Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- On October 10th, 2018, at about 5:30 a.m. at 522 Hathaway, in Owensboro, Kentucky, a young police officer was involved in a shootout with an armed homeowner. The officer had been chasing a suspect, and was searching a fenced in area.
The homeowner, David Turley, saw the suspicious activity in his backyard, and approached Zachary Morris, 23, the officer. Turley was holding a pistol at his side. Officer Morris shot at Turley, who returned fire as he took cover. Morris was hit, just below his bullet-resistant vest. From wave3.com:
“I heard some commotion over there by the fence,” said Turley. “I saw someone standing there with a flashlight on the ground, so I walked over to see what was going on. As I got closer, POW POW! And when he did, I had my weapon by my side and I just pulled up and fired and I started toward the ground to take cover.”
Turley told Katie Kapusta that he was shot at twice and returned fire four times. He had no idea anyone had been hit until more police units arrived.
“Once they shot two times at my face, I had no choice. I was in fear of my life, and I returned fire.”
Fortunately, Turley was not hit. The fact that Turley is not facing any charges in the case shows the culture in the United States is re-normalizing the role of armed citizens as legitimate.
Armed citizens defending themselves and their homes was common and accepted in the 1930's and before. In “Rise of the Anti-Media: In-Forming America's Concealed Weapon Carry Movement“, Dr. Brian Anse Patrick relates numerous newspaper reports of homeowners using firearms for defense in articles of the time.
It was during the mid-1960's, with the rise of the civil rights movement, that the media coalesced in demonizing citizen ownership of firearms for self-defense.
President Lyndon Banes Johnson was able to marshal support for federal legislation attempting to limit access to handguns for self-defense. The media pushed very hard for the legislation, resulting in the compromise Gun Control Act of 1968. The legislation was enacted on the heels of the assassination of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy.
With the movement to shall issue concealed carry permits in the late 1980s to the present, self-defense with firearms has been re-legitimized.
Ordinary people who shoot police in legitimate self-defense now have a chance of their actions being recognized as lawful. The initial reporting by the police did not mention that officer Morris fired first. It was implied that Morris was attacked. From owensborotimes.com:
Officer Morris lost sight of the fleeing suspect behind some houses in the 500 block of Hathaway Street. As the officer was checking a fenced-in area at 522 Hathaway, the homeowner of the residence shot at Officer Morris striking him.
Officer Morris was wearing a ballistic vest but was struck in the lower abdominal area. He is at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital recovering from emergency surgery and is in good condition.
The Kentucky State Police Critical Incident Response Team is investigating the incident. This shows good judgment, as an independent agency is investigating the shooting, not Officer Morris' own department.
No charges have been brought at this time. David Turley was questioned by police and released.
There have been several incidents over the last few years where innocent people have fired at police officers. Officers have been wounded and killed. Some of the armed defenders have been found not guilty, others were never charged.
Respect and support for the exercise of the right to keep and bear arms is increasing in the United States. All but eight states now have either shall issue laws for the carry of handguns, or Constitutional carry, where permits are not necessary to carry handguns for self-defense.
Armed citizens and police are natural allies. Mutual respect and mutual support results in low crime rates and peaceful neighborhoods.
Communication is key. A call to 911 about a prowler in the area might have prevented the confrontation that resulted in Officer Morris' wounding. Clear identification by Officer Morris as David Turley approached might have prevented the exchange of fire.
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.