Why would police in Texas shoot the parishioner who disarmed a gunman threatening a mass shooting inside a church? Soft-spoken Tony Garces pleads with authorities to improve training of police https://t.co/roBdWLKyET— Simon Romero (@viaSimonRomero) February 26, 2018
Texas police shot an innocent man who helped thwart a possible church shooting in Amarillo, Texas — and inadvertently gave a lesson why conservatives’ “good guy with a gun” theory is not such a great idea.
On Feb. 14, the same day as the Parkland, Florida, school shooting, 35-year-old Joshua Len Jones burst into the Faith City Mission church and held around a 100 churchgoers hostage at gunpoint, said the police.
However, things took an unexpected turn for Jones after the heroic churchgoers managed to wrestle him to the floor and one man, Tony Garces, grabbed the culprit’s gun. His act of heroism almost cost him his life as the Amarillo police burst in, saw him holding the gun and thinking he was the would-be shooter, opened fire on him.
Garces was hit in the neck but miraculously survived the incident and was taken to hospital in a stable condition.
When asked about the incident, Garces said, “Everyone was running, man. I turned back. Took my shirt off, getting ready for whatever.”
After the suspected shooter was subdued by the churchgoers, Garces was the one who relieved him of his gun.
“I said, ‘Hey, hey I got the gun,’” said Garces. “’I took the gun away from him.’ … They (the police) said throw it down. I wasn't going to throw it down because it could have fired. It had bullets in it, you know. I didn't want anyone else getting hurt. … Then pop, pop they shot me. … I went down, then a puddle of blood. … I thought I was a goner."
For helping save innocent lives, Garces got badly injured with a huge hospital bill, life-long scars and probably long-term physical problems.
Garces and his attorney Jeff Blackburn are working with Amarillo to get his bills settled, but he has an advice for the police department.
"Train them better, man,” Garces told ABC News. “That guy didn't know what he was doing… I got the gun,” he said. “I thought it was over. But they the cops shot me. The good guys shot me.”
Jones was charged with six first-degree felony aggravated kidnapping and is being held on $1.2 million bond.
Garces lived to tell the tale, but things could easily have gone the other way if the bullet had hit his vital organs.
The incident also highlights the fact that having armed citizens during a crisis is not such a good idea. Conservatives love to tout NRA Wayne La Pierre’s infamous stance, “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
However, in the Amarillo case, the good guys were unarmed, yet they still were able to restrain the bad guy with the gun. But what should be noted more importantly is that the good guy with a gun got shot by another good guy with a gun, namely Tony Garces got shot by the police. It was no fault of Garces for holding the gun, yet, the only reason he got shot was because of the weapon he was holding. The cops mistook him for the real culprit and shot him down.
Lack of police training aside, in the heat of the moment, the cops were not able to discern Garces was just an innocent witness. And the same thing can happen to armed citizens who are caught during a mass shooting incident. They can become inadvertent targets of the police and understandably so, because multiple people with firearms can easily confuse the cops — and they do not have ESP to determine whether the person is guilty or innocent.
Garces was, thankfully, able to escape with his live — however, it is just as possible some other good Samaritan with a gun may not be able to.
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