B.J. Baldwin thought he was just going to grab a couple of burgers with his girlfriend when the couple stopped at a local In-N-Out restaurant in the early morning hours of April 22nd. The champion off-road racer had no idea that his life, and the life of his girlfriend, competitive shooter Tori Nonaka, would be threatened by a pair of would-be armed robbers in the parking lot of the fast food joint, but when the armed men approached, Baldwin was ready.
An altercation broke out “and gunfire was exchanged,” Metropolitan Police Department Lt. Ray Spencer said previously.
Baldwin shot Joseph Smith, 43, during the exchange.
A Las Vegas police report indicates Smith was accompanied by his brother, Kevin Smith, 40. Kevin Smith told police his brother was upset that morning because of a failed attempt to buy firearms from a gun store in the complex.
Prior to the shooting, Kevin Smith said, his brother threw rocks at the gun store’s front window. The siblings left the shopping complex on Tropicana, then later returned on foot, police wrote in the report.
“Kevin had a feeling Joseph was going to do something stupid, but denied knowing what,” the report said.
Kevin Smith said the siblings saw Baldwin and his acquaintance in the parking lot upon their return.
“(Kevin) Smith said Joseph walked up to them, pulled his gun out, pointed it at the female and smiled as he began shooting at the male,” the report said. “Kevin stated Joseph was the first to fire his weapon.”
Kevin Smith told police they did not know the couple.
“Kevin told detectives the white male shot in self-defense and should not be charged,” police said.
Baldwin did not face any charges in the shooting, which the Clark County D.A. ruled a “clear case of self-defense.” Now the off-road racer and competitive shooter is speaking out to the NRA about what happened that night, and why every American should be just as prepared as he was.
As a criminal pointed a gun directly at him & his girlfriend, father, champion racer, & NRA member @BJBaldwin97 had to make a decision.
Objective: Getting home to his kids.
That's when firearms training kicked in.
He fired 10 shots. All 10 shots hit the target. pic.twitter.com/KnH35iYTYG
— NRA (@NRA) May 19, 2020
Baldwin says that it was an “unfair fight”, but adds that it was unfair not to him, but to his attackers.
“He turned the pistol towards me as soon as I saw him and said, ‘what’s good?’ and turned back to Tori and it was at that moment that I realized that was my opportunity and I wasn’t going to get another opportunity. I had to act as quickly and as proficiently as I possibly could. He should have never took the gun off of me.”
Smith fired twice at Nonaka, missing both times, and then turned his fire on Baldwin, getting off six rounds. None of them hit, but every one of the shots fired by Baldwin in self-defense found their target.
“Nine in the chest, one in the central nervous system, and that’s what it took to neutralize the threat and save both of our lives so that we could make it home to our families. No matter what gets in my way I’m going to make sure that I’m there to walk my daughter down the aisle, to make sure that I’m there at my son’s graduation, to make sure that I’m there for my family.”
Baldwin’s story is a powerful one, and I appreciate him speaking out about the deadly encounter in a Las Vegas parking lot, as well as the NRA in helping to ensure that his message finds a national audience. Baldwin also has a message for Joe Biden, Beto O’Rourke, and other anti-gun politicians intent on disarming Americans and preventing them from acting in self-defense, while enabling criminals to prey on those they consider easy targets. Be sure to check out his entire testimony in the link above, and be sure to share it with your friends and family who think there’s no reason for anyone to carry a gun in self-defense.