Mark Howard

Martial arts are wonderful for helping instill discipline, focus, and patience, in addition to being a good form of exercise that can sometimes be useful in self-defense situations. That allowed, martial arts take years of training to develop proficiency, and when given a chance, even martial arts instructors appreciate the stand-off distance and equalizing force a firearm provides.

A scenario proving that point played out recently in Bradley County, Tennessee, when a desperate wanted criminal on the run from police picked the wrong house to seek shelter in as a police dragnet tightened:

Mark Howard was armed and ready when 29-year-old David Goode knocked on his door. Goode was on the run from the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office. He was wanted on aggravated assault charges.

“He said, ‘Look, I’ve just got a knife on my side.’ Well, that to me, is a threat,” says Howard.

As Goode backed into the yard, he knew he would try to make a run for it, so Howard fired his gun.

“He was standing right here and you can see where my shot fired. I knew exactly where I was putting it,” says Howard.

Goode thought he had been shot.

“A rock shot up and hit him on the leg and he jerks and he jumps down and starts screaming, ‘You shot me! You shot me!’ And I knew I didn’t shoot him.”

Howard says that is when his martial arts training kicked in.

“I told him, I said, ‘Get up.’ Now, at this point in time he knew that I was serious. He knew I wasn’t playing around.”

Howard ordered Goode up to his back porch.

Howard then used his martial arts training to put Goode in an arm lock until nearby deputies arrived to take him into custody.

While some want to call Howard a hero and he certainly showed some degree of bravery, he made several obvious and dangerous decisions, including a gun crime that the local sheriff is apparently willing to overlook since it let to Goode’s capture.

Mistake 1: Howard opened the door, knowing that the man he faced was a known violent criminal that was the subject of a law enforcement manhunt.

Mistake 2: By firing his gun as Goode was  attempting to escape, Howard committed assault with a deadly weapon.

Mistake 3: He closed with Goode and came into physical contact with him, giving up his standoff distance and tactical advantage. If Goode had decided to contest the arm lock, things could have gotten very dangerous, very fast.

Fortunately, Mr. Howard’s mistakes didn’t end up with either man being hurt, or with Howard facing charges similar to Goode’s for discharging the pistol.

In the unlikely event that you encounter a known felon in a similar situation, keep the door locked, draw back to cover, and call 9-1-1. Law enforcement officers have the training, equipment and the backup to make the apprehension of a criminal suspect that we do not.