Skip to comments.Kentucky Store Owner Opens Fire on Armed Robbers: How one well-aimed shot saved lives (VIDEO)
Posted on 09/21/2012 11:26:58 AM PDT by marktwain
Kentuckys had a streak of bad luck with armed robbers lately. That might be enough to leave some folks shaking in their boots, but store clerks and business owners are taking matters (and guns) into their own hands.
Garry Thornsberry, the owner of Meta Mart in Pike County, Kentucky, was doing paperwork in the back of the store late one night. Meanwhile, two hooded would-be thieves walked into the mart, with at least one of them carrying a weapon. The clerk working at the front of the store immediately tipped Thornsberry off by saying his name in an odd voice. The robbers werent able to piece together that the clerk was calling for help, but of course robbers arent known to be the sharpest tools in the shed (but they are definitely tools).
Thornsberry looked at the surveillance feed, spotted the robbers, and immediately went into action. He grabbed his legally-owned firearm and went to the front of the store to confront the robbers. Thornsberry recalls, I came out and pointed my gun at the one who had a gun. [The robber] raised the gun, and I shot my gun. I know I hit him in the shoulder.
The robber probably thought that his luck ran out when he felt the bullet pierce his shoulder, but the fact of the matter is that things could have gone much, much worse. First of all, sharp shooter Garry Thornsberry could have easily landed a kill shot with his laser-guided revolver. The shot to the shoulder, as opposed to dead-center mass, probably saved the thiefs life.
Its also worth mentioning that Thornsberry could have grabbed the rifle or the shotgun that he kept in the back of the store. If Thornsberry had shot the thief with either of those, then the bad guys probably would have left the store strapped to a gurney that night.
Thornsberry added, I did not shoot to kill but to protect my store, my employees. And to protect myself.
The thieves ought to write Thornsberry a thank-you note. Dear Store Owner, Im sorry for trying to rob you. Thank you for not shooting me with a shotgun. I really appreciate it.
This story presents us with an interesting case study because the whole ordeal is almost like a multiple-choice quiz. Suppose that you were in Thornsberrys shoes last night. You spot one hooded figure with a gun, but you can't tell if the other person is wielding a gun. Your employee is also standing a few feet away from the robbers. What would you have done?
First of all, what would you grab?
a) The rifle b) The shotgun c) The handgun d) None of the above e) All of the above, plus the AR-15 you keep for emergencies
And then what kind of shot would you make?
a) A non-lethal shot on the gun wielder b) A lethal shot on the gun wielder c) Any shot you can manage on the gun wielder d) Non-lethal shots on both robbers e) Lethal shots on both robbers f) Any shot you can manage on both robbers
Extra credit: In your own words, share with the class what you would have done differently. And don't forget to finish your homework assignment about gun safety!
A: "That's how many bullets the gun holds."
If it is bad enough to shoot, it is bad enough to shoot to kill.
Rifle. Two rounds each. Minute of bad guy (center of mass)
1. Double-tap, center of mass on the guy with the gun. He's armed and threatening my employee, he has to be instantly and completely incapacitated. Also, my 'target acquisition skills' aren't good enough to be sure of an arm or leg hit with the adrenaline pumping.
2. Swing and cover the second guy. If I can't see his hands and he moves in a threatening manner, I'm afraid he's going to receive a double-tap, center of mass as well. Otherwise he will be instructed to freeze and raise his hands slowly. But he shouldn't be out with the robbing crew if he doesn't want to get shot.
Shotgun. To take their hoods off, I don't like hoodies on in my store.
As for aimpoint - a dead Perp (and accomplice) won't commit the crime again ... won't be a burden on society in jail or the hospital, and, won't sue the store owner in court.
Just my thoughts.
I was once told by a lawyer (back during the Bernie Goetz trial) to always take a kill shot. That way there’s no injured perp to sue you for things like loss of quality of life (HIS) resulting from a wounding.
Shotgun wouldn't be good if there's patrons in the store. Rifle only if no other options.
Shoot to kill, not injure.
Center of mass. No apologies.
Article Sez.. “Perps still on the loose”
Point taken re: rifle over penetration. I should have been specific. I use a .45 ACP carbine for home defense. Probability of hit is much higher with a long gun. At least for me.
A wounded robber can still shoot back.
I would grab my shotgun if it was nearby - otherwise the handgun that is always on my hip. Same for me with shot placement - center of mass to account for all of the variables (motion, adrenalin, etc.).
Also, with two bad guys, and only wounding the one, now you STILL have two potential bad guys to worry about. I’m glad the other punk didn’t have a weapon he was willing to use.
I am dubious. Personally, I think it was just luck (the bad guy's) that he was hit in the shoulder. I highly doubt that in the heat of the moment, the store owner made a calculated decision to shoot him in the shoulder.
As far as making that decision, don't. It's too easy to miss; giving the bad guy a chance to shoot back, and it is a legal liability; the bad guy can sue you for maiming him. That's especially true if you announce to the world that you were trying to do it, like the store owner did.
I am not like him
Point a gun at me or my loved ones and it’s over...I’m not going to act all that compassionate because I don’t know what the actual will be if I am.
If I shoot to kill any harm that may befall me is ended...
Aim better- make sure there is only MY version of the story.
I haven’t seen any follow up on the robber with the wounded shoulder. In that this was three days ago, unless he sought medical help, around about now he might suddenly develop a high fever. If that is the case, he has about 48 hours left on this Earth, all else being equal.
And his odds of survival, with treatment, are fading fast.
Then again, he might be one of the lucky ones who does not get an infection.
Aim better- make sure there is only MY version of the story.
A shot gun can easily be used for self defense without the scatter. This is a trick that I learned from the SRT (aka SWAT) team at Ft Leavenworth, KS. Take a 3” shell with #6 or higher bird shot (#9 recommended). With a black felt tip marker, place six evenly spaced dots on the outside of the shell, between the top and the bottom of the wadding. Make three cuts with an exacto knife, connecting two dots and spaced evenly around the shell. Seal the top of the shell with wax or plastic so that it is smooth and level across the top.
When you fire the shell, the force applied to the wadding will tear the remaining side wall of the case and the whole case, wadding, and shot will leave the barrel as a single unit just like a slug.
However, upon impact, the front slows down and the shot will push out the side of the case. This will have the effect of distributing the entire muzzle energy within the first 6 inches or so of the target. Turn what ever meat happens to be a that location into jelly. If the shot misses and it hits a wall, the round will also fragment and will deplete much of the energy right away.
You can get an idea of the damage by shooting a gallon milk jug filled with water.
It also has the added advantage that the bad guys think that you wont shoot because of the shot gun’s scatter. The will often accept a shotgun’s presence in a hostage situation because they think you wont shoot for fear of hitting the hostage. If you put a red dot on the bottom of the shotgun barrel, you have a close in sniper shotgun.
Shot gun - center mass.
I’ll take my chances with the grand jury, especially if the robber is armed and I’ve got tape running.
Always shoot to kill.
And because dead guys will sometimes shoot back, Put several additional rounds into him to make sure that he is no longer a threat.
First assess the situation and identify the threat. Next determine the response, if my response is to use my weapon, I next clearly identify the target or targets (at this point that’s all they are, targets), next eliminate targets center mass two rounds per target, follow up with necessary rounds if targets are still standing, then cover.
One of most important assessments is distance, if you find yourself within two to ten feet of the targets, shoot from the hip, having already assessed there are no obstacles, (my personal thoughts 50% of range time should be spent shooting from the hip at close distance up to fifteen feet minimum), shooting close distance is where you find yourself in most instances.
As to the nearby employee, he is the reason you identify targets. Once your weapon is pointed down range you have already determined to fire, so fire without hesitation.
The process should only take a micro second from assessment to cover, and should be practice on the range, and rehearsed in your mind. The targets referred to as perps, in most instances will be hyped up on some kind of drug, that may offer some resistance to the normal effect of a round, hence the double tap and cover.
In such cases as described in the above incident, I would count the response as a FAIL...although it worked out, it could have been very bad for the defender, and in some states he could find himself spending years in litigation from civil suit, regardless of being justified by criminal court.
Why shoot from the hip? Two reasons, one speed, two at close distance the target can deflect your weapon or disarm you, that’s very hard to do with your weapon at hip.
Thank the lord he had a gun. And he must have had a Bible or he would have killed the criminal.
You're using an iPhone with auto-correct on, right?
I like th AR-15 platform in .223 with hollowpoint ammunition. It does not overpenetrate, it is extremely destructive, and very accurate. It is very nice to have 30 rounds of highly reliable ammunition at hand. As a bonus, it has high recognition and deterrent value. The major negatives are muzzleblast and flash. I am seriously considering a legal suppressor to address those issues. If we lived in a sane society, we would be able to buy those at the local hardware store for $75, like they can in Finland.
That trick works (cut shells), but it can cause problems. I would only use it in emergencies. Another trick is to use a binder, such as wax or glue, to hold the shot together. You have to handload or be willing to open up the crimp on a factory shell for that system.
I would recommend that you buy some Federal flight control buckshot. It throws incredibly tight patterns at close range (about 9 inches at 25 yards) At 5 yards there is just one ragged hole.
Good shooting....but...you need to shoot to kill.
Dead criminals make bad witnesses when you are prosecuted for 2d or 3d Deg Murder....but they make good witnesses when they live when you get charged with attempted 2d/3d Deg murder
You have to shoot to stop the threat. Never admit you shot but not to kill. If you don’t need to kill you don’t need to use a gun.
A shoulder shot can mean the guy stays conscious and can still be a threat. It was actually stupid of him not to do center of mass. To be as certain as possible the threat is neutralized.
That said, I’m glad his response was to take the thugs on head on and deal with them. But if you have to use a gun you don’t shoot to injure, sorry, that ain’t right.
Hubby has a Win 73 in .45 long Colt, which would pack a little more punch but is longer and heavier.
I like the idea of a carbine with a pistol round. Not only is your accuracy better, you get more velocity out of the longer barrel.
Largest target = center of mass = best chance of a hit. Don't get fancy when the panic's on.
Legal: you never shoot to kill. You shoot to stop the threat. The fact that that will probably result in death is an unfortunate side effect. And you'll be better off in court that way, both because it doesn't look as bloodthirsty and because there will be only one story told in court.
There’s a pharmacist sitting in prison right now for doing that very thing.
That little 92 is incredibly quick, I can get 10 rounds down range in just a few seconds. Practice makes perfect. The little Stoeger coach gun also handles well, but only 2 rounds. I'm a lot slower with the single action revolvers, need to work on that.
Legal: YOU NEVER SHOOT TO INJURE. You shoot to stop the threat.
That’s what this guy was doing. He was shooting to injure by his explanation of where he shot the guy and where he didn’t shoot him.
You do not do that. Even if you do, you don’t SAY that.
Exactly. Superficially, it sounds better. But overall, I don’t think so.
“Given an even choice, I would have to say handgun (assuming it was something in a significant caliber, i.e. beginning with 4), because handling a shotgun in cramped conditions can be a bit dicey.”
Methinks the above device would fulfill your “close-in” shotgun requirements. Use low powder charge/No. 1 buckshot shells for low recoil with 12G shells. It’s a pump, so no worries about the low powder charge not cycling, as with a semi-auto. TWELVE-SHOT capacity!
I am not a big Kel-Tec fan, because I have one of their little .380 pistols and it's a piece of . . . junk. Kicks like a Missouri mule, too.
I'll let somebody else buy it first & try it out.
Yeah, I was somewhat put off by the Kel-Tec brand, too, but it's been out a while, and the reviews are not all that bad.
I just wish they had a model in 20G so one need not use special ammo to get low recoil (not for me...I'm a big guy, but my wife, fully dressed and soaking wet weighs about 98 lbs). But if I was a shop-owner in a "flash-riot/theft" area, I "would" own one of these.
My husband uses the reduced-recoil shotgun rounds in cowboy (targets are close, no need to beat yourself to pieces over a knockdown target that’s 10 feet away). I have a 20 ga. for sporting clays for the same reason - but my go-to shotgun is a Rem 870 pump. Old reliable (it’s also the standard shotgun for HRC hunting tests, I can work it without having to think too hard because I’m using all my brain cells trying to handle my dog!)