Washington state may boast slightly lower than average crime numbers, but its punishment numbers are abysmal: According to King5 News, thousands of criminals attempting to purchase firearms in the state each year go unpunished, leaving them out on the street and free to continue their illegal acts. Even where justice fails, however, the old adage remains true: The best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.
A 63-year-old homeowner and his wife had just returned to their home in Olympia, Wash., when the couple heard suspicious noises coming from the second floor of the house. The homeowner retrieved a handgun, went to investigate and happened upon an intruder, who attempted to attack him. The homeowner responded by firing at the intruder, striking him in the leg and ending the confrontation. Following the shooting, the criminal was taken to a local hospital where his wounds were described as non-life-threatening. Police have no intent to charge the homeowner, with Thurston County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ken Clark stating, “The suspect is the one who escalated the incident beyond what initially started.” (The Olympian, Olympia, Wash., 01/21/14)
Gonzaga University students Erik Fagan and Daniel McIntosh were at home in their university-owned apartment in Spokane, Wash., when a man came to the door asking for money. The man, who police later determined is a convicted felon, got aggressive with Fagan, who called to McIntosh for help. McIntosh, a Right-to-Carry permit holder, retrieved a pistol and came to his roommate’s aide. The aggressor fled once he spotted McIntosh carrying a firearm. Following the incident, the roommates alerted the Spokane Police and campus security to the situation. Despite plaudits from the Spokane Police Department, who said the students “did the right thing,” Gonzaga campus security confiscated the pistol, and a shotgun the pair also kept in their home. Further, the roommates were brought before the school’s disciple board and placed on university probation. In the wake of national exposure, Fagan and McIntosh have announced that they are appealing their probation, and Gonzaga officials have indicated that they will review their weapons policy. (The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Wash., 11/11/13, The Associated Press, 11/11/13)
A 76-year-old employee at a real estate company in Everett, Wash., discovered an intruder at the office at around 9:15 a.m. The employee called 911, retrieved a gun and confronted the criminal, ordering him to stay put until police could arrive. The intruder refused, yelling at the employee and throwing office items at him. Eventually a scuffle broke out in which the employee fired at the criminal, striking him in the leg and causing him to flee. Police captured the intruder only a block away. (The Daily Herald, Everett, Wash., 08/30/12)
A man was asleep in his Everett, Wash., home when he was awakened by the sound of breaking glass. The homeowner retrieved a .38-caliber revolver, went to investigate and discovered a man armed with a hammer climbing through a kitchen window. The homeowner shot and killed the home invader. Investigators made clear that they do not plan to charge the homeowner, with Prosecuting Attorney Mark Roe explaining, “We are quite certain that a jury would conclude that the shooting was justifiable self-defense.” Police also noted that the deceased criminal was a suspect in a January burglary investigation. (The Herald, Everett, Wash., 07/25/12)
A homeowner was upstairs in his Tacoma, Wash., house when he heard a suspicious noise and shouted to see if someone was downstairs. A man replied, identifying himself as a police officer, which lured the homeowner to the first floor. Once downstairs, the homeowner was confronted by two home invaders, one of whom immediately threw a hatchet at him. The home invader missed, allowing the homeowner time to retrieve a shotgun and shoot one of the criminals. The burglars fled the scene, but the wounded intruder was captured when he sought medical attention at a local hospital. Criminals of the Pacific Northwest beware; the incident marked the second armed citizen shooting in Tacoma in just over a week. (The News Tribune, Tacoma, Wash., 06/27/12)