Armed Citizen Holds Murder Suspect at Gunpoint Until Police Arrive

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Not only did an Alabama gun owner keep a man suspected of killing a woman from fleeing the scene, he may very well have prevented further loss of life thanks to the fact he had his pistol with him.


The man and his wife were driving down a residential street in Birmingham, Alabama on Monday when two teenage girls ran up to their car and flagged them down. The woman behind the wheel got out of the car to speak to the teens, who told them that their mother had just been shot in front of them at a nearby home. As the woman was on the phone with 911, the suspect actually pulled up alongside the couple and the teens.

“That’s who shot my mama,” one of the girls exclaimed, prompting the armed citizen to exit his vehicle and hold Peavy at gunpoint until police arrived moments later.

The Jefferson County Coroner’s Office identified the victim as April Marie Britton. She was 37.

Emell O. Peavy, 48, is charged with capital murder in Britton’s slaying. Investigators said the killing was domestic-related and the charge is capital because Britton was killed in the presence of her children.

“April was such a loving, good-hearted soul whose life was cut short yesterday in a senseless act of violence,’’ said her sister, Jelisa Britton. “She didn’t deserve what happened to her.”

Britton’s family members described her as a loving mother, protective sister, and a caring friend. Britton leaves behind three children – ages 20, 17 and 13. She home-schooled the younger two.

Her sister described Britton’s slaying as a senseless and horrible act of violence.

“She was a light that shone so brightly that only a devil could extinguish her,’’ Jelisa Britton said. “We lost a damn good soul today. My heart is forever broken.”

A GoFundMe has been started to help with Britton’s burial. Donations can be made here.


This is such a heartbreaking story, but it could have been even worse had the teens not stumbled upon a vehicle with an armed citizen inside. While Peavy claims that he was just returning from the store when he pulled up in his car, it could also be that he was cruising the neighborhood looking for the girls, who were witnesses to the shooting. Peavy is accused of killing his girlfriend in cold blood, so it’s not a stretch to believe he posed a danger to the victim’s daughters as well. If the armed citizen wasn’t present, Birmingham police could very well have been called out to the scene of a triple homicide.

I’m sure when that gun owner holstered his pistol that morning he had no idea that just a few hours later he’d be forced to draw his gun in defense of himself, his wife, and two teenage girls. Odds are this is the first and last time in his life that he’ll ever have to use his gun defensively, but thankfully he had it when seconds counted and police were minutes away. At the very least he prevented a murder suspect from getting away, which will hopefully ensure that justice is done, but exercising his Second Amendment right to bear arms may have prevented further loss of life as well.

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