Being America’s largest retailer, thousands of Wal-Mart stores throughout the nation are visited each day by hundreds of thousands of shoppers. Obviously, with that volume of people coming and going, these stores are going to at least occasionally be the scene of violent criminals plying their trade.
Below are five times when armed Wal-Mart shoppers used their legally owned firearms to save their own lives or the lives of others.
Joshua Nelson was shopping at a Wal-Mart with his wife and children when he heard a woman scream, “Stop, put it down!” After telling his family to run to the front of the store and call the police, Nelson located the frantic woman. Nelson, who has a concealed-carry permit and carries his firearm almost everywhere, spotted a man holding a large fillet knife to the woman’s abdomen. Nelson let the knife-wielding man know that he was armed, then demanded that he drop the knife. The attacker then turned the knife on himself and threatened suicide. Nelson continued to talk to the man, who finally complied with his order to drop the knife and kick it away. Police arrived soon thereafter. “I immediately felt responsible for that lady’s life,” Nelson said of the incident. “If I’m in a position to help someone and I don’t, I would feel just as bad as the guy who does wrong.” No injuries were reported. (The Blaze, Del Rio, Texas, 10/24/14)
An 82-year-old woman was walking to her car in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart in Sierra Vista, Ariz., when criminal Stephen Prickett confronted her. Prickett told the elderly woman, “This is your day. You are too old to be alive anyway,” and began beating the woman with her own cane. During the attack, the elderly woman was able to retrieve her handgun from her purse and open fire on the criminal, alerting bystanders who came to help. Police arrived on the scene a short time later and took Prickett into custody; he faces several charges, including attempted murder. The woman later explained to local media her support for armed self-defense, particularly for the elderly, and went on to say, “If I go naturally or to a sickness or something, fine. I’m ready to go, but I’m not ready to let some idiot like that take me out.” (KVOA, Tucson, Ariz., 3/15/10)
Police say a man and a woman were getting into their car outside a Wal-Mart when an attacker shoved a pistol into the man’s stomach and demanded the keys. The woman pulled a pistol from the glove box and fired five shots at the carjacker, who dropped his pistol and ran away. He was arrested at a hospital where he sought treatment for a gunshot wound. “We’re kind of hailing (the man and woman) as heroes,” said Richland County, S.C., Sheriff Leon Lott. The suspect stands accused of committing nine additional armed robberies in less than a month. (The State, Columbia, S.C., 1/17/07)
A Wal-Mart customer with a concealed-carry permit came to a female employee’s rescue when violence erupted in a crowded store early one evening. Police say an employee was working in the deli when her ex-husband leapt across the counter and began stabbing her multiple times. That’s when 72-year-old Due Moore intervened, shooting and killing the ex-husband. The woman was taken to the hospital, where she was expected to recover from her wounds. (Albuquerque Journal, Albuquerque, N.M., 8/27/05)
Sandra Suter knew that a shopping trip to her local Wal-Mart store in Spring Hill, Fla., would end with a wait in the checkout line. What she didn’t count on was the near life-ending drama that was about to play out in front of her as she waited. The 5’ 3” grandmother, on advice from her son, had begun carrying a .40-cal. handgun in her purse for self-protection. Now she looked on in disbelief as several employees began wrestling with a man and one worker yelled out, “Drop the knife! Drop the knife!” The man, whom authorities later reported was attempting to steal a VCR, lunged at the employees, inflicting cuts with a small blade. That’s when Suter rushed into the melee and announced, “I have a concealed weapons permit” and demanded, “Either drop the knife, or I’ll shoot you!” After Suter repeated the threat, the knife-wielding man finally surrendered to store security. Later, Suter said she strongly supports Americans’ right to bear arms and added that target practice and gun-safety instruction had “brought our family closer together.” She said of the confrontation, “I just did what I thought was right.” (The Times, St. Petersburg, Fla., 5/24/00)