Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- – On 2 July, 2018, a little after noon, on Rampart Range Road in El Paso County, Colorado, a carjacking attempt was reported to the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. The event escalated into a crime spree with numerous gunshots fired at innocent people.
Twenty-nine year old Austin Nelson has been identified as the suspect doing the shooting, threatening, and driving. He was stopped by an armed citizen in the Devils Head campground. From epcsheriffsoffice.com:
On July 2, 2018, at approximately 12:20 pm, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a Motor Vehicle Theft in Progress in the 9000 block of Rampart Range Road.
The victim reported they were traveling on Rampart Range Road when they were flagged down by a white male approximately 20-30 years of age, standing next to a blue Mazda station wagon with a blown rear tire. The victim sped away from the scene when they observed the suspect was in possession of a firearm.
The suspect then re-entered his vehicle and proceeded to drive northbound on Rampart Range Road. While driving on Rampart Range Road, the suspect encountered two other victims who he menaced with a weapon. According to second victim, the suspect shot in their direction. The third victim stated the suspect pulled the trigger on the firearm but it did not discharge.
The suspect continued driving and shooting at passing vehicles. He ultimately stopped near Devils Head Campground and approached an unsuspecting camper with a rifle. A confrontation ensued when the suspect pointed the rifle at the camper and the camper returned fire.
The armed citizen at the Devils Head Campground has been identified as 51-year-old Wesley Mattox, from Alabama. Mattox used Benson’s gunpoint demand for water to arm his wife, get her under cover and access an AR15 type rifle. Mattox then demanded Benson disarm and give up. From koaa.com:
Mattox told Douglas County deputies Benson pointed a rifle at him and told him to get him water and that “the law was after him.” Mattox then said he returned to his camper, where he armed his wife with a handgun and grabbed an AR-15.
Mattox told deputies he took position behind the Mazda and said he told Benson to drop the gun. According to Mattox, Benson swung the rifle toward him and began shooting at him and the camper while driving away.
Mattox said he moved away from his truck to draw fire away from his camper, where his wife was hiding. Benson began driving and hit a tree, where Mattox said he shot one to two more shots after hitting the tree.
Mattox told deputies he thought he was out of ammunition in his rifle, so he retrieved a second AR-15 from his truck and took up position behind a tree behind the Mazda. Armed with the second rifle, he watched the car to see if Benson moved, which he did not.
The Manitou Springs Police arrived in short order, and took a wounded Benson into custody. Benson had been hit several time in the face and arm.
It is common for people in a gun fight to be wounded in the arms and hands, because those are what are holding the weapon.
Benson survived the ride to the hospital and is expected to recover. Police found a loaded handgun in Benson’s vehicle. They found the rifle he had been firing.
Good guy with a gun Mattox did not approach the truck to investigate. He allowed responding officers to do that. There might have been grave consequences if he did so. Benson might not have been completely disabled. Given the conditions, the rifle likely fell from Benson’s wounded arm/arms outside of the vehicle he was driving. He still had access to the loaded handgun inside the vehicle.
People, especially high on adrenalin (or other drugs such as meth or alcohol), can take enormous amounts of punishment and still function. Citations of actions that result in the awarding of the U.S. medal of honor are full of incidents were people were severely wounded, but continued to fight.
If you think a few wounds from a 5.56 x 45 are always disabling, people have been hit with numerous rounds of 7.62×39 and kept on fighting, killed enemy soldiers, and survived.
The AR15 style rifles were exactly the sort of right instruments to stop the shooting spree before it resulted in the wounding and death of innocent people. The rifles are light, handy, easy to use, and have sufficient magazine capacity for a gunfight such as Mattox and Benson were involved in. They are ideal militia weapons and self defense tools.
Wesley Mattox had retired as an Alabama police officer. At the time of the shootings, he was another armed citizen, defending himself, his wife, and other innocent bystanders.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.