Rare AP Headline Admits Good Guy With Gun Saved Lives

AP Photo/David Goldman

It is generally hard to find honest and direct headlines in the mainstream press when it comes to guns. We on the pro-Rights side have seen enough misleading, incomplete, or false headlines and stories that our trust in the press is at the same altitude as the bottom of the Mariana Trench.

A rare exception to the rule came over the weekend at The Associated Press with the headline, “Employee who killed gunman likely saved lives, police say.” (Archive Link)

SUPERIOR, Neb. (AP) — An employee who returned fire after a gunman killed two people at a Nebraska grain elevator likely prevented more deaths, a Nebraska State Patrol official said Friday.

The employee, who was not named, retrieved a weapon and shot [NAME REDACTED], 61, after [NAME REDACTED] began shooting at the Agrex Elevator in Superior, Nebraska, on Thursday. [NAME REDACTED], of Superior, was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Authorities said [NAME REDACTED] had been fired earlier Thursday and returned that afternoon with a gun and began shooting in an office area.

This appears to be a case of workplace violence caused by a disgruntled employee. Unfortunately, incidents like this do happen; according to data listed on the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) website (Archive Link), an average of 456 workplace homicides occurred each year between 2015–2019, of which an average of 363 homicides (~80%) are committed with a firearm. To put that in perspective, based on the same data linked above:

  • An average of 841 people fell, slipped, or tripped to their deaths, about 2.3 times greater than homicides committed with a firearm.
  • An average of 547 people died from exposure to harmful substances or environments, about 1.5 times the number of homicides committed with a firearm.
  • An average of 739 people died from contact with objects and equipment, about twice the number of homicides with a firearm.
  • An average of 2083 people died in transportation incidents, about 5.75 times the number of homicides with a firearm.

Workplace homicides are rare events, as can be seen from the above numbers.

Patrol Sgt. Jeff Roby said during the news conference that authorities do not anticipate filing any charges against the employee who shot [NAME REDACTED].

It is clear from the police statement that this was a clear-cut case of Defensive Gun Use (DGU). The police went on to further state this:

“In fact, it’s likely that the employee’s actions may have prevented much further loss of life in this tragedy,” Roby said.

Roby said he could not comment on whether [NAME REDACTED] targeted the victims, who were all Agrex employees. He said several other Agrex employees were on site when the shooting occurred.

My heart weeps for the two victims and their families. Patrol Sgt. Jeff Roby’s above statement makes it amply clear that this incident would have turned out much worse with a higher death toll and many more grieving families.

There is a lot more detail in a local newspaper, the Lincoln Journal Star. (Archive Link)

But the town’s peaceful fabric was shattered Thursday afternoon when a disgruntled former grain elevator employee returned to the office where he had been fired earlier that day and opened fire with a handgun, according to authorities.

[…]

The employee who grabbed a shotgun and killed [NAME REDACTED] was not injured and is not expected to face charges.

Nebraska is not a Constitutional Carry state. Although it is a Shall-Issue state, we don’t know from current news reports if the assailant had a carry permit for his handgun or not. The employee who stopped the assailant retrieved a shotgun to defend his life and that of his co-workers. If he was carrying a handgun on his person, I wonder if his response time may have been even faster. The only thing that stops a mass assailant is the immediate use of defensive force, whether it’s from the intended victims or a bystander or law enforcement. We see that time after time.

Nevertheless, this employee’s actions saved the lives of many, and it is also good to see an honest headline from the AP for once.

Dec 08, 2021 12:30 PM ET