Matthew Shawon Elliott (AKA Matthew Shawn Elliott), 30, of Statesville, NC is dead; a victim as much of our justice system as his own stupidity.
Elliott and two friends decided to score some easy cash by pulling a smash-and-grab assault on a local jewelry store.
Their planning was meticulous. All three would rush in, then one would guard the door, one would grab the loot, and one would ensure that all potential opposition or witnesses on the sales floor were contained.
It was that last part which screwed them all, especially Elliott. The manager/owner (unnamed), A Good Guy With A Gun who is, again, a good shot with a gun, heard these Bad Guys With Guns breaking glass and shouting.
The unnamed hero armed himself and, disregarding his own safety, sallied forth to confront these “men”. According to police, “In fear for his life and the lives of the business’s employees and patrons, the person in charge of the business discharged two rounds from the firearm.”
Elliot & Co decided that departure was the best decision they could make and skedaddled. However, unlike his two friends, Mr. Elliott was wounded. He collapsed outside the business and expired.
Nobody was harmed during the robbery or gunfire.
UPDATE – 4 November 2015
The man who shot a repeat-offender armed robber will face no charges. Being Your Own First Responder is not a crime in NC.
The lessons here:
1. Apparently, sometimes it DOES take a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun. Especially in a potential mass-shooting situation such as this. Who knew?
2. As stated in the beginning of this article, our justice system is just as responsible for this man’s death as he is. A repeat offender, Mr. Elliott has twice served time for armed robbery. It is obvious that our justice system failed to either, A) Rehabilitate him or, B) Keep him locked up where he could do no harm.
Mr. Elliott is just as complicit in his own death as the justice system. Nobody put the (probably) stolen/ghost firearm in his hand and forced him to commit a violent felony. Was he desperate? Perhaps. But does that excuse his behavior?
No. It does not. And he paid with his life.
3. As in almost every defensive encounter, we have shown that You Are Your Own First Responder. Period.
We love our police here in Texas. They have an essential role to play in the prevention of some crimes and the apprehension of wrong-doers. But, as the adage goes, “When Seconds Count, the Police Are Just Minutes Away”.
Police are, by nature, reactive to most violent crimes. To have them to hand for every, single, crime would be a waste of time and money. Policing is mostly effective, but the truly criminal acts are always executed when the police are elsewhere, necessitating a delay in their arrival.
YOU, however, are right there. You, as a citizen of sound mind, are responsible for your own actions and are quite capable of taking care of yourself. The immediate response to a violent crime against yourself (Rape, Robbery, Arson, Attempted Murder, etc…) can vary with the situation. But we believe that it is better to resist with overwhelming speed, surprise, and violence of action.
You may not survive. There are no guarantees. But you will have done your best to defend that one thing most precious to all humans: their own lives.