Gun trumps butter knife in California carjacking attempt

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

A California woman was saved from a carjacking after an armed passerby intervened, sending the would-be thief sprinting away.

According to reports, the carjacker was armed with a butter knife when he approached the woman outside of a restaurant in Merced, California on Friday afternoon. The woman handed over her keys after he demanded them, but the suspect then took off running when an “onlooker” pulled a gun and pointed it at the man.

While one police officer was taking the report of the carjacking attempt, his partner found the suspect nearby and arrested him. He matched the description of a man who four hours earlier had robbed a Walgreens about 2 miles away and left on a bicycle.
The suspect admitted both crimes and said he had gone to Burger Time to buy food with the money he stole from Walgreens, police said.
The suspect, age 36, is on parole from Fresno County. He was booked into Merced County jail on suspicion of robbery and attempted carjacking.

Given California’s leniency towards violent criminals, I’m sure he’ll be out in no time, despite the fact that during the robbery of the Walgreens he allegedly used a gun and not a butter knife.

In other armed citizen news, an Iowa woman used her lawfully-carried firearm to defend herself from what police are calling an “unprovoked” attack at a grocery store in Des Moines on Sunday. Authorities say 30-year old Kapri Lashawn Francis randomly assaulted the shopper inside a Hy-Vee grocery store, causing the victim to draw her gun and fired one shot, striking the woman in the leg (another shopper was injured in his foot when the bullet apparently ricocheted).

Francis was arrested and charged with assault causing bodily injury after receiving medical attention at a local hospital. Police said the victim fired her gun in self-defense after interviewing witnesses and reviewing store surveillance footage.

A business owner who works next to the grocery store described a chaotic scene after the gunshot was fired.

“I decided to come over here to the corner, and I was like, what’s going on?,” Michell Boyum, owner of Sun Seekers Tanning, told KCCI. “One of the employees was down here crying, and she ran to me. And she was like there was a shooting and I immediately grabbed her because she’s maybe 17 years old.”

“A lot of [staff and customers] said that they witnessed it. A couple of them said they had seen the gunshot go off. They had seen the person where they got shot at. They were shaken so bad and all I could do was be there and hold them.”

I’m sure it was a stressful situation for shoppers and employees, but thankfully the armed citizen (who has not been identified by police since she was the victim of the crime) only needed one shot to stop the assault from continuing.

As for the motive, police are saying only that the assault happened after a “spontaneous dispute,” and surveillance video as well as eyewitness testimony match the victim’s description of the attack.

The random nature of these crimes is a reminder of the importance of being prepared and able to protect your life. We can’t rely on the prospect of a passerby defending us from a violent assault or a carjacking. It’s up to us to be our own personal security; though I’ll admit that’s something that’s much easier to do in the Constitutional Carry state of Iowa than the “may issue” state of California, where those hoping to lawfully carry a firearm in self-defense must demonstrate “good cause” before their concealed handgun permit can be approved.

Hopefully the Supreme Court will soon change that by striking down New York’s similar “may issue” law, allowing tens of millions of Americans stuck in “may issue” states the same access to their right to bear arms as the rest of the country. None of California’s many gun control laws prevented the carjacking suspect (and repeat offender) from allegedly using a gun to commit an armed robbery, but they very well may have prevented his target from having a gun of her own to defend herself.