76-Year-Old Gun Owner Shoots Would-Be Thief in Leg

You always hear that you shouldn’t bring a knife to a gun fight. Well, you shouldn’t bring a stapler to a gun fight, either.

One alleged would-be thief learned that lesson the hard way when he snuck into the wrong real estate office.

According to Komo news, a 30-year-old man entered an office building in Everett, Washington. Unfortunately for the thief, a 76-year-old gun owner was working at the time. The gun owner drew his weapon on the burglar to keep the man at bay while he phoned police.

Now, here’s where things get a little goofy. Suppose that you’re a criminal and an armed citizen is pointing his gun at you. He’s talking to police, so you have mere minutes before the cops show up and haul you off to jail. What do you do? Negotiate with the gun owner? Try to run away? Give up and curse your bad luck?

This robber thought it would be a good idea to start a fight. With a gun owner. Well, if he had been a brighter person then he wouldn’t really need to resort to petty theft, now would he?

According to the gun owner, the thief started a verbal altercation and began throwing office supplies at the man. Because, you know, the only thing more dangerous than a loaded weapon is a handful of thrown pencils and a stapler.

The gun owner did exactly what you’d expect: he shot the thief. The bullet struck the man in the leg, but somehow the criminal still had enough energy to flee the scene.

Cops showed up and released a K-9, which found the man hiding less than a block away. The wound to his leg was not life-threatening, so the criminal should have a short stay in the hospital before being escorted to the local Snohomish County Jail.

The gun owner’s injuries weren’t nearly as bad. He suffered a few minor wounds to his forearm from the office equipment. The gun owner will not be charged for taking the shot.

This story really makes you wonder where gun owners draw the line between drawing a weapon and pulling the trigger. Throwing office equipment definitely falls in that muddy middle area where it could go either way on a justified shooting. On the one hand, it’s easy to imagine prosecutors arguing that protecting yourself against flying stationary doesn’t count as self-defense.

On the other, the suspect did perform evasive action — albeit a desperate one — so what does somebody have to do to earn a bullet? Just like every situation there’s a series of what ifs. Like what if the suspect decided to chuck a pair of scissors — that could be pretty freaking threatening.  If you’re pointing a firearm at an intruder and holding them in place until the police show up, just how far do they have to go before you’ll pull the trigger? Would you fire at them if they took one step towards you? Two steps? What if the criminal grabbed a computer mouse and heaved back like he was going to throw it at you?

We don’t know about our readers out there, but we think that a lot of it would have to depend on the context. Throwing a handful of Post-It notes is certainly rude, but we probably wouldn’t open fire over something like that. Once the criminal goes for a pair of scissors or gets ready to throw a printer, however, that’s when you start getting into “you were asking for it” territory. 

What do you think?