Kentucky’s history is uniquely intertwined with firearms, as exhibited by the Kentucky Long Rifle—developed in the Bluegrass State and in neighboring Tennessee. Fast-forward nearly 300 years, and today’s Kentucky residents are still no strangers to firearms, in particular their utility for self-defense.
Following are six notable occasions when armed Kentuckians protected themselves and others with their firearms.
An armed criminal entered Liquor World in Louisville, Ky., and attempted to rob the store. An employee on duty responded to the threat by retrieving a gun and shooting the criminal. The would-be thief died after being taken to a hospital. The employee was not injured during the incident. (WLKY, Louisville, Ky., 9/28/15)
People who use Internet dating services sometimes have more of a motive than socializing. William D. Jolley struck up an online conversation with a woman, and the two decided to meet at his place in Cynthiana, Ky. Shortly after she arrived, the woman stepped outside, and returned with two men in tow. The men started beating Jolley, who pulled a gun and fired several shots, wounding one of his assailants. The two male suspects fled in a car, with one driving his wounded partner to the hospital. Doctors pronounced the shot suspect dead, and his accomplice fled the hospital on foot. Police later apprehended him and Jolley’s “date,” and charged them. (Lexington Herald Leader, Lexington, Ky., 12/22/14)
Jim Tipton, owner of the 96 Truck Stop, was armed when two men suspected in the robbery and abduction of a taxi driver attempted to rob his store. The two suspects went behind the counter while pointing a firearm at an employee and demanded money. Tipton fired three times. One suspect was held for police while the other was discovered wounded a short time later in a nearby field. The condition of the wounded suspect was not released. No other injuries were reported. (The Winchester Sun, Winchester, Ky., 9/23/14)
An employee of a Marathon gas station in Lexington, Ky., confronted a man who was urinating on the outside of the building. The public urinator responded to the employee with racial slurs, drew a knife and moved towards the employee. The employee, a Right-to-Carry permit holder, countered by drawing a pistol and firing a shot. Startled by the shot, the criminal accidentally stabbed himself with his own knife, requiring medical attention at a nearby hospital. Police told a local media outlet that they will not charge the employee. (WKYT, Lexington, Ky., 8/4/13)
Seventy-eight-year-old Jack Thompson and his wife were asleep in their Brewers, Ky., home when two burglars, at least one of whom was armed, kicked their door in. Upon hearing the burglars, Thompson retrieved a handgun he keeps by the bed and confronted one of the home invaders at the bedroom door. Thompson fired at the criminal three times, striking him once. But the wounded intruder was relentless and continued after Thompson, until Thompson retrieved a shotgun and shot the burglar in the shoulder, ending the incident. The injured intruder was airlifted to a local hospital, where he underwent surgery; his accomplice fled before police arrived. During an interview with local media, Thompson made clear that he intends to keep the pistol by his bed, but doesn’t think he’ll need it, stating, “I don’t think he’ll want what his friend got.” (WPSD, Paducah, Ky., 3/19/12; The Tribune-Courier, Marshall County, Ky., 3/20/12)
Bobby Lee and his 2-year-old daughter Zoey were asleep in their Laurel County, Ky., home when a trio of criminals broke into the house. One of the intruders made it into Lee’s bedroom, at which point Lee retrieved a gun and fired it, striking one of the burglars, and chased all three criminals from the home. The home invaders made it to their getaway SUV, but when it broke down, Lee ordered all of them out of the vehicle and held them until police could arrive. Lee bought his firearm after a previous burglary and practiced with it several times in order to be prepared for just such a scenario. When interviewed by local media, Lee noted, “I’m happy I protected my family. That is something you can take pride in.” (WKYT, Lexington, Ky., 2/9/12)