Regular readers know how we at the USCCA strongly endorse everyday carry (EDC). In today’s world, it is simply impossible to predict when or where we might need to defend either ourselves or someone else. An incident in Washington State this past week illustrates that principle perfectly. The local Fox affiliate headline said it all: “Carjacking suspect dead outside Walmart store after armed citizens take action, police say.”
According to the Seattle Times, a liaison for the police said that “the incident began when officers responded to a report of an erratic driver in Tumwater, about 30 miles southwest of Tacoma.”
While police were on their way to intercept the driver, they received a report that a carjacking was apparently taking place at a nearby intersection. The driver of that vehicle, a 16-year-old girl, was injured at the scene. What followed was described by police as “a rampage” through several neighborhoods.
According to KIRO7 News, around 5:30 p.m., Thurston County Dispatch began receiving calls of shots fired “in or around the Tumwater Walmart and parking lot.” Apparently, the suspect from the earlier carjacking of the 16-year-old entered the Walmart store and fired shots at a display case. No customers or employees inside the store were injured.
Police say the suspect then exited the Walmart and attempted to carjack yet another car in the parking lot. He shot an adult male occupant of the car in the process. The male victim was treated for gunshot wounds and was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
But it wasn’t over. The suspect then attempted a third carjacking in the Walmart parking lot. This time, however, he was confronted by two armed civilians. When the suspect refused to surrender, one of the armed civilians shot the suspect, and the suspect died at the scene. That civilian was the owner of the car being carjacked. He was interviewed by police afterward.
One of several witnesses who were interviewed on camera called the good Samaritans “heroes, real heroes,” and another stated that “they obviously saved lives.” Note that only a few of the local news outlets aired their comments. No surprise.
Every time there is a shooting by legally armed civilians, my approach is to ask myself what the rest of us can learn, whether the outcome was good or bad. For one thing, this case clearly shows why carrying at all times is a good idea. After all, if you asked any of the civilians involved, I’d bet that not one of them would have thought that they would face an armed killer that day.
That is the whole point of EDC. Like many of you, I carry all the time — day and night, wherever I go and even when I’m fishing (here in Florida, you are just as likely to run into an alligator or a wild hog as the fish, especially in the more remote areas where I fish). And I certainly don’t make the mistake of leaving my gun at home because I’m just running to the store for a minute. Imagine if those good Samaritans had done that. They would be cursing themselves to their dying days.
This case also underscores the importance of situational awareness. Paying attention to what is going on around you can save your life (or, as in this case, someone else’s).
Bottom line: Carry at all times, and stay alert at all times.