A Nurse with a Gun

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Don't Yank Her Chain!

NEW YORK (AP) -- Margaret Johnson might have looked like an easy target. But when a mugger tried to grab a chain off her neck Friday, the wheelchair-bound 56-year-old pulled out her licensed .357 pistol and shot him, police said.

Johnson said she was in Manhattan's Harlem neighborhood on her way to a shooting range when the man, identified by police as 45-year-old Deron Johnson, came up from behind and went for the chain. "There's not much to it," she said in a brief interview. "Somebody tried to mug me, and I shot him."

Deron Johnson was taken to Harlem Hospital with a single bullet wound in the elbow, police said. He faces a robbery charge, said Lt. John Grimpel, a police spokesman. Margaret Johnson, who lives in Harlem, has a permit for the weapon and does not face charges, Grimpel said. She also was taken to the hospital with minor injuries and later released.


More, from the New York Times:
As muggings go, it began like many others. A 56-year-old woman was leaving her building in her wheelchair, her only company the small dog perched on her lap. Her attacker came from behind, the police said, and there was no one else around. But this attempted robbery had an ending unlike many others. As it turns out, the would-be victim, Margaret Johnson, has a permit to carry a .357 handgun — and she carries it often.

The mugging ended seconds after it began, the police said, when Ms. Johnson pulled out her gun and shot her attacker in his arm. Last night, the man accused of the attempted mugging, Deron Johnson, 45, was in stable condition at Harlem Hospital Center with a gunshot wound to his elbow, the police said. He was under protective custody and is facing a robbery charge, the police said.

Ms. Johnson, who was treated at a local hospital and later released, said she suffered bruises to her neck and arm. “I’m tired, I’m really tired,” she said as she sat in her apartment last night, wearing a tan baseball cap and appearing rattled. “He tried to mug me, so I shot him.”

Friends and neighbors said they were not shocked to learn that the woman known to scoot around her building with her small dog had held her ground. Tio Frederick, 26, a lawyer and neighbor who has known Ms. Johnson for 20 years, called her amicable but tough and spunky. “I wouldn’t assume that if she got mugged she would let someone just take her stuff,” she said. The encounter began about 3 p.m. on a sidewalk behind 470 Lenox Avenue in Harlem, the building where Ms. Johnson has lived for more than 20 years. The building has a doorman and many of its residents are professionals, but neighbors have recently complained about robberies.

Yesterday, as is often the case, friends said, Ms. Johnson had her small bichon with her, and was going to a nearby firing range. As she rolled out of the building, a man approached, and Ms. Johnson tried to say hello, said Lynell Bunce, 40, a friend who spoke with Ms. Johnson afterward. “She found him walking by, and she was going to say, ‘Good afternoon,’ ” Ms. Bunce said.

Instead of returning the greeting, the man looked away and walked past her without saying a word, Ms. Bunce said. Seconds later, Ms. Johnson felt an arm grab her violently from behind, tearing at her pocketbook and her necklace. The man managed to get the necklace, but Ms. Johnson refused to let go of her pocketbook, the police said. As the man choked her and struggled with her, Ms. Johnson pulled out her gun and fired a single shot.

The police said that Ms. Johnson did not have a criminal record and was not facing any charges. The permit she has for her gun allows her to have it in her home and to transport it to a range, which is what she was doing, they said. The man accused of attacking her, Mr. Johnson (no relation), was described by the authorities as a “robbery recidivist,’’ with nine previous arrests. He spent several years in prison for criminal sale of a controlled substance, and he was released in February 2003, according to Department of Correction Records.

Last night, Ms. Johnson was in no mood to celebrate what she did, friends said. Ms. Bunce, a longtime neighbor, said Ms. Johnson was frightened and threatened never to walk her dog again. “She was very much the victim,” Ms. Bunce said. “She was scared for her life. She’s devastated.”

Thank you for your service Mrs. Johnson.



Blogger Cowtown Keith said...

The New York State NRA affiliate should leverage this incident to push for expanded concealed carry rights in their state. Lord knows the folks in Harlem could use it.

11:27 AM  
Blogger alpineman said...

Wow -- I didn't really think anyone in NY actually carried anymore!

I'm just waiting for NY to try & claim a wheelchair-bound woman had a "duty to retreat".

3:40 PM  
Blogger Keith Walker said...

I love it! I think what is great about this story is that part of his punishment is living with the fact that he was shot by a Granda-ma in a wheel chair. I can only imagine the crap he is going to have to take for that in prison.

10:58 PM  

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