Within a two-hour period on Saturday night, police in Phoenix, Arizona were dispatched to the scenes of two separate shootings that authorities believe were both acts of armed self-defense.
The first shooting happened around 6:30 Saturday evening at a gas station in the central part of the city.
Once officers arrived, they found a man with gunshot wounds. The victim was identified as 24-year-old Aaron Duwan Frazier Jr. He died at a local hospital.
Early information indicated a man was fueling up his vehicle at the gas station when Frazier approached him with a gun and attempted to rob him. The man went back to his vehicle grabbed a gun and shot Frazier, according to police.
The man called police to report the incident. Detectives conducted interviews and collected evidence at the scene. The man was not booked into jail. The case will be reviewed further for any possible charges.
About 90 minutes later, officers on the city’s west side responded to reports of a shooting at a home. Arriving officers found a man with gunshot wounds who was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead. According to investigators, the man had shown up unexpected and uninvited to a woman’s home.
Early information indicated a man attempted to enter a home when a woman inside called a family member to come help. The family member arrived and confronted the victim in front of the residence, police said.
A verbal altercation occurred, and the victim made threats to kill the man, raising a black object believed to be a gun. The family member then shot the victim claiming self-defense, according to police.
The armed citizen was interviewed at the scene, but wasn’t taken into custody by police. While the investigations continue in both cases, at this point there’s no evidence that points to either of these incidents being anything other than self-defense.
The same is true of another defensive gun use that took place over the weekend, albeit thousands of miles away from Phoenix. Authorities in Haines City, Florida say a homeowner shot and wounded a home invader early Friday morning before police arrived and rendered first-aid to the suspected intruder.
Haines City Police Chief Goreck shared more information about the incident at a press conference Friday afternoon.
He said the homeowner and his girlfriend returned to the residence at about 1:45 a.m. and saw two strangers standing in the kitchen.
Police said the homeowner, who has a permit to carry concealed weapons, drew his firearm and fired five rounds at the suspect closest to him.
The homeowner and his girlfriend fled the property with their puppy and called 911.
Police met the homeowner while he was driving to the station and questioned him. Goreck said he immediately surrendered the weapon and showed them his permit. He has been cooperating with the investigation, according to police, and is not facing charges at this time.
“Based on the totality of the evidence at this time, it does appear to be a case of Stand Your Ground,” Goreck said.
The suspect was found in a nearby park about 100 yards from the home, suffering from four gunshot wounds. Police say the suspect, who has a lengthy criminal history, was aided by law enforcement; applying direct pressure to his wounds and putting a tourniquet on his injured leg. At last report the alleged intruder is listed in critical condition. The second suspect, however, managed to escape from the home and police haven’t said whether they’ve been able to identify him.
We rarely know when or if we’re going to be the intended target of violent criminals, but thankfully the three armed citizens in question here had already taken steps to protect themselves and were able to quickly respond to the deadly threats against them. It helps, of course, that all three live in states that generally respect the right to keep and bear arms in self-defense; Arizona is a permitless carry state and Florida has over 2-million active concealed carry licenses. If these would-be victims (and their assailants) had lived in New York or New Jersey, where the right to bear arms has been largely curtailed by legislators, these incidents may have had a very different, and far more tragic, outcome.