Date published: January 9, 2012
Journal code: NEAM
CDAPress.com out of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, reminds us that concealed carry doesn't just benefit the holders but can also benefit those around them. Tim Patterson, owner of The Big Yellow mobile kitchen, which offers, as he says, the "finest food on wheels" six days a week, was having a normal day of cooking and serving customers in the business he operates with his wife when they heard a bloodcurdling scream around 2:00 p.m. on November 28. Patterson always keeps his 1911-style .45 semi-automatic pistol on him with six rounds in its magazine just in case he needs it to protect family, friends, or those around him. In this case, it was someone around him. Patterson reacted to the loud scream by running out the back door to investigate what was happening. He looked around the parking lot of the nearby Goodwill, but it was filled with parked cars, and he did not see anything at first. Then he heard another scream and a female voice pleading for her life.
He moved in closer on the commotion and could clearly see a woman being threatened by a knife- wielding man. The man had the woman's head pulled back and was holding a knife to her throat. Patterson drew his weapon and exclaimed, "Drop it or I'll shoot you!" The attacker was wearing a hoodie that practically covered his face, but he looked up to see Patterson standing there with his pistol drawn. Once he saw that Patterson was armed, the would-be robber dropped his knife, threw his arms frantically up into the air, and immediately fled the scene.
Patterson called 91 1 , retrieved the knife, and checked on the woman who was victimized. The police arrived a little later and began an investigation into the event. The woman was a Goodwill employee who was carrying a lot of money from the store in her purse for a bank deposit. The man in the parking lot tried stealing the purse. She struggled with him, and he pulled a knife. The police suspect the attacker might have somehow had inside knowledge that she would have a lot of money on her.
Patierson told the Coeur d'Alene Press that the attacker came dangerously close to getting killed. "If he had not stopped what he was doing ... he came very close to dying. Really, really close." Patterson echoed die sentiment of many neighbors thai armed self-defense is the best option for dealing with crime. "You can yell at somebody, but pointing a gun at his head does a lot better job." Patterson was especially upset about who the criminal chose as his target. "I know the lady. She is a sweetheart.... Goodwill does nothing but good for people. They help so many people." Patterson is also grateful that he and his wife heard the first screams. "If Debbie and I hadn't heard her scream, he probably would have gotten away with it and I don't know what he would have done to her." The stocky Patterson has had a concealed weapons permit for roughly 10 years and has taken handgun courses, been on pistol teams, gone through instruction at Center Target Sports in Post Falls, and is also a hunter.
Coeur d'Alene police spokeswoman Sgt. Christie Wood told the news that Patterson's actions were certainly worthy of appreciation and respect, but that police face a fine line when it comes to citizens trying to stop a crime and excessive vigilantism. "I would not want to live in a world without good Samaritans or people that were willing to take a risk to help others, but the police department cannot advocate for that.... We would not want to set somebody up to get seriously injured."
Patterson believes it's right to be ready to help others, "in Idaho, there's a lot of folks like myself who are not willing to stand by and let evil triumph." Patterson doesn't see himself as a hero though. "A hero is putting his fife at risk in order to sacrifice part of himself in order to help somebody else. In my case, I don't believe I was putting my life at risk at all. I had a gun. I was going to help her. I never feit in jeopardy by this guy at all."