The Aftermath: Don’t Wander Into Violence

Welcome to Aftermath, a portion of our First Line email newsletter where Attorney Anthony L. DeWitt walks you through a real-life self-defense incident and shares his key takeaways.

Don’t Wander Into Violence

Some people see a “wet paint” sign and just have to touch the pole. Apparently it’s the same with sirens. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, a Las Vegas man heard helicopters and sirens in the night and walked outside to see what the problem was. Unfortunately, the problem found him.

A suspect running from police ran through the man’s condominium complex. Our defender told him to stop and threatened to call police.

Armed with a knife, the suspect turned around and came after the condo owner. The defender fired twice, striking the runaway suspect. Our defender then grabbed a first-aid kit and rendered aid.

Las Vegas police did not arrest the defender.

Do you know what to look for to be a good witness? Have you taken first-aid training?


My first and foremost always, Awareness and Evade if possible. Second, De-escalate if possible. Third, Action as needed.
Been going over Treating Trauma once a week and keep updated with Red Cross training once a year.
The Trauma and Injury part also help with off roading with jeep club and motorcycling.


Thanks for the reminder.
I usually find myself doing exactly what the defender did, contrary to what my mom taught me.


I hear a noise, I’ll look out the windows with lights off first. I don’t want to give up my safe position. If, and this is a big IF, there is immediate danger to human life, that could very possibly push me to action. If, my family is secure, while I render aid.

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Curiosity would probably have me checking to see what ruckus was about, and whether it required me to do or anticipate anything — flash flood, conflagration, mobile riot, or whatever. Recognizing a perp search, I would button up the house and watch the event on TV. I would not engage as Constable Condo unless I was literally run over or threatened by a violent actor before I could escape.

After decades in EMS and public safety, I’m not too worried about short-term first aid administration.

I know what a good witness should remember, but I am not confident that I would be an excellent witness. It seems like my brain must have filled up early in life. In making critical decisions, or just in routine living, my brain discards or hides information almost instantly if it doesn’t seem as important as whatever needs to be processed next. So names of new acquaintances, license plates, physical descriptions, etc have usually been gone within a minute — since sometime in my 20s or 30s. But I might have great recall after a stressful incident of a hand position, body language, trajectory of a vehicle, decision process, orientation of objects, etc. Witnessing an urgent or emergency event of any sort, I am typically more focused on hazards and solutions than descriptive details. Hard to predict what I might be able to dredge up in a particular situation.

I’m not a cop. I believe criminals should be apprehended, but I’m not going to go out of my way to stop one on the run. Too many people have been killed doing that. It reminds me of the conceal/carry guy in the Walmart some time ago who was going after the armed man who was shouting threats, waving a gun in the air, etc. He takes out his pistol, follows the guy trying to get the drop on him. However, the shouting guy’s wife, who came in a few minutes after, got the drop on the would be hero and killed him. I have first aid gear: bandages, tourniquets, Israeli bandages, chest wound patches, etc. The question, " Have you taken first-aid training," reminds me I need to update. It also leads me to ask if it’s true that people rendering first aid are often sued by families if the person dies, even if they weren’t responsible for the injuries inflicted. Anyone know if that’s true? I hear about it, but haven’t seen any information of it actually happening.

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Check your state for Good Samaritan Laws and you must ask the persons permission to render aid if they are conscious and then no more then your training. You can be sued for breathing it seems. :us:

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In our system of civil tort, pretty much anyone can be sued for pretty much anything. “Often”? No, I don’t think so — and winning even less so. But being involved/accused of such a claim will be a hassle and may involve legal expenses to make your affirmative defense before you can move on.

As @BRUCE26 suggests, Goggle the good samaritan laws for statute and case application in your state. Most often the scheme works something like:

  • a person with no duty to act (i.e. not your paid or volunteer reason to be present)
  • who attempts to assist voluntarily in an emergency (i.e. no billable hours)
  • and acts appropriately within the scope of their training (i.e. no doctor interventions by a paramedic, no paramedic interventions by an EMT, no EMT interventions by a first aid or untrained person*)
  • with the resources available to them under the circumstances at the time
  • who makes a good faith effort as a reasonable person with the same qualifications would in the same circumstances

will not be considered negligent or responsible for a bad outcome by attempting to help. Which does not mean that a party with a grievance can’t or won’t claim that your acts failed one of those qualifications. And your jurisdiction might have added requirements or less clear criteria than the ones I listed.

Consider also that, if you stand back, the same party might try to claim that you did have a duty to act, or did not act as a reasonable peer. Just like with DGU, there is always risk no matter what path you choose. Make the best choices you can, make your best effort at whatever you choose, and hope to prevail.

*note that no amount of purchased medical equipment, morale patches, or YouTube videos will increase the legal scope of your state or nationally recognized level of training.


p.s. EMS training sources in your area might be a good source for localized explanations of this information. Especially in training directed at the EMT-Basic and First Responder levels, this topic usually gets a lot of discussion.

Because providers are not always on-duty, not always in their jurisdictions, and not always with access to their tools, teams, and systems — students are understandably concerned about what they can and should do with their skills in those circumstances.



‘Outdated’ 21-foot rule for police shootings finally bites the dust

Wendy Gillis

By Wendy GillisNews reporter


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@Dennis259 Welcome to the community, we are glad to have you. :us:
P.S. Your links do not take you to the article. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Tueller is a “principal” not a “rule” and varies greatly depending of the age and athleticism of the perp.
In training, I’ve see a young “aggressor” cover MUCH more than 21 feet in the time it takes to draw a weapon from concealment.

had first aid training but think it best to stay inside and let the Police do their job. Would assist if asked by them.

Spoken as a deterrent, “I’ll call the police.” is somewhere between amusing and stupid. The assailant doesn’t take it as a deterrent. Worse, assailants generally take it as a sign of weakness and gullibility. There are a few books well worth the effort to find and study of case studies of violent criminals based on jailhouse interviews conducted by experienced criminologists.

Rendering first aid is highly questionable for several reasons, among them these:

  1. The assailant may well still be capable of inflicting harm - even lethal injury - on the rescuer: A hidden knife or gun; Biting the rescuer’s nose, ear, hand; Eye gouging; Spitting in the rescuer’s face (eg: positive for AIDS, Hep B or C, tuberculosis, etc.)

  2. If the assailant survives, or if the assailant dies, the assailant or the assailant’s estate (eg: family and heirs) may well engage a contingency lawyer who will file civil charges (preponderance of evidence as distinguished from reasonable doubt in criminal charges) against the rescuer for allegations of medical errors contributing to the injuries or death of the assailant.

  3. Even if the rescuer has been certificated in Red Cross Advanced First Aid, or even a certificated EMT-B or Wilderness EMT-B and has had no paid professional experience and competence in those skills, and given the resulting inexperience of the rescuer in an actual emergency, the rescuer will all but certainly make any number of errors.

  4. There are courses available for professional EMT-Bs, paramedics, and nurses in awareness of, and in techniques for dealing with, suddenly violent patients.

  5. Notwithstanding all of that, and if only for the protection of yourself and those near and dear, it is foolish not to take at least the Wilderness First Responder certification, if not the full EMT-B cert, if not the 200-hour Wilderness EMT-B cert. They are nothing but the skills with which we were proficient when living a life on a farm or a ranch; and all virtually unknown to us urban lifers. BTW: the operative EMS definition of wilderness is any setting or circumstance in which delivery of the patient to a definitive medical facility is more than an hour away. To EMS, wilderness does not necessarily mean wilderness.

As to being a good witness, there are a few training facilities generally associated with indoor ranges that offer interactive video law enforcement scenarios open to the citizen public, some of which include being interviewed at the scene of a crime just witnessed in which the trainee was persuasively threatened by an assailant. In my own scenario trainings, I have been appalled at my incompetence as a witness; but I have gotten better.


As a Psychology student, I’ve learned in the classroom about how witnesses are terrible and remember no useful information. I even conducted a study on this exact topic, yet my ignorant self thought I was an exception. A few weeks ago, I noticed a classmate hadn’t been showing up for the lectures. I thought it was odd, so I reached out to them several times and got no response. I just had this gut feeling something was wrong and went to the campus police department so they could look into it. They asked for a description and I couldn’t even give a hair color. “uhh, dark I think?” The only thing I could remember was that she was white, skinny, and tall. How tall? “I dunno.” I had numerous conversations with this person and couldn’t remember anything. It was then, that I realized, I’m just as dumb as everyone else.

P.S.: They found her and were able to remove her from the situation she was in. All is good now. Tbh I’m surprised they even investigated this. I barely knew this person and gave them nothing to go off of. If I was an officer I would’ve just thought that a dumb kid was getting ghosted by some girl.


The suspect seen the gun and runaway, you just shoot the person in the back. In Indiana your going to jail. And USCCA won’t be able to help, so don’t call the number. I hope your First Aid saves the person’s life. At lest it won’t be murder. And by the way, just stay inside. And yes I have first aid training. Dose common sense go out the window when you get a gun.

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@CloddishCollegeKid Welcome to the community, we are glad to have you here. :us:


Only my belief so here goes. 1 I’m very new to OWNING for person & home defense. I hope I’m not appearing weird . I do have a CPL & USCCA insurance .

I myself would avoid putting myself in any dangerous situation.

I would not walk into a crowd that is fighting or be curious to get into what’s happening.

Now if someone came running down the street from police and I was outside & only if he personally threatened me that would be different . I know you shouldn’t be hesitant but there is a fine line .

Lots of questions does he have a weapon ? If not I’m 71 how would I prove I was in danger ? I’m not a super strong person but still mobile, I can’t physically defend myself .

But I need to believe if it ever happens will the law stand behind me.


Having GOOD situational awareness will avoid trouble now and ahead.

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@David1304 Welcome to the community, we are glad to have you here. :us: