"Not Today": Colorado Gun Owner Stops Carjacking

You never know when your life could be turned upside down by a violent criminal. Take Paul Heagerty for example. He was just putting his groceries into his car after a trip to the local grocery store in Arvada, Colorado when a stranger approached him with a gun pointed in his direction and demanded the keys. Heagerty didn’t comply with the demand, however. He reached into his pocked and grabbed his keys, but threw them several feet away from where the carjacker stood.

“I took a giant sidestep, drew my firearm, pointed it right at him and said, ‘Not happening. Not today.’ The look on his face was sheer shock when he looked up and he was looking down the barrel of my pistol,” Heagerty said.

It worked. The man took off running.

“I was yelling at the top of my lungs that ‘This guy tried to rob me with a firearm. Call the police! Call the police!’” Haegerty said.

Someone did, and soon afterwards police were able to take 38-year old Jonathan David Cho in connection with the crime. Authorities say Cho had just abandoned a stolen truck after crashing it at a nearby McDonalds and was looking for a new vehicle to use as his getaway. Instead of an easy target, however, he found Paul Heagerty.

The concealed carry holder says that he can’t recommend that anyone who finds themselves in a similar position do what he did, but he also says he has no regrets, telling KDVR-TV that the suspect’s in jail and his training served him well. I can’t say that I disagree.

Unfortunately, not every self-defense story has a happy ending like this one. A firearm isn’t a magic talisman that offers a guarantee of personal safety, after all, and sometimes the good guys lose the fight. That was the case in Lafayette, Louisiana, where a Dominos delivery driver was brutally murdered just minutes after shot and killed a would-be robber who’d confronted him.

Joshua L. Ungersma shot and killed 19-year-old Alberto Vanmeter late Monday when Vanmeter tried to rob him in the 1900 block of North 16th Street, according to a witness who might have been the last person to speak to Ungersma.

In the minutes after the first shooting, Vanmeter’s suspected accomplice shot and killed Ungersma, according to Patrick Gibson, who witnessed Ungersma’s killing.

Gibson heard four shots outside of his house at the corner of 16th and Hart streets about 11:15 p.m. Monday. When he went outside, he said he saw a man lying dead on the sidewalk near a fence, and a pizza delivery man telling him they tried to rob him, Gibson said.

“I was talking to the pizza guy when I came out,” Gibson said. “I was like, ‘Bro, you all right?’”

At that point, Ungersma was uninjured, Gibson said.

“He was like they were trying to rob him from what he told me,” Gibson said, noting that Ungersma asked Gibson and his roommate to call the police, which they did.

While Gibson’s roommate called police, he said he watched as a 17-year-old girl walked across the street and shot Ungersma at point-blank range, killing him in the street.

Police arrested the girl at the scene.

It sounds like Ungersma did everything right, but after shooting Vanmeter, he may have let his guard down. A few minutes had passed after Vanmeter’s shooting before the 17-year old girl approached Ungersma. He likely presumed that the threat had passed. Tragically, it had not, and now three lives have been cut short because of one stupid idea to commit an armed robbery. Vanmeter lost his life in pursuit of robbing a man of a few dollars, Ungersma lost his life because a young lady decided to murder him in cold-blood, and her life is now likely ruined because of her decision to kill an innocent man.

Ungersma was a husband and father who was working two jobs when he was killed. A GoFundMe set up to help pay for his funeral expenses has reached its goal, but any additional funds will be put in a trust fund for his infant son. I’ve donated what I can, and I hope that you will too.