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Armed Citizen

It was not a good day on the job for one would-be burglar. First, he tried to climb in the window of 77-year-old Donald McElrea’s home, but was caught in the act. Pistol in hand, McElrea confronted the burglar. The gun startled the burglar so badly that he lost his footing and plummeted 20 feet over the side of the elevated deck. McElrea told the burglar to stay on the ground while his wife called the police, and the burglar should’ve just cut his losses at that point. Instead he got up and charged McElrea, who opened fire. Police arrived to find the burglar injured from the fall, shot in the arm and considering a new line of work. (Harrison Daily Times, Harrison, AR, 10/18/11)

Hard-working attorney Curt Crowley was at the office late one evening when he heard a filing cabinet open and close. Knowing he should be the only one in the office, he retrieved his .40-cal. handgun, peered out the door and discovered a burglar rifling through cabinets. “I told him to freeze, but not in language you can repeat,” Crowley recalled. “He ended up begging me not to kill him.” Crowley held the suspect at gunpoint until police arrived. (The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, MS, 10/10/11)

“Give me your money or I’ll kill you!” When Dale Swallows heard those words uttered by the armed intruder accosting his son and his son’s girlfriend, he knew he had to take immediate action. The intruder was thusly unaware of Swallows, who had gone to bed. Swallows retrieved a handgun and approached the unfolding robbery. When he emerged, the intruder charged him. There was a struggle. Swallows pushed the intruder away and shot him. The intruder complained of trouble breathing, and Swallows told him to “lay still” until police arrived. The intruder will be charged after his release from the hospital. (The Herald Bulletin, Anderson, IN, 10/06/11)

A woman fed her 1-year-old son in a bedroom one evening while her other boys, ages 15 and 8, relaxed elsewhere in the home. None of them knew that two masked men toting illegal guns lurked just outside. The men kicked in the door and aimed their guns at the 15-year-old, then at his mother when she tried to intervene. The men demanded cash and asked for two people by name, neither of whom was known to the woman nor her children. Fortunately the woman’s boyfriend arrived at the home soon thereafter, heard the commotion and retrieved his firearm. The boyfriend darted into the room and shot both intruders before they knew what was happening. The intruders ran into a bedroom, broke a window and fled. They were arrested when they showed up at the hospital suffering from gunshot wounds and covered in shards of glass. (The News-Gazette, Champaign, IL, 10/08/11)

An elderly woman heard a loud noise at 4 a.m., so she got up to investigate. She saw someone open the bathroom door, assumed it was her husband and went back to bed—only to find her husband there sleeping. She woke him, told him someone was in the house and called the police. The 82-year-old man got his handgun and crept down the hallway. He peered inside the bathroom and shouted, “Stay where you are!” The 26-year-old suspect proved no match for the armed elderly man; he waited at gunpoint for police. (Grand Forks Herald, Grand Forks, ND, 09/30/11)

David Whitney received a call from an alert neighbor informing him of an unknown vehicle parked in his driveway. He quickly returned home and discovered a carjacker sitting in his truck while a second man sat in the suspects’ own vehicle. Whitney drew a handgun and attempted to detain the suspects. The suspect in Whitney’s truck, however, jumped out and rejoined his accomplice. That’s when the suspects went from being carjackers to something even more dastardly: They drove straight at Whitney in an attempt to run him over. Whitney fired several shots into the vehicle, disabling it. The shaken suspects were immediately compliant and waited for police to arrive. (Grant County Journal, Ephrata, WA, 09/22/11)

With her 1- and 2-year-old daughters nearby, Elizabeth Easterly was working behind the counter of her grandfather’s 24-hour food store when a man entered. He quickly began acting erratically. Easterly kept an eye on the man and checked on her daughters, but the man interrupted, demanding money and grabbing the stroller that held Easterly’s baby. He began to push the stroller out the door, but was halted by a shot from Easterly’s gun. The suspect was killed; the baby was not injured. (Naples Daily News, Naples, FL, 10/19/11)

For more EXCLUSIVE Armed Citizen stories, including from the Armed Citizen archives, and to comment on these stories, go to The Armed Citizen Blog.

Studies indicate that firearms are used over 2 million times a year for personal protection, and that the presence of a firearm, without a shot being fired, prevents crime in many instances. Shooting usually can be justified only where crime constitutes an immediate, imminent threat to life, limb, or, in some cases, property. Anyone is free to quote or reproduce these accounts. Send clippings to:

”The Armed Citizen,” 11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax, VA 22030-9400

Or e-mail your Armed Citizen story to

If you have a firsthand ”Armed Citizen” experience, call NRA-ILA PR/Communications at (703) 267-1193


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