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Man who Stopped Mass Murder in Arkansas found Justified

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Article first appeared on Ammoland.com

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U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- The man who shot and killed Zachary Brian Arnold on 15 May of 2021, in Fort Smith, Arkansas, Wallace A. West, was justified in the shooting, according to Sebastian County Prosecutor Dan Shue.  The incident was covered by AmmoLand previously.

More facts about the incident have been revealed. Wallace fired two shots, not one, as previously assumed. He missed the first shot. It was revealed Arnold had fired 93 shots when he was shot and killed by West. From nwaonline.com:

West, identified in the Police Department news release Wednesday as an off-duty employee of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, woke to the sound of gunshots, Shue wrote. He ran outside and saw Arnold shooting into Hicks’ apartment.

West then grabbed a bolt action rifle, which was scoped and loaded, from his gun cabinet, stepped onto his balcony and fired once at Arnold, missing him because he was “shaking so badly,” according to his witness statement.

Arnold turned and fired several rounds at West.

Arnold went back into his apartment, presumably to reload, and he came back outside, Shue wrote. He began walking down the complex, rifle in hand, according to West. West took a second shot, which struck Arnold in the head and killed him.

The article reports that West was an “off-duty employee of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security”. It is unclear if West was a sworn officer or another employee. The Department of Homeland Security employs a great many people, about 240,000. It is unclear how many are sworn officers, probably less than half.

West was acting as an armed Samaritan when he shot Arnold, who had become mentally unbalanced. Arnold had previously served in Afghanistan and suffered from PTSD. This was a tragedy for both families.

When a sheepdog goes rabid, to use the popular analogy, they have to be put down.

That seems to be the unfortunate case with Arnold. An armed Samaritan was willing to step up and do what was necessary, under fire. We owe Wallace A. West a debt. It is highly likely he stopped more unnecessary killing.

This correspondent prefers the term armed Samaritan to sheepdog because it implies a Christian duty to defend the innocent. An excellent book on the subject was reviewed on AmmoLand in 2017. The moral implications are for all people. In the Samaritan story, the Samaritan was not a Christian. He was not even considered Jewish by the local elites in Jerusalem.

It remains to be seen if the FBI will include this incident as a mass murder stopped by an armed member of the public (citizen engagement, in FBI parlance). There is reason to doubt they will.

Researcher John Lott examined the FBI classification of various active shooter incidents. When Jack Wilson stopped the attacker after two members of the West Freeway Church of Christ were murdered in White Settlement Texas, it was not listed as a case of “citizen engagement” by the FBI.  The FBI claimed this was not “citizen engagement”, because Jack Wilson was a voluntary member of the church security team. Therefore, according to the FBI, it was not “citizen engagement”, but law enforcement/security.

Lott makes the case the FBI has a bias toward minimizing the importance of armed Samaritans in stopping active shooters.


About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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