The harsh desert environment of the American Southwest has given rise to a breed of people who are tough and fiercely independent, not given to leaving their safety in the hands of others. A series of defensive encounters with armed Arizona residents shows that this legacy is alive and well in the Grand Canyon State.
A woman was near a Circle K convenience store in Glendale when she was approached by an armed robber. When the thief drew a gun and tried to rob her, the woman responded by drawing a gun and shooting the criminal. After the woman got to safety at her home, she alerted authorities to the incident. (Arizona Republic, Phoenix, Ariz., 08/01/16)
Grandfather John Miller was babysitting his two grandchildren in his son’s Arizona City home when he was awakened by a suspicious noise. Miller retrieved a gun, went to investigate, and found two criminals who had broken into the garage. The intruders confronted Miller, who responded by shooting both intruders. One intruder fled the scene after being shot, but both ended up at local hospitals and in police custody. Pinal County Sheriff’s Office Spokesman Tim Gaffney noted that it is unlikely Miller will face charges. (KTVK, Phoenix, Ariz., 09/13/10)
Yuma City Councilman Al Krieger proved he's a crime fighter in and out of the office. As he sat in his truck late one morning, he heard a loud noise behind him. He turned to see that a vehicle had crashed and was beginning to speed off. Unbeknownst to Krieger, the driver was fleeing from a police officer who had just clocked him driving 71 mph on a city street. "I've got to get this guy," Krieger said to himself. The alleged hit-and-run driver turned onto a dead-end street, so Krieger blocked him in. The man then bumped Krieger's truck in an unsuccessful attempt to escape, then got out of his car. He opened Krieger's door, grabbed his arm and attempted to pull him from the vehicle. Krieger then reached for his .38-cal. revolver. "As soon as he saw I had a gun in my hand, he turned and ran," Krieger said. The officer who had initially witnessed the speeding vehicle arrived on the scene shortly thereafter and, after a short foot pursuit, apprehended the suspect. (The Sun, Yuma, Ariz., 09/08/05)
A Kingman man ended up in critical condition after a night of drunken and disorderly behavior. The night began when the man urinated in his neighbor's back yard and refused to leave. The neighbor called the police not long after the man's wife called them to report him for unruly and loud behavior. The third call to police came from another neighbor who said a man was trying to break down her door. He eventually forced his way into the house and, despite repeated warnings from the homeowners, refused to leave. The homeowner then shot the intruder once in the stomach. He was charged with felony first-degree criminal trespassing. (Kingman Daily Miner, Kingman, Ariz., 11/07/04)
An Arizona prosecutor, awakened to noises in his home one morning, feared he was about to become the target of a gang-sanctioned "hit" as payback for his work in trying drug cases. In fact, the Prescott man was under attack not from assassins, but from burglars who had broken out a window on the lower floor and were attempting to steal his prized musical instruments. He was ready. "I had a .25 in the desk, and I got it out and racked it," he reported. When an intruder entered his bedroom and ignored the order to “freeze,” the prosecutor fired. Police later tracked down several individuals suspected in a rash of burglaries in the area. One suffered from gunshot wounds to his buttocks, upper arm and hand. "People can defend themselves, absolutely, if they feel that their lives or the lives of others are threatened," remarked Prescott Police spokesman Sgt. Shane Reed. (The Daily Courier, Prescott, Ariz., 06/05/00)