Details of an active shooter incident in the food court of an Indiana mall show the good guy who stopped the killer was just an average joe with a handgun. Over the last few days, we've learned more details about the people involved and the good guy who saved numerous lives.
Greenwood Park Mall Active Shooter Incident—
This past Sunday July 17, a man entered the Greenwood Park Mall, which lies about 15 miles south of Indianapolis. The man entered the mall carrying a backpack and made his way into a food court bathroom. Police have released the name of the suspect, but I'll just refer to him as the bad guy (BG).
After reviewing surveillance video that isn't available to the public, Police say that the BG stayed in the bathroom for an hour. Police would later discover that the BG brought 3 firearms and at least 100 rounds with him into the bathroom.
The BG exits the bathroom, armed with a rifle, enters the food court and starts shooting random people.
Within the 15 seconds, the BG fired 24 rounds that killed 3 people and injured two others. The BG stopped killing people when an armed civilian shot him with a Glock handgun he carried.
New details emerged about who the good samaritan is, and the actions that saved many people's lives.
Initially, police didn't release the name of the concealed carrier, but eventually we learned his name, Elisjsha Dicken. Police say that Eli and his girlfriend were shopping at the mall when the BG started killing innocent people.
Eli directed his girlfriend to a position of cover and moved toward the BG. Eli began engaging the BG with gunfire from “quite a distance.” Some reports say 20 yards some say Eli was as far as 50 yards away when he first shot the BG. Police say Eli shot 10 rounds at the BG, and that 8 of them struck the BG.
Reports say Eli approached tactically using cover, and while he did, motioned for people to exit. The BG tried to escape, but because of Eli's actions, the BG died in the food court, where he began his evil actions.Eli found mall security and remained with them until the police arrived.
Eli showed that he not only used his brain during the incident, but afterwards as well. He secured legal representation and has given no public statements.
From what reports say, Eli has no high-level law enforcement or military tactical training. Many news reports indicate he learned how to shoot from his grandfather.
In an Active Shooting Event, Time is of the Essence—
Many more people would have died last night if not for a responsible armed citizen that took action very quickly within the first two minutes of the shooting. -Greenwood Police Chief James Ison
It's not an overstatement to say that without the good samaritan intervening with deadly force when he did, the number of injured and killed people would be higher.
Eli killed the BG within seconds, and still 3 people lost their lives. There is no indication that the BG would have stopped when he did, had Eli not engaged him with gunfire.
Before the Columbine school shooting in 1999, the universally accepted response by law enforcement arriving to an active shooter incident was to arrive, contain the shooter and call in a SWAT or tactical team. That tactic proved to be horribly inadequate.
After analysis showed that confronting the shooter early on reduced the number of deaths, law enforcement revised the protocol to confront the gunman as soon as possible. The tragedy in Uvalde school shooting was made worse because of the police's failure to engage the shooter, rather than waiting for over an hour before trying to stop him from killing innocent people.
Most people, even those who don't like guns or want you disarmed, inherently understand this principle. Yet because of their fear of guns, or law abiding gun owners, many jump on board to disparage concealed carriers by saying “the good guy with a gun stopping the bad guy with a gun is a myth.”
Armed Citizens, are they Successful When Intervening—
Unless you're cynical or understand how totally lost the media is, you probably wouldn't suspect that so many “news publications” could report this incident as anything but an example of why the individual right to possess a firearm for self-defense is so important. Numerous articles all include “disclaimers” that while this incident might lead you to believe armed, law-abiding individuals save lives, it's actually rare. Furthermore, it just makes things harder for law enforcement to figure out who the bad guy is once they finally get there.
Here is just one headline from USA Today writer called Amanda Jayne Miller:
A ‘good Samaritan' with a gun stopped a shooter in an Indiana mall. I have mixed feelings.
I'm not going to spend time here to document the daily occurrences where armed citizens stop criminals from taking a life, but if you're interested, here is a study we did back in 2018. We analyzed how successful armed citizens were at stopping an armed bad guy.
You can also check out one of the monthly ‘Justified Saves' Concealed Carry Podcast episodes where we discuss news stories of defensive gun uses. Or listen to this interview with author and expert on documenting defensive gun uses Dave Kopel.
The Gun Free Zone Fallacy—
Another thing to consider is this idea of “gun free zones.” People constantly argue about the actual number of incidents that happen in “gun free zones.” I don't think we even need to use statistics to make this point. One mass shooting in a “gun free zone” is proof signs don't stop killers. So now what?
Proponents of gun control cite the numbers of school shootings as a reason for restricting the Second Amendment. But schools are already “gun free zones.” If this worked, wouldn't we be talking about something else?
Not convinced gun control isn't really about public safety? Here is something to consider. In response to the Supreme Court's Decision affirming a state cannot put arbitrary means tests on law-abiding citizens' ability to carry a firearm for self defense, New York Democrats drafted laws to greatly expand gun free zones, or what the tyrants like to call “sensitive areas.”
We do not know if the BG targeted this mall because of its no gun policy. I'm guessing he selected it, at least in part, because it's an enclosed space open to the public with many people all in one location. But we know from statements of other active shooters that they prefer “gun free zones.”
Now Greenwood Park Mall is owned by a company called Simon Malls. Greenwood Park Mall's website shows no firearm policy. However, Simon Malls' company website has a policy on firearms. And as you might have guessed, “weapons are prohibited.”
So we potentially had two people ignore a “no gun” policy. One person ignored it intending to murder as many people as possible. The other one ignored the sign in order to protect themselves and others from a maniacal killer. If that doesn't cause proponents of “gun free zones” to think about the effectiveness of their policy, I don't know what else to say.
Mall Security and Police—
Oh, but I have one more thing to say about the incident. Greenwood Park Mall also lists a “Security and Police Sub-Station” on their map. I don't know if the mall has armed security. And it doesn't appear there were officers at the police-sub-station when the shooting went down.
I am all about private companies employing on site security. However, many people have a false sense of security, believing they are safe because security is present.
I've included a screenshot of the mall map showing the distance from the security/ police sub-station to the food court where the shooting went down. It's not far, but if you were unarmed and being shot at, would you rather someone immediately shoot the bad guy, or wait until police or security made their way to the scene? I think the answer is pretty obvious.
I'm sure many people can't wait to discover the BG motivation for killing innocent people. Rarely do we decide because of one factor. I'm sure many factors led the BG to think murdering people was the way to go. I can say for certain the guns didn't make him do it. No more so than the Glock gun Eli carried made him intervene in a heroic way.
See it's all about the heart. The BG acted with evil motive, and used whatever he could to inflict evil on others. Eli, he did the same, except he didn't have an evil heart.
Responsibly armed citizens are not the problem, not even close. Popular culture may try to paint armed citizen as a vigilante, and while there are some, the overwhelming majority are law-abiding average Joes. So to my fellow armed concealed carriers, continue doing what you do. Train, know the laws, prepare and carry your gun to protect innocent life.
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