Armed citizen stops shooting in Phoenix restaurant

Don Petersen

A 26-year old man was shot and killed by an armed customer after walking into a Phoenix, Arizona restaurant on Saturday evening and firing several rounds, according to police, though for some reason most of the local media is downplaying or ignoring the defensive gun use, at least in the headlines of their reports on the incident.


KTAR’s headline reads “Man who brought gun to Phoenix restaurant dead after shooting”, leaving out the detail that the first shots fired apparently came from the man who was shot and killed., meanwhile, provides even fewer details in their headline, simply announcing that “Man dead after shooting in Phoenix restaurant.” At least the Arizona Republic managed to include the fact that the armed patron says he was acting in self-defense in its headline, and the paper’s report includes a few details about the encounter.

Phoenix officers arrived on the scene around 10 p.m. and found a man, identified as 26-year-old Oscar Luna, with a gunshot wound.

“Phoenix fire took the man to a local hospital where he did not survive his injuries,” Sgt. Brian Bower said. “We had several witnesses and we detained a man.”

Detectives who took over the investigation reported that the man who was killed had entered the restaurant with a gun and fired a number of rounds inside the building.

“The man detained and questioned by police was inside the restaurant during this incident and had shot the individual ending this confrontation,” Bower said.

We don’t know what Luna’s motive was, but were it not for the presence of the armed citizen his attack could easily have resulted in multiple injuries and fatalities. If that had happened, it would have been national news, but because his attack was almost immediately stopped by someone with a gun of their own, this story is barely a blip on local media’s radar, and has been completely unreported by national press outlets, at least as far as I can tell.


It’s also worth noting that restaurants are among the many locations anti-gun activists and politicians are trying to label “sensitive places” where lawful concealed carry is banned; not by the property owner if they choose, but a total prohibition on all restaurants imposed and enforced by the State. Supposedly that edict is meant to make the public safer, but in reality it puts good people at risk. Violent criminals and those with murderous intent aren’t going to be thwarted by a sign alerting concealed carry holders that a particular location is a “gun-free zone”, but responsible gun owners who would otherwise be carrying may very well decide to leave their firearm behind so that they don’t risk a criminal charge for possessing a firearm in a “sensitive place.”

Even in Arizona, which has pretty good gun laws from a Second Amendment perspective, anyone carrying concealed in a restaurant in which alcohol is served must possess a valid carry license despite the state’s permitless carry laws. It’s unclear whether or not this particular restaurant serves alcohol on the premises, and authorities haven’t said whether the armed patron is one of the more than 450,000 Arizonans licensed to carry. We do know, however, that the armed patron wasn’t arrested by police at the scene, and authorities say the findings of their investigation will be presented to the District Attorney in Maricopa County once it’s complete. We’ll be keeping our eyes open for any additional details that might emerge, but at this point all indications are that this was a legitimate act of self-defense and defense of others.


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