Armed citizen has a message for the carjacker he shot in self-defense

(AP Photo/Marina Riker, File)

For at least the second time in recent days, an attempted carjacking in Philadelphia was thwarted because the crook’s intended target was legally armed in self-defense. Last week it was a Lyft driver who shot two would-be carjackers, and on Tuesday a concealed carry holder was forced to act in self-defense in Philly’s Fairmount neighborhood.

In an exclusive interview with Action News, the driver described how he made the split-second decision when the 18-year-old male suspect pointed a gun at him.

“I saw the gun and I thought he was going to shoot me and take the car, so I retaliated as fast as I could. And just to see another day, I had to shoot the guy,” the victim said.

“I was shaken up at first and the police calmed me down a lot and they made me feel real comfortable.”

Police said the car owner fired at least five shots in total around midnight Tuesday at the intersection of North 17th and Folsom streets. They said he does have a valid permit to carry a weapon.

While the clearance rates for carjackings in Philadelphia are well below 50%, police in this case caught a break when the suspect sought treatment for his injuries and admitted to being present when the carjacking took place. The suspect is in custody (though we’ll have to see what progressive D.A. Larry Krasner does with the case), and the armed citizen has a message for him and others:

“Stay in school. Don’t play with guns. Don’t rob people. Work for what you want,” the victim said.

Based on a separate defensive gun use that happened on Tuesday, we could also add “don’t go assaulting random people on their porch” to the list of invaluable lifehacks.

Chickasha, Oklahoma is a great little town, though it’s been a few years since I’ve had the pleasure of spending time there. It’s generally a sleepy college town, but in the pre-dawn hours on Tuesday morning one quiet street turned chaotic when a man drove through the entrance of a fast food joint.

Jeremy Kirkley was up early Tuesday morning and getting some coffee before work. However, what is usually a normal routine, turned into the start of an unusual situation.

“I had seen a car over at KFC and seemed to be backing up to the front door,” said Kirkley, a neighbor. “It was getting awfully close so I just keep looking and it ended up shattering the glass.”

According to the OSBI, a man drove his car through the front door of a KFC, before eventually driving across the street through people’s yards near S. 5th and Missouri.

The man then got out of his vehicle and began pounding on doors, banging on windows, and trying to gain entry into several homes. At one point he apparently even backed up his car into a couple’s home, which brought the pair outside to investigate.

“At that time, the suspect then comes onto the homeowner’s porch, kind of tosses his wife aside, assaulting her and then goes into the home,” Arbeitman said.

The homeowner then grabbed a gun and shot the suspect and killed him, agents said. Kirkley said nothing like this has ever happened on this street before.

“Being this close to it, seeing it before it happened, that’s a first,” said Kirkley.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations is the lead agency looking into the shooting, and so far this appears to be a clear cut case of defense of another on the part of the homeowner.

Police at this point have no idea what prompted the suspect to plow through the front door of the KFC before turning his attention to the homes across the street, and toxicology reports from the autopsy could take several weeks before they’re publicly disclosed.

The Philly carjacking and the Chickasha assault are very different crimes, but they do have one thing in common; armed citizens who were able to protect their life or the life of a loved one. You never know when you could be the target of a violent criminal, whether stopped at a red light or even asleep in your warm bed. But if you’re comfortable and competent with your firearm, you know you’ve at least got a better chance to defend yourself and live to see another day if you’re ever confronted with a threat to your life.

Jul 03, 2022 8:30 AM ET