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The Armed Citizen® | Delaware

The Armed Citizen® | Delaware

Out of all the flags of our 50 states, only two flags—those of Delaware and Michigan—feature a figure holding a gun. The Delaware flag is further adorned with a banner reading “Liberty and Independence.” We’d posit that the same spirit of self-sufficiency and respect for the rights of the individual that inspired Delaware’s flag persist today, as evidenced by the tales of armed self-defense below.

The call came to Delaware State Police headquarters just before 3 a.m., reporting a home invasion in Camden involving four men. When investigators arrived, they discovered an elderly man who had been in a struggle with one of the four suspects who had forced their way into his home. However, the homeowner had managed to grab his gun and fire a single shot—which lodged in the floor, but managed to scare off the intruders. A short time later, troopers stopped a suspicious vehicle with a quartet of men inside, and found evidence connecting them to the attack. The four men were identified as Tyson B. Beckett, 26; Anthony Long, 18; Brandon D. Satchell, 25; and 29-year-old Joshua T. Walker. All were arrested on a variety of charges, from first-degree assault to possession of a firearm during a felony. The elderly victim was treated for serious but non-life-threatening injuries. (WMDT, Camden, Del., 08/23/2017)

A clerk in a New Castle, Del., liquor store didn't just thwart a robbery when he drew handgun. As the would-be robber fled his not-so-helpless victim, police gave chase, and eventually apprehended him. The suspect was linked to three other robberies in the state. (The News Journal, New Castle, Del., 12/13/2004)

A young, armed thug was so startled by his would-be victim's defending himself that he turned tail and ran, leaving his gun—and his pride—behind. The inept robber entered JP Liquors in Wilmington, Del., and chatted up the clerk for a moment before pulling a semi-automatic pistol and demanding money. The 60-year-old clerk responded by pulling his own gun and firing two shots at the bandit, who ran from the store, fell down some steps and dropped his gun in his haste. (The News Journal, Wilmington, Del., 10/25/2003)

Three men forced their way into a Wilmington, Del., nightclub in an apparent robbery attempt that was foiled when the owner fired on the intruders and they fled. An employee of Larry's After Hours Club had started to lock up the bar when the three men burst into the club. One of the intruders grabbed the employee, using him as a shield as they confronted the club owner. When the owner drew his gun, the would-be robbers exchanged fire with him and then fled. No one was injured. (The News Journal, Wilmington, Del., 10/22/2002)

A man in Bridgeville, Del., was preparing to go to work about 3:15 one morning when he heard a noise in his kitchen. Grabbing his gun, the homeowner went to investigate. A man was pointing a shotgun at the homeowner through the kitchen window and demanding he open his back door. The homeowner responded by grabbing the shotgun barrel and shooting the would-be burglar. State police reported that James McNeill, also of Bridgeville, was charged with first-degree attempted burglary, aggravated menacing and possession of a firearm during a felony. (The News Journal, Wilmington, Del., 05/30/2001)

When a quick-thinking Dover, Del., area resident heard a noise coming from his garage early one morning, he instructed his wife to call police and grabbed his shotgun to investigate. The resident startled an intruder and seized the element of surprise to strike the man in the head with the gun's butt, holding him until police arrived. Police charged the home invader with various counts related to burglary. (The News Journal, Wilmington, Del., 08/05/1998)

Video store owner David Ragan had to react quickly one Friday afternoon when a 6-foot, 2-inch, razor-wielding "customer" appeared at his counter. After the man grabbed him, Ragan dropped to his knees, sliding out of his loose-fitting shirt. He used his left hand to hit the panic button, and with his right hand grabbed his gun, which he is licensed to carry. A customer walking in the store minutes later found the 5-foot, 9-inch Ragan naked from the waist up and staring down at the man who was now spreadeagled on the floor. Ragan, who has a history of positive community activism, was quoted as saying, "I don't want to be killed, but I'm not going to take it. It's going to take more of us fighting back to send a message to these criminals that you can't get away with this." The suspect was arrested six minutes after the incident by police and was charged with first-degree robbery, possession of a deadly weapon during a felony and carrying a concealed deadly weapon, according to state police spokesman Cpl. Preston Lewis. (Sunday News Journal, Wilmington, Del., 01/25/1998)

Wilmington, Del., shopkeeper Dalton Waterman, 70, was shot during a robbery attempt two years ago and swore next time he would shoot back—and he did. When a man stormed into his store, pointed a pistol at Waterman and demanded cash, the senior citizen responded by ducking behind the counter, drawing his .38, and cutting loose with a shot in the intruder's direction. Waterman missed his target, but it was enough to send the crook bolting from the store. (The News Journal, Wilmington, Del., 05/31/1995)

Joseph D'Angelo's early morning sleep was shattered when his neighbor began screaming that a man was breaking into her Glasgow, Del., area home. D'Angelo grabbed his gun and ran outside, where he found an intruder in the woman's yard. D'Angelo ordered the man to halt, but fired a fatal shot when the man approached him. The state Attorney General's office said D'Angelo would not face charges. (The News, Wilmington, Del., 12/01/1993)

Noticing several household items disturbed upon returning to her home near Seaford, Del., Mrs. George Mortimer stepped outside to await her husband. After he arrived and had taken up a .22 rifle, they searched the house and discovered a would-be burglar hiding under a bed. Ordered to leave, the intruder instead lunged at the woman, but was stopped when Mortimer shot him in the leg. (The Morning News, Wilmington, Del., 04/01/1983)

Pat Tunstall had repeatedly called police to complain about a man who had chased her and her daughter down a street with a club, threatening to kill them. Finally, the man broke into the Tunstall home, shouting that he was "going to kill everyone in the house," including four children and two grandchildren. When the intruder tried to grab a .22 rifle from one of the children, it fired, hitting him in the chest and putting him to rout. (The Times-Reporter, Dover, Del., 02/25/1981)

Two men, accused of being members of a nationwide gang which has been looting public telephone coin boxes, were captured by a tavern owner near Bear, Del. John A. Sarapulski noticed the pair tampering with the telephone outside his tavern, called state police, and held the men at gunpoint until the police arrived. Telephone company investigators said the prisoners were members of a syndicate under surveillance for more than a year in several parts of the country. Sarapulski had been alerted to the syndicate's activities by telephone company investigators after the booth outside his tavern was robbed a short time earlier. (The Morning News, Wilmington, Del., 06/01/1962)

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