Riding a bicycle is a great way to get from Point A to Point B while also getting some exercise and enjoying the outdoors. However, those who do so also leave themselves open to predators—both the two-legged and four-legged variety. Here are the stories of five bicyclists who were glad they—or someone nearby—had a gun when simply pedaling faster turned out not to be good enough.
An 11-year-old boy was riding a bike through his Washington, D.C., neighborhood when he encountered a trio of unleashed pit bulls. The pit bulls viciously attacked the boy, with the young man’s uncle later recalling that all three of the dogs were biting the boy’s limbs. A neighbor who witnessed the attack went home, retrieved a pistol, and fired at the dogs, striking one. The sound of gunfire alerted a police officer to the attack, and once on the scene the officer dispatched the other two dogs. Following the attack, the boy was taken to a local hospital and underwent surgery.The boy’s uncle praised the actions of the armed citizen and police officer, stating, “They did the right thing.” Unfortunately, doing the right thing can be a crime in Washington, D.C., as District police are investigating whether the armed citizen violated any of the city’s onerous gun control laws. (The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., 01/22/13)
David Ellis, a city councilor for Lynn, Mass., was on his bicycle conducting a midnight crime patrol when he spotted four men harassing an elderly woman in her car. Moving to intervene, Ellis confronted the men, then began to use his cell phone to call for help. The men charged, knocking Ellis off his bike, kicking him in the head and yelling, "Kill him!" Ellis reacted by pulling a .357 Mag. handgun and firing into the group. He then ran to a nearby house and called police. Two of the four were later caught and charged with armed robbery. (Ipswich Chronicle, Ipswich, Mass., 07/09/98)
Peter Sabatini of Orlando was riding his bicycle one afternoon when he was attacked by a youth armed with what later turned out to be a pellet pistol. The attacker threatened him with the gun and tried to take the bike. Fearing for his life, Sabatini, a carry permit holder, drew his .45 pistol and fatally shot his assailant. The youth had a criminal history. (The Sentinel, Orlando, Fla., 10/18/97)
A Seattle, Wash., man was riding his bicycle when he saw a group of 20 to 30 young people standing along the street. The bicyclist crossed the street to avoid them, but some of the group pursued and attacked him. They pulled him off the bicycle, knocked him to the ground and continued to beat him. The man drew his registered handgun and shot one of the youths to halt the attack. The wounded attacker, who was identified by police as a teen gang member, fled but was later apprehended by police and charged with assault. (The Times, Seattle, Wash., 04/12/90)
A 9-year-old Duncan, Okla., boy was riding a bike with his younger brother when two pit bull terriers escaped their restraints, dug under a fence and attacked him. The dogs' owner came to the boy's aid but was attacked herself. The incident ended when a neighbor showed up with a handgun and killed both dogs. (The Constitution, Lawton, Okla., 04/12/89)