U.S.A. — Violent crime happens in all kinds of circumstances. It was about 5:30 on a Wednesday afternoon when a 27-year-old woman was stopped in traffic. Traffic in downtown Philadelphia is never much fun, but things were about to take a turn from bad to worse. A stranger ran up to her car and smashed her back passenger side window with a crowbar. Fortunately, this driver was armed.
Without the side window in the car, the attacker now had a means to quickly enter the back seat and attack the driver from behind. The crowbar was a dangerous impact weapon, particularly for a victim sitting in the front seat and unable to raise her arms to protect herself or to escape the seatbelt and flee easily.
This driver had a weapon of her own. She owned a gun. She had her permit to carry a loaded and concealed firearm in public. She was carrying her firearm with her, and it was in a location where she could grab it quickly. The driver shot her attacker one time. Before she could shoot again, the attacker turned and ran. The armed defender stopped shooting. She saw that the attacker ran back to a waiting car and then drove off. The armed defender decided that she wasn’t safe in the middle of traffic, so she drove away as well.
Our defender stopped at her relative’s house nearby. She called 911 and asked for help. When the police arrived, she showed them her ID and her carry permit. She also showed the officers the shattered glass inside her car and the crowbar sitting on the back seat. The police found one shell casing from the defender’s firearm inside the car. The driver gave the police a brief statement that described what happened to her.
Officers found the attacker with his car at a nearby intersection. The female accomplice who was driving with him ran from the scene. EMTs took the attacker to a nearby hospital with a single gunshot wound to the groin.
The female defender was not charged with a crime.
As usual, there are additional things we want to know that isn’t included in the news reports or the police statements. How was the defender carrying her firearm in the car, and how did she turn to defend herself?
What many new gun owners don’t know, and many concealed carriers forget, is that your car is considered an occupied dwelling. If you’re where you have a right to drive, then a stranger entering your car is legally considered as if the stranger entered your home. In this case, it was a forceful entry. The driver had every right to defend herself until the attacker was no longer a threat. Know your state laws, so you know when and where you can defend yourself.
The police called this a “road rage” incident, but the second occupant in the attacker’s car ran from the scene. The police didn’t name the attacker, so we can’t search to see if he had a criminal record. This incident could have been a foiled carjacking. The attacker was a 22-year-old male.
Defending yourself while seated in your car is an advanced skill. It is hard to get your hand on your firearm while you’re wearing a seatbelt. From the seated position, it is hard to present the firearm from a hip or appendix holster without pointing the gun at your own legs. It is hard to swing the muzzle onto a target behind you without sweeping a passenger sitting next to you. Try this in your garage with a blue gun to see how well this works for you.
What should you do if you saw this attack on the car next to you? Would you stay and be an armed defender, stay and be a witness, or drive away and call 911 to report what you saw? There is no one right answer. I’d drive away if I had young passengers in the car with me. I have more options if I had armed friends riding next to me.
This defender was armed so that she could defend herself in seconds. Take the time now to see what you might do.
This story is one of many that go under-reported by the mainstream media because it shows a positive image of a law-abiding gun owner defending their life and their family. It is our responsibility at AmmoLand to report these stories to you. While we will continue to report these stories, groups like the Crime Prevention Research Center, led by Dr. John Lott, are fastidious in studying the use of firearms for self-defense. Stay up to date with all news on self-defense by following CPRC and AmmoLand News.
About Rob Morse