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.
Truck Gun Beats Robber’s Knife
According to WBAY news, a Wisconsin man plowing snow with a tractor was approached by a man who asked for $5. When the victim refused, the robber pulled out an 8-inch knife and put it to the man’s chest. The man told the robber his wallet was in his truck. When the victim opened his truck, he instead pulled his lawfully owned firearm and pointed it at the knife-wielding robber. The terrified robber escaped on foot. No shots were fired, but police were called.
What did the man in this incident do right? What would you have done differently?
Please remember we can only use lethal force when there is imminent, unavoidable danger of death or grave bodily harm. While we realize our self-defense shots may kill, our intent is always to stop the threat.
If you ever have to legally defend your physical self-defense actions, your posts on all social media may be used against you in court. Please keep that in mind as you post on social media, including the USCCA Community.
@Dawn Am I on the right page? I don’t seem to have that option.
That’s it! The email will come out on September 2nd.
He stopped the threat without having to take a life and called 9-1-1 right away. A perfect example of ‘just because you can doesn’t mean you should’As a concealed carry licensee, I have no qualms about exercising my legal ability but if don’t have to, it’s a good outcome.
The victim seemed to be calm by convincing the criminal that he needed to get back to his truck where his self defense was. Lucky for him the guy didnt stab him in the back! Then he showed his weapon and the criminal fled. Again lucky that the criminal didnt attempt to stab him in the back! That the criminal fled the scene with no shots fired is a good thing because you wouldn’t want to discharge your weapon on a fleeing criminal and no prior injuries. This is a good reason to be wearing a protective vest when in public where crimes like this are common.
Cannot put enough emphasis on " always have your firearm on your person and instantly accessible" with never an exception. Just recently in my area a husband and wife were sitting in their garage bar with the garage door open and a teen walked in with a knife and killed both of them. They were not armed. An unarmed neighbor ran over to help and he was stabbed but survived. Victims had no connection to teen and no motive has been established for this act. I was walking into the bank in the evening to make a deposit and a young male jumped out of the hedge to hold me up. My pistol was in hand under the money bag so I pointed it at him and he ran away. His hand was in the pocket of a hoodie and he stated he had a gun. I was stopped at a construction zone and noticed three teens coming on both sides of my car from behind. I stepped out of my car with my pistol hidden by my leg. They demanded my car and billfold and I had the feeling the two on my wife’s side were going to keep her in the car. When the pistol got raised they departed. I remember laughing as I told them to go find an old man who did not carry a gun. I was 65 at the time. I always carry two 38 snub nose, 1 cross draw, 1 ankle holstered.
My understanding is that, here in Vermont, although you do not need a permit to carry open or concealed, it is illegal to carry loaded in a motor vehicle.
What he did right was he had access to his weapon in the truck. What he did wrong is he relied on the robber being rational enough to allow him to retrieve his wallet from the truck. You never want to allow someone as irrational and possibly psychotic having control over you, it could have gone just the opposite way as it did. If you carry concealed do just that, carry concealed. Don’t allow yourself to become a sheepie… Never give anyone any power over you! Always control the situation. Keep your head on a swivel and be aware of what is happening around you. Never allow a Criminal to have the upper hand, never be forced to have to ask permission.
The thing he did wrong was not having his weapon on his person. Don’t have it can’t use it.
I am new to USCCA, so perhaps this is a silly question. At the end, it said, “He also followed up with a call to police and gave a statement.” In many states, just showing a firearm, without discharging it, can be a punishable offense. In the seminar that I just recently attended for USCCA, they kept stressing your right to remain silent, and they indicated NOT to make a statement. Rather, to let them know that you are willing to cooperate, but that you need to speak with your attorney first. So, in the example give, would we still call law enforcement and let them know that there was an incident where we were forced to defend ourselves, and leave it at that. Then call USCCA for assistance, and not give further details until we had an attorney present who would then provide the statement to the police, even if it resulted in being detained? The attorney that spoke with our group indicated that we often say things thinking that we are helping ourselves and law enforcement that can later be used against us, so that it is better to just be silent. Thanks.
Just wondering if he should have gotten in his truck and left the scene, if that were possible. According to what I read in Michael Martin’s book, the last resort should be use of the weapon in any form (draw, brandish, fire). The robber gave him an escape route that he should have taken. I’m sure I’m missing the full context so any additional details are helpful.
You are right. Use your firearm only as a last resort. His escape route was his first resort.
First person to call police is the person considered the ‘victim’ until proven otherwise.
As I read and understand the viewpoints posted about the escape route being provided being this man’s best option, I agree with them to a point. However, given the fact that the man was plowing snow, it sounds like he was in the process of providing a service for someone, so leaving may not have been an option for him in his mind at the time. I do find it rather remarkable that the perpetrator allowed him to go to his truck under the guise of getting his wallet. That was definitely a lucky break for him! He may have felt that his life was in imminent danger with the threat of bodily harm in this situation which is completely understandable to me. That is one of the 3 requirements, if you will, to lawfully drawing your concealed weapon to defend yourself. With the details given, in my opinion, this man did a text book response to the situation he was presented with and only used the amount of force necessary to stop the threat, which is what we are supposed to do.