The gunman who opened fire at a Walmart store near Olympia, Washington – and who was subsequently shot dead by an armed citizen – has been identified as 44-year-old McCleary resident Tim O. Day, and the man who stopped him is being hailed as a hero.
There still does not appear to be a motive for the wild shooting spree that began as a carjacking Sunday afternoon, but he reportedly has a lengthy criminal history. One man was seriously wounded by the suspect when he refused to allow Day to take his car, and a teen was also injured.
According to the Seattle Times, Day had “a criminal history, including violations of a domestic-violence protection order, felony assault and making death threats.” This raises a couple of issues. First, with that kind of background, he probably could not legally purchase or possess a firearm. Second, it appears to be another gun control failure, as the Seattle-based gun prohibition lobby is pushing yet another gun control initiative.
The suspect was confronted by at least two armed citizens, one of whom fired the fatal shot that brought the rampage to an end.
This is only the latest incident in which an armed citizen intervened in a violent situation. Last month in Oklahoma City, armed citizens confronted a gunman outside a restaurant where he had opened fire, and shot him fatally. Last year in Sutherland Springs, Texas, a mass shooter who killed nearly two dozen people in a church was shot by an armed citizen using an AR-15 rifle. That killer fled down a highway with the armed citizen and another man in hot pursuit until the suspect’s vehicle left the road. He was found dead inside.
The incident is a marked contrast to what happened Sunday at an arts festival in Trenton, N.J. in which an armed convicted felon, released from prison only a few months ago, opened fire and wounded several people before police killed him. In New Jersey, it is difficult for average citizens to get a carry permit, while in Washington, more than 580,000 citizens are licensed to carry, according to the state Department of Licensing.
“Out in the Evergreen State Sunday afternoon, an armed citizen stopped a crazed gunman in a Walmart parking lot, possibly saving several lives because – unlike in New Jersey – Evergreen State residents can carry sidearms for personal protection against such criminals.”—Alan Gottlieb, CCRKBA Chairman
The New Jersey shooting gave anti-gun Gov. Phil Murphy an opportunity to call for more gun control laws, excusing his exploitation by asserting that this is the right time to talk about “gun policy.”
The challenge was not lost on Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, who fired back: “Yes, let’s talk about New Jersey’s abysmal gun policy. Let’s hear Murphy explain how keeping honest citizens disarmed while criminals like Tahaji Wells, who just got out of prison in February and should not have had a firearm at all under existing law, are released early where they can prey upon innocent, and defenseless, Garden State residents.”