The FBI examined 160 shootings between 2000 and 2013 and found that most of the violence ended when the assailant stopped shooting, committed suicide or fled, reported the Washington Post. Unarmed citizens successfully restrained shooters in 21 of those incidents, according to the FBI. Two attacks stopped when off-duty officers shot and killed the attackers. Five ended in much the way the attack at Louie’s did — when armed civilians, mostly security guards, exchanged fire with the shooters.
In the prominent recent examples, civilians have, as in Oklahoma City, successfully intervened in mass shootings. In November, Stephen Willeford, a former NRA instructor, shot a gunman who killed more than two dozen people inside a Sutherland Springs, Tex., church, hitting the attacker twice. The shooter fled and later shot himself in the head while under chase. And in June, a pastor and volunteer firefighter who had been through active-shooter training killed a carjacker who opened fire inside a Walmart store in Tumwater, Wash. In Oklahoma City two men shot and killed an active shooter outside a restaurant.
But interventions by “Good Samaritans” also have ended in tragedy.
In 2014, husband-and-wife attackers killed two Las Vegas police officersbefore going into a nearby Walmart and firing a shot in the air. Joseph Wilcox, 31, a civilian with a handgun and a concealed-carry permit, pulled his weapon to confront the male shooter, but the man’s wife shot Wilcox in the chest, killing him.
When Prince George’s County police detective Jacai Colson responded to a 2016 attack on a police station in his street clothes, another officer mistook him for a threat and shot him.
“The shot that struck and killed Detective Colson was deliberately aimed at him by another police officer,” the police chief said.
Ronal Serpas, former police chief in New Orleans and Nashville who lived near Tumwater when he was chief of the Washington State Patrol, said such situations raise life-or-death concerns for police officers.
“How is the officer going to discern who is the Good Samaritan and who is not?” Serpas said. “They don’t have placards on the front of their shirts that say ‘I’m the good guy’ or ‘I’m the bad guy.’ ”
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