A local case in which armed citizens stopped a crime

The barber shop where the shooting took place. Image from Google Maps.

The barber shop where the shooting took place. Image from Google Maps.

… and killed a suspect in the process.

Bryan, our friendly neighborhood gunslinger, rings to my attention this story that was in The State (and which I admit I read right over), in which local armed citizens stopped a crime… cold:

Elmurray “Billy” Bookman was cutting hair at his barber station, the second chair from the door, when two masked men, one wielding a pistol and the other carrying a shotgun, entered Next Up Barber & Beauty, he said.

Minutes later, Bookman and one of his customers drew their weapons as the robbers were taking money from customers and employees. They fired shots that left one of the suspects dead and sent another on the run just before 7 p.m. Friday.

“The kids were crying, hollering, and their parents were hollering,” Bookman said. “I think (the suspects) were getting kind of frustrated. They started putting their hands on some of the customers.”

About 20 people, including several women and children, were at the barbershop on Fort Jackson Boulevard. It sits behind the Applebee’s restaurant on Devine Street, across from the Cross Hill Market that houses Whole Foods….

Thoughts on this, gentle readers?

16 thoughts on “A local case in which armed citizens stopped a crime

  1. Doug Ross

    The best defense against a bad guy with a gun is two good guys with guns. Doesn’t matter if they are police or law abiding citizens.

  2. Bryan Caskey

    I was simply bringing this to Brad’s attention to point out that this wasn’t me. I was out of town. You can ask my lawyer if you don’t believe me. 🙂

  3. Assistant

    I hope that this is an example of CWP-holders deciding to carry more often. Note too:

    “A gun used by one of the suspects was reported stolen from a South Columbia home in 2012, Holbrook said.”

    In related news, Kurt says it’s time to Buy Ammo. I’ve noticed that more .22 LR is showing up at area Walmarts. That too is good.

      1. Bryan Caskey

        It’s good in the context of the fact that .22LR ammo has been virtually impossible to find over the last few years.

      2. Bryan Caskey

        .22LR is a great cartridge for teaching new shooters (or training for any level, really) due to the fact that it’s relatively inexpensive as a cartridge and as a rifle. They also have negligible recoil and noise, which makes them ideal for new shooters. Even expert rifle shooters can benefit from training with a .22.

        If you’re out in a rural area, they’re also a great all-purpose rifle for small game such a rabbits, or for nuisance animals like gophers, groundhogs, or even the occasional raccoon who would raid your trashcan.

        They’re just plain fun to shoot. For me, I love a Henry, but CZ makes nice ones, too.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Don’t get me wrong — most of the shooting I’ve done in my life has been with .22 rifles. Because I enjoy shooting at tin cans (not at squirrels, though).

      I just don’t see them as being ideal for self-defense, if that’s what we’re talking about.

      Suddenly I’m flashing on a passage in Gorky Park. Renko has been searching Kirwill’s hotel room and, finding several odd, inexplicable items, has figured out that they can be combined to form a zip gun, which the NYC cop has successfully smuggled through airport security. Renko has just tested his theory by putting the device together and loading it when Kirwill enters the room.

      Kirwill is this powerful, mesomorphic tough guy, played by Brian Dennehy in the movie (one of the best pieces of casting in the history of film, as the whole time I had read the novel, I was picturing Dennehy).

      Here’s what’s going through Renko’s mind as Kirwill looks at him insolently and menacingly:


      Anyway, that’s how I think of .22s.

      So much of my concept of the world comes from novels I read when I was younger…

      [caption id="attachment_62848" align="alignnone" width="500"]That very scene, from the movie... That very scene, from the movie…[/caption]

  4. Assistant

    The price of ammunition has been going up much faster than the rate of inflation over the past seven years. In 2009 a .40 S&W Remington 180 gr. FMJ round cost about $0.25. That round costs $0.41 today at MidwayUSA and LuckyGunner. 5.56×45 (AR-15) has doubled in price to over $0.50 per round for FMJ. The price of mouse gun ammo (.380 cal) was on a rollercoaster, but has stabilized at around $0.30.

    As ammo prices started rocketing up in 2009 / 10, manufacturers started introducing boatloads of .22LR caliber firearms in all sizes. Some developed conversion kits so that you could replace the barrel and slide on your 1911 and fire .22LR. Ditto with a bolt carrier change for AR-15s. People liked the idea so much and bought so many that the suppliers have not been able to keep up despite running production lines around the clock.

    Part of the problem is that the equipment used for rimfire ammo is significantly different than that used for primer-cased ammo, so existing equipment for other calibers can’t be converted. Recently several manufacturers have announced expansions in .22LR capacity, so the supply may soon catch up to demand.

    Demand has been aggravated by the hoarder mentality, and I suffer from it too. If I see a box or three of .22LR at a fair price, I buy it / them. I now have enough that I might make the time to go plinking.

    Go to any Walmart today and you’ll find large quantities of ammunition in most calibers except for .22LR. Last week in Virginia I did purchase 3 100-round boxes of CCI 36 gr 22 LR for $7.87 each at a Walmart. (I use Brass Badger to check Walmart inventories. You should too!)

    1. Mark Stewart

      It’s all about the hoarding. Which is why manufacturers are loath to get into producing a one-off – they are afraid that will get in just as the party winds down and be stuck with a capital investment with no payback. And so that’s lead to a persistence of the situation beyond what the shortage would have normally been. There is more .22LR ammo in America than would probably be expended during a normal decade or so – it’s just a frozen inventory tucked away out of sight.

      The idea that there is a shortage of ammunition in America is just about the most laughable non sequitur ever.

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