What should have been a Guns Saving Lives story out of Norfolk, VA, is instead a sad reminder that although many Americans are armed for self-defense, many may not be prepared to effectively handle such a situation if it arises.

24-year-old Pedro “Pete” Cain was hanging out with neighbors in his apartment complex in the 9000 block of 1st View St. when a woman approached the group asking if she could use a phone. The group informed the woman they did not have a phone for her to use but Pete’s younger brother Jonathan Cain said his brother suspected the woman was simply using this as an excuse to case his neighbor’s apartment.

Acting on his hunch, Jonathan said his brother went back to his own apartment to retrieve his handgun and returned to the group. Sadly, Pete was right and shortly after, a man with his face partially covered with a bandana pulled a gun on the group in an attempt to rob them.

Pete drew his own weapon and firmly commanded the armed robber to drop his gun. The suspect appeared to comply with Pete’s command as he lowered his gun, but before dropping the weapon, he swiftly jerked the gun up and shot Pete in the stomach.

Jonathan Cain said he called 911 and put pressure on his brother’s wound, telling him it was only little. But, Cain said Friday, the bullet had ricocheted inside him, hitting vital organs.

Pete Cain’s fiancee, Jeanne Morgan, was just getting off work and arrived after the shooting but before paramedics took him to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, she said. She got a call when she was in an Uber, two minutes away from their apartment. When she got out of the car, she dropped her bags, ran to him and put pressure on the wounds.

Cain told Morgan he loved her as their 18-month-old son was a few feet away in their apartment.

Norfolk police have arrested four adults and one juvenile in connection with Pete Cain’s death. All have been charged with second-degree murder and use of a firearm in commission of a felony and all are being held without bail.

Jonathan said he and his brother grew up in Ocean View and Pete was a lifelong Norfolk resident who went to Maury High School, where he was an ROTC instructor. Pete chose to go to work before graduating high school but was studying for his GED while working as a merchant marine at the time of his death.

To say this was an unfortunate ending for this story is a gross understatement. We’re taught to give a firm command to armed assailants to try to disarm them before taking a shot in self-defense, but who’s to say which assailants will comply and which ones will simply kill us first? Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6?

Hard to say what any one of us would have done in this same situation, but one thing’s for sure: this young man’s life was cut short by a bunch of sick punks who deserve a life sentence for taking him away from his loved ones.