Stories of armed defense seldom make it to the mainstream media. As armed defenders, the news reports often leave out important details that we want to know. In this case, an ex-boyfriend attacked his ex-girlfriend. That story is common enough. Fortunately, in this case, the ex-girlfriend’s brother was at the scene and was armed. This is how it was presented in the news and also what we can learn.
This story took place in late April in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The defender shared an apartment with his sister. The sister’s ex-boyfriend had a history of abuse, including physically beating her. The ex-boyfriend threatened her the day before and said he would come back and beat her again.
It was a Sunday evening, and both the brother and sister were at home. There were other friends in the apartment at the same time. They heard someone at the front door. Apparently, with little warning, someone broke down their front door. The ex-boyfriend walked in and went to the sister’s room. She shouted, and the attacker grabbed her.
The defender ran to his room and grabbed his gun. Our defender followed the ex-boyfriend and shot him until he let go of the victim. It isn’t clear from the news reports who called 911 and asked for help.
Police arrived, and the defender put his gun away. Emergency Medical Services declared the attacker dead at the scene. The armed defender gave the police a statement about what happened. The defender’s sister and their friends who were in the apartment during the attack also gave statements to the police. The neighbors also made statements about the attacker threatening his ex-girlfriend the previous day. The police noticed the broken front door.
The defender was not charged with a crime.
It is scary enough when we are seemingly attacked by a criminal at random. This is worse since this violent attack was deliberately directed at this woman: the attacker came to the apartment with the deliberate intent to hurt her. There are a number of things that the defender and victim did well.
They recognized that the world is not a safe place, so they had a firearm for their defense. The armed defender stopped the attack and then stopped shooting. The defender, the victim, and the witnesses stayed at the scene and gave a preliminary statement to the police. You have to love that there were lots of witnesses.
As is true in most defensive situations, we want to call 911 and ask for help. We want everyone else to make that call, too, including the victim and the witnesses. We want someone to stay on the call with the dispatcher so we know when the police are about to arrive. We want to make sure we do not have a firearm in our hands when the police are at the door.
This defensive gun use is also highly unusual. In this case, the defender had to shoot the attacker and not shoot his sister while she was being attacked. That may mean we have to get close to the attacker. Perhaps we have to get very close.
Yes, we might be able to shoot the attacker in the back from across the room, but will our bullet go through the attacker and wound our loved one?
That sort of defense isn’t something we usually practice as we stand in a port and shoot at a stationary paper target that is 7 yards away. Taking a class on close-quarters armed defense really helps us make better decisions in an attack like this one.
I’ll also bet that the victims in this story weren’t regular readers of the columns here at AmmoLand News. If they were, then this sister would probably have asked for a restraining order against her ex-boyfriend. She would also have been armed herself. Please tell me if you think I’m wrong, but I think we are counting on luck if we are depending on someone else to defend us. What if the attacker broke in while the brother was taking a shower?
This story is one of many that go under-reported by the mainstream media because it shows a positive image of a law-abiding gun owner defending their life and their family. It is our responsibility at AmmoLand to report these stories to you. While we will continue to report these stories, groups like the Crime Prevention Research Center, led by Dr. John Lott, are fastidious in studying the use of firearms for self-defense. Stay up to date with all news on self-defense by following CPRC and AmmoLand News.
About Rob Morse
Rob Morse writes about gun rights at Ammoland, at Clash Daily, at OpsLens, and on his SlowFacts blog. He hosts the Self Defense Gun Stories Podcast and co-hosts the Polite Society Podcast. Rob was an NRA pistol instructor and combat handgun competitor.