For those who carry concealed, their firearm is often like their American Express card—they never leave home without it. That’s especially true when shopping at various retail establishments, where violent criminals often ply their trade.
Here are five recent instances from last year where concealed-carry permit holders used their handguns to save the lives of others under attack in or just outside of retail establishments.
An armed man entered a Dollar General store one afternoon, waved his gun in the air and threatened to kill everyone in the store. He held a cashier and a customer at gunpoint and ushered them toward a break room area. A customer carrying a concealed handgun then defeated the threat with a single shot. The gunman was struck in the chest and was pronounced dead at the scene. No one else was reportedly injured. (The Selma Times-Journal, Orrville, Ala., 1/16/14)
A mother was in the parking lot of a Family Dollar store in Houston, Texas, when a pair of purse-snatchers grabbed her bag and dragged the woman, who was still holding the purse, into the middle of the parking lot. A man in the parking lot witnessed the attack, retrieved a handgun, and confronted the criminals, forcing them out of the car and onto the ground. The armed passerby then held the pair at gunpoint until police arrived. Following the incident, a local media outlet interviewed the manager of the Family Dollar store, who said of the armed citizen, “The guy is something else … He’s a hero.” (KHOU, Houston, Texas, 4/28/14)
A good Samaritan with a concealed-carry permit intervened when he saw a dangerous altercation between a shoplifter and loss prevention officers taking place outside of a Home Depot. The 26-year-old suspect was confronted by the officers after leaving the store with a drill under his coat. When they attempted to apprehend him, he pulled out a syringe and used it as a weapon. One of the officers was stabbed multiple times in the hand with the contaminated needle. A customer carrying a licensed firearm witnessed the altercation and ordered the suspect to drop the needle and get on the ground. The suspect was later arrested and held on second-degree retail fraud and assault with intent to do great bodily harm. The officer was treated at a local hospital for the puncture wounds he sustained. (Detroit Free Press, Roseville, Mich., 3/27/14)
Grayson Herrera, 23, met several friends outside of a shopping mall where they planned to go to the 7:50 p.m. showing of a movie at the theater inside. They had just met up in the parking lot when the estranged husband of one of the Herrera’s friends pulled up next to him in his vehicle. The husband exited the vehicle and allegedly pulled a handgun from his waistband. Targeting his estranged wife, he fired multiple rounds as she ran toward the theater for cover. Herrera and his other male friend, both licensed to carry a concealed handgun, drew their guns. Herrera returned fire, killing the gunman. Herrera sustained injuries to his arm and chest, but was treated for his wounds. No one else was harmed during the shootout. (Southwest Times Record, Fort Smith, Ark., 5/19/14)
Joshua Nelson was shopping at a Wal-Mart with his wife and children when he heard a woman scream, “Stop, put it down!” After telling his family to run to the front of the store and call the police, Nelson located the frantic woman. Nelson, who has a concealed-carry permit and carries his firearm almost everywhere, spotted a man holding a large fillet knife to the woman’s abdomen. Nelson let the knife-wielding man know that he was armed, then demanded that he drop the knife. The attacker then turned the knife on himself and threatened suicide. Nelson continued to talk to the man, who finally complied with his order to drop the knife and kick it away. Police arrived soon thereafter. “I immediately felt responsible for that lady’s life,” Nelson said of the incident. “If I’m in a position to help someone and I don’t, I would feel just as bad as the guy who does wrong.” No injuries were reported. (TheBlaze, Del Rio, Texas, 10/24/14)