The Armed Citizen® | Teachers, Professors & Principals

posted on June 9, 2016

Like anyone else, teachers and professors are sometimes targeted by those looking to steal property or commit mayhem. Luckily for them, not all educators and administrators fit into the liberal, anti-gun stereotype. Following are the stories of 11 school officials who earned an A+ in self-defense. 

A 73-year-old retired teacher was at home in Oakland Park, Fla., when a burglar smashed a window to gain access to the house. The homeowner retrieved a gun, went to investigate, and discovered the thief just outside the home, carrying a TV and attacking a neighbor intent on reporting the crime. The homeowner fired at the criminal, striking him several times and causing him to flee to a nearby getaway vehicle. A short time later, police found the getaway vehicle wrecked, with the thief still inside it, about a mile away. The homeowner made clear to a local media outlet that he did not relish being forced to defend himself and his neighbor, but one of his friends offered effusive praise, stating, “Good for him; wonderful. I wish more people would do that. It’s ridiculous for people to break into homes and think they can get away with it.” The Broward County State Attorney’s Office may look into the shooting, but Broward County Sheriff’s Spokesman Mike Jachles indicated that charges were unlikely, telling reporters, “It appears this was a justifiable shooting ... Every indication is that the homeowner was defending himself, his property and his neighbor from being attacked by the intruder.” The intruder faces charges of burglary of an occupied dwelling and grand theft. (The Sun-Sentinel, Palm Beach, Fla., 8/29/2013; WFOR-TV, Miami, Fla., 8/28/2013)

Around 2 a.m., retired teacher Larry Goldstein was awakened by a suspicious noise in his Brooklyn, N.Y., home. Goldstein retrieved his registered .38-caliber revolver, went downstairs and discovered two burglars carrying what looked like guns. Goldstein fired at the criminals, striking one and causing the other to flee. The wounded criminal was taken to a local hospital. During the investigation the wounded criminal was found to have previous convictions for drug and burglary charges. Police have noted that Goldstein will not face charges. (The Wall Street Journal, New York, N.Y., 9/16/2010) 

Juanita Enzor, a sixth-grade teacher from Tampa, Fla., was forced to defend herself when a career criminal invaded her home. The incident began at 5 a.m. when Mark C. Johnson, who had 33 prior arrests, broke through Enzor’s front door. Johnson eventually made his way to Enzor’s bedroom, but Enzor was ready, and fired, hitting Johnson in the chest. A brief struggle ensued, but Enzor managed to free herself long enough to call 911. Johnson eventually fled Enzor’s bedroom, collapsed in a different part of the house, and was found dead when the police arrived. The police will not press any charges in the incident. Even after such a traumatic event, Enzor’s first priority was her students. Her principal said, “I talked to her on the phone this morning, and her first concern was that we take care of her class,” Enzor has also opened up the idea of gun ownership to her neighbor, who stated, “Maybe I need to get one too, if this is going on.” (St. Petersburg Times, St. Petersburg, Fla., 10/25/2008) 

Alarmed at the sound of gunfire in the halls of his Pearl, Miss., high school, Assistant Principal Joel Myrick ran to his car to retrieve a pistol. The shooter was an armed student who marched through the school firing on his fellow classmates and teachers. The assailant’s efforts to escape the scene ground to a halt when another student used his own vehicle to force the suspect’s white car into the grass, where it spun to a stop. Myrick used the delay to catch up to the armed student and hold him for police. Pearl schools Superintendent Bill Dodson said of Myrick, “We think he’s a hero for keeping more lives from being lost. The young man with the gun still had rounds in the rifle and could have injured other people.” (The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Miss., 10/02/1997) 

University of Bridgeport [Connecticut] professor Hans van der Giessen was asleep in his home when the sound of somebody kicking in his front door awakened him. Grabbing his .25-caliber semi-automatic handgun, van der Giessen went downstairs where he encountered a burglar. The criminal charged the political science professor, who emptied his seven-shot pistol at the intruder. Hit in the chest by half-a-dozen rounds, the crook staggered outside where he collapsed on the sidewalk and died. It was the second time in three days van der Giessen’s home had been broken into, and the suspect was found to have a record of more than a dozen convictions in the last 18 years. Police were still investigating whether the two incidents were related. University associates of van der Giessen’s expressed surprise that a fellow “liberal” professor would own a gun, but all supported his actions to defend himself. (The Connecticut Post, Bridgeport, Conn., 7/10/1996) 

Ernest Johnson III heard noises coming from the garage of his Virginia Beach, Va., home and armed himself as he went to investigate. The junior high school assistant principal found a prowler in the kitchen and told the man to halt. The intruder ran toward Johnson, who fired his handgun once, fatally wounding the prowler. The city prosecutor declined to prosecute the homeowner, saying the shooting was self-defense. (The Virginian-Pilot, Norfolk, Va., 10/6/1988) 

When Russell Dooley heard glass breaking at a side window of his Chicago, Ill., home, he told his wife to call police. The schoolteacher then got his recently purchased .38 revolver and went outside to investigate. A teen lunged at Dooley with a tree branch, and the resident shot and killed his attacker and wounded an accomplice. A wounded suspect was charged with burglary in a juvenile petition. Dooley was not charged. (The Tribune, Chicago, Ill., 2/17/1987) 

After an earlier burglary at his Chicago, Ill., home college professor James Kenevan was prepared when he heard glass breaking at the rear of his house. Grabbing his revolver, Kenevan investigated. When an intruder suddenly jumped out of a hallway, Kenevan fired, wounding the burglar. The professor then administered first aid, and the man admitted burglarizing Kenevan’s house the day before. (The Tribune, Chicago, Ill., 6/16/1987) 

Retired schoolteacher Marjorie DeGarmo awoke to find a man with a rifle in the bedroom of her Wadestown, W.Va., house. She scuffled with the stranger and managed to get her pistol from the night stand. The pistol discharged, killing the man. The shooting was later ruled “justifiable homicide by reason of self-defense” by the local prosecuting attorney. (The Dominion Post, Morgantown, W.Va., 9/1/1975) 

Samuel S. Cameron, associate principal of the Garfield High School in Garfield, Wash., spotted a youth who had caused a disturbance on the campus. When Cameron asked the youth to leave, the latter pulled what appeared to be a gun. Grabbing his own pistol, Cameron fired into the ground, causing the troublemaker to flee. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Seattle, Wash., 8/1/1971) 

North Hollywood, Calif., college professor Michael I. Silverman and his wife were awakened in their bedroom at 4 a.m., by a noise in their living room. Silverman called the police from his bedroom phone, grabbed a pistol and went to investigate. When he saw a man run from the house, Silverman fired a shot over his head. The suspect ran back into Silverman’s house, raised his hands in surrender, and quietly waited for the police to arrive. (The Times, Los Angeles, Calif., 4/1/1967)



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