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Self Defense in Texas: 22LR Single Shot Beats AR15 & .40 Cal

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Article first appeared at Ammoland.com

Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- The gunfight happened in the early morning hours of 17 August 2018. The location was 867 Bootlegger Lane in Yoakum, Texas.  Yoakum is a small town in Texas, about halfway between San Antonio and Houston.

There was “bad blood” between Dakota Wayne Kirkman, 19, and Manuel Martinez III, 36.  The men lived about 22 miles apart. Yoakum is in DeWitt County, Texas. Kirkman and his girlfriend lived in Hallettsville in Lavaca County, Texas.

Dakota did not want his live-in girlfriend to hang around Martinez and his wife. His girlfriend, Martinez, and Martinez’ wife were at Martinez’ house when Kirkman came to bring his girlfriend home.  Kirkman arrived in his truck. He had a single-shot .22 rifle and one cartridge, loaded in the chamber.

Kirkman and Martinez got into a verbal altercation. The Sheriff reported that alcohol was involved.

The altercation escalated into a gunfight. Cartridge cases found at the scene indicated that Martinez fired 15 shots from an AR15 type rifle and 12 shots from a .40 caliber pistol.

Most of the action seems to have happened while Kirkman was in or around his truck. 13 bullet holes were found in the truck. 11 of the bullet holes were from  .223 cartridges. Two of the bullet holes were from a .40 caliber pistol.

Kirkman is recorded as firing one shot from his single shot .22 caliber rifle. The shot struck Martinez in the chest, killing him.

Law enforcement was called at 2:43 a.m.  From cuerorecord.com:

When law enforcement made it to the location, a man was found lying in the front yard with an apparent gunshot wound. The initial investigation indicated an ongoing tension between the deceased and the alleged shooter. The murder weapon was a .22 rifle.

DeWitt County Justice of the Peace, Pct. 1, Peggy Mayer was called at 3:08 a.m. and later announced Martinez dead at the scene.

“This is a tragic loss of life, and our hearts go out to Martinez’s family,” DeWitt County Sheriff Carl Bowen said in a press release.

According to Bowen, there was an altercation and an exchange of gunfire between two men. Kirkman left the location on Bootlegger Lane with his girlfriend and ended up at their home at 32 Private Road 4006 in Hallettsville.

Kirkman was taken into custody without incident.

Dakota Kirkman was held at the DeWitt County jail for 55 days. Bail was set at $500,000.

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On October 11, 2018, the grand jury found Kirkman to have been justified by reason of self-defense. From victoriaadvocate.com:

Investigators documented 11 bullet holes made by a .223-caliber rifle and two from a .40-caliber pistol. An AR-15 and .40-caliber pistol were found near Martinez’s body along with 15 rifle and 12 pistol casings. One of the bullets passed through the truck’s frame near the driver’s seat belt fastener, said Lassmann, who added if Kirkman had not been crouching in his seat, he likely would have been shot.

“(Kirkman) must have been scared to death,” Lassmann said.

The number of bullets fired by Martinez stood in stark contrast to the single, fatal shot from Kirkman’s antique, bolt-action .22-caliber rifle. Additionally, evidence showed Kirkman went to the home on Bootlegger Lane with only a single round chambered in his rifle and no other ammo in his vehicle.

That contrast further emphasized the likelihood that Kirkman acted in self-defense, Lassmann said.

Investigators documented 11 bullet holes made by a .223-caliber rifle and two from a .40-caliber pistol. An AR-15 and .40-caliber pistol were found near Martinez’s body along with 15 rifle and 12 pistol casings.
Investigators documented 11 bullet holes made by a .223-caliber rifle and two from a .40-caliber pistol. An AR-15 and .40-caliber pistol were found near Martinez’s body along with 15 rifle and 12 pistol casings.

There is a great deal about this story we do not know, and may never know.

  • Did Dakota shoot from inside of the truck, or did he take cover outside of the truck?
  • What were the lighting conditions?
  • How impaired with alcohol or drugs were the participants? While the Sheriff says alcohol was involved, at least one commenter at the Victoria Advocate claimed that alcohol was not involved.
  • How far apart were the adversaries?

It has been reported the women involved were inside while the gunfight occurred outside.  The only surviving eyewitness to the events appears to be Dakota Wayne Kirkman.

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There are lessons to be learned from this incident.

First, avoid confrontation if possible. While Dakota Wayne Kirkman survived, the odds are he wished it could have been avoided.

Second, any gun can be deadly in a gunfight. Do not disparage the .22 rimfire. Every game animal on earth, including elephants, has been killed with .22 rimfires.  Many, many humans have been killed with .22 rimfires.

Third, if possible to do safely, stay at the scene of a shooting until the authorities arrive. Leaving the scene may be taken as an admission of guilt. If you cannot stay safely, contact the authorities as soon as possible.

Fourth, an arrest for murder does not mean a murder was committed. The grand jury found this to be a clear case of self-defense.

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 recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30-year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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