U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)-– The Escambia County Sheriff’s Office reported an incident that occurred on January 4, 2023, outside the Bingo Paradise hall in Pensacola, Florida. Two women were reported to be approaching the entrance. One of the women told deputies they had come to obtain jumper cables from her mother, who was in the bingo hall. Suspect Lee David Wilkerson, 38 years old, is reported to have gotten into an altercation with the women, pulled out a pistol, hit one of the women on the head with the pistol, then fired several shots as the women fled into the parking lot. From the Sheriff’s Office:
Lee David Wilkerson was standing outside of the business when two females tried to enter. They became involved in an altercation at the entrance of the building. During the altercation, he retrieved a firearm from his side and hit one female victim in the head with it. He then began shooting in their direction and continued to fire into the parking lot as the victims fled.Wilkerson then tossed the firearm in a nearby dumpster, but not his meth. As Wilkerson tried to enter the building, two citizens who had witnessed the altercation pulled their concealed weapons, holding Wilkerson until deputies arrived.
Inside the Bingo Hall, the manager is reported as telling the customers to get down. But two of the players pulled their personal defense weapons. The Armed Samaritans have not been described or identified. When the suspect attempted to enter the hall, they held him for the authorities. When the authorities arrested Wilkerson, they searched him and found a crystal substance in a zip-lock bag, which also contained a knife. They searched the area where Wilkerson was reported to have told them he had placed the pistol. They found a Taurus .380 Spectrum pistol in a dumpster. The pistol had an extended magazine with one round in the magazine. Another round appears to have been in the chamber, from the police photograph.
Wilkerson was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, firing a weapon in public, use/display of a firearm during a felony, aggravated battery/use of a deadly weapon, and trafficking of Methamphetamine. The firearm used was located by deputies in the nearby dumpster.
Wilkerson, as a convicted felon, is forbidden by law from possessing firearms or ammunition.
The sheriff’s office report uses the word “tossed”. In an image that appears to be of the pistol, as found, in the Sheriff’s office report, it appears the pistol was placed with some care. “Tossed” may have been the term used by the suspect. The report is ambiguous about who used the term.
People who use meth are often paranoid and make poor decisions. Fortunately, no one was shot in the incident, and armed Samaritans were on hand to hold the suspect for police.
The armed Samaritans exercised good judgment in not searching the suspect. It is a dangerous job. As the police were on the way and the subject was subdued, they avoided possible danger and did not add complications to the collection of evidence.
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 retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.