A nation’s future is in jeopardy when its citizens cannot decide who is a hero and who is a villain. Such is the case for the 22-year-old man who stopped a mass shooting at an Indiana mall over the weekend.
The shooting occurred on Sunday at a mall in Greenwood, a suburb of Indianapolis. Elisjsha Dicken was shopping at the mall with his girlfriend at the time of the shooting.
When Dicken heard gunfire, he drew his 9mm handgun and approached the shooter. The assailant, Jonathan Sapirman, who was armed with an AR-15 rifle, fired 24 rounds in seconds, killing three shoppers and wounding others.
Dicken motioned for bystanders to move to cover while firing multiple shots with his handgun. Dicken killed the shooter within two minutes of the assailant’s first shot, and well before security could respond.
The New York Post noted that Greenwood Mayor Mark W. Myers commended Dicken saying:
“We’re very thankful for a young 22-year-old man who stopped this violent act,” he said. “This young man, Greenwood’s good Samaritan, acted within seconds, stopping the shooter and saving countless lives.” Dicken “likely saved countless others from being gunned down.”
At a press conference, Greenwood Police Chief Jim Ison said Dicken “engaged the gunman from quite a distance with a handgun, was very proficient in that, very tactically sound, and as he moved to close in on the suspect he was also motioning for people to exit behind him.”
The Indy Star noted Police Chief Ison saying, “I will say his actions were nothing short of heroic.”
But anti-gun rights groups have been deeply critical of Dicken, noting that he should not have had a gun, that he should not have killed the shooter and that he should not be called a “Good Samaritan,” as has been the case on multiple social media platforms.
Justin Kollar, a CBS channel 4 traffic anchor, lamented: “The term, ‘Good Samaritan’ came from a Bible passage of a man from Samaria who stopped on the side of the road to help a man who was injured and ignored. I cannot believe we live in a world where the term can equally apply to someone killing someone… my God.”
Moms Demand Action Founder Shannon Watts wrote in a now-deleted Twitter post:
“I don’t know who needs to hear this but when a 22-year-old illegally brings a loaded gun into a mall and kills a mass shooter armed with an AR-15 after he already killed three people and wounded others is not a ringing endorsement of our implementation of the Second Amendment.”
Comedian John Fugelsang said in another deleted tweet: “The Good Samaritan did not shoot anyone. Jesus was not a fan of killing for any reason, including self-defense. But if these ammosexuals had ever read the Bible, they couldn’t support the GOP or NRA.”
According to Newsweek, Dicken was carrying his Glock legally. He did not have a permit, “but per Indiana constitutional carry law effective July 1, he did not require one.”
Dicken’s attorney, Guy Relford, noted that though Greenwood Park Mall has a no-gun policy, he does not believe this creates legal challenges for his client. “He checks all those boxes as perfectly as he possibly could.”
The mall’s guideline, noted Relford, “certainly has no effect whatsoever on his [client’s] ability to use force to defend himself or to defend the other people in the mall, Relford said, IndyStar reported.
Newsweek reported that Relford refers to Dicken as “a true American hero who saved countless lives during a horrific event that could have been so much worse if not for Eli’s courage, preparedness and willingness to protect others.”
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