The Aftermath: Woman Defends Against Stalker

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.

A firearm proved an effective deterrent to domestic abuse when a 22-year-old Madison, Wisconsin, woman was being stalked by an ex-boyfriend. After following her home in his car, the ex approached the woman in her condominium parking lot. “Words were exchanged,” and then the assailant attempted to force his way into the woman’s vehicle. The woman shot her attacker, killing him. She then stayed at the scene and admitted to shooting him. Police arrested her, interviewed witnesses and obtained surveillance video. The District Attorney refused to charge her, saying surveillance video proved she acted in compliance with the statute on use of deadly force.

How can you stay safe in or around your vehicle in parking lots?


I do these things every time I go to my car. (I park in an underground parking structure so rapid escape is not a possibility)

  1. Scan the parking lot before I enter.
  2. Look into the cars along my path to see if anyone is in any of them.
  3. Change my approach path, use a different route to my car.
  4. Once in my car I lock the doors and check the area.
  5. Look in the mirrors for any one approaching from behind.

Be aware.


I can remember thousands of conversations, that say we have to WAIT till the window is broken!
In addition, AVOID, AVOID, AVOID :exclamation:
Couldn’t she just drive AWAY from her “ALLEGED” attacker :question:

Let’s get our story straight!

One minute we can defend before a life is in imminent danger, the next we have to wait until the bullets are already flying! Which is it :question:

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The following is taken from a handout I give to all of my shooting students:

Before leaving any store or office building visually scan the parking lot. Look for suspicious people (loitering near your car, parked in an unusual manner, anything that rings an alarm bell). If you don’t feel safe to leave, you probably are not. Ask the store manager to have someone walk you to your car. If they refuse, don’t do business there anymore.

Keep your head on a swivel looking for anything out of place or potentially dangerous. Your phone can wait until you are in your car with the doors locked.

  1. Get out of X as soon as I can.

Saw this earlier this week. Makes a lot of sense. Plan to show it to my kids.

So I watched another of his videos after this one, waste of time. But this video was good. But you can do this if you aren’t aware.


Situational awareness is key. Keep your head on a swivel.

One thing I have taken to and instructed my Wife and Daughter to do is to keep a single vehicle key or remote on a ring with some sort of pressure point weapon. My key and remote are on a ring with a rocker arm for the 5.4 the Expedition has. My Daughter has her car’s remote on a defensive “cat ear” key ring. It has two big pointy ears and finger holes.

The idea is to have the car key/remote in hand with a defensive weapon before waking to the vehicle so we don’t have to dig for it when we get to the vehicle.


Could she drive away? Where was her car, was it in gear, what gear was it in, was it running, what was in front of her, what was behind her?

Did he break the window in his attempt to force his way in? Breaking a window doesn’t tell whether or not you got in.

As usual the aftermath questions are brief and a bit light on details. It spurs more discussion that way and opens up more area to discuss the ‘what if’ since no two scenarios are the same so four training and prep purposes focusing in on only the exact specifics of one scenario may not be as useful as discussing the various possibilities and variables and their implications


Too bad she was arrested in the first place. Without the surveillance video, she may not have been exonerated. That’s pretty scary. Thank goodness it turned out ok.


I can’t believe she was arrested but it is Madison, WI. Just as surprising, our DA did not follow through on the charges. It was a domestic abuse case so that may have had something to do with the DA’s decision.

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Hello and welcome @Richard814

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Shooting and killing the ex-boyfriend was the best solution for the woman in question. Had she gone to the police station, without a restraining order ordering the xbf to remain a certain distance, the cops could have done nothing except perhaps detain the xbf while the woman escaped to her home, so that the xbf, who presumably knew where she lived could then vent his rage about being questioned by the cops upon her where she would have had to shoot him anyway. With an xbf stalker, the only cure other than what the undertaker provides is to have several very large male friends explain the situation to the xbf by fracturing his kneecaps with a .22 and chopping off his thumbs with a hatchet and advising him that this was just a friendly suggestion to move to another state far away. Hear howls from the attorneys who lurk on this site, but a restraining order isn’t even as useful as a sheet of toilet paper. Has anyone ever kept track of only the women killed by the person against whom the R.O. was issued who made the news? I would suggest over the course of a year, across the country the number would be astounding. And that doesn’t take into account the number killed who did not make the six o’clock news.

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Exactly, the problem lies in the time delay, the time between when the scumbag shows up ignoring the protective order and the time the police show up to enforce it.


Surveillance cameras are not always available, that’s why it is a good idea to have dash cams.


Patterns and complacency will get you killed in a situation where you have a stalker who knows you. The girl in the article was lucky she was armed. My son’s girlfriend was murdered by her ex as she sat in her car talking to my son on the phone. Her ex knew where she lived. He knew where she parked. He waited for her to come home and shot her 8 times before she could even react. My son heard her suddenly scream “No!”, and then the shots. There was a useless protective order in place, so she knew he was a threat. She should have varied her routine and should not have sat in the car at 11 pm talking on the phone.


OMG…I am so very sorry.

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I made a meme using my daughter’s picture of her at the gun range to emphasize the uselessness of protective orders.

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Hopefully the USCCA training will include which states charge you with a felony for shooting from inside a vehicle. Self defense or not. Virginia for example.

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