News stories of civilian self-defense seldom receive adequate media coverage. After all, armed good guys stopping violent felons does not make headlines like the lives of innocents being taken. Bias and agendas play their part, but the media does not cover an event that did not happen, such as a case where a good guy stopped a violent event before it resulted in the loss of innocent life. However, these are exactly the type of stories we need to highlight to educate non gun owners before they head to the voting booth.
Store Employees Grateful for Customer who Killed Robber
Carolina Cabrales says she was more confused than afraid when a masked robber grabbed her 13-year-old brother, put a gun to his head, and dragged him inside the family-owned currency exchange in Chicago’s Gage Park neighborhood over the weekend.
The 17-year-old said she was near the counter and immediately recognized the voice of the robber as the neighbor from around the block who worked at the store when she was little. He had even nicknamed her Junior because she looked so much like her mother.
Then, suddenly there was gunfire, and the robber, Reginald Gildersleeve, lay dead from several gunshots fired by a customer who had a concealed carry license and a valid gun owner’s card, according to police and witnesses.
Police said it was unlikely that the customer will face charges. Investigators found a paintball gun by the robber’s body in the back of the store, Agencia Mexicana, police said.
“It really did look like a gun,” said Cabrales, whose mother and aunt own the business. “It really did. And the lights were off.”
It marked at least the fourth time since the state’s concealed carry law took effect in spring 2014 that a license holder has shot a gunman or attempted to foil a robbery in the Chicago area. This was the first known fatality. While the rules regarding whether it is appropriate to use a firearm can be murky, the Illinois statute states that firearms can be used only in cases of self-defense or in the defense of others. Imminent danger must be present.
Rocco Wlodarek, a master instructor at Black Flag Firearms Training in Mount Prospect, said it appeared the man who shot Gildersleeve acted appropriately based on what Wlodarek had read about the incident.
“I’m led to believe that it was perceived to be a credible threat and the rounds he discharged followed the mantra, ‘Continue to put rounds in the threat until it ceases to become a threat,’ ” Wlodarek said. “It’s a matter of an instant because there’s no clear-cut, simple answer.”
A spokesman for Chicago police said detectives decided the customer acted in self-defense after reviewing surveillance video and interviewing witnesses.
The spokesman, Anthony Guglielmi, said the case was never formally presented to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office’s felony review division after detectives deemed charges to be unwarranted. The customer who opened fire had his permit papers in order, Guglielmi said.
Gildersleeve had a lengthy arrest history, including at least one for robbery, and was out on bond on an unrelated incident from a little more than a week earlier, according to police. He lived about three blocks from the store at 2701 W. 51st St.
“He worked here for my family, picked me up from school, saw me grow up,” said Cabrales, who attends Lindblom High School on the South Side. “Monday or Tuesday, something like that, he came in, asked my mom for money, cried to her, again, and she gave him $20.”
She said she knew immediately that it was Gildersleeve behind the mask from the sound of his voice after he entered the store about 7 p.m. Saturday and demanded money as she and her brother were closing the business. She was by the counter and had just put the cash receipts away while her brother was outside cleaning up.
“It was really quick. He came up to me, put the gun to my head, went for my brother, put him inside, put the gun to my aunt’s head, walked to the back,” Cabrales said. “A few seconds later, gunshots.
“I thought he had shot my aunt. None of us expected for the customer to have a gun,” she said.
Cabrales said the customer was shaken up.
“He did what he thought was right. We thought we were really in danger, he saved our lives,” Cabrales said. “He thinks it’s a real gun, he feels very bad. I know he did. When we were at the station, he said he felt bad. He never meant to kill him, he just meant to stop him. But he said at that point he didn’t know what to do, he just responded.”
A man who identified himself as the shooter’s brother declined to comment Sunday, saying the family was doing all right but had been through a traumatic time and wanted privacy.
A stepson of Gildersleeve expressed anger and frustration, saying he doubted the police account and wasn’t convinced the shooter acted properly.
“Something doesn’t seem right,” said Igbinosa Oronsaye, whose mother was married to Gildersleeve. “… He didn’t deserve to get shot multiple times. You just took a brother, you just took a father from a lot of people. Somebody’s got to answer for that.”
Oronsaye chuckled as he recalled his stepfather’s jokes and love of playing cards. He said his family is devastated at what happened.
“I’m the strong one in the family, and I was crying this morning. So, how do you think they feel?” Oronsaye said. “Now, my heart feels like ice. I loved that man so dearly.”
To qualify for a concealed carry permit in Illinois — the last state in the country to enact the law — applicants must undergo 16 hours of training, among the most in the nation.
A concealed carry permit does not allow people to violate the law or act recklessly. However, the bill that was hastily passed in the General Assembly in 2013 left open to interpretation some questions about when and where it is legal to fire a weapon.
As a result, the Cook County state’s attorney’s office has said it will weigh each case individually on its own merit.
Among the earlier incidents, a member of the military shot and wounded a gunman who opened fire on a group of people at a party in July 2014 in West Pullman on Chicago’s Far South Side. Later that month, a 56-year-old man attempted to help police foil an armed robbery at a Crestwood phone store by firing at the fleeing suspect. In April, an Uber driver shot and wounded a gunman who opened fire on a crowd in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. No charges were brought in any of those incidents.
Wlodarek, the firearms instructor, said civilians are trained to protect life and “avoid conflict unless absolutely necessary.” The shooter’s belief that his and the lives of others were in danger would be enough to justify firing his gun in the store, he said. “We shoot to stop a threat, that’s it,” Wlodarek said. “I don’t want to see anyone die, but I would rather see the innocent party walk away.”
In a telephone interview Monday night, the store’s co-owner, Pina Cabrales, said Gildersleeve worked with her at the store in 2011, and that over the years, he would come in asking for money.
She said she last saw him Oct. 25 when he came in asking for cash, and she gave him $20. He was in tears.
“I told him to take the money and never to return,” she said. “I don’t like to see anyone suffer, especially a man who is in tears.”
When she heard that Gildersleeve had held a gun to her child’s head, she felt betrayed. Still, Cabrales said, she went to church Monday to pray for him and lit a religious candle in his memory. Cabrales thanked the shooter for saving her children’s lives. She said he is suffering emotionally over the shooting. She said she is also praying for him and wished to thank him for saving her children. “I see him as the angel God put here to protect my family,” Cabrales said.
Armed Citizen Saves The Day, Stops Attack In Best Buy Parking Lot
An armed citizen was forced to draw his gun and defend the life of a couple of Best Buy employees in Moore, Oklahoma, and thankfully was able to do so without ever having to pull the trigger.
It all started when three thieves decided to apply a five-fingered discount to thousands of dollars of electronics at that Best Buy. According to authorities, loss prevention employees were able to stop one of the suspects at the door, but two others managed to make it to their getaway car.
Instead of driving away, however, they ended up driving straight towards those employees and the suspect they had pinned to the ground. From KFOR in Oklahoma City:
The bystander said he believed they missed, then reversed, and it looked like they were going to charge again.
That’s when he said he decided to draw his weapon and point it towards the driver. He said the driver stopped, put his hands up, then drove away from the scene.
Sgt. Lewis said police don’t encourage civilians to draw their weapons because it could result in worsening an already dangerous situation. However, in this case, he said the bystander was well within the law.
“If an individual feels like they’re doing a service by protecting themselves or someone else that may be injured, then it’s hard to say they did the wrong thing,” Sgt. Lewis said. “In this situation, it turned out for the best.”
Indeed it did. Police say the three suspects are actually residents of Houston, Texas who made the trip to Oklahoma to gamble in some of the state’s casinos. Authorities believe they know who the other two suspects are, and even though they managed to get away, police are hopeful that they’ll be able to take them into custody with help from law enforcement in Texas.
We don’t know how this would have turned out if that armed citizen wasn’t in the parking lot, but it sounds like those suspects were about to make a very bad decision that could have led to injuries or death for the store employees. I doubt the corporation is going to officially thank the armed citizen for his actions, but maybe they’ll quietly slip him a few gift cards as a token of appreciation for putting his own life at risk to save others.
It’s also worth noting that Oklahoma is a permitless carry state, which means no license is required for legal gun owners to lawfully carry their firearms. Gun control advocates claimed that the the law, which went into effect earlier this year, would lead to “Wild West shootouts” across the state, but we haven’t seen anything like that happen. Instead, we’ve mostly seen stories of gun owners acting responsibly to protect themselves or others (with one notable exception being the self-proclaimed “Second Amendment Auditor” who got himself arrested for carrying where it’s not allowed). I fully expect to see more of the same in the future.
Do you have a story of armed good guys that shows the importance of firearm ownership for self-defense? Share it in the comment section.
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