The national media can’t get enough of stories involving the criminal misuse of firearms, but they often fall strangely silent when it comes to armed citizens defending themselves or others. That appears to be the case with two recent incidents that unfolded in Harris County, Texas and Safford, Arizona this week. I’ve seen no mention of either story in any major national news outlet, despite the fact that both offer a pretty compelling narrative.
Let’s start with the defensive gun use in Harris County, where a woman is alive and well today thanks to the fact that her neighbor was able to protect her when her own son tried to kill her.
A mother was celebrating Independence Day at the Highland Cross Apartments when her son returned home, supposedly acting erratic and wielding a suspected AK-47.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez estimated more than 20 rounds were fired in an apartment with his mother inside. Those rounds hit at least two nearby apartments.
“The mother emerged from the house shortly thereafter. She was bleeding from the face. The male tracked his mother down outside here and was shooting her on her lower extremities when a neighbor arrived with his firearms and shot and killed the son,” said Sgt. Dennis Wolfford with the HCSO Homicide Unit.
The 58-year old woman is expected to survive her injuries, which almost certainly would not have been the case if good guy with a gun hadn’t shown up when he did.
At some point, the mother managed to get out of the apartment. That’s when another neighbor saw what was happening and grabbed his gun to try and help her.
Investigators said gunfire may have been exchanged between the son and the neighbor, but no one was hit.
The mother was trying to hide behind a tree, but the son found her and stood over her, firing several shots, deputies said.
That’s when the neighbor shot and killed the son, according to Sheriff Ed Gonzalez.
“The way the suspect was just firing indiscriminately, just point-blank shot the mother apparently as he stood over her, was a dangerous individual that likely could have continued shooting. He was already shooting. He damaged not only his apartment, but the neighbors,” Gonzalez said. “The neighbors are shaken up because a 16-year-old daughter was sitting at the table where the shots rang out into the main living area. Another apartment was also shot up. Thankfully, that owner, we’re told, was away from the apartment at the time.”
Meanwhile, in Safford, Arizona early Wednesday morning a couple were confronted in their home by a man with a knife. Unlike many home invasions and burglaries, the victims in this case recognized the intruder as their neighbor. Little did they know that by the time Miguel Garcia broke into their home he had already allegedly murdered someone in his own residence.
As the two homeowners fled into a bedroom, then later a bathroom, Garcia continued to approach saying that “they would have to kill him,” officers said.
One of the victims was able to retrieve a pistol and shot Garcia, killing him.
While trying to reach out to a next of kin to inform them of Garcia’s death, officers were unable to get a response and entered Garcia’s home. There, they found another victim dead in one of the home’s bedrooms.
Police did not share the victim’s identity or cause of death beyond being connected to Garcia.
In both of these cases simply calling 911 and waiting for police to respond likely would have resulted in officers arriving to the scene of a murder, rather than a clearly justifiable homicide. The ability of these armed citizens to access a firearm in defense of another or themselves was the key component in preventing the loss of life, which I suspect is the real reason why neither of these stories have received any real national attention by the media.