Today we present 5 CORE vehicle defensive lessons on video based on lessons learned from 5 specific carjacking incidents. Before we get right to the training videos, however, please consider:
Carjackings are typically violent crimes, and on average, three out of four suspects are armed when they commit the crime. An ABC News article from December 2020 documented the concerning increase of carjackings across the country. Sadly, that trend has continued to climb through the first half of 2021.
Carjacking Numbers Are Soaring Across The Country:
Here are some of the numbers pulled from the ABC article.
- In 2019, there were 501 carjackings in Chicago.
- As of December 2020, Chicago had 1,125 carjackings, an increase of 134%.
- Carjackings were up 537% in Minneapolis.
- In New Orleans, 911 calls of carjackings were up 12%.
- Oakland California Police reported a 38% increase in carjackings.
- Auto-theft numbers are up in:
- New York by 68%
- Los Angeles by 36%
- Philadelphia by 34%
Based on the numbers so far, 2021 is on track to surpass the numbers of carjackings and thefts of even 2020. And perhaps even more disturbing is the fact that the suspects in these crimes are very young.
5 Lessons From 5 Carjacking Incidents
All that said, I thought it would be appropriate to take 5 carjacking incidents from across the country and pull out one lesson we can learn. Now, of course, there are many things we could extract from each story.
However, this isn't necessarily an after-action dissection of the incident. Instead, I want to bring awareness and consider how we can help increase our odds of survival.
INCIDENT #1: The Death of retired Chicago Fire Lt. Dwain Williams:
In December 2020, surveillance video recorded the carjacking of Dwain Williams as he approached his vehicle in broad daylight. A car drove up behind William's SUV, and 3 males armed with handguns jumped out. The suspects closed the distance on Williams in an ambush-style attack.
Williams was carrying a firearm and quickly noticed that he was not only outnumbered and outgunned but was about to be flanked by two of the attackers. He was able to promptly use the vehicle as partial cover as he exchanged rounds with the suspects.
Unfortunately, one of the suspects' bullets struck the 68-year old Williams in the abdomen, and he eventually succumbed to his injuries. Police identified all three suspects in the murder and arrested them. They are 20, 18 and 15 years old.
Williams's use of cover inevitably kept him in the gunfight longer than if he had tried to engage in the open. However, his odds of surviving the incident would have increased if he used the car's cover even better.
Use of cover is essential, and we explain why it is so important and how to use it effectively in our Vehicle Firearm's Tactics course.
Training Video Excerpt: Vehicle Firearm Tactics – Use of Cover
INCIDENT #2: Off-duty Officer Smokes Carjacker Who Jumped in His Vehicle:
A criminal who just committed a burglary at a nearby convenience store saw cars stopped in the drive-through of a nearby Carl's Jr. restaurant. He decided to jump in the back seat of Lucas Argon's vehicle, an off-duty Colorado Springs Police Department Officer.
The suspect stated that he had a gun and that Argon should take him where he wanted to go or Argon would get hurt. Argon was able to draw his handgun and shoot the suspect who was in the back seat. He then bailed out of the vehicle to create distance and move to a better position, offering cover.
Gunfighting is difficult. Doing it inside the confines of a vehicle requires different skills than practiced typically on the range. Here is an excerpt from the course where we explain the target presentation in this environment.
Training Video Excerpt: Vehicle Firearm Tactics – Presentation to Target
INCIDENT #3: Columbus, Ohio Woman Shoots Armed Carjacker, Killing Him:
Earlier this week, an armed man made an unwise choice to carjack a 20-year-old woman in the 1400 block of Oakland Park Avenue in Ohio's Capitol City. The man produced a handgun and demanded the woman get out of her vehicle. She complied and exited the car.
According to the woman, the suspect got in her vehicle, then pointed the gun at her. She drew a handgun that she had and fired it into the vehicle. The woman's rounds struck the bumbling criminal, and he died from his injuries.
The woman, in this case, did a great job of using compliance when appropriate. At a certain point, she decided the threat of death or serious bodily injury was imminent and used deadly force by firing into the vehicle. She struck the suspect and was unharmed.
However, shooting into a vehicle has its complexity and considerations, especially if the vehicle has the potential to run you over. Here are some considerations for shooting into the vehicle.
Training Video Excerpt: Vehicle Firearm Tactics – Shooting Into The Car
INCIDENT #4: Husband and Wife Killed By 18-Year Old Who Posted Car For Sale:
This story is a tragic example of the dangers of purchasing used items listed for sale on online marketplace sites.
In August 2020, Mr. and Mrs. Roland met with someone who posted a vehicle for sale. When they met with the male, he said he did not have the correct paperwork with him. He asked the couple to follow him in their vehicle to his place to get the proper paperwork.
They stopped in the parking lot of an apartment complex, and the male exited his vehicle. According to police, the male admitted that he approached the car to rob the couple. He admitted to intentionally shooting Mr. Roland, killing him. He said he only accidentally shot Mrs. Roland.
Nevertheless, two people tragically died because of one individual's greed and inability to respect human life.
Consider an incident like this where an armed attacker is shooting into your vehicle, and you must return fire. The angle and type of glass the rounds are traveling through profoundly impact where it goes.
This deflection is a consideration whether you are shooting into or out of a vehicle. Take a look at precisely what happens as a bullet travels through auto glass.
Training Video Excerpt: Vehicle Firearm Tactics – Deflection Through Glass
INCIDENT #5: Chicago Gas Station Shooting, Ends Criminal's Life:
Unfortunately, the words shooting and Chicago appearing in the same sentence is too common. It gains nearly no attention. However, back in 2017, an incident at a BP Gas station caught on video showed just how crazy things are.
The video shows our victims in their vehicle, which stopped in front of the gas pumps. We see our criminal, a 43-year old male, approaching the passenger side with his handgun drawn.
Our bad guy opens the door, and there is a bit of a struggle with the passenger with the door opening and then closing. At this point, the driver exits the vehicle and shoots at the carjacker.
The driver and bad guy exchange some shots around the vehicle, and the suspect gets the short end of the deal. His carjacking career ends as the good guy's bullets kill him.
The good guy had to consider the positioning of his passenger and their relation to the bad guy. He ends up shooting over the top of the vehicle after he bails out. Like our off-duty officer shooting, we see how bailing out of the car offers many more options and increases our chance of survival.
Training Video Excerpt: Vehicle Firearm Tactics – Bailing Out
I hope you enjoyed these extremely brief excerpts from our training program. If you want to learn more about using your firearm and defending yourself in and around your vehicle, consider taking our complete Vehicle Firearm Tactics Course. It is comprehensive and an excellent resource for any defensive-minded gun owner.
Usually, attending this kind of training course in person would mean traveling to one of the prominent firearm academies and spending a minimum of $1900 plus travel and ammo costs. Lucky for you we filmed just such a course, and you can get the same education and training from the comfort of your own home for less than $40. Click here to learn more.
Fighting in and around vehicles involves learning some principles that most don't routinely practice. I learned my lesson when I faced a carjacker in my youth.
Also, consider that there are legal considerations when it comes to using force against a carjacker.