Shooting of Criminal by Citizen NOT Reported by Police & NOT Unusual

On 7 December 2018, at about 7:45 p.m., the owner of the Alibaba's convenience store in Syracuse, New York shot and wounded an armed robber.
On 7 December 2018, at about 7:45 p.m., the owner of the Alibaba's convenience store in Syracuse, New York shot and wounded an armed robber.

Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- On 7 December 2018, at about 7:45 p.m., the owner of the Alibaba's convenience store in Syracuse, New York shot and wounded an armed robber. The robber ended up in the hospital. The story made the news.

A local reporter for syracuse.com, Patrick Lohmann, investigated the story and wrote it up. While doing a followup, Lohmann discovered the store owner had shot another robbery suspect six weeks earlier.

That story did *not* make the news. From syracuse.com:

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — A tobacco shop owner who shot and badly injured a would-be robber Friday night at his North Side store also shot at and possibly injured a would-be robber six weeks ago at the same shop at the same time of night.

The owner of Alibaba Market on Wolf Street confirmed that he'd been involved in two shootings in as many months during a brief interview at his store on Saturday afternoon.

(snip)

Syracuse police did not announce an arrest in the Oct. 30 case or issue a news release, which is unusual in cases where shots are fired or someone is arrested in a robbery.

Police said there is a record of a “robbery” at the Alibaba Market at 7:25 p.m. on Oct. 30, 2018, but the case is “sealed,” said spokesman Sgt. Richard Helterline.

When Lohmann asked around the neighborhood to find out what happened, he got this story from two separate sources:

Baker said the owner told him that the robbers later called the police, confessed to the robbery and sought medical attention. One of the robbers had a gunshot wound to the hip, the owner told Baker.

The owner declined to comment on whether he had hit anyone he shot at in the Oct. 30 robbery.

Baker and another neighbor — who declined to be identified but said he got the same account of the Oct. 30 robbery from the owner — said police returned the owner's weapon in the days after the failed robbery.

“Good thing he got it back in time,” Baker said.

There is a significant gap between the number of defensive gun uses researchers find in surveys, and defensive gun uses recorded by police or in various media.

Numerous surveys show defensive gun uses in the United States of between 500,000 and three million a year.   Only 353 justified homicides were recorded, by citizens other than police, in the FBI Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) for 2017. The UCR shows 429 justified homicides by police in 2017.

Studies of media reports show that justified homicides by non-police are reported in the media at least five times more often than are recorded in the UCR. There are numerous structural reasons for this disparity. The UCR has a very restrictive definition of justified homicide. Recording data in the UCR is voluntary, for starters.

A Washington Post project on police shootings showed justified homicides by police are reported in the media more than twice as often as are recorded in the UCR.  In 2017, the Washington Post found 987 fatal police shootings; the UCR recorded 429.

Fatal shootings are the most likely to be known, reported, and recorded.  The FBI uniform crime reports miss the vast majority of justified homicides. Justified homicides are the smallest category of defensive gun uses.

Those who claim the survey numbers of defensive gun uses (dgu) are too high, use the lack of official reports to claim defensive gun uses are rare.

This story illustrates the problem with that claim.

  • The store owner did not want his name in the media.
  • No one is required to report a dgu to police.
  • Police are not required to record a dgu in police reports.
  • Police reports are not required to be released to the media.
  • The media is not required to publish defensive gun uses.
  • No one keeps national statistics on defensive gun uses.
  • Police are not required to report non-crimes to the FBI, the media, or anyone.
  • There are compelling reasons for people to avoid reporting defensive gun uses.
  • There are strong incentives for wounded criminals to claim a wound from a defensive gun use was accidental or the result of a criminal attack.
  • In numerous locations, people do not want to be involved with the police in any way.

Over the years, I have had many people tell me of their personal defensive gun uses.  The vast majority of them occurred with no shots being fired.  The vast majority were credible. Only one of them (with no shots fired) reported the incident to the police.  It was never reported in the local media.

In one case, an older man in his 80's (15 years ago) told me, when I pressed him for specifics, that he had shot and (presumably) killed, two people in separate incidents 50 years earlier. The episodes were not reported to the police. They involved attempted robberies in “bad” parts of cities. The rendition of the events appeared credible. The information was extracted by detailed questioning. It was not volunteered.

My friend Tex (George) Ferguson, the second most decorated U.S. Army veteran of WWII, and a likely CIA operative, told me of shooting and killing three men who attacked him in the early 1970s.

It was in a bad part of a major city that he was unexpectedly detoured too. It was such a bad area; the police refused to go there when the shooting was reported.

Tex reported the shootings to the local police chief. They were never recorded in the UCR or police records. They were never described in the media. No one ever came forward to press charges. Tex described the incident in detail. He became close friends with the police chief. They maintained correspondence and visited each other over the years.

The point of these anecdotal reminiscences is to illustrate that large numbers of defensive gun uses are never officially recorded, either in police records or in the media.

I find the survey results of a million or more defensive gun uses a year to be credible, because of my personal experience and anecdotal evidence told to me over decades.

It is not scientific, but it credibly explains the vast difference between the survey results and official and media records.

Large percentages of people in the United States gun culture have had the same experience. They find significant numbers of defensive gun uses to be credible, because they have friends and relatives and neighbors who have told their stories to them. Many millions have their own experiences to relate.

  • Very few make the news.
  • Very few are shared outside the gun culture.

Large numbers of people who are not gun owners do not know anyone who owns a gun.  Defensive gun use has been actively suppressed in the major media. Non-gun owners never heard of defensive gun uses and believed they were mythical.

If a person has actively chosen to be unarmed, they do not wish to hear of defensive gun uses. It upsets their world-view.

Second Amendment supporters have learned to get around the old dominant media, to publish defensive gun uses on the Internet, and to discuss them on talk radio. It is changing public perception and the debate about reforming gun laws. I recommend defensive gun uses be reported to the police.  The record will probably not make the news or the UCR. It can protect you if the aggressor decides to accuse you of an attack.

As a practical matter, cameras and recorders everywhere make the idea of walking away from a shooting impractical and legally dangerous, even in a “bad” part of town.

Tell us of your defensive gun use. We all need to know about it.


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.

  • 28 thoughts on “Shooting of Criminal by Citizen NOT Reported by Police & NOT Unusual

    1. Not hard to understand. Stories and facts that don’t fit or can’t be spun to fit the agenda are ignored or buried. The media exists to propagandize not inform.

    2. @JonDough; Then they don’t need to be offended by being on this sight, then bow to their rulers !!!!!!!!!!!!!! @ Wild Bill HAVE A GOOD HOLIDAY SEASON !

    3. My store: 40 some years ago, we were invited to a New Years Eve party at one of my wife’s coworkers house. I had never been to the house, & Moma put on all of her jewelry. I put a .45 Commander in the small of my back & a spare mag in my side pocket.
      The house was fenced, well lit & apeared safe so I left Gun & Mag. in the car.
      On the way home (3:00 am),,moms said,” let’s eat breakfast”.
      I went in the cafe with no gun & instantly discovered three (3) would be thugs have spotted the jewelry!!
      I felt all my pockets & announced that I had left my Cigerettes in the car!! Went out, came back, lit a cigarette ,(the good old days, no do goodiers), & threw a .45 Mag on the table!! I instantly became invisible!! No carry permits available, no violence, no angry words!! Nothing to report to anyone!! Never even showed a gun!! I’m 78 now & have a CHL.
      Good use for a Mag!!!

    4. ” If a person has actively chosen to be unarmed, they do not wish to hear of defensive gun uses.
      – It upsets their world-view….” – Indeed

    5. Grub gets ventilated, good guy goes home. Win win situation.
      Something I am curious about though. Why would the case be “SEALED”. Is someone trying to hide something?

      1. ‘Sealed’ in most cases is used to protect any witnesses, the defensive shooter, etc in ongoing cases that might otherwise subject any of them to dangers presented because of.

    6. When it comes to guns and defending yourself, the next 2 thoughts apply!
      1. When the government says, “I’m here to HELP”, your already screwed!
      2. When the Commie News Media shows up and says “I’m here to tell the truth”, your already screwed!
      DGU is best left unreported! Any self defense you win is best left unreported!

    7. Here is a case of DGU not reported. A friend of mine from NYC had a man with a knife try to rob him in Albuquerque. The man said “Give me your money!” My friend pulled his gun and said ” No, give me your money!” The man cried ” Why are you doing this to me ?” while my friend took $1.62 from him and walked away.

    8. The media is as complicit in demonizing guns and gun owners as are politicians and the anti-gun lobby. If it doesn’t fit the narrative or further the cause why report? You also have to factor that prosecutors are elected too. So if it’s not CYA, it’s shaped to make things look better like posted signs, feel-good laws, and other “do something” shows of action.

    9. I wonder what percentage of DGU’s are not reported because the Good Guy with Gun is, for some technical reason, not “supposed” to have the gun, or not to have it where he did when it was used? So he zips it to avoid the possibility of arrest/charging on some arcane inane “infringement” upon his natural right to go about armed….. thankful he has escaped the tight spot alive and unhurt.

      If that pesky Second were not so disparaged, ignored, violated, I think there would be far fewer DGU’s, as far more people would have a healthy fear that something painful just might befall them when they attempt to steal someone’s stuff, or hurt someone unjustly. Three million DGU’s per year is about 8200 per day on average. Compare this to about 11,000 “gun crimes” per year, it would seem rationial based on numbers alone that were it NOT for those 8K DGU’s per day, we just may be having an exponential increase in gun crime/deaths per year….. similar to what is observed in places like Brasil…..

      But then, the grabbers would still be on about the “need” to disarm Mr. and Mrs, America, wouldn’t they?

    10. I have had 3 DGUs over the years, none of which actually required me to fire, and none of which was reported to police. 2 involved being threatened by gang members, and 1 was a sudden encounter with a homeless man who was drunk or high and threatened me with a Bowie knife. I understand the rationale for reporting such incidents, but in no case did I have any idea who the people were, and in each case it was over in no more than a minute. With the gang members, whom I encountered in my office parking lot (so they knew where to find me again), I was more concerned with a future ambush than with their filing a false report with the police.

    11. Guns for recreational and defensive reasons. I do not hunt, but
      enjoy target shooting. To be able to defend myself and family is a priority.
      Would I be able to shoot someone in that instance ? Most likely. Would I be
      able to live with myself afterwards ? Good question, but I hope I never find out.
      In my opinion, criminals or would be criminals are not in there right mind for
      whatever reasons. In a dangerous situation, rule of thumb might be “shoot first”.
      Don’t wait until you see the flash of their weapon, be it a gun, knife, or ??? Chances
      are that’s too late. I believe they have the “Surprise” factor in most cases. I don’t
      have a gun strapped to my person even though I have a CCL. I hope, if necessary,
      I can retreat to a nearby weapon before they use theirs.
      BTW, I don’t care if what I believe offends anyone !!!

    12. I was forced to use lethal force against a would be robber who was 17 years old, strung out on heroin in the late 70’s. Police responded after close to an hour had passed and I had placed three phone calls to them. I was arrested at the scene (my bar) and interviewed for over 5 hours, and remained in custody for 48 hours after my arrest. When the determination was made that it was a JH, charges were dismissed and I was released. Never regained possession of the revolver I used, which was legally purchased and owned by me. No media coverage at all. Approximately 6 to 8 months earlier a good friend was working as a clerk in a popular convenience store which had a ban on employee possession if firearms while on duty. He had been robbed at gunpoint three times in less than two weeks and was fed up with looking down the barrel of a robbers gun and obtained a gun if his own, brought it to work and stashed it behind a cigarette display on the counter. The robber showed up a few days later and my friend pushed the cigarette display rack over and grabbed his pistol and started firing. Hit the robber once in the abdomen, robber ran through the plate glass window at storefront, across parking lot and attempted to jump a block fence to the side of the store before collapsing on the other side of the fence. Again the robber was found to be a heroin addict. He expired at the scene with eight .45cal wounds to the upper torso. All except one were shots to his back. My friend was not arrested, nor interviewed at police station. Media went nuts over the fact tgat he had been so brazen as to bring a gun to work at a business which prohibited that. He lost his job a couple weeks after and the media calmed down.
      The difference between his use of force and my own was great. In most locales his use of force would have been ruled excessive as he followed the robber to the parking lot and kept firing even though the threat had ended. My use was fully justified, the sawed off 11ga he brought was loaded and cocked. It fired when I shot and killed him. In the time between my friends experience and my own the county DA had been changed and the new DA had an agenda to eliminate private firearm ownership and take ALL guns away from citizenry.

    13. Guns for recreational and defensive reasons. I do not hunt, but
      enjoy target shooting. To be able to defend myself and family is a priority.
      Would I be able to shoot someone in that instance ? Most likely. Would I be
      able to live with myself afterwards ? Good question, but I hope I never find out.
      In my opinion, criminals or would be criminals are not in there right mind for
      whatever reasons. In a dangerous situation, rule of thumb might be “shoot first”.
      Don’t wait until you see the flash of their weapon, be it a gun, knife, or ??? Chances
      are that’s too late. I believe they have the “Surprise” factor in most cases. I don’t
      have a gun strapped to my person even though I have a CCL. I hope, if necessary,
      I can retreat to a nearby weapon before they use theirs.
      BTW, I don’t care if what I believe offends anyone !!!

    14. “…353 justified homicides were recorded, by citizens other than police, in the FBI Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) for 2017. The UCR shows 429 justified homicides by police (during the same time period).” In other words, by law enforcement reporting standards, in 45%, almost half of all justified homicides, private citizens were, by default, their own First Responders. Coupled with findings that there are between 500,000 and 3,000,000 defensive gun uses annually, anyone who believes going through life unarmed is willfully ignorant of reality.

    15. I’m a LEO and I don’t blame them for not saying anything in unfree America. Down here it still happens but usually for different reasons.

    16. Every defensive use of a gun should be immediately reported to the police for three reasons, at lest: 1. If the criminal complains about it, that version will have the defender at fault and police may arrest the defender; 2. the police build up details on criminals that help to frighten the net to find them; 3. When caught for other crimes , the police can use the defenders report to help convect on other cases. When reporting, be sure to ask that a written report be made, and ask for a copy to ensure you have should it be lost by the police, and that it is accurately recorded.

    17. If it’s not the government trying to get us killed…it’s the Media! The reason “DGU’s” are, more often than not, not recorded is easy. No guts and blood! No BIG STORY, the reporter can juice up with what I call, “slurred facts”. Slurred facts can’t be disproven, completely, therefore “fact”…even though you have to really s t r e t c h…….to find the truth. It’s there. In just enough quantity to be reported but, so thin you could read the FBI’s UCR thru it and feel, uncomfortably sated that the two ARE related……like a 5th cousin! Traceable, but not without some real digging. Yet the government, the “Anti-Gunners”, anti-gun Lawyers and activists continually spout “facts not in evidence”……and get away with it!
      Beam me up Scotty…..there are no signs common sense here!

      1. @Steve Richards, One nice thing shared by Main Stream Media and government, alike, is that if either of them tell you something, you will know beyond any reasonable doubt that the opposite is true. “There is a hundred per cent chance that Hillary Clinton will be elected” CNN.
        Here is another: ” I don’t think that there is enough evidence to prosecute Hillary Clinton” Former Director of the Fat Boy Institute Shames Coomey.
        I am from the government. I’ here to help.

    18. Some years ago,Ihadto pull a gun on a drunken, violent, ex con. He wisely backed off! I called the Sheriff to cover my ass and left a message on voicemail. They never contacted me. Guess they didn’t care. End of story.

    19. The only ones that hear about this are Law abiding citizens, and it is far to many times that we don’t hear about those times because it does not go well with the news media or the gun grabbers agenda !!!!!!!!!! They don’t report it as they continue to say that should be handled by trained personal (YOUR LOCAL POLICE) when they finally get there and by that time you will be a death statistic !!!!!!!!!!!! If the news would report it that might have an effect on criminals thinking they might get shot, because the home owner or business owner will not hesitate to use a gun !!!!!!!

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