You get the call that no one wants to hear. One of the kids hit Grandma in the head and stole her car. The rest of the family is trying to get grandma to a doctor. They want your help if the grandchild comes back. That makes sense since her attacker is a large 29 year old male with a history of problems and a criminal record. You go to grandma’s house.
It is 10 pm when the attacker comes back. You get between grandma and the door. You tell her attacker to drop grandma’s keys and leave. He moves toward you. You’re armed. You present your firearm and shoot him. Now, he falls down. You call 911 and ask for police and EMS.
Your attacker is arrested, taken to the hospital to treat his wounded leg, and then taken to jail. He is charged with malicious assault, assault and battery, auto theft, and driving on a revoked license.
Our armed defender did a number of things to save himself and grandma. He owned a firearm. He also had his firearm with him, and it appears that this night he carried his handgun on his body.
Our defender also had a plan. He made a decision that he was not going to let an angry attacker get within arms reach. He would present his firearm if the attacker moved toward him in an aggressive manner. He would shoot if the attacker continued to close the distance. Though those choices may sound obvious to us now, there isn’t time to ponder those limits at 10 at night with an angry man moving toward us. We won’t have time to think.
The defender put himself between grandma and her attacker. The simple presence of a defender was a deterrent that could have stopped the attack. Our defender used his firearm to stop the attacker’s advance, and then our defender stopped shooting when the attacker stopped advancing. The defender called 911. He stayed at the scene and gave a statement to the police when they arrived. That is what good guys do.
These news stories often leave out important points. There are a number of things we’d like to do if we were there defending a loved one.
It would probably be better if the police were called when the attacker first hit grandma in the head with a pair of pliers and stole her car. Let the police apprehend the criminal so we aren’t forced into an escalating situation with a relative. Make sure Grandma receives medical treatment. Head injuries on the elderly can be particularly serious because many elderly people are on blood thinners and have a propensity to bleed. The medical exam also documents grandma’s injuries from the attack.
This is why training is so important. We’re not expected to be medical professionals, but it sure helps to know when we need to see one.
Grandma needs a plan too. If a family member shows signs of violence or stealing for drug money, then make sure everyone in the family is prepared. It hurts to admit that someone you love is now willing to hurt or injure you. We need the mindset necessary to protect ourselves and other loved ones. Accepting that fact doesn’t come easily. There was a time when the grandson was welcome. Now, we lock the doors.
There is more to do once the attacker stops advancing. We want everyone to call 911 and get help on the way. Give the 911 dispatcher the essentials.
This is our address. We need medical assistance and the police. Someone was shot. We’re safe and the scene is secure. Also, identify yourself and tell the police what you’re wearing.
Holster your firearm when you’re safe or when the police arrive. It is usually better to escape a dangerous situation than to continue to hold a criminal at gunpoint.
Identify yourself to the police when they arrive. Tell them that you are the one who called 911. Show them your ID and your carry permit. Keep your firearm holstered at your side. Ask the officers what they want to do next. Once your firearm is no longer an issue, now you can make a brief statement when the officers are ready.
The earlier attack is a separate incident and by itself is not sufficient justification for using lethal force later. It was lethal force even though you shot your attacker in the leg. It was lethal force because you presented your firearm. Now you have to explain why.
You can make a statement that the attacker entered without permission. You told him to stop. You had reason to think he was a violent threat. You had to defend yourself and defend Grandma who was behind you. You shot the attacker when he closed the distance to you. You stopped shooting when he stopped advancing.
Make a statement that you want your attacker charged. Offer to sign a complaint and testify against the grandson in court. You’ll also cooperate with the investigation and give a complete statement after you talk to your lawyer. There is lots more to say, but this isn’t the time. Leave your official statements to your attorney.
Family situations are difficult. The grandson might lie and say he didn’t do anything wrong. A lot of people are going to tell grandma that the attacker is sorry, or that the attack was her fault for not giving her grandson the money he wanted. Make sure grandma has a counselor to talk to. She needs reassurance that it wasn’t her fault that her grandson was a violent criminal.
You might get handcuffed, arrested and jailed. You want to have a legal aid plan that includes bail. The good legal plans will suggest, and help pay for, a counselor for grandma. A good lawyer will get a copy of the 911 tape for your defense.
Rob Morse highlights the latest self-defense and other shootings of the week. See what went wrong, what went right, and what we can learn from real-life self-defense with a gun. Even the most justified self-defense shooting can go wrong, especially after the shot. Get the education, the training, and the liability coverage you and your family deserve, join USCCA.