Texas CHL-holder gives life, forces rampage shooter to flee
A Texas concealed handgun license-holder interrupted the plans of a rampaging felon Thursday by coming to the aid of the criminals' victims and shooting the attacker several times.
According to the Dallas-Fort Worth Star Telegram, David Hernandez Arroyo Sr. opened fire Thursday on his ex-wife and son with an AK-47, killing the woman and wounding his son, David Arroyo Jr., 23, in the leg.
By all accounts, when the shooting began, most people understandably fled. But not Mark Allen Wilson, a bystander who was licensed to carry a firearm, and who heroically attempted to intervene.
From the story:
- Authorities said [the son's] life was likely saved by the actions of Mark Allen Wilson, 52, a licensed concealed handgun owner who lived in a loft on the square. Wilson raced to the courthouse steps after David Arroyo Sr. had fatally shot his ex-wife, Maribel Estrada, 41, and wounded his son.
Wilson's bullets were stopped by David Arroyo Sr.'s flak jacket and bulletproof vest before Wilson was killed by return fire from the AK-47.
Police credited Wilson's actions for not only saving David Arroyo Jr.'s life, but also for forcing the gunman, still heavily armed, to flee the court-house square before he could harm others.
From the Tyler Morning Telegram:
- "The gunman walked up to Wilson and shot him while he was on the ground," said Nelson Clyde III, publisher of the Tyler Morning Telegraph. "I couldn't believe what I was seeing ... it was sickening."
"He was either wounded or dead, but the guy (Arroyo) shot him again to make sure he wouldn't get up," said witness Brandon Malone, a Tyler builder who was lunching inside Don Juan's.
News accounts say several people, including three police officers, were wounded in Arroyo's attack, which began about 1:25 p.m. outside the Smith County Courthouse.
Witnesses told the Tyler newspaper that after shooting Wilson, Arroyo calmly walked to his truck, still trading shots with an unidentified man (another CHL-holder?) lying beside a Chevrolet, and climbed inside.
Police ultimately shot and killed David Hernandez Arroyo Sr. after he fired repeatedly at officers during a two-mile chase.
Police say David Hernandez Arroyo "has a history of assaulting his ex-wife and several weapons offenses." According to KLTV-Tyler, Arroyo was a felon. As such, he was illegally in possession of firearm he illegally obtained, and was also prohibited from purchasing body armor. So much for gun control laws.
Authorities say Arroyo had previously told his wife he would kill her if she pressed the issue of child support.
The Tyler newspaper says preliminary evidence suggests Arroyo planned the ambush to the minutest detail.
What he didn't expect was that he would meet up with one or more armed citizens who were willing to come to the aid of the many defenseless people in the street.
It is terrible to imagine what might have happened had Mark Wilson not been there, and impossible to determine just how many lives this armed citizen saved, in exchange for his own.
UPDATE: For more on who Mark Wilson was, and how his heroic actions are being viewed by his community, click on the "Read More..." link below.
From the Tyler Morning Telegram:
- No one who knew Mark Allen Wilson is surprised by his sacrifice.
John O'Sullivan, who owned the downtown building where Mark Wilson lived, said Wilson was a good friend.
"He didn't shy away from danger," O'Sullivan said. "He always jumped into things."
He said Wilson's response to the rampage was "typical Mark Wilson."
Wilson opened an indoor gun range in Tyler, On-Target, in 1997. It was a facility focused on self-defense, say people who knew him.
Tyler cardiologist Dr. Scott Lieberman, Wilson's friend and former business associate, said Wilson was a "fundamental believer in self-defense and protection."
"He was demonstrating that today," Lieberman said. "He had a strong sense of honor and protection."
That sense of protection extended to the entire downtown area, Wilson's friends say.
"He was a downtown fixture, having been there for so long," said one neighbor, Billy Boone. "He looked out for everyone else's place. If something looked wrong or out of place, he'd check on it."
Wilson's apartment looked directly onto the courthouse, Boone added.
"He had a bird's-eye view of what was happening," Boone said. "I imagine he saw it and immediately reacted. That's the kind of guy he was."
Mark Anderson, a friend, agreed. "It was a very heroic thing for him to do. But he lost his life in the process."
Click here to watch a news report on the subject via Windows Media, which highlights the actions of two TX concealed handgun license-holders.