A 10 year veteran and former Marine sergeant, James Newman, confronted a pair of shoplifters in a parking lot outside of the Rimrock Mall in Billings, Montana early this year. When confronting the shoplifters, Newman produced his concealed handgun and attempted a citizen’s arrest stating, “You are all under arrest,” he said. “This is a citizen’s arrest and you need to stay here until the police get here.” The male driver of the vehicle, a Buick SUV, at this point ran away on foot; this prompted the female passenger to shift to the passenger seat while shouting, “Back the fuck off!” She then attempted to flee the scene in the vehicle. She at first backed into Newman who informed her, “If you hit me, ma’am, I will fucking open fire.” At this point Newman, true to his word, drew his .45 caliber Sig Sauer 1911 and began shooting out the tires on the vehicle’s left side as the female sped away in a hasty getaway, narrowly missing a curb and a sign.

Newman later made several public statements,

“I felt like someone needed to step in and stop it… There is enough crime going on in this world that there is [sic] not enough people making a stand against it.” He went on, “To the people that are criticizing me, you have your opinion. That’s the beautiful thing about America, you can say what you want.” He continued, “The biggest thing I want to tell people is, especially last night (Sunday) when the story first aired, there was very little information. There were people running at the mouth, being internet warriors that have no idea what they’re talking about. They don’t have a tenth of the facts that are actually associated with the issue.” and, “At no point was there anybody in danger and I’ve said this to several people. Yeah, I put myself behind a vehicle, maybe that’s not how you conduct your business, but that’s what I did. I chose to do that and yeah it resulted in shots fired. But at no point was any other person in danger. And the ricochet factor, you’re stretching for it, they’re stretching for something to throw out there. ‘Oh well this guy is an idiot, he’s just a gun-toting vigilante.’ No, I’m just your average person walking around.”

Ok, lets break this down Barney style real quick. A dude saw two people stealing clothes from a JC Penny, or wherever, and decided to chase them down and attempt a citizen’s arrest. When the couple decided he could get bent and attempted to drive away, old boy starts popping shots in a mall parking lot at their tires….. all this over shop lifting? What the hell was this Devil Dog thinking!?

First of all, know your target’s foreground AND background. Lots of unknown variables in a parking lot that size; people walking to and from stores or sitting in cars out of sight, not to mention the risk of property damage. The risk did not outweigh the reward here, hands down. While Newman was technically 100% within his rights to attempt what he did in light of Montana State laws, it was a dumb decision; good initiative but bad judgement.

On top of all this, Newman claimed to have “extensive firearms training” and when asked if he would do anything differently given the ability, simply stated, “No.” If he had so much freaking training, then why did he put himself in a position to get run over or how about the fact that he needed 6 shots to disable 2 tires at point-blank range? Oh and that flyer that went into the mini snow mound as the car sped away, negligence plain as day. It is in my humble opinion that as private (and sometimes armed) citizens, we can leave the petty crime to the police; I will draw and employ my firearm in a life or death situation or in defense of my personal property (if applicable); that’s it.

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On top of all these things, you have to consider the legal fees you may have to put up when it’s all over. Newman was later charged with criminal endangerment and discharging a firearm in public, both misdemeanors. Let this serve as an example of what not to do when you are out in public and carrying a concealed weapon. Choose your battles wisely.

 

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