For a variety of reasons ranging from low light to easy in-and-out access, retail store parking lots tend to be high-crime areas in many cities. Consequently, law-abiding citizens must be especially diligent when going to and from their vehicles.
Here are five cases where Armed Citizens used firearms to protect themselves and others in parking lots.
Tim Patterson was cooking at The Big Yellow Mobile Kitchen as he did every day, when he heard a scream coming from the parking lot of a nearby Goodwill store. He rushed toward the cries for help and didn’t hesitate to draw his Kimber 1911 .45 when he saw that a man had grabbed hold of a woman and had a knife to her throat. “Drop it or I’ll shoot you!” Patterson warned. The assailant immediately released the woman, dropped the knife, raised his arms and fled. The victim, a Goodwill employee who was carrying a bank deposit in her purse at the time of the attempted robbery, was not injured. (Coeur d’Alene Press, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, 11/30/11)
After locking up, a female employee of Cakes and Confections 4U was leaving the business through a back door when she realized she was being cornered by two strange men. One man struck her in the jaw, while the other ripped off her necklace and earrings. When the men then attempted to sexually assault the woman, she produced a concealed .32-cal. firearm from her waistband and fired. Both men immediately dropped the stolen jewelry and ran. It was last reported that the assailants were still at large. After the incident, the woman said her firearm saved her life and that she had a strong message to all women: “If you don’t have a gun or you’re scared of guns, get familiar with them and get a gun.” (FOX Carolina 21, Landrum, S.C., 8/29/12)
Tattoo artist Sean Rodriguez was working one afternoon when he was alerted to an assault occurring outside Black Cobra Tattoo. Six men could be seen assaulting an individual in the parking lot. “I couldn’t just sit back and watch an innocent person being hurt …” said Rodriguez. He grabbed the firearm he is licensed to carry and approached the group of men. Upon seeing the gun, the suspects fled. Rodriguez never fired a shot, nor did he point the gun in their direction. “That was just an incident [sic] of a responsible gun owner doing what they’re supposed to do,” Rodriguez explained. The victim was treated for minor injuries and nothing was stolen. It was last reported that all six suspects were still at large. (The Daily Times, Salisbury, Md., 3/21/13)
Tariq Bell and his 13-year-old daughter had just left a music store when they were approached by a 40-year-old stranger. The man had just robbed someone at a nearby hotel and was being pursued by police. The fugitive grabbed Bell from behind, jumped into the driver’s seat of his vehicle and demanded the keys. With his daughter already in the backseat of the vehicle, Bell acted quickly. He drew his firearm and ordered the man to get out of his vehicle. When the fugitive saw Bell’s gun, he fled. It was reported that he then tried to carjack another victim, who sped away. He was, however, successful in carjacking a third victim and led police on a high-speed chase. He was ultimately apprehended and faces charges including armed robbery, carjacking, kidnapping and aggravated assault on a police officer. Neither Bell nor his daughter was injured during the incident. (WSB Radio, Snellville, Ga., 11/13/13)
A group of shoppers were waiting outside Wish clothing store in Atlanta, Ga., in order to purchase a new model of $180 Lebron James sneakers, when a man drew a gun and attempted to rob them. One of the customers, a Right-to-Carry permit holder, responded to the threat by drawing his own gun and firing at the criminal, killing him. A customer who witnessed the shooting said of the armed citizen, “He really stood up for all of us.” Police made it clear that they would not press charges against the Right-to-Carry permit holder. (The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Atlanta, Ga., 6/23/13; NBC News, 6/24/13)