Another Armed Good Guy Saves Another Policeman—In Arizona

posted on January 19, 2017

Over the past two weeks, two police officers were murdered—Police Lt. Debra Clayton, who was shot January 9 in Orlando, Fla., and Detective Jerry Walker of the Little Elm, Texas, Police Department, who was shot January 17. However, that number could easily have been three, had one police officer not been saved by an armed good guy. 

Although the mainstream media are usually quick to cover stories about the former—and slow, if not AWOL, when it comes to covering cases of the latter—this time, ABC News, the Christian Science Monitor, People magazine, and even the Washington Post reported on the lifesaving actions of this armed good Samaritan.

In case you missed it, the incident took place after Trooper Edward Andersson, who had been with the Arizona Department of Public Safety for 27 years, stopped at an overturned vehicle in the desert to render assistance.

It was later revealed that the driver of the overturned vehicle was 37-year-old Leonard Penuelas-Escobar, an illegal immigrant from Mexico. He and his girlfriend, 23-year-old Vanessa Lopez-Ruiz, were reportedly meth users who had been evicted from their apartment for dealing drugs, and a warrant was out for Lopez-Ruiz’s arrest. The two were flying down the interstate around 4:00 a.m. when the vehicle overturned, ejecting the woman and killing her. 

As Trooper Andersson was setting out road flares along the remote, unlit section of Interstate 10, the driver suddenly ambushed him, shooting him in the right shoulder and then physically attacking him to finish him off. This isn’t just our right—it’s also our responsibility.

That’s when a passing motorist came to the rescue.

According to Colonel Frank Milstead, director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the assailant was straddling Trooper Andersson’s chest, “taking big blows” with his fists “and trying to bang his head into the ground while striking him” when a good Samaritan stopped his car to help. While his fiancée called police, the Samaritan approached and asked if the trooper needed assistance. When he trooper replied that he did, the motorist retrieved a 9 mm pistol from his vehicle and told the assailant to stop attacking the trooper—at which point the assailant paused to swear at him before resuming his attack.

“Because of his position, he doesn’t think he can fire without hitting the trooper, so he adjusts his position, and he delivers at least two bullet strikes to the suspect, rendering the suspect incapacitated, albeit temporarily,” Milstead continued. “The good Samaritan then begins to administer first aid to Trooper Andersson ... The suspect gets up a second time and begins to attack them again ...  As the suspect approaches, the good Samaritan fires another round, this time striking the suspect in the head, mortally wounding him and ending the fight.” 

According to the latest reports, Trooper Andersson underwent surgery for his injuries and was expected to survive. As Col. Milstead put it, “If he didn’t save Trooper Andersson’s life, he definitely kept him from having much more severe neurological injuries from this beating that he was taking, helplessly at the time.”

As America’s 1st Freedom has reported before, instances of “armed good guys” saving police officers’ lives isn’t as rare as the media sometimes lead us to believe.

And although this case made it into the national headlines, the widely reprinted Associated Press report made it sound more like a drive-by shooting than a responsible act (the attacker was “shot to death by a passing driver,” the AP lead misleadingly claimed), while the Inside Edition account suggested that the Samaritan might face charges. 

But more disturbing than this is the mainstream media’s general distrust of the right to carry—and by extension, the lawful citizens who choose to carry concealed firearms, as well as the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms that guarantees our right to do so.

That media bias and bigotry surrounds us like the air we breathe. When the media aren’t fantasizing about non-existent “shootouts” involving Right-to-Carry permit holders, or “vigilante justice” dispensed from the muzzle of a gun, they’re foaming at the mouth  suggesting that the Second Amendment is all about treason, and that gun-rights activists are dangerous, anti-government anarchists. 

It’s hogwash, and anyone who knows anything about the history of the right to arms knows that. “In our worst hour, we may need your help, and this was today.”  – Col. Frank Milstead, Arizona DPS

If the right to arms has treason at its heart—if it’s all about empowering insurrection—then why did English monarchs of the Middle Ages repeatedly expand the ranks of armed good guys? Why would they allow the arming of those who might rebel against them?

And why has the right to keep and bear arms, in Western civilization, been steadily democratized—from the king, to his knights, to landowners, to all free people in the United States—since then?

The obvious answer and simple reason is because armed good guys make us safer

They make us safer from foreign invasion. They make us safer from domestic insurrection. They defend us against tyranny from without or within, and from above as well as below, protecting us from totalitarians as well as from terrorists, from traitors as well as from common criminals. 

This isn’t just our right—it’s also our responsibility.

As Joyce Lee Malcolm points out in her monograph The Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms: The Common Law Tradition, in medieval times, ordinary citizens were not only allowed, but also expected, to help uphold the peace. 

“English subjects were frequently involved in everyday police work. The old common-law custom persisted that when a crime occurred, citizens were to raise a ‘hue and cry’ to alert their neighbors, and were expected to pursue the criminals ‘from town to town, and from county to county.’”

Indeed, as constitutional scholar Stephen Halbrook notes in his book That Every Man Be Armed: The Evolution of a Constitutional Right:

“The Laws of Cnut (1020-1023) not only considered armed self-defense a right and duty, fining those who failed to follow the hue and cry, but also directed that ‘if anyone illegally disarms a man, he is [to] compensate him with ... a fine.’”

From the Assize of Arms of 1181 and the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to Arizona’s permitless carry law, common law, tradition and common sense have always dictated a truth that Colonel Milstead of Arizona’s DPS expressed again last week:

 “In our worst hour, we may need your help, and this was today.”


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