Shooting at New Life Church
A coment on a previous thread noted that the person whose shots stopped the mass killer at New Life Church was actually a church member with a CCW permit, not a hired guard, and that the media is spinning the story so as to make it appear she was the latter. I did a bit of checking, and that appears to be the case.
This story from CNS news reports:
"Many people are expressing relief that a volunteer security guard used her own gun to stop a man on a shooting spree Sunday. "She probably saved over 100 lives," the Brady Boyd, the pastor of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, said on Monday. The female guard, a church member dressed in plain clothes, killed the gunman after he opened fire at the mega-church."
UPDATE: Ahab has confirmed the lady who brought down the killer was not a church employee, and was carrying her personal gun.
But the AP coverage describes her as "a member of the church's armed security staff" and "the security guard." Since it quotes the pastor much the same way as the CNS story does, it sounds like a report on the same interview or conference. And the Rocky Mtn News describes her as "a church security officer."
I have to contrast the actions of the unnamed woman with a gun and Ms Gingrich who saw the shooter in the parking lot fire on a van and was only able to cower in her car and fumble with the ignition key. The late Colonel Cooper said once that "an unarmed man can only flee from evil, and one does not vanquish evil by fleeing from it." That goes for unarmed and armed women, too
Posted by: Windy Wilson at December 10, 2007 01:36 PM
Other news reports indicate she had former Law Enforcement experience, but confirm she was a parishioner who volunteered, and did so with the Pastor's permission. She was brave enough to face a rifleman with her handgun and steady enough to make the shots count...good on her. One local account said she took him down initially, and when he appeared to be reaching for another weapon she delivered the coup de grace via an additional shot, also that the perp had an abundance of ammo and could have done a lot more damage. Prayers to the family who lost two daughters and the wounded father, and for those killed and wounded by the same perp in Arvada at the missionary training center dorm. Prayers also for the volunteer who stopped the perp before he could do more harm...her life will never be the same, but she stopped him from ruining a lot of other lives.
Posted by: Doug in Colorado at December 10, 2007 03:43 PM
That's "prayers for", not "prayers to".
Posted by: Doug in Colorado at December 10, 2007 03:44 PM
I have to wonder: Did the Church actually have a "volunteer security force" before the shooting occurred?
In Virginia, having a weapon in a Church while religious ceremonies are in progress "without good and sufficient reason" is a misdemeanor.
I looked at Colorado state laws and didn't find anything specific precluding carry in Church...I don't have time to research it properly but I have to wonder, does Colorado Springs have a local ordnance addressing weapons in Church?
If so, does it have a provision exempting, say, security personnel or some sort of "good and sufficient purpose" clause?
I just have to wonder if Mr. Pastor suddenly enlisted Ms. Shooter as a "volunteer security guard" shortly after the shooting...retroactive of course...after realizing that she might be in legal jeopardy for the heinous crime of saving the lives of other members of their congregation.
The downside, of course, is that it allows the MSM to dismiss it as an "official shooting in performance of duty" rather than just Joan citizen exercising her rights and saving the lives of untold innocents.
I can see the journalists talking at the water cooler now: "Isn't it lucky that the Church had a security force? Gaia knows that if it had been just an untrained civilian, it would have been mayhem and chaos and hundreds would have died what with those knuckle dragging, trigger happy gun nuts blasting away at each other in the confusion..."
Posted by: Sailorcurt at December 10, 2007 03:55 PM
The definition of "good and sufficient reason" is kind of murky here in the Commonwealth. I suspect that so long as you don't have an accidental discharge and you point to recent shootings, you'll be okay (this is not legal advice, just an observation). Of course, I suspect that the sort of people who carry concealed during services don't go to the sort of church that would report them anyway.
Posted by: HokiePundit at December 10, 2007 04:19 PM
Orthodox Jews don't carry items in the public domain on the Sabbath. After the Seattle Jewish Federation building was shot up by someone seized with sudden jihadi syndrome, I asked the rabbi at the largest Orthodox synagogue around here if in light of recent circumstances it was permitted to carry on the Sabbath. He replied, "Only if you're licensed, but don't worry, at least a couple of people here are."
Posted by: Bozoer Rebbe at December 10, 2007 04:20 PM
SailorCurt, I usually see "ordinance/ordnance" confused the other way around. Considering the subject of this discussion it's an amusing typo...
Posted by: DensityDuck at December 10, 2007 04:27 PM
Sailorcurt asks "does Colorado Springs have a local ordnance addressing weapons in Church?"
Well, if they (that is "we," as I live in CS) do, my otherwise very thorough CCW instructor should have said something when I took the class just last month. And he didn't.
As far as VA's laws, I wonder what business it is of the state's what people do in church?
Posted by: rmd at December 10, 2007 04:56 PM
Seems to me that she had "good and sufficient reason" to be armed that day. If this happened in New York and the perp survived, who do you thing would get more time?
Posted by: Kazinski at December 10, 2007 05:34 PM
According to the local ABC station, she was part of beefed-up security. She even says in the story that she "identified herself" to the gunman. She may not have been hired security, but she wasn't just an armed citizen who happened to be there. That doesn't change my opinion that concealed-carry laws should be on the books, I'm just saying that it doesn't appear that she was simply a parishioner.
Posted by: CraigC at December 10, 2007 05:52 PM
I checked the CO statutes and it seems carrying a lawful concealed handgun is not prohibited on church property.
The only restrictions seem to be for official gov't offices/bldgs, courthouses, etc.
Posted by: Barry at December 10, 2007 06:27 PM
Craig C you obviously don't have a CCW. If you did, you'd know that "identifying yourself" is the FIRST thing you do when confronted with an armed agressor...you say it even as you draw a bead on the aggressor. It is not an indicator of any law enforcement affiliation. It is what you learn in the safety corse you take to get the CCW. "Stop. I have a gun." The idea is, stop shooting asshole, or I'll drill you. The idea is to stop everything before anybody gets shot. If the perp is stupid enough to keep shooting, so be it...
Posted by: Nitro nora at December 10, 2007 06:36 PM
No obligation to warn before firing here in Utah.
Posted by: denton at December 10, 2007 07:40 PM
The lady was a member of the church. According to news stories, she went to an early service and asked the preacher if she could stay due to the shooting earlier in Arvada. She was NOT a "security guard".And if you have a concealed carry license/permit/whatever you need to know that every state has different laws on the use of deadly force. In TEXAS, there is no "duty to retreat". If I had seen someone randomly shooting, I could take him out and be guaranteed that his "survivors" could not sue me. If you live where you can get a concealed handgun license/permit, GET ONE. If you live in a "may issue state, like California or New York, MAKE THE LEGISLATURE change the law to "shall issue". If you live in Wisconsin or Illinois, MOVE!
Posted by: Fiftycal at December 10, 2007 07:40 PM
No obligation to warn before firing here in Utah.
While that may be (legally) true, there is always the obligation of everyone who uses a gun to make sure you know what you're shooting at. A person with a gun in a situation like this may be the shooter, or he/she may be an undercover/off-duty cop or maybe another CCW holder who is also helping out. Knowing what your target is and what force is needed is the beginning of effective self-defence.
Posted by: ExUrbanKevin at December 10, 2007 08:32 PM
Jeanne Assam is a former police office with the Minneapolis PD. WCCO reported earlier that she left the department under a cloud, though the PD spokesman recalls her with fondness and admiration.
The earlier shooting had alarmed the church leadership and about a dozen parishoners volunteered to provide security at the service in question, Assam being one.
Posted by: Chuck Simmins at December 10, 2007 09:19 PM
I can imagine the contortions going on in newsrooms across the country as the press tries to make the connection to Columbine.
But, seriously, a strong lady who kept her head and did the job. I've a CCW permit here in KY and at the range usually put every rd in the center of a 25' target. But you do wonder sometimes what you'd do if the target was armed also. Hope I'm as capable as her if it ever comes to it.
Posted by: GunTrash at December 10, 2007 09:35 PM
The Denver ABC station says this:
Assam worked as a police officer in downtown Minneapolis during the 1990s and is licensed to carry a weapon. She attends one of the morning services and then volunteers as a guard during another service.
Boyd said Assam was the one who suggested the church beef up its security Sunday following the Arvada shooting, which it did. The pastor credited the security plan and the extra security for preventing further bloodshed.
That's really something that she would have thought to ask church to increase security after the shooting in Arvada.
Posted by: Mtn Mama at December 10, 2007 09:40 PM
The shooter was also protected with body armour. This woman did her job. One article states she shot him a second time when he moved to possibly keep shooting.
Posted by: Mtn Mama at December 10, 2007 09:43 PM