When a heavily armed man emerged from the bathroom in a Greenwood, In., shopping mall on Sunday and began shooting, he was promptly killed by an armed bystander. Mike Wright, manager of the nearby Luca Pizza di Roma, said, “The good Samaritan guy seemed poised and under control. He appeared to be very disciplined.” Police Chief Jim Isom said bystander Elisjsha Dicken's action was “nothing short of heroic.” The episode rekindled controversy over a loosening of gun restrictions like the Indiana law, passed this year, that allowed the bystander Dicken, 22, to carry his 9-millimeter handgun. “We will say it again: The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” tweeted National Rifle Association.
An examination of 433 U.S. active shooter attacks between 2000 and 2021 showed that only 22 ended with a bystander shooting an attacker, says the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center at Texas State University. In 10 cases, the armed bystander was a security guard or off-duty law enforcement officer. In other cases, civilians attempting to step in and stop an assailant were themselves shot to death by the police. “It is exceedingly rare, the exception rather than the rule,” said Adam Skaggs of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, of scenarios like the one in Indiana. “The reality is that more people carrying guns means more conflicts escalating into deadly violence and more people being shot and killed.” Police identified the Greenwood mall assailant as 20-year-old Jonathan Douglas Sapirman but have not indicated a motive. Dicken’s intervention almost certainly saved lives: The police said that Sapirman, who had fired 24 rounds, had come with more than 100 rounds of ammunition, two rifles and a pistol. Dicken killed the gunman 15 seconds after the shooting began.