Defensive Gun Uses By People Legally Carrying Guns: 29 Cases During December 2023

Mar 25, 2024 | Defensive Gun Use

Sanford, Maine, December 1, 2023 (FOX News, Portland Press Herald)

Police responded to the corner of Main and Lebanon streets just before 4 p.m. on Dec. 1, after witnesses said a man had been walking in the roadway, yelling at vehicles and carrying a knife…

Poto said he witnessed the unidentified man wielding a knife at motorists and threatening to kill them. He initially confronted the man without showing him he was holding a concealed firearm behind his leg, Poto told the Portsmouth Herald… 

The food truck owner said he tried to calm the man and get him to sit down, but that the suspect continued walking toward Poto, even when the business owner pulled out his firearm… 

When Schaffer was within lunging distance, Poto aimed the gun at his legs and fired. He said his goal was to stop the man, not kill him.

Gagne said there are currently no charges pending against Poto.

Emma Colton, “Armed food truck owner shoots knife-wielding man menacing motorists: cops,” FOX News, December 10, 2023.
Gillian Graham, “Sanford police charge man accused of waving knife downtown,” Portland Press Herald, December 12, 2023.

Auburndale, Florida, December 3, 2023 (ABC Action News)

Police said on Wednesday that Juan Jose Martinez, 36, from San Marcos, Texas, was shot after he reached into the victim’s vehicle and hit him in the face. He was shot once in the abdomen, police said. His injuries aren’t considered life-threatening.

Police said it happened at a 7-Eleven at 420 Magnolia Avenue just before 11 p.m. According to police, the victim and Martinez don’t know each other, and it’s unclear what led up to the altercation…

Officers then went to the gas station, where they found the shooter and several witnesses. Police said surveillance video at the gas station and witness testimony led them to determine the shooting was self-defense…

Emily McCain, “Texas man injured in Auburndale shooting deemed self-defense,” ABC Action News, December 6, 2023.

Miami, Florida, December 6, 2023 (NBC Miami)

The incident unfolded shortly before 5 a.m. at a community in the 8100 block of Northwest 8th Street.

Miami-Dade Police Det. Andre Martin said a resident was in his home when he heard power tools in the parking lot.

The resident saw two people under his vehicle trying to remove the catalytic converter, so he armed himself and confronted the suspects, Martin said.

“When I went out to walk my dog at 4:45, I hear power tools going off and I go ‘what the hell is going on?’ I lean over my balcony and I see two guys underneath my truck working to cut off the catalytic converter,” owner Luis Vega said. “They got out of the car and they had the gall to come walking. They wanted their tools because they knew they had their prints on them and I said ‘no, that’s not going to happen.’ So I came back up and I took shelter behind the wall. They go along a sidewalk. One of them crouches behind a pickup truck, points a gun and cranks out two rounds but of course I already took cover. What did I do? I returned fire and they ran.”

Martin said there was an exchange of gunfire, and the two suspects fled the scene in a vehicle…

Amanda Plasencia and Brian Hamacher, “Car owner exchanges gunfire with would-be catalytic converter thieves in Miami-Dade: Police,” NBC Miami, December 6, 2023.

Gardendale, Alabama, December 6, 2023 (

Charges have been filed against a woman who was shot during a robbery at a Gardendale jewelry store…

The robbery happened just before 5 p.m. Wednesday at the store on Fieldstown Road…

“I knew then what was happening,’’ Dennis said, “so I drew my weapon.”…

She then immediately started spraying bear spray at the employees. Bear spray is a powerful aerosol spray meant to be used to ward off grizzlies and black bears.

“I stepped around the corner and fired and hit her pretty good,’’ Dennis said. “I hit her in the shoulder. It was a significant injury.”…

She dropped her purse and fled…

Carol Robinson, “Woman shot in Alabama jewelry store holdup charged with robbery, criminal use of chemical spray,”, December 8, 2023.

Pompano Beach, Florida, December 6, 2023 (

Detectives with the Broward Sheriff’s Office announced the arrests of 21-year-old Fred Vilbrun and 18-year-old Jamiel Willis in connection to a non-fatal triple shooting that occurred in Pompano Beach last December.

The shooting occurred around 4 p.m. Dec. 6 near the 1700 block of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

According to BSO spokeswoman Gerdy St. Louis, one victim told detectives that several people approached him as he was walking in the area and they got into a verbal altercation.

“According to the victim, when he began to walk away, three of the unknown individuals lifted their waistbands and revealed their guns,” St. Louis said in a news release. “That’s when the victim says he pulled out his gun and fired in self-defense as the subjects fired back.”…

Three people were hit during the shootout, according to detectives – the victim, an innocent bystander and another male subject…

Ryan Mackey, “Deputies ID suspects in connection with Pompano Beach triple shooting,”, January 31, 2024.

Chicago, Illinois, December 9, 2023 (FOX 32 Chicago)

A 31-year-old man was outside in the 1600 block of North Hamlin Avenue at approximately 1:17 a.m. when two men approached him in a vehicle. The men in the vehicle began shooting.

The 31-year-old man, who is a CCL holder, returned fire, hitting both the men inside the vehicle. He was shot in the torso and transported to Stroger Hospital in fair condition.

A 44-year-old man who was inside the vehicle was shot in the chest and pronounced dead on scene. The second occupant, a 37-year-old man, was shot in the shoulder and transported to Mt. Sinai Hospital in fair condition.

Fox 32 Digital Staff, “3 shot, 1 fatally in exchange of gunfire in Humboldt Park: police,” FOX 32 Chicago, December 9, 2023.

Pleasant Hill, California, December 11, 2023 (FOX 26 News)

A group of young men who looked like they were about to commit a smash-and-grab robbery at a store in the East Bay were lucky to get out with just their lives after a worker pointed a handgun at them.

It happened Monday afternoon at Estates Consignments on Contra Costa Blvd. in Pleasant Hill…

The would-be robbers, one armed with a sledgehammer, ran toward the glass cases filled with jewelry, rings, and watches.

A woman working at the counter screamed and that’s when 73-year-old Albert Marcu came to her rescue and pointed a gun right at them.

“I showed them my gun, and I told them to stop it, I have a gun,” said Marcu.

“They panic and they run out.”

Marcu says he keeps his revolver on him because of recent similar incidents…

Stephen Hawkins, “Shopowner uses handgun to stop crooks from picking his store clean,” FOX 26 News, December 14, 2023.

Minneapolis, Minnesota, December 12, 2023 (FOX 9 KMSP, Star Tribune)

Police say a 45-year-old man died after being shot multiple times at the encampment known as “Camp Nenookaasi” shortly around 5:15 p.m. on Tuesday. Officers tried to revive the victim at the scene but say he was pronounced dead after being rushed to Hennepin County Medical Center…

Witnesses said the suspect fired at Tyrone J. Mohr after Mohr started a fight, county officials said…

Police arrested the suspect near the encampment; a gun was found nearby, police spokesman Aaron Rose said.

The County Attorney’s Office said it believes the shooter was acting in self-defense and that available evidence would not support a murder charge…

Maury Glover and FOX 9 Staff, “Man killed in shooting at Minneapolis encampment slated to be cleared,” FOX 9 KMSP, December 12, 2023.
Louis Krauss and Paul Walsh, “Fatal south Minneapolis encampment shooting was self-defense, county attorney’s office says,” Star Tribune, December 15, 2023.

Commerce City, Colorado, December 12, 2023 (KDVR)

The events took place off Tower Road in the Reunion neighborhood in Commerce City, according to the Commerce City Police Department.

Ashton Miller was working at the job site and jumped into action when he saw the physical altercation. As a legally armed citizen, he held the suspect at gunpoint until Commerce City officers arrived.

Miller’s actions allowed the gas-soaked woman to escape without injury, although the events were still traumatic.

FOX31’s Jim Hooley was the first reporter on the scene, and he spoke to witnesses working in the area. They told Hooley a Lexus sped into the area before coming to an abrupt stop and a woman jumped out of the driver’s side while a man jumped out of the passenger’s side.

Witnesses said the man ran to the woman, grabbed her and threw her on the ground, where he tried to light her on fire with a lighter.

The suspect, who has not been identified, was placed in the Adams County Jail on a $100,000 bond facing attempted first-degree murder and first-degree assault charges.

Heather Willard, “Good Samaritan saves driver’s life when passenger tried to light her on fire,” KDVR, December 19, 2023.

Atlanta, Georgia, December 14, 2023 (FOX 5 Atlanta)

The shooting happened just before midnight at a Texaco gas station on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Peyton Place…

Investigators say the teenager might have been trying to steal a vehicle or get into an unlocked vehicle to steal whatever’s inside.

Police believe the owner of the vehicle fired shots at the teen and then drove away…

Officers say the unnamed teen is wanted by law enforcement for multiple auto thefts around Atlanta… 

FOX 5 Atlanta Digital Team, “Suspected teen carjacker shot at Atlanta gas station has criminal history,” FOX 5 Atlanta, December 15, 2023.

Charlotte, North Carolina, December 15, 2023 (

A business owner armed with a handgun stopped a smash-and-grab robbery at a local jewelry store.

It happened during store hours Friday at Ballantyne Jewelers off Johnston Road in south Charlotte…

The owner, who didn’t want to be identified, said the thieves backed their car up near the front door. When they got inside, they went straight for the most expensive watches. He thinks they may have kept going if he didn’t grab his gun.

The sound of glass shattering is what moved the owner to get his gun…

Surveillance video captured him holding the loaded pistol as the thieves jumped into their getaway car…

Ken Lemon, “Armed shop owner stops smash-and-grab at south Charlotte jewelry store,”, December 18, 2023.

Birmingham, Alabama, December 16, 2023 (

A Pinson man has been identified as a patron shot to death during a confrontation with the owner of the Pita Stop on Birmingham’s Southside during Saturday’s lunch hour.

Ricardo Tafoya Garcia, 30, was shot at 12:11 p.m. Saturday inside the business in the 1100 block of 12th Street South…

The owner of the Pita Stop restaurant, a Middle Eastern institution in Birmingham’s Southside, said he had to shoot an intoxicated man who beat him in the kitchen Saturday in a violent dispute over a bill…

Islam said he shot the man three times and then called police, who stayed on the line with him until an officer arrived.

Islam said he was taken to the Birmingham Police Administration Building, interviewed and released. “So far, it’s self-defense, but they are still investigating,” Islam said…

Carol Robinson and Jeremy Gray, “Man shot to death inside Birmingham’s Pita Stop identified,”, December 18, 2023.

McMinnville, Oregon, December 19, 2023 (FOX 12 Oregon)

An attempted carjacker in a Walmart parking lot in McMinnville was stopped in his tracks when the would-be victim pulled out a handgun, according to police.

On Tuesday, Dec. 19 around 11:25 a.m., a man was loading items into his car when another man, holding a large knife, approached him and demanded his car keys, according to police.

Fearing for his life, the victim drew a handgun he had holstered on his hip and pointed it at the attempted carjacker, who then ran away…

Quiocho faces charges of Robbery in the First Degree, Menacing, Unlawful Use of a Weapon, and Attempted Unlawful Use of a Motor Vehicle…

FOX 12 Staff, “Attempted carjacking at McMinnville Walmart thwarted by man carrying pistol, police say,” FOX 12 Oregon, December 21, 2023.

Houston, Texas, December 20, 2023 (ABC 13 Eyewitness News, FOX 26 Houston)

A suspected robber is dead after a series of events that began at a Dollar General and ended with the suspect crashing into a METRO bus Wednesday afternoon…

Sheriff Ed Gonzalez says a deputy arrived in the 15000 block of Ella Boulevard after they were flagged down by someone for an alleged robbery. According to employees, a man attempted to rob the store with a pistol but an employee pulled out his weapon and hit the suspect at least once.

Officials say after the suspect left in his car, he crashed with a METRO bus a block away…

According to Gonzalez, the suspect’s car was involved in a robbery two days ago in the same area. Authorities also recovered the weapon the man used and learned it was an airsoft pistol, but looked like a legit one…

Gonzalez says it doesn’t look like anyone at Dollar General will be charged, but it will be left up to a grand jury…

Mycah Hatfield, “Dollar General manager shoots robbery suspect, who died after crashing into METRO bus, deputies say,” ABC 13 Eyewitness News, December 20, 2023.
FOX 26 Digital Staff, “Houston robbery suspect dead after crashing into METRO bus near Ella Boulevard,” FOX 26 Houston, December 20, 2023.

Greenfield, Indiana, December 20, 2023 (

The shooting happened around 1 a.m. Dec. 20 in the 1500 block of North Melody Lane, south of Interstate 70 along North State Street. The Greenfield Police Department said a 44-year-old man was shot in the arm “after what detectives believe was a domestic dispute.”

The man was allegedly assaulting a woman inside a moving car near a grocery store.

“The woman was able to reach her firearm and fired at least one shot at (the man), striking him in the arm,” the department said in a statement.

The woman was able to get away from the man and drove to a nearby hotel. The woman had a protective order in place against the man at the time of the incident, police said… Staff, “Greenfield PD: Man arrested after assaulting woman before being shot,”, December 20, 2023.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, December 20, 2023 (FOX 6 Now)

Officials say around 3 a.m. Wednesday, a 56-year-old man was walking his dog near Booth and Center when he was approached by another person. That person pointed a firearm and took the victim’s belongings. The suspect then attempted to take the victim’s vehicle. That is when the suspect fired shots at the victim – and the victim returned fire.

Nobody was hurt…

FOX6 News Digital Team, “Milwaukee armed robbery; victim exchanges gunfire with suspect,” FOX 6 Now, December 20, 2023.

South Bend, Indiana, December 21, 2023 (

The South Bend Police Department says the deadly shooting of man at a gas station on South Bend’s west side early Thursday morning was ruled a justifiable homicide by the St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office.

Police were called around 12:50 a.m. to the Phillips 66 gas station in the 4000 block of W. Western Avenue on reports of a robbery. When they arrived, they found a man, identified as 24-year-old Glen Brooks, suffering from gunshot wounds. Brooks was pronounced dead at the scene.

Witnesses told police that Brooks entered the gas station with a handgun and was attempting to rob it at gunpoint. He then reportedly got into a struggle with the clerk.

That’s when police say an armed concerned citizen decided to intervene on behalf of the clerk and fired his gun. Brooks was hit by the gunfire and ran away from the gas station, but police say he collapsed a short distance away… Staff, “Deadly shooting of suspected robber at South Bend gas station ruled justifiable,”, December 21, 2023.

Chicago, Illinois, December 23, 2023 (CWB Chicago)

Chicago police are investigating after a 19-year-old man was shot and killed in West Town on Saturday afternoon. A concealed carry holder told police he shot the man because the man and three other people targeted him in an armed robbery.

The shooting occurred in an alley behind the 1700 block of West Cortez around 4:51 p.m…

CWB Chicago Staff, “19-year-old shot and killed, possibly while trying to rob concealed carry holder in West Town,” CWB Chicago, December 23, 2023.

Cincinnati, OH, December 24, 2023 (FOX 19 Now)

Officers were called to the 1900 block of Berkley Avenue around 2 a.m.

A preliminary investigation reveals that the two suspects reportedly broke into a blue car, police said.

Officers say the homeowner felt threatened by what the suspects were doing, and so the homeowner shot at them three or four times with his legally owned gun

FOX19 Digital Staff, “Juvenile, one other suspect shot in Bond Hill after attempted car break-in, police say,” FOX 19 Now, December 24, 2023.

St. Louis, Missouri, December 24, 2023 (First Alert 4)

According to St. Louis Metropolitan Police, the shooting took place in the 3500 block of Minnesota Ave. around 3 a.m. Two men with a firearm approached two other people while they were sitting in their car, saying it was a robbery. One of the victims grabbed a firearm inside the car and shot one of the suspects. He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. The man was later identified as Donta Stone, 34, of Jennings Station Road.

The two victims fled in their car and contacted police shortly after the incident…

Lucas Sellem, “Police: Man shot, killed while attempting to rob two people in south St. Louis,” First Alert 4, December 26, 2023.

Palm Beach, Florida, December 24, 2023 (WPTV)

On Wednesday, the county’s clerk site posted the arrest report involving the incident at Palm Beach Commons plaza around 4:30 a.m. Sunday.

Darryl Gary-Paul McLinton, a resident west of Lake Worth Beach, is facing charges of robbery, simple assault and criminal mischief in connection to the incident, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said Monday…

The person who shot McLinton, Jeffery Boyd, remained on the scene.

Detectives learned that McLinton “had shown an aggressive and agitated behavior during his time” at the bar, according to the police report…

He entered the vehicle’s driver’s side door and approached Boyd, who owned the car, detectives say…

“McLinton began to walk in the direction of Boyd in an aggressive manner and stating he belonged to a gang,” according to the report. Boyd told him to stop several times.

When Boyd entered his vehicle he said he saw McLinton “reach and dig inside of his waistband,” believing he had a handgun.

Boyd retrieved his 9mm Springfield handgun from his vehicle.

Boyd said the man “maintained his hand in his waistband, and began to duck around the front hood area of the Tesla.”…

During a demonstration with detectives, the suspect “was growling at him. Jeffery Byrd fearing for his life at this point, and that McLinton was beginning to come closer to him, discharged the handgun.”

Despite being shot, McClinton still was coming after Boyd. Bystanders then intervened.

Witnesses later reported that the man scratched the hood of the Tesla with an unknown object.

Allen Cone, “Victim fearing for life shot ‘aggressive’ man who is facing charges, PBSO says,” WPTV, December 27, 2023.

Lithonia, Georgia, December 25, 2023 (Atlanta News First)

Police said a man was taken to the hospital after a shooting at the QuikTrip at 2776 Panola Road in Lithonia.

According to investigators, the man was trespassing at the gas station when he shot at a person. The person shot back, hitting the man. The man was then taken to the hospital, although there were no life-threatening injuries.

Police said the man suspected of trespassing will be charged with aggravated assault. They do not expect charges to be filed against the person who shot him…

Atlanta News First staff, “Shooting reported at DeKalb County gas station, police say,” Atlanta News First, December 25, 2023.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, December 26, 2023 (NBC Philadelphia)

According to police, the incident happed just before 5 a.m., when a man told officers that he was standing near his car along the 1400 block of S. Water Street, when a silver car pulled up and two men wearing masks jumped out of the vehicle.

The 38-year-old man — who was armed — told police that he believed he was about to be robbed and he produced a gun and opened fire on the two men who stepped out of the silver car.

One of the men was hit and ran across the street where he dropped onto the roadway, police said. The other individual fled, according to police…

For that civilian, 38-year-old, the police say he had a license to carry permit on him at the time of the shooting. They are not charging him with any crime…

Hayden Mitman, “Suspected assailant killed in South Philly shooting,” NBC Philadelphia, December 26, 2023.

Gaylesville, Alabama, December 26, 2023 (

The incident happened Tuesday afternoon inside a vehicle on Highway 35 near Watson’s Crossroads.

Shaver said it appears the driver of the vehicle was under attack when he shot Mitchell, who was his brother.

No charges have been filed…

Carol Robinson, “Argument between 2 east Alabama brothers leaves 1 dead,”, December 27, 2023.

Chicago, Illinois, December 27, 2023 (CBS News)

As CBS 2’s Darius Johnson reported, glass and crime scene tape remained at the scene nearly 12 hours after the chaos unfolded – but that was all. The family of the Concealed Carry License holder who fired at the would-be carjackers called what happened a miracle – saying five rounds potentially saved their lives…

After Sims got in the coworker’s Toyota Corolla at Washington Boulevard and Kostner Avenue around 4:40 a.m., four men approached in a silver sport-utility vehicle.

Three of the men surrounded the coworker’s Corolla with guns drawn – demanding that Sims and her coworker get out.

“They wanted to carjack them,” said Janice Sims. “They just shot the car up maybe 20 times.”

Sims was shot in the chest, while her coworker was grazed in the right calf…

The four men drove off after Sims’ 65-year-old coworker – who holds a Firearm Owners Identification Card and a Concealed Carry License – fired the only five rounds he had before driving to the hospital.

Darius Johnson and Jeramie Bizzle, “2 hurt after licensed gunholder, offender exchange gunfire during attempted carjacking on Chicago’s West Side,” CBS News, December 27, 2023.

Montebello, California, December 28, 2023 (Whittier Daily News)

A Whittier man killed in a Montebello neighborhood on Dec. 28 had confronted the shooter at gunpoint, a sheriff’s detective said.

The shooter, a 23-year-old Los Angeles man, remained at the scene and was arrested the next day, with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office later declining to file charges against him.

“It ended up a case of self-defense,” sheriff’s Lt. Steve De Jong said.

The shooting happened shortly before midnight in the 1600 block of Neil Armstrong Street, near apartment complexes, after the Los Angeles man drove there to drop off a woman friend.

When they arrived, a man got out of a parked vehicle and walked up to them, the lieutenant said, produced a gun, asked for the woman and pointed the weapon at the driver — who then shot him, De Jong said.

The three know one another, the lieutenant said…

Ruby Gonzales, “Man not charged by DA in shooting during Montebello confrontation,” Whittier Daily News, January 5, 2024.

Panama City Beach, Florida, December 30, 2023 (WJHG)

A Holmes County man was arrested by the Bay County Sheriff’s Office Saturday after he reportedly went on a violent crime spree in the Panama City Beach area.

Authorities stated that a BCSO deputy tried to pull over Dillon Joshua Hutton, 30, of Bonifay, for speeding on Highway 98 on the west end of Panama City Beach. They said Hutton did not stop, and instead drove into the Laguna Beach area.

Deputies said Hutton then tried to steal an occupied car on 1st Street but was shot by the vehicle owner.

Officials said despite his injury, Hutton then fled in his own vehicle onto Back Beach Road near The Powder Room and tried to carjack another car but was unsuccessful…

Deputies said while Hutton was trying to carjack the third vehicle, they caught up to him and arrested him…

WJHG Newsroom, “Holmes County Man Arrested in Bay County after crime spree,” WJHG, December 30, 2023.

Shreveport, Louisiana, December 30, 2023 (KSIA)

An armed victim caught two men allegedly attempting to steal his vehicle.

On Dec. 30 at 6:18 a.m., the Shreveport Police Department (SPD) received a shots fired report in the 5100 block of South Lakeshore Drive at the Summer Pointe Apartments. When officers arrived, they discovered that a man caught two men trying to break into his car.

The victim was armed and held the suspects at gunpoint at first, but then let the suspects get away, police say. As they were fleeing in a dark gray Kia or Nissan, the suspects fired multiple times at the victim, striking other cars in the parking lot, SPD says.

Due to the gunfire, the victim received a minor cut to the face from a bullet fragment and/or glass.

Brittney Hazelton, “Victim hurt by gunfire after attempted car theft,” KSIA, December 31, 2023.

Denver, Colorado, December 31, 2023 (Denver 7 ABC)

The shooting happened on Dec. 31 around 2:45 p.m. Officers with the Denver Police Department responded to the parking lot of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, located at 2001 N. Colorado Boulevard after receiving a report of a robbery…

The victim told police he was driving with his family — including his girlfriend and their two children — and they pulled into the parking lot. The man said he was changing his shirt as his girlfriend got the two children out of the car. He was carrying a concealed carry handgun in his waistband.

The man then saw two people — whom he described as Hispanic males with thin builds between the ages of 18 and 24 — quickly approach him. He told police they had handguns with extended magazines drawn and pointed at him, according to a probable cause statement. They also ran up to his girlfriend with the firearms. The man said he feared for the life of his family.

He said the suspects grabbed him and told him to give them the silver chain around his neck. One of the suspects then hit him in the back of the head, he said. He believed that the man hit him with the butt of the handgun, according to a probable cause statement.

The father then pulled his gun from his waistband and pointed it at the two suspects, he told police.

One of the suspects fired several rounds at the man, with one round striking the rear passenger side of the vehicle. The man told police he fired back at the suspects, who fled on foot northbound and fired an additional round at the family as they ran, according to a probable cause statement. It was not clear if the man believed he had struck either suspect.

Nobody in the family was struck by gunfire…

Stephanie Butzer, “Father shoots attempted robbery suspect who opened fire on his family in Denver museum’s parking lot,” Denver 7 ABC, January 2, 2024.



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