I’ve been places when fights break out. Usually, it was a bar, though I saw one break out at the gym one time (the dude had it coming, though). Fights happen.
However, some people can’t handle the idea of a fight. They want to ramp things up, and if that happens, people can die.
That didn’t happen in one California grocery store because of a local city councilman. Well, that and his handy firearm.
Meanwhile, City Councilmember Fernando Echevarria, who said he is a former law enforcement officer, was with his wife at the store at the time of the incident.
Echevarria told the Sun-Star he was in the pet food area with his wife when he heard the commotion, which involved people hitting each other, screaming, yelling and breaking glass.
He ran to the front of the store and saw the melee, which he described as an “all out brawl.” Echevarria said there appeared to be four different fights all happening at the same time. All told, he said there were between four and seven people involved in the fracas, which lasted about five to seven minutes.
All of those involved in the fight were males, with the exception of one female, Echevarra said.
The fight participants blocked the entrance and exit to the store, Echevarria said. At one point, he said one of the individuals ran outside and made a comment about going to “get my piece” and made threats to shoot people inside the store.
Echevarria said he saw this as his only chance to get out the door. He told his wife to stay back as he ran out to his car and retrieved a Smith & Wesson 9 mm semi-automatic handgun from the trunk of his vehicle.
He described taking a stance holding people involved in the brawl at gunpoint, including the person he claimed made the threats and was reaching in his pants when he returned from the parking lot.
Echevarria ordered everyone involved to lay on the ground and held them there until the police arrived.
When police arrived, they took over the scene. Currently, Echevarria is under investigation, but unless he’s lying about what transpired, I don’t see how the investigation could result in charges. It looks pretty straight forward from here.
Especially when you consider that a brawl like this can easily get out of hand. People get killed in these kinds of altercations, so even without the threat of a firearm, it seems likely that Echevarria had grounds to intervene as he did.
Unfortunately, this is California. While it’s still technically legal to defend yourself or others in that state, they don’t make it easy on you if you do.
Here’s hoping that this is resolved quickly and that Echevarria is allowed to move on with his life. The last thing anyone wants is a criminal investigation hanging over your head, especially for using a firearm in the most anti-gun state in the entire nation. The sooner it’s over, the better for all involved.