A Nurse with a Gun

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Update on Dan McKown

Brendan McKown, an assistant manager of the Excalibur Cutlery and Gifts store, was on his way to make a deposit at the time of the shooting at the Tacoma Mall on November 20. Of six people shot, McKown was the most seriously injured, sustaining injuries that have resulted in a bowel resection with a colostomy, and quite possibly paraplegia. Until now, Dan McKown has not spoken, having been in a medically induced coma.

When the shooting started, McKown, an armed CCW holder, said he didn't know who was firing at whom. Therefore, he made a snap decision not to stand up and fire back. McKown stated he briefly drew his gun on Tacoma Mall shooting suspect Dominick S. Maldonado, but he’s not sure Maldonado saw it. “I’m looking at this guy,” McKown said. “He’s a kid. I would have had to shoot him in the head.” So he yelled at the man to drop his weapon, an act that only succeeded in drawing fire. The deranged gunman turned and fired on McKown, striking him, he said, five or six times. The shots blew him back several feet, McKown stated.

"When I changed into another position, I see just the most surreal sight," McKown said from his bed at Tacoma General Hospital in a interview conducted by KOMO/4. "It's a young Arabic looking boy ... with a ball cap on and an AK in his hand," he said, referring to the weapon he thought the shooter was firing, a Kalashnikov rifle.

"So I said, 'Put down the weapon!' " continued McKown. "Obviously, he was faster on the draw than I was........It's a stupid statement, but I have a concealed weapons permit in case some idiot shoots up a mall," said McKown, who added that he likely would return to his job, and may also start doing stand-up comedy again.

McKown on Monday was upgraded to satisfactory condition, said Todd Kelley, a spokesman for Tacoma General. Kelley said McKown might be discharged in the next couple of days to a rehabilitation clinic. McKown said that in the end, he was thankful to be alive. "I'd be lying if I thought I was doing great," he said. "But I sure got off light, all things considered."

So what is there to be learned from Dan McKown's misfortune? Do not expect murderous criminals to obey commands you shout at them. Such a criminal is already disobeying the command of law and words alone will not stop them. If a CCW holder is going to engage such a threat with a handgun, they must maximize their chances by incorporating surprise, speed and accuracy. There is no shame or disgrace in using the ambush. This is life and death stuff, not a Tom Mix Western.


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Anonymous R.J. said...

Dan, one thing you MUST remember is that action beats reaction every time. I know, armchair quarterback and all that, but it's true. I do not fault you for not shooting first, as it is a really tough thing to take another human life, even if that human is on a murderous rampage. However, without cover, you should have either shot first, or not drawn your gun.

May God bless and heal you, and if He does, and if you still choose to carry, consider one of those tactical courses offered by places such as Thunder Ranch.

2:59 PM  
Blogger Firehand said...

Practice, practice. And I include mental exercises. I've spent a lot of time in restaurants and stores thinking "if someone started shooting/stabbing there, what do I do? What's cover? Who's in the way?" It can be a very uncomfortable thing to go over, which is why I think a lot of people don't/won't do it.

Please don't think I'm taking away from McKown, he did the best he could under his circumstances. I just wish he'd shot instead of giving the clown warning.

8:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More details here:


Short version - he drew his gun when he heard the shots, reholstered, saw the shooter, and had trouble grasping the reality of what was happening. He knew the tactical solution (head shot) but lacked the commitment.

I don't blame him a bit. Nonetheless, he's paid dearly for this lesson, and it's there for all of us to learn.

8:31 PM  
Anonymous Windaria said...

OK, here is more information (referring to my reply on the previous posting of this).

Tactical error aside, Dan is an absolute hero and stand-up guy. I have all the respect in the world for him and I hope and pray that he is well soon.

As for firehand... what is it that they say? Have a plan for killing everyone in the room and know at least two exits? Not necessarily the best place to put your mind into, but not a bad one either.

8:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can’t fault the advice given by the others but what if he had shot the Arabic looking kid? The Liberal Media would have declared it was racial and would be after his head. Cameras and microphones draw Liberal rabble-rousers such as Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and others of their ilk like poop draws flies. They would be all over the place. Then, in the ensuing civil litigation if Mr. McKown drew a Liberal judge he very likely would have lost his home, his car and everything else he had worked for all of these years. It would now belong to the punk or his next of kin. Unquestionably, the world would be a better place without the punk but Mr. McKown would pay a heavy price. Perhaps even greater than the price he has paid so far.

3:25 PM  

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