .

Anniston, Alabama, December 1991, J. Neil Schulman in the Los Angeles Times:

. . . two men armed with recently stolen pistols herded 20 customers and employees of a Shoney’s restaurant in Anniston, Ala., into the walk-in refrigerator and locked it. Continuing to hold the manager at gunpoint, the men began robbing the restaurant.

Then one of the robbers found a customer who had hidden under a table and pulled a gun on him. The customer, Thomas Glenn Terry, legally armed with a .45 semi-automatic pistol, then fired five shots into that robber’s chest and abdomen, killing him instantly.

The other robber, who was holding the manager at gunpoint, opened fire on Terry and grazed him. Terry returned fire, hitting the second robber several times and wounding him critically.

The robbery attempt was over. The Shoney’s customers and employees were freed. No one else was hurt. . . .

The preceding list is not meant to be anything near comprehensive.  One can see how hard it is to identify these cases when there is often just one or two stories on a case.

Possible cases

Houston, Texas, Sunday, May 29, 2016, The UK Daily Mail

Dionisio Garza III from San Bernardino County, California, has been named as the man behind the gun attack that left two people dead and six wounded.

He served four tours of duty in Afghanistan and was discharged from active duty in 2014, and doesn’t appear to have a criminal history. . . .

He killed 56-year-old Eugene Linscomb and critically injured father Byron Wilson, who police say was trying to fight back and stop the deadly attack.

Authorities said Wilson had a concealed carry permit and fired at the suspect. He was shot three times in the process.

He is expected to survive. . . .

more on this case is here on KHOU TV:

All the while, feeling grateful that her friend still has his life and his actions may have kept others from losing theirs.

“He could have prevented more people from being shot,” Guerra said. “He’s a hero, even though he was shot. He’s a hurting hero.” . . .

Manchester, New Hampshire, April 15, 2007 (the links to the original New Hampshire Union Leader are broken, but I have links to a blog that quotes the articles).

Bullets flew outside the Uptown Tavern early yesterday when a peeved patron began shooting at a doorman after being thrown out of the club. The shooter himself was shot twice by an armed customer who rushed to the bouncer’s defense, a club owner and police said.

The shooter had missed doorman Chad Ryan after firing about four shots at him in the 1301 Elm St. club’s parking lot when the alleged gunman was himself hit twice by the unidentified patron who returned fire about 12:45 a.m., said club co-owner Dave Somers.

Tacoma Mall in Tacoma, Washington, November 20, 2005.  While this case ended with the permit holder not stopping the shooter, the exchange of gun-fire with shooter delayed him and thus gave others a chance to escape and police more time to arrive.


Off-duty police have also had some dramatic cases

Plymouth County, Massachusetts, May 11, 2016

A stabbing rampage that left two victims dead and several others injured ended when an off-duty police officer fatally shot the suspect.

Plymouth County Sheriff’s Deputy Jimmy Creed was off-duty “with his bride, just having dinner,” when the chaos unfolded, police sources told ABC News.

They were dining at Bertucci’s Italian restaurant in the Galleria Mall in Taunton, about 40 miles south of Boston.

Suspect Arthur DaRosa had walked into the restaurant and “armed himself with a knife and stabbed two people,” District Attorney Thomas Quinn said in a statement released early this morning.

Quinn said today that DaRosa’s sister told police he had checked himself into a local hospital Monday night and was released Tuesday morning, hours before the attacks. . . .

San Antonio, Texas, December 2012, WOAI  (possibly shouldn’t be included in list as it was an off-duty police officer who was moonlighting as a security guard):

“It started at the restaurant and then went into the parking lot and then into the movie theater,” Deputy Lou Antu told 1200 WOAI news.

Investigators say some of the terrified restaurant patrons poured into the movie theater, and the gunman followed.

He opened fire, shooting one man in the chest, before Antu says an off duty sheriff’s deputy who was working security at the theater shot him once.

“The officer involved, she took the appropriate action to try to keep everyone safe in the movie theater,” Antu said.

The gunman and the patron are hospitalized.

Antu says the gunman never made it into the theater itself, thanks largely to the heroic work of the off duty deputy.

“She did what she felt she had to do,” Antu said.  “I feel that she saved a lot of lives by taking the action she had to take.” . . .

New York Mills, New York, May 2010, WKTV:

. . . Shortly before 1 p.m. on that Thursday afternoon, Dicken walked into the cellular phone store on Commercial Drive, with a 357 magnum in his hand, and a list in his pocket containing the six names of the AT&T store employees to which he was holding such deep anger, and planned to kill as a result.

“The suspect had no prior history,” said Lt. Troy Little of the New York State Police.

That man with no prior criminal record walked into the store and shot Seth Tyrk, a store employee who was doing no more than working at a computer at his job. Authorities believe Dicken could have been even more successful with his list of six victims, if not for the instantaneous actions of Rome Police Officer Donald J. Moore, who was off-duty, but in the store as a customer at the time of the shooting.

“He heard and sees the gun, draws his weapon, and fired,” Lt. Little said of Officer Moore’s reaction.

Officer Moore was carrying his own 40 caliber handgun.

“It’s his own personal choice,” said Moore’s boss, Rome Police Chief Kevin Beach. “We do encourage our officers to carry off-duty.” . . .

Salt Lake City, Utah, February 2007, CBS News (note this off-duty officer carried his gun where he was not allowed to do so (more details here)):

An off-duty police officer having an early Valentine’s Day dinner with his wife was credited Tuesday with helping stop a rampage in a crowded shopping mall by an 18-year-old gunman who killed five people before he was cut down.

A day after the shooting, investigators struggled to figure out why a trench-coated Sulejmen Talovic opened fire on shoppers with a supremely calm look on his face.
The teenager wanted to “to kill a large number of people” and probably would have killed many more if not for the off-duty officer, Police Chief Chris Burbank said.

Ken Hammond, an off-duty officer from Ogden, north of Salt Lake City, jumped up from his seat at a restaurant after hearing gunfire and cornered the gunman, exchanging fire with him until other officers arrived, Burbank said.

There is no question that his quick actions saved the lives of numerous other people,” the police chief said. . . .

Santee, California. In 2001, a student (Charles “Andy” Williams) shot and killed two of his classmates and wounded 13 others before being subdued and held at gunpoint by an off-duty police officer who was bringing his daughter to school.


29 Responses

  1. […] American society is slowly getting used to the idea that good people carry guns. Some, like the gentle sheepdog, go about their daily business, with no one the wiser. But if trouble arises, they are willing to jump in, bare the fangs, and stand against the predators of society, as reported by the Crime Prevention Research Center. […]

  2. Ian says:

    This list could include the psychiatrist that shot his patient, after the mentally ill man shot and killed the doctors receptionist. Police found the attacker had dozens of rounds with him as he had entered the hospital.
    Police believe it was planned as a mass killing. The doctor carried a pistol in his jacket pocket, in case of this exact event. Media reports were sketchy, & when it played on NPR they called another physician and got the quote “well, I really don’t think this means doctors should carry guns”.

    I’m certainly inspired to get my permit to carry.

  3. johnrlott says:

    Thanks, Ian, but it does include that case. See the July 2014 case.

  4. […] Uber driver in Chicago stops mass public shooting, compiling other cases where concealed handgun per… […]

  5. […] Cases where concealed handgun permit holders have stopped mass shootings crimepreventionresearchcenter.org/2015/04/uber-d… […]

  6. […] I have a list. John Lott is compiling one too. […]

  7. […] look at some of the recent cases that should have gotten some national […]

  8. […] GA_googleFillSlot("TaurusArmed-300P"); I had a discussion with a fellow doctor who assured me that conceale weapons are dangerous and only lead to more violence. He wassindeed pretty ignorant. This link cites great examples to use when arguing with the drones. My facts did not sway him…. You can't fix stupid… Uber driver in Chicago stops mass public shooting, compiling other cases where concealed handgun per… […]

  9. […] more indirectly) is not the kind of place we want to be in? It is also ignoring the cases where potential mass shootings have been stopped by armed individuals, such as the Uber diver in Chicago who stopped a man firing into a crowd in […]

  10. […] look at some of the recent cases that should have gotten some national […]

  11. […] is a long list of mass public shootings that have been stopped by citizens with permitted concealed handguns.  […]

  12. […] those interested, here is a list of concealed handgun permit holders who have stopped mass public […]

  13. […] Case after case occurs where concealed handgun permit holders stop what would have been mass shootings. While many don’t get news coverage because the permit holder prevents people from being killed, some, such as the recent Georgia case, still don’t get coverage even when there are dead bodies. […]

  14. […] Its true, Pinckney did vote against such legislation.  Also true, South Carolina has laws prohibiting weapons in Churches.  We can speculate, with reasonable certainty, that homicidal maniacs are deterred from action when they know they may face opposition to their violence. […]

  15. […] is a long list of mass public shootings that have been stopped by citizens with permitted concealed handguns. Just […]

  16. MikeS says:

    The Manchester story is backed up by a Concord Monitor story that’s still up:


  17. […] a shooter; Or the Hospital in Philadephia where a Doctor shot and killed an attacker with a gun. The list goes on of “Good Guys with Guns stopping Bad guys with […]

  18. James says:

    Thank you for sharing these stories
    I was just say ing the other day that I don’t understand why there are so many mass shootings these days when they were vertuly unheard of when I was a kid, the fact is ther were just as many guns then as ther are now, so it’s clearly not the guns but the people and all the prescription drugs ther on ( I’d say prescription drugs are the real culprit here, it’s as simple as that.
    Not to mention we’ve taken God out of everything so morals have gon right out the window .

    • Shawn says:

      “We have taken God out of everything”.. Horse manure. Christians and other believers in a ‘God’ are no more moral than people who don’t believe in one. That is just a self-righteous and intellectually-retarded way of thinking.

  19. […] said Meli. Iknow after he saw me, I think the last shot he fired was the one he used on himself. Uber driver in Chicago stops mass public shooting, compiling other cases where concealed handgun per… An Uber driver put his concealed carry permit to use Friday night when he pulled a gun and […]

  20. […] that mostly requires spying and infiltrating terrorist groups with agents. Licensed CCW users did prevent or mitigated consequences of number of shootings. Reply With Quote […]

  21. […] stopped mass public shootings. But there are dozens of cases, most in the last five years, in which concealed-handgun permit holders stopped mass public shootings[2]. Last year, these cases occurred in such places as a busy sidewalk in Chicago, a volunteer fire […]

  22. […] mass shootings averted by normal citizens legally carrying a concealed pistol (see here, here, here) happened last Sunday, the 26th of June in Lyman, South Carolina. One Jody Ray Thompson got into an […]

  23. […] mass shootings averted by normal citizens legally carrying a concealed pistol (see here, here, here) happened last Sunday, the 26th of June in Lyman, South Carolina. One Jody … Read […]

  24. […] mass shootings averted by normal citizens legally carrying a concealed pistol (see here, here, here) happened last Sunday, the 26th of June in Lyman, South Carolina. One Jody … Read […]

  25. Valorius says:

    Great list, thanks for compiling it.

  26. […] This past Friday, an Uber driver with a permitted concealed handgun stopped what likely would have been a mass public shooting. Police arrived on the scene quickly, but the Uber driver had still already taken care of the situation before they arrived. From Mitch Dudek in the Chicago Sun-Times (April 2015): An Uber driver put …  […]

  27. Homepage says:

    … [Trackback]

    […] There you will find 97723 more Infos: crimeresearch.org/2015/04/uber-driver-in-chicago-stops-mass-public-shooting/ […]

  28. John Paul Jones says:

    As to why innocent bystanders are not shot accidentally by a CWC holder during an attempted mass shooting, innocent bystanders don’t stand innocently by. They duck, run for cover or protect someone else. As Dr. Lott has pointed out numerous times, the gun control crowd concerns itself with what MIGHT happen instead of what does happen.

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