A Reminder for Responsible Gun Owners

Joe Strigle was quietly having breakfast when he heard a commotion across the street on Saturday morning, March 23. Strigle lived on the 4800 block of Grove Point Drive in Tampa, Florida. A place where “it” never happens.

“It” (Being Attacked With a Gun) Happens

But the commotion Strigle heard was “it” — a neighbor woman in her 70s being mugged at gunpoint. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office says that around 6 a.m., someone robbed Strigle’s neighbor at gunpoint while she was outside feeding stray neighborhood cats. She gave the thief what she says was a small amount of cash, and he started to walk away.

That wasn’t good enough for the woman, however, who followed the thief down the street. Realizing he was being followed, the thief spun around and pointed the gun at the victim, who then slapped the gun out of the suspect’s hand by throwing her tray at him. The gun “went off” and shot the woman in the leg.

The sheriff’s office said as the gun fell, “it fired,” and the bullet struck the victim in the leg. The woman (unnamed to date) was transported to the hospital with “non-life-threatening injuries” and, at last report, is in stable condition. The robber hasn’t been found.

White Hernando County (Florida) Sheriff's Department patrol SUV parked at the end of a residential driveway where it is blocking in a dark sedan and a large pickup truck. An older white man with glasses and a bushy gray mustache faces the camera from the far side of the cruiser while a young white male with short red hair and a burgundy shirt stands nearby with his back to the camera.

Remember that it is the job of the police to chase fleeing perps. Chasing an armed robber or even an unarmed thief can only lead to grief. (Photo by Rick Sapp)

Neighbor Janna Eveland said, “You’re not [in our neighborhood] unless you’re supposed to be here, so it’s just a bit odd to hear there has been a shooting on the street.”

“I couldn’t believe it. This just don’t [sic] happen here,” Strigle said, remembering the gunshot and the subsequent telephone call for help from the victim; the blood and the sirens disturbing a quiet Saturday morning. “You never see the police cars hardly out here.”

But it did happen. It happened in Strigle’s neighborhood, and it could happen in your community.

Simple Self-Defense Reminders for the Responsible Gun Owner

We can learn several lessons from this incident (lessons diligently preached by the USCCA).

One: You get robbed. The thief gets away. It happens. You lose what you recognize as a “small amount of cash.” In the long run, it’s no big deal, except the insult to your pride. In any long life — the woman was in her 70s — our pride generally takes a bruising. That’s life. Swallow hard and go on with business.

Two: Chasing an armed robber with a pan and throwing it at him … well, let’s just say it could have gone a lot worse than an incidental shot to the leg (though a gunshot even to a non-vital part of the body will be a long time healing and could do considerable damage). We don’t chase bad guys. We don’t shoot at them as they are departing (when our life is no longer in danger). That’s a job for the police.

Three: Modern firearms don’t just “go off.” The only way a gun “goes off” is when someone pulls the trigger. My guess is that when the victim launched the tray, the thief made an effort to retain possession of the gun, and the tray hitting his hand increased his pressure on the trigger, causing the shot.

There’s probably more, but let’s call it a day.

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