Joshua Nelson is a 2nd Lt. in the West Virginia Air National Guard and a licensed concealed firearm carrier. Earlier this year, he and his family were on a regular shopping trip to the Del Rio, Texas Walmart store to buy some items for an upcoming trip to the lake. All of the sudden, he heard a woman screaming, “Stop, put it down!”
When he heard the woman in distress, he found her and saw what he described as a “pretty large man” holding a big fish fillet knife to her stomach.
As licensed concealed carriers, Nelson says he and his wife carry everywhere they can while they are off the military base. However, his immediate reaction was not to draw his gun. First, he had his wife take their kids to the front of the store and call the police. He said that his first concern was about his family. As soon as he realized what was happening, he felt it was his duty to do what he could to help the woman.
“I immediately felt responsible for that lady’s life. If I’m in a position to help someone and I don’t, I would feel just as bad as the guy who does wrong.”
He thought hard about drawing the gun at that point, but refrained from doing so, concerned that he might worry the woman in distress even more than she already was.
So rather than drawing his gun, Nelson let the assailant know he was armed. He tells reporters,
“I didn’t have to draw. He knew I was armed and at that point, he became a little more cooperative. I was pretty forceful in demanding him to put the knife down.”
This takes a great deal of courage, and what Nelson did next is even more admirable. The attacker had then turned the knife on himself and was threatening to commit suicide. But Nelson was able to talk him down saying it “wasn’t worth it,” and even said that he would assist him in getting the help he needed. So you could say this Guardsman saved two lives that day.
The man dropped his knife, kicked it toward Nelson, but at this point he tried running away. He didn’t get too far, however, as Nelson ordered him to stop and sit down.
Eventually, police arrived to the scene. Nelson was very happy with the way the police handled the situation, and the police were just as happy about the way Nelson conducted the entire ordeal. He said that throughout the entire ordeal, it was his the training he has received that he relied on to get through the difficult situation. Police were content that Nelson never fired the gun in the store, so when he offered to show them his concealed carry permit, the police said “No, thanks.”
Nelson later learned that the woman who had the knife held to her stomach was the man’s mother. He was apparently angry that she would not buy him a gun. Nelson tells reporters,
“The number one reason I carry is to protect my family. It’s a God-given, constitutional right that I fully, 100 percent stand behind. Secondly, I love my fellow Americans, and if I’m in a position to help one of them, obviously, I want to do that.”
He adds that there is one thing he wishes went differently. This incident happened all the way back in April, but it was hardly reported in the news. It bothers him that there are many stories about armed citizens responsibly carrying, but a lot of these stories do not get the attention of any media.
“They never let us tell our side of the story. We hope that some good can come out of our story and let people know what is really going on.”
These stories are not only important because a responsible citizen saved lives, they’re also important to use as an educational tool for those of us that carry. When reading through the situation, it’s important to try and place yourself in the shoes of the concealed carrier and think about what you would have done in a similar situation. You can never run enough scenarios through your mind.