Below, we have collected news stories on more cases of permit holders stopping mass public shootings with their handguns (we separately collect cases where concealed handguns are used to stop other crimes). There is no reason to believe that this list is comprehensive, given how little media coverage is devoted to these heroic acts. In addition, we make no attempt here to list here the vast number of defensive gun uses in general that are reported daily in the US.
Permit holders stopped some mass public shootings that gained extensive news coverage, but only a few stories mentioned that it was a permit holder who stopped the attack. The stories frequently get other facts wrong.
A note: Gun control advocates raise the concern that concealed handgun permit holders who stop an attack might accidentally shoot a bystander. They are also fearful that the police might accidentally kill the permit holder. While such incidents are a possibility, they have yet to occur. We probably do not have all the cases where a permit holder stopped a mass public shooting, but if a permit holder were to shoot a bystander, it seems clear that such an event would get news coverage.
[This post has been updated. Cases have only been systematically collected since 2014. Because of the lack of news stories that accompany these cases, we believe that we have found a much greater percentage of the cases since 2014 than earlier.]
Newnan, Georgia, August 13, 2018
This is an amazing story that was caught on video. An employee who wasn’t even scheduled to work that day, but was simply hanging around the bar outside in the parking lot, stopped an attack that the police say would have likely resulted in multiple deaths. Note in the cover picture for this video that the bar has multiple gun free zone signs. From Fox 5 in Atlanta:
FOX 5 News has the exclusive surveillance video of the shooting outside Fat Boys Bar and Grill on Highway 16. Deputies say that video shows Kevintez Mathewis on his way into the bar with a handgun when Ben McCoy confronts him and is shot multiple times. He drew the gunman’s attention and then drew his fire. . . .
WJHL TV Channel 11 in Johnson City, Tennessee reports: “It was just a horrific situation that police said could have possibly been even worse if a patient at that dentist office didn’t take action. We are talking about a man identified as Larry Seagroves, a man with a carry permit.”
The motive of the attacker isn’t clear. While it is possible that robbery was the motive, the fact that the attacker immediately began firing his gun as soon as he entered the restaurant means it is very likely that his goal was most likely just to kill people.
Louisville, Kentucky, Wednesday, October 24, 2018
The national media has picked up on this story because of the killer, Gregory Bush, is racist, but they are ignoring the fact that a white civilian with a concealed handgun permit stopped the attack. Both the people murdered at the Koger — Maurice Stallard, 69, and Vickie Jones, 67 — were black. Bush had apparently tried to do an attack at a black churchbefore shooting blacks at the Kroger indicates he was trying to kill as many blacks as possible and that the number of blacks killed could have been much worse if it wasn’t for the concealed handgun permit holder.
The Louisville Courier Journal reports that after Bush had visited the church:
“Multiple rounds were fired by both the suspect and the intervening citizen,” Jeffersontown police wrote in a statement. “Neither the suspect nor the involved citizen, nor any other bystanders were injured with this exchange of gunfire.”
Bush fled the scene in his vehicle. Police located Bush and his vehicle on Hurstbourne Parkway, next to the Stony Brook Center, where he was taken into custody. . . .
Another story on the case notes: “The police chief clarified that . . . the woman killed in the parking lot was shot by the suspect before the exchange [with the permit holder] began . . . .”
Titusville, Florida, August 4, 2018
A shooting at a back to school event for children and their families had a shooting that was quickly stopped by a concealed handgun permit holder. Something between 150 and 200 people (video here puts it at over 200), primarily children, were present at the event.
The gunshots still echo across social media, after the emcee at Titusville’s Peace in the City event posted a Facebook live video of the shooting. When a good Samaritan carrying a licensed concealed weapon shot the attacker, police say he did the right thing.
“Based on the information that we’ve gathered,” said Titusville Police Sgt. William Amos. “This person stepped in and saved a lot of people’s lives.” . . .
Here is another statement from the Titusville Police via the Orlando Sentinel on the evening of August 6th, 2018.
“He’s a hero,” Titusville Police Sgt. Bill Amos said. “This park was filled with families and children and, at that time, it was an active shooter situation for him and he was trained enough to deal with it and he did.” . . .
A wild rampage at a Walmart in Tumwater, Washington was stopped when three concealed handgun permit holders confronted and killed the attacker. The attacker had carjacked a vehicle that he drove to the Walmart. Once there, the attacker stole ammunition and then went out of the store, continuing to shoot at people. He unsuccessfully tried to carjack another vehicle, seriously wounding the driver. When he attempted to carjack a second car, two armed customers shot dead the attacker.
According to the local Fox affiliate and Fox News, the man who killed the attacker is a pastor with five kids who was out with his family.
Two men who had handguns in their cars, Juan Carlos Nazario, 35, and Bryan Whittle, 39, stopped what likely would have been a mass shooting at Louie’s Grill & Bar in Oklahoma City. Police Capt. Bo Matthews said: “You can say they’re heroes, which is a very good thing to say.” Nazario is a security guard, and Whittle was able to legally carry a gun openly without a permit (it is unknown whether he had a concealed handgun permit, though it wasn’t necessary for this case). The shooter, Alexander Tilghman, shot at people “from a position outside the front door” of the restaurant. It was from that position that he was stopped by these two heroes. It turns out that Whittle’s shot killed the gunman.
Nazario fired two shots. “He just fell to the ground.”
Despite a restaurant full of innocent lives potentially saved, Nazario said he doesn’t feel like a hero.
“I just can’t understand being called a hero when someone’s life was taken,” he said. “I just did what I had to do. I’m very glad no innocent lives were taken but ultimately, there was a life taken.” . . .
Both Alexander Tilghman, the killer, and Juan Carlos Nazario were security guards. We will continue to check whether Whittle had a concealed handgun permit.
San Antonio, Texas, December 7, 2017 (ABC 13 in San Antonio, Time Magazine)
This case is an exception to all the other cases shown here in that it received national coverage on Time magazine’s website. A man with a gun was about to start shooting a father’s children as they were walking out of a restroom when the father killed the attacker. This case was also unusual from the other cases above is that the attack was part of some other crime, a robbery. Police stated that the permit holder saved at least several lives. From ABC 13:
That’s when the robber pointed his gun at the family.
The father pulled out his own gun and killed the robber in the middle of the dining area.
Police say the father is a licensed carrier. He is not facing any charges.
Officials also say the father saved several lives. . . .
Rockledge, Florida, November 17, 2017 (Florida Today, WFTV.com in Orlando)
Two concealed handgun permit holders stopped an attack at Schlenker Automotive repair shop at 4:30 PM on the Friday after Thanksgiving. The attacker, Robert Bailey, was armed with a .45-caliber handgun and “multiple magazines” and killed one person and severely wounded another in the business’ parking lot. Bailey continued shooting inside the shop. From Florida Today:
According to news reports, Bailey had no connection to the auto shop. Indeed, he didn’t even own a car. It appears as if Bailey had selected this target simply to kill people.
Clearlake Oaks, California, October 23, 2017 (FBI report on active shooter incidents for 2016-17)
From the FBI report on page 5. At the first target, the killer was forced to stop his attack because of police arriving at the scene. At the second target, a concealed handgun permit holder forced the attacker to break off his attack.
Antioch, Tennessee, September 24, 2017 (Chicago Tribune, Daily Caller) (the above picture shows a picture of Samson after he received treatment for his minor wound)
A 25-year-old shooter, Emanuel Kidega Samson, killed one person in the parking lot, entered the church, and started shooting. A 22-year-old usher, Robert Engle, tried to wrestle with the shooter, but Samson is a very large bodybuilder, and Engle realized that he was not strong enough to stop him. During the scuffle, Samson pistol wiped Engle causing him to bleed from his head. Samson also shot himself, causing very minor wounds to his chest and arm. Engle then ran to his car and got his permitted concealed handgun. The usher came back into the church and confronted the attacker, holding him there at gunpoint until police arrived. With one dead and seven wounded, the attack could have been much worse.
At some point, the gunman also pistol-whipped a church usher, causing “significant injuries” to the man, Aaron said. The usher, 22-year-old Robert “Caleb” Engle, confronted the gunman, police said, and during a struggle, Samson was injured with a shot from his own gun. The usher then ran to his car and retrieved a handgun, police said.
Aaron said the usher ensured the gunman did not make any more movements until officers arrived on the scene. “It would appear he was not expecting to encounter a brave individual like the church usher,” Aaron said.
Police Chief Steve Anderson praised Engle for intervening: “We believe he is the hero today.” . . .
Arlington, Texas, May 3, 2017 (Dallas Morning News)
This attack was stopped before more than one person was killed. Yet, the police spokesman made it clear that the concealed handgun permit holder “prevented further loss of life” and that the killer was “shooting at the front door” at the customers who were fleeing the restaurant. The headline on the Dallas Morning News story was: “‘Hero’ stopped mass murder by crazed bar patron who was armed to the teeth, police say.” Emphasis added in quotes below.
Before he was shot about 6:15 p.m., the gunman killed the manager of Zona Caliente in the 6500 block of South Cooper Street, police spokesman Christopher Cook said.
Police later identified the gunman as 48-year-old James Jones of Grand Prairie and the victim as 37-year-old Cesar Perez of Duncanville. The man who killed Jones has not been identified.
Authorities later found two loaded guns and two knives on Jones, Cook said Thursday.
“We do believe he had the capacity to do much greater harm,” Cook said.
“After he was struck once, the suspect started shooting at the front door,” Cook told the Arlington Voice. “We know people were trying to escape, but we’re not sure if he was just trying to harm others.”
More than a dozen customers and a handful of employees were in the sports bar at the time of the shooting.
Cook said the customer, who was dining with his wife, “prevented further loss of life.” . . .
Another story in the Arlington Voice mentioned this:
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 to shoot back, wounding Thompson in the leg.
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.
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.”
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. . . .
Chicago, Illinois, April 19, 2015, Chicago Sun-Times
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 19, 2015):
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. . . .
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 22, 2015, NBC Channel 10:
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 25, 2014
John Lott in the Philadelphia Inquirer (Other details on the case are available here).
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 . . .
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. . . .
Portland, Oregon, January 11, 2014, Oregonian
Thomas Eliot Hjelmeland, 43-years-old, was ejected from a nightclub, 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.
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.
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.
“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. . . . .
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.” . . .
“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:
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. . . .
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
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 25, 2008, KOLO ABC Channel 8 (Reno):
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:
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:
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 recounts the testimony of Mikael Gross, one of the two students who had:
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”]
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.
Cicero, Illinois, September 15, 2018
The Chicago Tribune points out that the police considered a concealed handgun permit holder a hero. They did not initially know if the permit holder was the one who had shot the criminal, but that at the very least his shots helped stop the attack and made it possible for the other officer to shoot the criminal. The police and others referred to the permit holder as a “hero.”
[David] Lombardo added, “speaking as a former part-time deputy and an ex-military guy, the (citizen) was an angel. He knew what he was doing, he got involved when he didn’t have to and he saved the cop’s life. The bad guy could have hit somebody else too. So who knows how many lives (the citizen) saved?”
Cicero police and town leaders credited the citizen, whose name they did not release, with helping to end the wild shootout during the Thursday evening rush hour.
“We were lucky enough to have a citizen on the street there who is a conceal carry holder, and he engaged in gunfire with the suspect,” Cicero police Superintendent Jerry Chlada Jr. said . . . .
It later turned out that the permit holder wasn’t the one who had wounded the criminal. From the Chicago Sun-Times:
A witness with a permit to carry a concealed gun saw the shooting and fired three times at Mageo as he ran, Lisuzzo said. None of those bullets struck Mageo. . . .
Rock Hill, South Carolina, December 21, 2017 (The State newspaper (Columbia, South Carolina), WYFF Channel 4 TV)
The attacker wielding a large wrench threatened to kill several people. The attacker had cornered one of the employees, and he would have likely killed her. Fortunately, two concealed handgun permit holders stopped the attack. This case is only included as possible because it isn’t clear that the attacker would have been able to kill more than the one female employee. From The State newspaper:
Alonzo Seegars, upset with service at Stateline car dealership on Gold Hill Road in Fort Mill on Dec. 21, arrived armed with a pipe wrench, said Aaron Hayes, 16th Circuit assistant solicitor. Seegars told a service employee, “I know who you are and you are a dead man,” then “threatened to kill” a female employee, Hayes said.
Seegars then shouted out “Watch this!” as he smashed at least three vehicles with the pipe wrench, Hayes said.
Two customers, whom prosecutors said had legal concealed carry permits and were armed legally at the time, intervened and “held Mr. Seegars at bay” with the handguns at the crowded dealership until police arrived, Hayes said. York County deputies tackled Seegars after using an electric stun gun. Seegars suffered a broken leg in the scuffle. . . .
North Naples, Florida, July 11, 2018
It looks as if the permit holder stopped what otherwise would have been a drive-by shooting. WINK television news -had this headline “Good Samaritan with a gun stops possible shooter outside restaurant.”
“You wonder, is this ever going to happen to me, and it did,” Tom said.
According to witnesses, what Tom did may have prevented a tragedy.
“I pulled into Jack’s, just walked in to grab a beer. Walked outside to sit down, and there was a table of ladies to the right of me,” Tom said. “Almost immediately, this black Lincoln pulled up with all dark windows and he did a hell of a burnout.” . . .
Tom says a man, who deputies later identified and arrested as Keith Zavattaro, 55, of Naples, drove back to the front of the building, stopped and then slowly rolled down his window to then point what looked like a gun.
“So I got behind the cement pillar and showed my pistol, and he took off out of there really quick,” Tom said.
According to the arrest report, other people outside also saw the gun.
Houston, Texas, Sunday, May 29, 2016, The UK Daily Mail
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.
While this case ended with the permit holder not stopping the shooter, the exchange of gun-fire with the shooter delayed him and thus gave others a chance to escape and police more time to arrive.
Hoover, Alabama (Galleria Mall), November 23, 2018
Emantic Bradford Jr apparently tried to use his gun to stop what might have been a gang shooting at a mall. Unfortunately, Bradford was shot by a police officer. The Alabama Attorney General cleared the police officer in the shooting of any crime, saying that he acted reasonably because of the chaos. One factor that helped cause problems was that the mall banned concealed handgun permit holders. This is the only case that we know of where a permit holder was shot by police when he was trying to stop a shooting, though he apparently wasn’t doing it in a place where he was legally able to do it. It also isn’t clear if Bradford was himself involved in stopping the shooting of civilians.
When the gunman, later identified as Ronald O. Hunt, announced, “I’m an off-duty U.S. Marshal, I’m here to kill people,” Howell realized that he had only one option.
“I knew that there was a threat that had to be stopped,” Howell said Friday as he recalled the incident. . . .
In announcing that the retired U.S. Army veteran would not face criminal charges, Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe said Howell “acted with extreme courage, and saved an unknown amount of innocent lives.” . . .
“You never know what situation you are going to find yourself in whether it is a restaurant or a shopping mall, or just driving down the road,” he said. “I think it would be ludicrous not to be prepared.” . . .
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. . . .
St. Cloud, Minnesota, September 17, 2016
A terrorist mass stabbing occurred at the Crossroads Center shopping mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Ten people were injured, and the attacker was shot dead inside the mall by an off-duty law enforcement officer. The FBI began investigating the stabbing as a possible act of terrorism.
“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)):
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.