A few details are surfacing on the May 3 gunfight between a police officer in Garland, Texas, and two heavily armed terrorists with body armor. His story showcases the dedication law enforcement has in its duty to protect and serve and the professionalism we too often take for granted.
For his security and that of his loved ones, we may never know his name, but United States citizens are in his debt for the manner in which he neutralized the terrorist threat in 15 seconds. He served notice to wannabe Jihadi Joes that there is no guarantee of a soft target in a country with the Second Amendment and armed law enforcement personnel.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh C. Johnson issued a statement that read, in part, “At this point it does seem clear that an officer of the Garland Police Department acted quickly and decisively and thereby likely saved a number of innocent lives.”
The location of the incident, Curtis Culwell Center, is not remote. A lot of innocent victims could have been hurt if the situation wasn’t contained. The facility, owned by the Garland Independent School District, opened in 2005 and attracts 700,000 people a year to various events.
Its expansive parking lots provide some insulation from nearby businesses and schools, but Naaman Forest High School is adjacent to the center, and its running track is literally next door. A baseball diamond is across the street, so it’s a pretty safe bet at least a few sports enthusiasts were taking advantage of the facilities at 6:50 p.m., when the incident began.
That’s when a black sedan pulled into the parking lot and stopped at a squad car occupied by a school district security employee and the unknown hero. When the first officer approached the vehicle to ask for identification before entering, he suffered a wound to his ankle from rifle fire delivered by the terrorists. That’s when the nameless marksman returned fire giving the criminals a terminal case of the leaks. According to CNN, the handgun that got the job done is a .45-caliber Glock.
Before you consider the case closed, if you have a concealed carry permit, what are the odds of you being in one of these nearby businesses in the early evening? There’s a Sam’s Club and Walmart next to the center’s parking lot, and about six restaurants within sprinting distance. The Hyatt Place Dallas/Garland hotel, with 153 guest rooms, is across the road from the center. The lesson is: When lawful, carry early, carry often, and carry always.
I’ll let the press release issued by the local law enforcement professionals provide the post-action summary. “The Garland Police Department was able to contain this situation at the perimeter of the event. The effectiveness of the public safety response illustrates why Garland is one of the safest cities in America and yesterday’s events don’t change that.”