While mass shootings typically receive extensive media coverage, incidents in which armed citizens prevent them tend to get less coverage.
According to West Virginia’s Eyewitness News, one such example played out this week after a woman used her legally carried weapon to stop a gunman.
The shooter had an extensive criminal history
Authorities say Dennis Butler began firing at a crowd of people who were attending a graduation party outside of a Charleston apartment complex on Wednesday. While Butler was shot and later died of his wounds, none of the partygoers were injured.
The armed woman has not been charged and Charleston Police Department Chief of Detectives Tony Hazelett offered words of praise for her
“Instead of running from the threat, she engaged with the threat and saved several lives last night,” Eyewitness News quoted Hazelett as saying.
The news outlet also reported that Butler had an extensive criminal history and was legally barred from possessing a weapon.
In addition to having previously been charged with shooting a woman in the face, he was wanted on a charge of transferring and receiving stolen goods at the time of his death.
Armed citizens have prevented tragedies
This was far from being the first time that a legally armed citizen halted a mass shooting, as similar examples can be found across the country.
Dallas News reported in 2017 that a man who was armed with two guns and two knives stormed an Arlington, Texas was shot by a patron after he had killed one person.
Law enforcement officers hailed the patron as “a hero,” and pointed out that he “had the capacity to do much greater harm.”
Meanwhile, an armed Alabama McDonald’s customer was also called “a hero” the following year when employees credited him with preventing a massacre at a fast-food restaurant.
Also in 2018, police in Titusville, Florida credited a man with stopping a shooting at a back-to-school event. Deputy Chief Todd Hutchinson told WFTV 9, “We are extremely grateful that nobody else was injured in this incident. This suspect opened fire at a crowded public park, this could have been so much worse.”