The armed citizen who ended a wild shooting spree at a Walmart store in Tumwater, Washington has released a statement. (Dave Workman)
The armed Samaritan who fatally shot a rampaging gunman at a Washington State Walmart Sunday has issued a statement detailing the incident from his perspective, while asking for privacy.
“The events of last Sunday evening were tragic and shocking from all points of view,” said David George, the armed citizen who not only stopped the shooting, but also rushed to render first aid to a shooting victim. “It was my request to remain unnamed and out of the media spotlight for the actions I performed.”
Killed in the Sunday afternoon shooting and carjacking spree was 44-year-old Tim O. Day of McCleary, a small town several miles away from Tumwater, the community where the crime spree came to an abrupt end in a Walmart parking lot. According to authorities, Day allegedly began the wild chain of events by driving the wrong way down a nearby highway. He fired shots at one vehicle, crashed his car a short time later, carjacked another vehicle and ultimately arrived at the Walmart.
There, he ran into the store, fired shots at a locked display case filled with ammunition, left the store with at least two armed citizens in quiet pursuit and shot a motorist identified as Ricky Fievez, leaving him paralyzed. Fievez remains in critical condition at Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center.
At the store, a second armed citizen identified as Jesse Zamora, also moved to stop the shooting. But the other Samaritan was able to act first, and is now being hailed as a hero.
According to George’s statement, he did not want media attention because he and his family “needed time to process the events, ensure one another’s well-being and just love each other.”
“I felt it important to give the authorities the time they needed to investigate an already chaotic scene of events and determine the truth as best as they are able without the hue of media fueled speculation and interpretation on the part of potential witnesses. The lives impacted by this event need to be considered, whether the gunshot victim and his family or the family and friends of the shooter whose lives will certainly be impacted by his choices that day.”—David George
George recounted the events leading up to his fateful confrontation, explaining that he and his family were at the store to “make an exchange.” While he was chatting with a Walmart employee and his family was standing in a checkout line, he heard shots fired toward the rear of the store. Noting that he has a concealed pistol license and has had “significant training in the use of firearms and some of the legalities involved in a defensive encounter and active shooter training,” George “turned to find my family and exit the building.”
“My daughter, recognizing gunshots, also gathered her daughter and moved quickly to exit the building,” he said. “I did not see my wife and so I continued to look for her as people began to realize the situation and run out of the building.”
“The gunman came past me waving and pointing his gun and exited the building,” George’s statement continued. “My self and another citizen carrying a firearm followed carefully, unaware of what he would do or where he would do it. The gunman attempted to get a car and when he failed moved to another screaming at the driver. He then shot two times into the driver’s side of the vehicle. When the driver did not or could not respond to his threats he began to travel in the direction that I thought my family to be.
“At this point,” the statement detailed, “I left cover and moved to intercept the gunman. When the gunman began threatening another person for the use of their car, I moved in order to have a safe shot at the gunman. He entered the vehicle, which I considered an even bigger threat and fired to stop the shooter. After being hit, the gunman tried to exit the vehicle and fell to the ground. I moved to clear the gunman yelling to him to drop the gun and show me his hands. The gunman was incapacitated and unable to respond at this time. It was then that I heard someone associated with the gunshot victim yelling for help that her friend/husband had been shot. I directed the other armed citizen to remain with the gunman and retrieved my jump bag/first aid bag from my nearby vehicle in order to render aid to the gunshot victim. I am an EMT with Oakville Fire Dept. and I responded as my duty and training instructed.”
As of Wednesday morning, there were more than 584,200 active CPLs in Washington, according to the state Department of Licensing. It probably should not be surprising that there were at least three armed citizens at the store that day, since more than 28,300 of those licenses are held by Thurston County residents and another 7,500 are held by residents of neighboring Grays Harbor County, where George resides, and is pastor at the Oakville Assembly of God church.
Washington State has a clearly-defined use-of-force statute. Under the law, homicide by a private citizen is justifiable “In the lawful defense of the slayer, or his or her husband, wife, parent, child, brother, or sister, or of any other person in his or her presence or company, when there is reasonable ground to apprehend a design on the part of the person slain to commit a felony or to do some great personal injury to the slayer or to any such person, and there is imminent danger of such design being accomplished; or…In the actual resistance of an attempt to commit a felony upon the slayer, in his or her presence, or upon or in a dwelling, or other place of abode, in which he or she is.”
“I acted on Sunday to protect my family and others from the gunman and his display of obvious deadly intent,” George stated. “This is in accordance with both by training as an emergency responder and calling as a pastor, husband, father and grandfather. Myself, my family and my entire church are praying for the gunshot victim’s recovery and I would add to that those that may be suffering as a result of Sunday night’s tragic events.”
While his actions have been hailed as heroic, this quiet man “will not be taking any questions or interviews at this time.”
“I would ask that you respect that request and direct further inquiries regarding the event to the authorities,” he said.