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The Armed Citizen® | Doctors & Physicians

The Armed Citizen® | Doctors & Physicians

Doctors and physicians are typically thought of as defenders of human health, the last line of defense between individuals and the dangers that might be lurking in and on their bodies. This urge to preserve life often extends to dangers in the form of other human beings, however, as the following accounts of armed doctors who stopped criminals show.

Dr. Wesley Parkhurst served nine months in Iraq, but it was only after returning home to Henryetta, Okla., that he found himself having to use deadly force. The physician stopped to help a woman who had been assaulted by her husband, Gary Wayne Britt. Though she asked to be driven to her mother's house, Parkhurst wisely drove to the police station after Britt twice rammed the doctor's car. Outside the police station, Britt confronted Parkhurst and advanced on him, despite Parkhurst's loaded .45-cal. handgun. Parkhurst fired two shots, both of which struck Britt, who was listed in stable condition at an area hospital. Parkhurst was not charged. (Daily Oklahoman, Oklahoma City, Okla., 1/12/2005) 

When his wife's ex-husband forced his way into their Fort Dodge, Iowa, home and assaulted him, Dr. Daniel Cole, a medical examiner, retrieved a gun and fired a shot, fatally wounding his assailant. A Webster County grand jury declined to file charges. (Des Moines Register, Des Moines, Iowa, 10/15/2004)

A McKinney, Texas, doctor has his wife's quick reflexes and .38-cal. revolver to thank for his life. Dr. and Mrs. Avery were returning from a gun show to their rural home when the doctor backed his car into the driveway and a small green car pulled in. A strange man emerged holding a rifle. He ordered Dr. Avery out of his car and pushed him to the ground, holding the rifle to the doctor's head. Mrs. Avery quickly drew her revolver and fired five shots at the assailant, possibly hitting him at least once. The gunman returned fire, hitting the Averys' vehicle several times, then sped away in his car. Police later recovered an abandoned green car with a bullet hole in the window and blood on the seat, but had not apprehended the gunman. (Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, 9/11/2002) 

Dr. James Birch was upstairs in his Tulsa, Okla., home when his wife began screaming and a man with a gun appeared at his bedroom door. Remembering a revolver he had put in a dresser drawer, Birch grabbed it and traded shots with the intruder. In the exchange, Birch seriously wounded his attacker and sustained two wounds himself. The wounded youth and two accomplices fled, but were later apprehended by police. "The gun had been in the drawer so long, and I hadn't fired it in years," Birch said. "I was lucky it was loaded; I wouldn't have had time to get it loaded." (The Tribune, Tulsa, Okla., 6/24/1991) 

Dr. Joseph Hippensteel Jr., a La Jolla, Calif., dentist, was sleeping in an upstairs bedroom when he awoke to see a stranger walking in. He reached for his pistol, yelled at the intruder and fired two shots as he chased both him and an accomplice out of the house. Police were checking the story of a man who turned up a few minutes later with a serious gunshot wound. (The Union, San Diego, Calif., 7/11/1990)

Resting in his Queens, N.Y., home, Dr. Irving Frohman, 81, heard violent pounding on his door and retrieved his war-souvenir .45. When a man split the door open and then ignored pleas to halt, Frohman stopped him with one shot from his licensed pistol. He then tended the man's wound until police arrived. The assailant had been freed from jail only hours earlier. (The Daily News, New York, N.Y., 7/5/1984)

A masked gunman confronted a woman leaving a Gainesville, Fla., health center and, firing a shot, demanded her purse. When she screamed, he pistol-whipped her. Hearing the commotion, Dr. John Freeman, armed with a handgun, responded and forced the woman's attacker to flee. (The Sun, Gainesville, Fla., 11/3/1982) 

Dr. J.A. Fischer and his wife were awakened by an armed intruder rifling through a dresser in the bedroom of their Cut Off, La., home. When the thief turned on the lights, pointed a gun, and demanded money, Fischer's wife reached for a .38 revolver. The gunman fired first but missed; Mrs. Fischer then shot and killed him. (The Morning Advocate, Baton Rouge, La., 12/4/1979)

When the "patient" stepped into Dr. Ramon Bandillo's office, the Bronx, N.Y., physician remembered him in a flash and jerked a .38 revolver from his desk. "You're not getting anything this time!" he yelled, "Hands up!" Two years earlier, the same "patient" had robbed the doctor at knife point of $126. When police arrested him, they found a steak knife in his pocket. (The New York Times, New York, N.Y., 3/1/1968)

An Illinois State Penitentiary parolee who couldn't kick the crime habit paid with his life when he and two other men broke into the Sleepy Hollow, Ill., home of Dr. Roland Russell. As the gunmen were occupied tying Russell's wife and son to a bed, the doctor edged back to a table where he kept a loaded revolver. He fired four times, mortally wounding the parolee. The dying man's companions fled. (Daily News, Chicago, Ill., 12/1/1967)