Self Defense in Texas: 22LR Single Shot Beats AR15 & .40 Cal

Opinion

On October 11, 2018, a grand jury found Dakota Wayne Kirkman not guilty of the shooting which seems to have been justified by reason of self-defense.
On October 11, 2018, a grand jury found Dakota Wayne Kirkman not guilty of the shooting which seems to have been justified by reason of self-defense.

Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- The gunfight happened in the early morning hours of 17 August 2018. The location was 867 Bootlegger Lane in Yoakum, Texas.  Yoakum is a small town in Texas, about halfway between San Antonio and Houston.

There was “bad blood” between Dakota Wayne Kirkman, 19, and Manuel Martinez III, 36.  The men lived about 22 miles apart. Yoakum is in DeWitt County, Texas. Kirkman and his girlfriend lived in Hallettsville in Lavaca County, Texas.

Dakota did not want his live-in girlfriend to hang around Martinez and his wife. His girlfriend, Martinez, and Martinez' wife were at Martinez' house when Kirkman came to bring his girlfriend home.  Kirkman arrived in his truck. He had a singleshot .22 rifle and one cartridge, loaded in the chamber.

Kirkman and Martinez got into a verbal altercation. The Sheriff reported that alcohol was involved.

The altercation escalated into a gunfight. Cartridge cases found at the scene indicated that Martinez fired 15 shots from an AR15 type rifle and 12 shots from a .40 caliber pistol.

Most of the action seems to have happened while Kirkman was in or around his truck. 13 bullet holes were found in the truck. 11 of the bullet holes were from  .223 cartridges. Two of the bullet holes were from a .40 caliber pistol.

Kirkman is recorded as firing one shot from his single shot .22 caliber rifle. The shot struck Martinez in the chest, killing him.

Law enforcement was called at 2:43 a.m.  From cuerorecord.com:

When law enforcement made it to the location, a man was found lying in the front yard with an apparent gunshot wound. The initial investigation indicated an ongoing tension between the deceased and the alleged shooter. The murder weapon was a .22 rifle.

DeWitt County Justice of the Peace, Pct. 1, Peggy Mayer was called at 3:08 a.m. and later announced Martinez dead at the scene.

“This is a tragic loss of life, and our hearts go out to Martinez’s family,” DeWitt County Sheriff Carl Bowen said in a press release.

According to Bowen, there was an altercation and an exchange of gunfire between two men. Kirkman left the location on Bootlegger Lane with his girlfriend and ended up at their home at 32 Private Road 4006 in Hallettsville.

Kirkman was taken into custody without incident.

Dakota Kirkman was held at the DeWitt County jail for 55 days. Bail was set at $500,000.

On October 11, 2018, the grand jury found Kirkman to have been justified by reason of self-defense. From victoriaadvocate.com:

Investigators documented 11 bullet holes made by a .223-caliber rifle and two from a .40-caliber pistol. An AR-15 and .40-caliber pistol were found near Martinez’s body along with 15 rifle and 12 pistol casings. One of the bullets passed through the truck’s frame near the driver’s seat belt fastener, said Lassmann, who added if Kirkman had not been crouching in his seat, he likely would have been shot.

“(Kirkman) must have been scared to death,” Lassmann said.

The number of bullets fired by Martinez stood in stark contrast to the single, fatal shot from Kirkman’s antique, bolt-action .22-caliber rifle. Additionally, evidence showed Kirkman went to the home on Bootlegger Lane with only a single round chambered in his rifle and no other ammo in his vehicle.

That contrast further emphasized the likelihood that Kirkman acted in self-defense, Lassmann said.

Investigators documented 11 bullet holes made by a .223-caliber rifle and two from a .40-caliber pistol. An AR-15 and .40-caliber pistol were found near Martinez’s body along with 15 rifle and 12 pistol casings.
Investigators documented 11 bullet holes made by a .223-caliber rifle and two from a .40-caliber pistol. An AR-15 and .40-caliber pistol were found near Martinez’s body along with 15 rifle and 12 pistol casings.

There is a great deal about this story we do not know, and may never know.

  • Did Dakota shoot from inside of the truck, or did he take cover outside of the truck?
  • What were the lighting conditions?
  • How impaired with alcohol or drugs were the participants? While the Sheriff says alcohol was involved, at least one commenter at the Victoria Advocate claimed that alcohol was not involved.
  • How far apart were the adversaries?

It has been reported the women involved were inside while the gunfight occurred outside.  The only surviving eyewitness to the events appears to be Dakota Wayne Kirkman.

There are lessons to be learned from this incident.

First, avoid confrontation if possible. While Dakota Wayne Kirkman survived, the odds are he wished it could have been avoided.

Second, any gun can be deadly in a gunfight. Do not disparage the .22 rimfire. Every game animal on earth, including elephants, has been killed with .22 rimfires.  Many, many humans have been killed with .22 rimfires.

Third, if possible to do safely, stay at the scene of a shooting until the authorities arrive. Leaving the scene may be taken as an admission of guilt. If you cannot stay safely, contact the authorities as soon as possible.

Fourth, an arrest for murder does not mean a murder was committed. The grand jury found this to be a clear case of self-defense.


About Dean Weingarten: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.

  • 46 thoughts on “Self Defense in Texas: 22LR Single Shot Beats AR15 & .40 Cal

    1. You DO understand that a single-shot rifle can fire as fast as you can load and pull the trigger? That kind of firepower was not intended when the 2nd Amendment was written, and you do not need that kind of firepower to kill Bambi….

      Obvious sarcasm.

      My carry weapon is a Beretta 22 short…my go to rifle an Anschutz model 64 single-shot 22 target rifle…Litton 845 scope attached. Like your girlfriend has told you…”size isn’t important….”

    2. Well I am going to pose an obviously “racist” question here, but was Martinez a small Hispanic and Kirkman a very large Anglo, thereby causing said Hispanic to think his only options were an AR and a .40 cal.??? Machismo, maybe??

    3. Kirkman needs direction in his life. If he does not enlist, he will be headed for more trouble. Kirkman does not have the personal discipline to prosper absent some good old fashioned regimentation.

      1. @WB that’s probably good advisement Wild Bill, Frankly I’m amazed at this whole situation. He did show up at another mans residence armed, possibly his motive was pure, but could be suspect. He has been given a gift, how he interprets and utilizes this gift will determine his whole life. I heard that in your advisement. I hope he is a listener and a practitioner of an experience led life, those that aren’t, get gobbled up by the system quickly.

        1. How could this possibly be known wild bill? For all anyone knows he could have been on his way to deliver that one bullet to a butcher hog and was redirected..He was 19, But who knows, he could have been a model youth in his church group.. They said Alcohol was involved, But it doesnt give any details, are we to jump to conclusions that the boy was drinking?.

          1. @Larry, with all due respect, based upon the facts presented, measured by my own life experience, I made a guess. No one can actually know the future, and I did not claim to know his future.
            Here are some of the facts upon which I make my guess: ” happened in the early morning hours…” ” There was “bad blood” between … Kirkman … and … Martinez .” “The men lived about 22 miles apart…” ” live-in girlfriend to hang around Martinez … ” “… Kirkman came to bring his girlfriend home.”
            If you need more, Larry, I can explain why each of these reported facts are, separately, not good, and when taken together point to a lack of personal discipline that the armed services could, in my experience, … cure.
            All those other “church group and slaughter a hog” facts that you made up, I did not use in my analysis.

        2. 1) Arriving armed doesn’t mean that he gunned up for a fight. Anybody who carries regularly will arrive armed wherever they go.
          2) Anybody who DOES get gunned up before a visit doesn’t choose a .22 single shot.
          3) Spray and pray sucks. Shot placement is king.

      2. Remember, the kid is nineteen. I’m guessing his family are not well off, probably a hardscrabble lot getting by. Take another look at that “entry level” piece of junk he’s driving about.. or was, until Marinez ventilated it. My guess is he’s got no insurance that would cover that dmage, so he’ll just patch it back together and ride it some more, bullet holes and all. But hey, he’s got it together enough to have a vehicle, a rifle, and a girlfriend, and one would suppose, a roof over his head. We see plenty twice his age living on the strets and backlots, earning their keep by “working” as paid rabble rousers in “demonstrations” and riots.

        1. Very good point Tio, I know young guys just like him in my own small town. I think he is just a blue collar kid who got thrown into a real life situation he probably was not prepared for. In the winter of 2017 we had an event almost like this in our community. A job related feud lead to a beer store late night shooting between a 38 year old and a 21 year old. No one died, but shots were fired, and the 21 year old was left standing, he had been bullied by the older man for quite some time we later learned. To date no charges have been filed, but I heard the younger man moved on. Most feel the sheriff made the best decision, myself included. A bully pulled a gun when challenged, and was dealt with.

    4. .22 . ?????? Well, I’ve heard lotsa stories that the Professional Hit Men (at least the ones on TV ) put the ‘quiet’ .22 right behind the vic’s ear to do the dastardly deed. Maybe THAT is why the .22 is so deadly…? 🙂

    5. What I find worthy of commentary is the fact that the defender/victim had a $500,000 bond and sat in county jail for 55 days. Unless you like bologna sandwiches and stark decor, I would advise getting defensive shooting protection/insurance from one of the many providers like USCCA, NRA, CCWSafe, Law Shield. Some policies have coverage for bail so you don’t have to mortgage your life to be free until trial and can better serve your defense. Oh, and miss out on bologna and PB&J sandwiches everyday during your wait.

      1. And, missing out on all of the beatings and sexual assaults perpetrated on oneself while you were waiting to be found innocent. USCCA is the way to go, for me.

    6. Rereading the story, Kirkman fled the scene and returned to the girlfriend’s home. The article doesn’t say whether or not he called the authorities at any time after the shooting.
      Fleeing the scene is usually seen as evidence of guilt, and if he didn’t call the 911 after the shooting, he put himself in a world of hurt.
      This guy should give everyone on the grand jury a big wet sloppy kiss. He did everything he could to put himself in Huntsville, and they gave him a pass. The only thing he did right was properly place his one shot.

    7. I don’t think there was any question about who fired first. I think the question was whether Kirkman really was an innocent party, or whether he started the fight by confronting Martinez. That would make him the aggressor, make the fight a “mutual combat” situation (like the idiots involved in the mattress-in-the-dumpster killing), and destroy a legitimate self-defense claim. And the fact that “alcohol was involved” may have hurt his claim. Kirkman may have been drinking (the article doesn’t say who had been drinking, only that someone had). it’s harder to claim your actions were reasonable and justified if you’re under the influence.
      But the grand jury decided in Kirkman’s favor.

    8. Like our old friend Mas always says: any gun will do if YOU will do. Makes me wonder what might have happened had he NOT had his puny truck gun along……

      What amazes me is that the coppers, once on the scene, find 27 empty brass near the dead guy, and 13 bullet holes in the truck all from the direction and calibers of the dead guy. Then,in stark contrast, only ONE hard to find tiny expired shell from the lowly ubiquitous twennytoo, over near the truck with all the bullet holes in it. Based on that objective hard evidence, I can only think of one likely conclusion, and one other so unlikely as to be laughable. (the second is that the punk 19 year old showed up hollering and waving his old bolt gun ‘threatening” the big guy with his heavy hitting hardware……… that being the case, and known at the time of the arrest, WHY was he even arrested? Or, WHY was bail set so high? What was he gonna do, hop into his ancient beater Ford truck bullet holes and all, and drive off to…. where? He’s a local kid. Flight risk was likely next to nil. My guess is the dead guy was a “somebody” in the local community. We also don’t know the tax report.. what was HIS BAC? That might explain his rotten marksmanship.

      1. Or maybe Martinez was just holding the AR & .40 sideways cuz his beer was in the other hand.
        Guess we needed more like him at the ALAMO!

    9. Yes – a correctly placed .22LR WILL stop/kill someone. But what if the ONE round from the .22 had not been ‘lucky’ enuff to have hit whatever killed the shooter? What if he had hit 3 inches lower, or left or right? I don’t think you can count on a one-shot kill from a .22 that hits you in the arm or leg or off-center body-mass. Whereas anything with a ‘4’ would have had a lot better chance of at least taking the shooter out of the fight…, I’d guess.
      Yes, perfect placement is paramount. But for us normal people who might not have perfect placement with their first shot while under the barrage of 27 BIG & POWERFUL rounds, I’d prefer lots of ammo – and lots bigger calibers…..

      1. And it has a lot to do with the size of the target. I had a friend that was involved in an altercation where he ended up getting shot 6 times from a .22 pistol. He was a pretty large (fat) fellow and every round ended up lodged somewhere in his belly fat. He said the cleaning the wounds out by the nurse hurt more than getting shot.

      1. Everybody welcome newbie enthusiasts Brad as he tries out his politically correct firearm terminology. We’re all impressed. I don’t think anyone can fairly comment on this dreadful event without knowing the full details of the facts, not only the police report, but the trial itself. Alcohol, bluster, and women trouble are always worse when firearms are involved. Both men possibly, could have been terrified of one another, and erratic thinking ruled the day. It sounded like a family squabble where firearms had no place, period. It really doesn’t matter now, a man is dead, and a jury found a man innocent of murder, no matter what caliber was used. The only ineffective firearm is one poorly aimed, even if it doesn’t produce death instantaneously, it will still have results. Practice, vote , mentor new shooters like Brad, and most importantly practice deliberation. It will make you a better shooter, and maybe prevent you from destroying your life along with others.

      2. Just so you know: casings is correct usage here. Bullet casings is a very common term. I thought so, but just to be sure, I checked the dictionary, then I checked a couple more.

    10. The 22LR is responsible for more gunshot deaths than any other round…. just saying… never underestimate a weapon in the hands of someone who knows how to use it, be it a gun, a machete , a knife, or a tree branch.

    11. From the photo provided it appears that Martinez was trying to disable the vehicle by firing into the engine compartment. Also the story was quoted as saying that one of the bullets passed through the “frame”, “near the driver’s seat belt fastener.” This pass through would indicate the bullet going through the body and not “near the frame.” It may seem nitpicking but these things deserve nitpicking; in both the investigation and the reporting of same. But then, I am old school. I also would have liked to know who all was under the influence of alcohol or other substances.

    12. So much for beginning with a 4.
      And I agree, placement! And his girlfriend should have perhaps listened to him.
      It is a shame he lost 55 days of his life behind bars. Happens all the time.

    13. Since Kirkman did not have $500,000 to give to DeWitt County to bail himself out and had his freedom taken for 55 days, how much is DeWitt County going to give to him?

    14. It is more a question of who defends well, rather than who has the most firepower! That does not always prevail, but it does illustrate the fact that being outgunned does not guarantee defeat.

      I don’t know if Kirkman owned any other firearms, but I would guess that he showed up with only a .22 single shot rifle simply because he didn’t have anything more “tactical” or self-defense oriented.

      I also recall that an Alaskan Eskimo girl out gathering berries once defended herself successfully against a huge Brown Bear, and her weapon was also a .22 rifle which administered the fatal shot by accurate placement in the ear of the bear, which created a brain shot. Not a good choice to hunt Brown Bears intentionally, but much better than nothing in an emergency.

      1. Her name was Sally Tall, and she did it at point blank range. After dropping the bear with her single shot .22 LONG, not LR, she went over and put half a dozen more between its ear and eye. One-at-a-time. Why yes, she DOES clang when she walks.

    15. Well, apparently .22 Long Rifle and bird shot rounds can be effective self defense strategies. What I find odd is the almost total lack of discussion of either of these stories on the gun forums I frequent. I guess since neither fit present day defense narratives (highest capacity magazines, two is one and one is none, heavy caliber handguns for bear, caliber wars, knockdown power of various bullets and .etc) they’re just not relevant. Or maybe just not fun or contentious enough for all the operators and mall Ninjas.

      1. Or the odds of one man being able to deliver a fatal shot, from a very small caliber, in the face of withering gunfire, are extremely small. Kirkman was very, very lucky.

    16. So an armed intruder comes on Martinez’s property and Martinez shoots first but poorly. Intruder is then defending himself? If Kirkman brandished the rifle, Martinez would have been within his rights to shoot first seeing an armed threat. It doesn’t matter what type of weapon he carried or how much ammunition he had.

      1. Dan Edwards: I cannot think of any scenario where Kirkman pulls out his rifle, FIRST, and then takes 3 dozen rounds from a shooter’s TWO different guns, while not firing his…….and THEN drops him with his one shot .22. I’d guess evidence will show that the first 3 dozen rounds fired were by Martinez……probably not too many AFTER he received the fatal shot.
        But I did NOT stay at a Holiday Inn last night, either….

    17. A 4th lesson is never be involved with a woman who doesn’t listen to good advise. For the sake of their relationship, she should have listened to Kirkman. He probably knew things about Martinez that were red flags.

      1. Yes, calling the old single-shot .22 the “murder weapon” is so ludicrous it makes me think the people investigating the incident decided Kirkman was at fault from the start. Obviously not “forensic scientists”, if they imagined a man with a single shot .22 LR threatened a man with an AR and a .40 cal pistol, then stood there while shot at with both guns.

      2. Another story had some additional info saying the woman his wife was meeting was her sister. That link is in a post above this one.

        Plus, it’s not like he owns his wife. She can see whoever she wants and long as she’s not cheating; at which point a divorce would be in order.

        Surprised the guy fled the scene and we’re supposed to take his word he had no additional firearms or ammo in the truck and that the other guy fired first on his own property.

    18. It sounds pretty clear to me that a ton of bullet holes from Martinez makes him the perp and one shot from the 19 yr. old stopped the barrage of bullets. I’m sure Martinez didn’t fire after he was fatally hit in the chest.

      1. It appears to me that the decision makers came to that same conclusion, as would I. If the younger man had only one round of ammo and were the first to fire, there would have been no further rounds fired by either. The older would have been dead and the younger out of ammo. Considering the number of rounds fired, obviously the one who died fired first. The round that killed was fired in self defense and the young man’s aim was true. Well done!

        1. Which re-enforces my belief that, if _anyone_ was impaired by alcohol or drugs, it most likely was Martinez. I seriously doubt Kirkman could have killed him with a single .22 LR if he had been impaired by alcohol or drugs.

          And concerning the person who thinks Martinez was shooting to disable the truck – why would he do that if he wanted the kid to leave? I think it is more likely he was trying to stop Kirkman, not Kirkman’s truck.

      2. Doubtful. Could happen of course, one shot and immediate incapacitation. Guy could be terminal with a bullet hole in his chest and still manage to get off that number of rounds. Not out of the realm of possibility.

        Plenty of shootings, both in the civilian/police world and in the theater of war where someone is shoot and continues on for some time later.

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