Monday, May 18, 2015

Mass Killings Stopped by Armed Citizens, Updated

Mass Killings Stopped by Armed Citizens has been my most popular article.  It was published on 16 December, 2012.  I had been collecting these incidents for a few years, ever since I noticed that the old media gave them virtually no coverage.  They received a little local coverage, but were ignored/spiked by the national media.

In the original publication, there were eight incidents.  Readers quickly brought more to my attention, swelling the list to fifteen.  Over the last two years, seven more incidents have been added.  One of those, the SC Boiling Springs event, does not appear to be a likely mass shooting.  I added it in response to a reader, with the note that it did not really fit.   It is not included in this update, which brings the total to 21 incidents that have come to my attention by 17 May, 2015.  Only incidents in the United States are included.    Given the lack of curiosity, if not direct hostility, by the old media about these incidents, it is likely that a significant number exist that have been under reported and are unknown to me.   The totals will change as more incidents are brought to my attention.

For clarity, I have arranged the incidents in chronological order, and have interjected commentary where it seemed appropriate in this update.  I have refreshed links where they have gone bad.  A few older links are to secondary sources reporting on the original article, where the original has disappeared down the memory hole.


 This is  the oldest incident that I have found.  I include it because it is in the "modern era".   It occurred in 1915, in Brunswick, Georgia.  It is a bit unusual in that 20 or more people were wounded and at least five killed.  The citizen who finally stopped the slaughter obtained the pistol used from a hardware store, during the attack, after he had been wounded.  The shotgun was actually a double barreled model.

Angered by losses in a real estate deal, Monroe Phillips, a lead business man, ran amuck today with an automatic shotgun and killed five men and wounded twenty others before he himself was killed. Phillips was shot dead by E.C. Butts, a lawyer, while he was trying to fire upon citizens who appeared in the street.

Link to 1915 Brunswick GA Mass Shooting story

Link to the 1915 NYTs Article  March 6, 1915

There is an astonishing gap for the next 76 years.  Several explanations are possible.  President Woodrow Wilson instituted severe censorship during WWI; political "progressives" became dominant during this period; and bans on the carry of weapons were adopted across much of the country.  There may have been formal or informal decisions made at AP to spike such stories.   I will not be surprised if readers find several incidents in this period that were spiked by the national media and only reported locally.  Without the Internet for research, they are difficult to discover.   The next reported story is from 1991.

 The 17 December, 1991, Aniston, Alabama defense where a CCW holder stopped armed robbers who were herding employees, customers, and his wife into a cooler. He shot both robbers, killing one.

 17 December, 1991, 20 innocent lives saved, and it wasn't even news to ABC,  CBS, NBC, or CNN__no bloody innocent bodies for the "film at eleven." What's  more, it never even made it in to the largest Georgia daily newspaper. I was  doing a site inspection of our Warner Robins (Robins AFB) classified/crypto  account at the time.

Aniston Shoney's Shooting Link   17 December, 1991

August 23, 1995  Plans to slay everyone in the Muskegon, Michigan, store and steal enough cash and jewelry to feed their "gnawing hunger for crack cocaine" fell apart for a band of would-be killers after one of their victims fought back.

Muskegon Shooting Link  

October 1, 1997  The Pearl High School shooting was stopped by vice principal Joel Myrick with his Colt .45.  He had to retrieve the handgun from his car.

Pearl High School Link     

April 24, 1998  Parker Middle School Dance Shooting
14 Year old Andrew Jerome Wurst Killed one person and wounded three others when he was confronted by James Strand who subdued Wurst with a shotgun and held him until police arrived.

Parker Middle School Dance Shooting Link   

July 5, 1999  The Santa Clara gunshop shooting in 1999 was stopped by an armed citizen after the shooter declared that he was going to kill everyone. Police found a list of intended victims in his car. Only the perpetrator, Richard Gable Stevens was shot.

Santa Clara Gunshop Link 

January 16, 2002  The Appalachian School shooting was stopped by two students with handguns, without firing.  Other students tackled the gunman while he was being held at gunpoint.

Appalachian Law School Link 

24 February, 2005  Tyler Courthouse shooting,  While police officers were involved in this shooting before and after Mark Alan Wilson intervened, no more people were killed after he shot the shooter, who had body armor, and who was able to return fire and kill the CCW holder, Wilson.

Tyler Courthouse Shooting Link

February 12, 2007  An off duty police officer stopped the Trolley Square shooting with his personal handgun. He stopped the killing and contained the shooter until police reinforcements arrived and ended the situation.   Off duty police officers are armed citizens.
Trolley Square Shooting Link

9 December, 2007  The mass church shooting in Colorado Springs was stopped by the shooter being shot by a church member with a CCW permit.

New Life Church Link   

25 May, 2008   Winnemucca NV shooting

 The shooter, Ernesto Villagomez, entered the Players Bar and Grill and killed two people. He reloaded and was continuing to shoot when a citizen with a concealed carry permit shot him and stopped the killing.

Winnemuca Shooting Link

 May 4, 2009  College Park, GA,

 Two gunman entered a party and ordered the men separated from the women. Then they started counting bullets. “The other guy asked how many (bullets) he had. He said he had enough,” said Bailey.
When one of the assailants prepared to rape a girl, a student was able to access a handgun and engage the two attackers in a firefight, driving one off and killing the other before the thug could rape his girlfriend.
“I think all of us are really cognizant of the fact that we could have all been killed,” said Bailey.

College Park Link

 July 13, 2009, in Virginia at the Golden Food Market: The gunman tried to shoot several people, was stopped by a CCW carrier.

Golden Food Market Shooting Link

27 May, 2010   AT&T Store

Abraham Dickman had a history of anger against employees of the AT&T store in New York Mills, New York. On May 27th, 2010, he walked into the store with a .357 and a list of six employees. He shot the first employee, but was stopped from further attacks when Donald J. Moore, an off duty police officer who was allowed to carry his own handgun when not on duty, drew and fired his .40 caliber, killing Mr. Dickman before he could fire any more shots.

AT&T store Link

9 September, 2012   Plymouth PA shooting

Consider that the Plymouth shooting incident happened just three months before Sandy Hook.  Mark Ktytor, a concealed carry permit holder, stopped a likely mass killing before it reached enough victims to officially quallify.   From the

"Mark Ktytor?" the latest in the stream of reporters asked, trying to put a face to the name of the man investigators credited with preventing a fatal bar shooting last weekend from escalating into a massacre.
 Link to Plymouth, PA Shooting story

April 24, 2012  Destiny Christian Center Shooting

 Kiarron Parker rammed his car into another in the church parking lot, got out and attempted to kill multiple church members. He was only able to kill one before a member of the congregation, the nephew of the lady killed, and an off duty police officer, drew his handgun and shot Parker, stopping the killing.

Destiny Christian Center Shooting Link

11 December, 2012   Clackamas Mall Shooting 

I include this story because it is recent and has been getting some interest on the net. This case is not as clear as the others listed. This incident is similar to the more common defensive uses of guns because the mere display of the gun was enough to defuse the situation. We can never know if the shooter decided to commit suicide because he was confronted by Nick Meli, the CCW holder, as the shooter is dead. However, many mass shooters commit suicide when they know that armed resistance is at hand.

Clackamas Concealed Carry Showdown Link

 29 July, 2012  Peach House shooting, Texas

In Early Texas, armed citizen Vic Stacy shot and stopped a deranged man who had just murdered two neighbors and was firing at police with a rifle. Stacy made a very long shot with his revolver, three times as far as the perpetrator was from the police officer, who had an AR-15 type rifle.

That sounds like a very good story... but it never made the national news.
I wonder who made the decision to spike that story.
Of course, when a mass shooting is stopped by an armed citizen, there are not as many victims. This leads to the charge that it would not really have been a “mass shooting”.   Vic Stacy was awarded a rifle and ammunition by Governor Perry for his valor in this incident.

Early Texas Peach House Shooting Link

 Updated link to Peach House Shooting one Year Later

24 July, 2014  Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in West Philadelphia shooting

A mental-health caseworker is dead and a doctor and his patient wounded after a bizarre gunfight at a gun-free-zoned hospital in Yeadon, Pa., near Philadelphia, Thursday. As police prepare murder charges against the wounded patient, focus is shifting to the gun-toting psychiatrist who stopped the mayhem, likely saving other lives.

Prosecutors say Dr. Lee Silverman opened fire on Richard Plotts, after Mr. Plotts shot his caseworker and barged his way toward Dr. Silverman’s office desk after gaining access to Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital. Silverman crouched down behind his desk and fetched his gun, which he then fired at Mr. Plotts, wounding him several times before he was subdued.
Comment on some of the media coverage of a rare firearms defense in a gun free zone

 Doctor Stops Murderer at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital 24 July, 2014 

May 22, 2015  Falah Barbershop shooting  at West Philadelphia. 

A 40-year-old man was inside Falah Barber Shop Inc. on the 600 block of Preston Street shortly before 3 p.m. Sunday when police say he began fighting with another person inside.

 "The person who responded was a legal gun permit carrier," said Philadelphia Police Captain Frank Llewellyn. "He responded and I guess he saved a lot of people in there."
Link to Philadelphia Barbershop shooting stopped by Armed Citizen with CCW Permit   

19 April, 2015  Uber driver Shoots Gunman who is shooting into Crowd in Chicago
The driver had a concealed-carry permit and acted in the defense of himself and others, Assistant State's Attorney Barry Quinn said in court Sunday.
A group of people had been walking in front of the driver around 11:50 p.m. Friday in the 2900 block of North Milwaukee Avenue when Everardo Custodio, 22, began firing into the crowd, Quinn said.
The driver pulled out a handgun and fired six shots at Custodio, hitting him several times, according to court records.

Link to Uber Driver Hero in Chicago article

22 March, 2015   Los Altos Skate Park Shooting

The mass shooting took place on 22 March, 2015.  It took a while for the police to figure out what happened from cell phone video, but apparently a criminal gang attempted to steal a skateboard, then opened up on the mass of skate boarders when they attempted to retrieve the stolen item.   At least three people were shooting illegally, hitting six innocents, paralyzing one, until a legal handgun carrier was able to fire back, killing one of the aggressors,  17 year old Jaquise Lewis.  That stopped the attack.

 Link to Los Altos Skate Park Shooting

 31 May, 2015  Conyers Georgia Magnet Bottle Shop Shooting

The active shooter came into the shop with pistol drawn and immediately started fireing.  He killed two people before Todd Scott drew his openly carried pistol, a .40 caliber Smith & Wesson, and returned fire.  The active shooter exited the store, and returned to his parents home, where he wounded both of them.  The police arrived, and the active shooter was killed.   Sheriff Eric Levett called Todd scott a hero who saved lives.

Link to Conyers Georgia Magnet Bottle Shop Shooting

Link to Gun Watch article on Open Carrier Stops Mass Killing

10 February, 2016  Legally Armed Man Stops Mass Killing in Hamilton, Alabama

In this case a mentally disturbed man had killed two people in offices separated by a couple of blocks.  An armed man who was in the last office followed him and engaged him in a gun fight.  Police were also involved, the murder suspect was wounded and captured.  News reports have downplayed the contributions of the legally armed citizen, he wishes anonymity.

Link to Gun Watch summation from several sources on Hamilton Shooting

Original video report that mentions the armed citizens actions

This article mentions the private citizen "assisting" law enforcement

In this Article from 14 Feb, 2016, it mentions that the  suspect was "taken down by a civilian who legally used a firearm".

10 March, 2016 B & L Landscape Company, Jacksonville, Florida, March 10, 2016

After an employee opened fire and killed a woman, another employee, Joseph Curry, pulled his legal gun and stopped the attack.  Other employees say that the attack could have been much worse if Curry had not intervened.

Link to B & L Landscape Jacksonville article from

26 June, 2016, Lyman, South Carolina, Playoffz nightclub

Deputies said 32-year-old Jody Ray Thompson pulled out a gun after getting into an argument with another man and fired several rounds toward a crowd that had gathered out in front of the club.

"His rounds struck three victims, and almost struck a fourth victim, who in self-defense, pulled his own weapon and fired, striking Thompson in the leg," Lt. Kevin Bobo said.

Bobo said the man who shot Thompson has a valid concealed weapons permit, cooperated with investigators, and won’t be facing any charges.

Link to Playoffz nightclub article from South Carolina,

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.Link to Gun Watch



Anonymous said...

You may want to research the Appalachian School of Law shooting on Jan 16, 2002. Another example.

Anonymous said...

So you've found about 20 examples since the 90s? Great...until you realize that so far THIS YEAR there have been 203 MASS SHOOTINGS (That means 4 or more people were shot). Soo basically we're talking at best 2 or 3 per year are stopped by citizens with guns...meaning about 1% of mass shootings are prevented by gun owners. Thanks for the stats.

Dean Weingarten said...

The "203" number has been debunked.

The 203 number is based on a number of changes in definitions. They start by looking at "mass shootings" instead of "mass killings"

Here is a good explanation of how the 203 number was arrived at:

It is true that there are many more shootings in the U.S. than mass killings, but it is also true that there are many more cases of armed people stopping crime than are listed in the cases that stop the Mass Killings.

Just on Gun Watch alone, with our limited assets, looking only at what is reported by an often hostile media, we have recorded thousands of cases.

Dean Weingarten said...

It is also worth mentioning that disarmist sources, such as Mother Jones, have claimed that there has never been a case where an armed citizen stopped a mass killing.

Anonymous said...

"So you've found about 20 examples since the 90's? Great.."

CPRC has reported that 92% of mass shootings were committed in gun free zones. I will concede on two points. 92% does seem a little high so there might be some bias when calculating the percentages, and the CPRC IS a pro-gun organization. With that said, I encourage you to look at only the facts.

The link I have just provided is an investigation led by Mother Jones, a widely known liberal magazine. They frequently bash the NRA and are clearly disarmists. Look at the data they provided. Identify which ones are gun free zones, which ones are not, and compare the casualties. If you can come back and tell me that you still believe that guns don't have a place in the United States then I'm afraid that we have disagreeing opinions. I will respect that, and say nothing more. At the very least you end up being more informed.

Dave Frei said...

I would bet that in the mass shootings even there are the ones like just happened at the Twin Peaks in Waco where rival gangs opened up against each other. That seems like a completely different situation than one where someone off their nut opens fire in a gun free zone against innocent people.

Steve Mockford said...

You leave out a valuable piece of information. In almost all of these cases the person who subdued the shooter was a trained police officer or a trained infantryman. These were not just an average citizen who happened to be carrying a gun; in most of these cases these were people still in active service who just happened to be off duty. You have presented no meaningful evidence that society is any safer for having an armed citizenry.

Unknown said...

Duh....all because they were gun free zones and law abiding citizens don't carry because of that. .. had they been allowed to carry most all of these would have thwarted!

Unknown said...

Thanks, Steve!

Dean Weingarten said...

Of the 22 shootings listed, 4 were stopped by people who had police training, at least that I know of. That is less than 1/5 of the total. Of them, three were off duty police officers, one was a former police officer.

That is far from "almost all of these cases".

The point of the article is to show that armed citizens have stopped mass killings. Mass killings are a tiny percentage of the overall murders in the U.S., and get a disproportionate share of media attention.

The burden of proof is on the opponents of the right to keep and bear arms to prove that bearing arms harms society so much that a Constitutional Amendment is called for.

The evidence indicates that arms in the hands of the vast majority of U.S. residents do far more good than harm.

Anonymous said...

how does the regular carry permit guy stop a shooter in a gun free zone? so you anti gun fools spewing the talking points of the democrat machine need to stop drinking the koolaid....mother jones cherry picked the "facts" they wanted to use like the definition of 4 dead and eliminating retired or off duty police.

Anonymous said...

I know you are interested in just mass killings here but it seems its a daily occurrence that a legally armed citizen stops a crime or attempted murder. It happens countless times each year and seems to be getting more frequent as we continue placing our faith in antiquated social programs that just don't work. Its easy for most people to see that it really is a social problem. We have some serious problems in our society. No use blaming a gun for that when the root problem is the person behind the weapon. Here is one recent article as an example of what I'm talking about:

Unknown said...

Nullification is coming, states will legally use the 10th amendment to nullify federal gun laws...

Anonymous said...

Kansas Just Made a Huge Move to Protect Students From Shooters… Liberals Are Fit to Be Tied

In the wake of the mass shooting last week at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, anti-gun politicians, including President Barack Obama, quickly seized the opportunity to once again push the absurd idea that taking guns away from law-abiding citizens would somehow eliminate mass shootings in the future.

But universities and lawmakers in one state are taking a logical, smarter approach to the problem.

The Kansas Board of Regents, the policy-making arm of the state’s public universities, will push to allow citizens to carry concealed handguns on their campuses without a concealed weapons permit. The policy is set to begin in 2017.

State Democrats have already thrown a fit about the proposed changes, but Republican state Sen. Michael O’Donnell voted in favor of two previous laws passed in the state that, when combined, paved the path to allow students and faculty on public university campuses to arm themselves.

“I just know responsible gun owners make the public safer,” O’Donnell said, according to The Wichita Eagle.

The board had studied ways to accommodate allowing students and staff to carry on campus, but after the Umpqua Community College shooting, the issue rocketed to the top of its priority list.

Finally, lawmakers and common-sense policy makers have come together and realized that “gun-free zones” only serve to provide target-rich environments for deranged criminals intent on shooting as many people as possible without much risk of being shot at in return.

Hopefully, other states will follow Kansas’ lead in the fight to arm its citizens and provide them a legal and effective means of defending their lives.

Please share this on Facebook and Twitter if you fully support the state of Kansas for taking action on this issue and setting a precedent for other states to follow.

Michael Wagner said...

To the person who said that armed citizens can't stop shootings in "gun free zones," the whole point is to BAN gun free zones. Gun free zones ATTRACT mass killers because they know it's far less likely that someone will shoot back. Abolish gun free zones, allow EVERYONE to be armed and you will got zero mass killings. You might get a nut here and there who tries to become a mass killer but someone will take him out just as he gets started.

Anonymous said...

203 mass shootings this year? stop listening to hillary, do a simple google and they will claim 203 but are only able to list 4

Anonymous said...

The number is now 353. Please tell which one of these 353 sourced reports is incorrect. And at the time of your post 10/27/15 the number was 316. Or were you referring to a REALLY simple google search. Cuz mine took 30 seconds.

Unknown said...

This website includes everything from domestic incidents that never left the perpetrators house to bar fights where victims were collateral damage. Not what I would consider a mass killer scenario. When I think mass killer, it is someone who kills others in a spree until they are stopped or run out of ammo.

John Diatalevi said...

You clearly missed the point and not all of them were off duty police. Responsible gun owners actually know how to use their guns safely and correctly.

Andrew Palfreyman said...

1.4 Million: Americans who died in all Wars fought since 1776.
1.4 Million: Americans who died via household Guns since 1968

400,000: Americans who died fighting in World War II.
400,000: Americans who died by household Firearms since 2001

3,400: Americans who died by Terrorism since 2001
3,400: Americans who died by household Firearms since five weeks ago.

For every time a household gun is used legally in self-defense, there are four unintentional shootings, seven assaults or murders, and 11 attempted or completed suicides-by-firearm.

Unknown said...

When they are stopped, it doesn't qualify as a mass shooting there slick. Use a little logic.

Dean Weingarten said...

"For every time a household gun is used legally in self-defense, there are four unintentional shootings, seven assaults or murders, and 11 attempted or completed suicides-by-firearm."

Simply false.

Use of guns to stop crime or in self defense are between 500,000 and 3.5 million a year, according to the CDC, in research asked for by President Obama.

About 2/3 of the propaganda termed "gun violence" are suicides, which no gun control would make a difference on.

Justified homicides are about 1500 per year, about five times what is under reported to the FBI. The Unified Crime Reports only picks up about 20% of justified homicides. There are about 1,000 defensive uses of firearms for every justifed homicide. The vast majority of defensive uses are completed without a shot being fired.

Fatal firearm accidents are about 500 a year, an all time low.

Kerry said...

Just off the top of my head, the sniper in the belltower and at the University of Texas in Austin was taken out by a civilian. Also the church shooter in Colorado was taken out by a female that the news media called an off-duty police officer. That was not true she was a CCW.
Fort Hood shooter was taken out by a lone female, and I'll bet you if you check somewhere on this planet she is a CCW today.
Very often CCW's are never mentioned by the news media and credit is given to the police in order to protect the CCW. Also how many of these criminals being taken out by CCW's today are mass shooters over a lifetime of crime.?

Kerry said...

Yeah right you fruitcake, and that's just in the city of Chicago. So why don't you go there and make them STOP that!!!! Be Firm!