With 2014 having come to a close, we’d like to look back at the brave men and women who used concealed carry to make a dangerous situation safe. Check out the stories of 10 civilians who protected themselves or others from harm.
1. Aaron Kreag (Southlake, Texas)
“My first gut reaction was, oh my God, this guy’s going to kill this lady.” – Kreag
December 26, 2014 – Aaron Kreag was taking his wife out on a date when he witnessed a woman being beaten in a nearby car. He couldn’t continue driving when he saw what was happening. “This large gentleman just pounding on this lady, closed fist you know, multiple times and heavy heavy elbows to the face and neck,” says Kreag.
Kreag is licensed to carry and had a .45 handgun on him. “I went around the backside of the car, drew my handgun and traffic came to a stop.”
“I was yelling commands at him to stop assaulting her, stop assaulting her.”
The man stopped attacking the victim and got out of the car.
“Then he turned his attention to the fire arm and was saying ‘don’t shoot me, don’t shoot me.’ I said I’m not going to shoot you, just stay still, don’t do anything crazy. The cops will be here any minute.”
Once police arrived, they ordered Kreag to the ground and handcuffed him. He was released a few minutes later, after Southlake Police spoke to a number of witnesses.
In addition to being a firearms instructor, Kreag served in the U.S. Army for eight years and worked as a private security contractor in Iraq.
Kreag says he’s not a hero and that he hopes the woman will find peace in her life and remain safe.
“It’s my responsibility to protect myself and my family” says Kreag. “If I can help out another person in the process, so be it.”
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2. Wyatt Family (Warrior, Alabama)
“They tried to say that they were lost and we corrected them where they were.” – Chris Wyatt
December 15, 2014 – The victims of a home break-in, the Wyatt Family held a trio of buglers outside their rural home in Alabama after a recently installed security system caught the burglary on camera. The footage shows a woman knocking on their door, then summoning her accomplices when no one answers. After kicking in the front door, the burglars are seen leaving the Wyatt’s home with televisions and Christmas presents.
By pure coincidence, Sarah Wyatt was being interviewed by the WBRC television crew, when her family saw the burglars’ Ford Ranger drive by and recognized the occupants.
“They happened to drive by and we seen them drive by and we knew it was them and we stopped them,” Chris Wyatt said.
Wyatt followed the suspects’ vehicle and blocked them in. He, his friends, and his wife then held them at gunpoint until authorities arrived.
The trio had previously robbed another home an hour earlier.
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3. Usman Seth (Houston, Texas)
“I was worried about my sister’s and my dad’s lives so that was the main thing on mind—I gotta save them.” – Seth
September 15, 2014 – At 20 years old, Usman Seth was forced to step up and protect his family after a masked gunman threatened their lives.
In the store’s surveillance video, KPRC reports, you can see the suspect dressed in black barge into the family owned convenience store with a shotgun and start making demands.
He threatened Seth’s sister at the cash register and was saying, “Give me all your money or I’ll kill you all,” says Usman.
Seth says, “My sister yelled at us, ‘Save me.’ My dad gave me the gun and said, ‘Save us.’”
He says his father handed him a 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun and he opened fire.
Usman shot the masked gunman in the leg but he continued hobbling around the aisle pointing his gun at the family.
That’s when Seth fired several more shots at the suspect, killing him.
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4. Jon Lewis Alexander (Marionville, Missouri)
“As I told the police officer, if I would have actually seen the barrel of the pistol they wouldn’t have to look for him. He’d already be dead.” – Alexander
September 4, 2014 – A would-be robber chose the wrong liquor store when he drew his gun on Missouri clerk, Jon Lewis Alexander. As the thief pulled out his gun and demanded cash, Alexander “used his left hand to push the robber’s handgun back while — in a smooth but rapid motion — pulling and swinging his 9mm into the robber’s face,” WUSA reports. An air force and army veteran who served four tours in Iraq, 54-year-old Alexander always carries a 9mm handgun with a round in the chamber.
Alexander says he would have fired if the robber had pointed his gun at him.
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5. Scott Eastwood (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)
“He was by himself so he needed assistance and I wasn’t going to let him get hurt.” – Eastwood
July 25, 2014 – What started as a lazy afternoon in a small Iowa town ended with a car in the backyard, a foot chase, and one man holding five suspects at gunpoint.
A car chase escalated when five suspects crashed their car into a child’s playhouse, then took off on foot, tossing at least one gun and drugs into homeowner Tim Moore’s yard.
Moore and his friend, Scott Eastwood, continued the chase when a Cedar Rapids deputy fell and injured himself.
The pair got in a personal vehicle and headed down the road. First house they stopped at, Moore asked the occupants if they’d seen the suspects at which time a man pointed to the neighbors and said, “They’re right there.”
Moore confronted the five men who claimed that the real suspects had passed them by. Tim knew better. Moore said, “Get in the truck. We’re going to chase them.”
As soon as the men got in the truck, Eastwood pulled his gun out. Scott says, “I told him that I had my concealed weapon on me and he told me to come back and watch these guys with him until backup came.”
Asked if they were faced with the same situation again, would they respond the same, Scott said, “In a hearbeat.”
Eastwood was on the way to the hospital to see his newborn baby girl who was born the day before when the chase occurred.
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6. Lee Silverman (Darby, Pennsylvania)
“Without a doubt, I believe the doctor saved lives.” – Donald Molineux, Yeadon Police Chief
Dr. Silverman’s daughter holds up a drawing of her father. It reads, “My Dad is a Hero.”
July 24, 2014 – Dr. Lee Silverman, a psychiatrist, was wounded in a shootout when patient, Richard Plotts, opened fire in Silverman’s office at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital. Silverman used his own gun to stop Plotts after the patient killed his caseworker, Theresa Hunt.
Staff members had heard loud arguing inside Silverman’s office during the appointment.
They opened the door and saw Plotts with a gun pointed at the doctor, so they quietly closed the door and dialed 911. Gunshots were heard a short time later.
Silverman suffered graze wounds during the gunfight and is heralded as a hero for saving lives. District Attorney Jack Whelan said Plotts had 39 bullets on him – bullets intended for more victims.
7. Unidentified Hero (Chicago, Illinois)
“Had Friday’s shooting occurred a little more than a year ago, the veteran would not have been legally permitted to conceal carry his firearm.” – Chuck Ross, The Daily Caller
July 4, 2014 – An unidentified serviceman stopped an ambush on this Chicago street when a gunman began firing on the veteran and his friends.
The veteran and three of his friends were leaving a party on the city’s south side. When the group reached their vehicle, a container with liquor was sitting on top of it. A woman from the group asked another group gathered next door who the liquor belonged to and removed it.
The move angered 22 year-old Denzel Mickiel, who approached the veteran and his friends shouting obscenities. The man then went into his residence and returned with a gun.
As Mickiel opened fire on the group, the veteran took cover near the vehicle’s front fender, according to assistant state attorney Mary Hain, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The veteran fired two shots, hitting Mickiel both times.
Two of Mickiel’s friends also began shooting at the group, which was able to flee the scene in their vehicle.
Mickiel was transported to the hospital in critical condition. A woman in the veteran’s group was hit twice – once in the arm and once in the back – but was stabilized and taken to the hospital.
Illinois was the last U.S. state to allow citizens to carry concealed weapons with a permit, finally passing a law on July 9, 2013. The state began issuing conceal carry permits in February.
8. Jessica McDonald (Fort Dodge, Iowa)
“We were face to face, and then he put the mace right in my face and said, ‘Give me all the money out of your register.'” – McDonald
May 23, 2014 – 22-year-old Jessica McDonald had just opened the Fort Dodge textbook store when a 50 to 60 year old white male came in and attempted to rob her. He started coughing, then he covered his face with a bandana and demanded money.
“At that point, I opened up my register and took the till out and showed him I don’t have any money in my register,” McDonald said.
He moved behind the computer.
Jessica continued, “We were face to face, and then he put the mace right in my face and said, ‘Give me all the money out of your register.’”
McDonald said she got the gun out of the safe and pointed it at the would-be thief. She said she told him to leave the store and backed away with the gun pointed at him.
Jessica told a person who called during the attempted robbery to call 911. The man took off, and she chased him into the parking lot while yelling, ‘Call 911.’
Paul Tigges, the store’s manager, said the firearm was put there for employees’ safety.
“Anything could happen had we not had that firearm in that store and she did not have access to it,” Tigges said. “We’ll never know what might have happened.”
“It was shocking to me when I started here that there is a gun. I always thought it was over the top and that we that didn’t need it but I’m very glad we have it.” McDonald says.
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9. Unidentified Hero (Houston, Texas)
“This guy, he’s just something else. The way everything happened and how fast it happened and his reaction to it. He’s a hero.” – Brenda Vasquez
April 28, 2014 – A shopping trip turns into an armed show-down when a 30-year-old mother becomes the victim of would-be purse snatchers.
One moment a mom with two kids is about to head into a store, the next she’s being pulled across the parking lot while two suspects in a sedan attempt to snatch her purse.
Brenda Vasquez, manager of the Houston Family Dollar store, says it all happened so fast, “This lady opens her car door, grabs the woman’s purse and they reverse. While they’re trying to reverse, the lady is holding on to her purse still, chasing them all the way to the middle,”
That’s when a perfect stranger intervened.
Vasquez says, “And that good Samaritan came out, drew his weapon and scared them. And that’s when he pulled them out of the car.”
The man forced the thieves to lie on the ground while they waited for the police to arrive.
Neither the mother nor the man were identified. According to KHOU, the good Samaritan bought his children some candy after the incident and drove away.
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10. Unidentified Hero (Roseville, Michigan)
“A gun in the hands of a responsible owner can be a lifesaver.” – Chief James Berlin
March 26, 2014 – A couple of Home Depot security officers stopped 26-year-old Joshua Silva after they caught him shoplifting a power drill. When confronted, Silva fought back.The incident escalated when Silva pulled a handful of syringes out and stabbed a security officer with dirty needles.
Fortunately a shopper intervened. Chief James Berlin states, “The fight was so violent that a passerby citizen who had a CPL license pulled his gun and drew down on the suspect because he thought the suspect was going to kill one of the loss prevention officers.”
Police said the customer pulled his weapon on Silva and ordered him to drop the syringe.
Silva initially stopped struggling, but began running when he heard police sirens. He was tracked down and arrested by responding officers.
Silva was charged with intent to do great bodily harm, a 10 year felony.
The security guard that was poked with the needle was treated and released.
Speaking of the good Samaritan, Berlin says, “He came to their aid, and thankfully so in this case because who knows what could have happened with the syringes. In the right spot, someone may have died.”