Let’s pretend that you’re driving down the street one day and you see a fight on the side of the road. One of the individuals has a knife, and he begins swinging it at the other, unarmed combatant. You don’t know who is the good guy and who is the bad guy but you know that things can turn ugly rather quickly. As a licensed concealed carry permit holder, you have a firearm on your person. Do you intervene? Do you stop and watch? Or do you just keep on driving?
Nick, a Salt Lake City man who declined to give his last name, was in that exact situation on March 17.
“I was just in my car on North Temple, I saw a guy pull a knife on another guy, a fight ensued, the guy with the knife was swinging it several times at the unarmed person,” Nick told Fox 13.
Nick, a retired police officer, did what he thought was right. He stopped, walked up to the scene, drew his gun, and pointed it at the knife-wielding suspect.
“I told him to lay down on the ground and he stayed there,” said Nick.
Nick then called the police, still holding the man at gunpoint. Meanwhile, several bystanders began to film the incident. Shortly thereafter, several of the witnesses began instructing Nick to lower the weapon.
“He’s not going to do nothing put the gun down, he’s not going to do nothing, put the gun down,” said one witness.
While Nick was on the phone with 911, the pleas continued.
“At this point an accident could happen, he’s on the floor, there’s a bunch of us out here, there’s no need for you to be pointing a gun to a man’s back whose face is on the floor,” said another witness.
However Nick wasn’t about to capitulate to their demands. He was in control of the situation.
“It could have turned out ugly if I didn’t have experience or I didn’t have the training,” said Nick.
He also said that no one else made an attempt to de-escalate the situation or contact authorities.
“Nobody called 911, nobody reported it, they are all worried about getting video so they could be famous or whatever they are,” said Nick.
When Salt Lake City Police arrived, the officers handcuffed the suspect. Upon questioning the suspect, he claimed that he was trying to retrieve a stolen bicycle from the other man. After questioning the alleged thief, he apparently denied any wrongdoing. Both men declined to press charges.
As a result of the incident, police wanted to remind the public that it’s best not to get involved, suggesting as Fox 13 reported, the police need witnesses, not heroes.
“Sometimes people get involved and sometimes we catch people because they get involved but we never suggest that because we don’t like to see people get hurt,” said spokeswoman Robin Heiden with Salt Lake City Police.
But Nick has no regrets about how he responded.
“I see somebody in need of help it’s just the right thing to do, the wrong thing to do would of been to turn my back and have somebody be stabbed because I didn’t do anything,” said Nick.
So, what are your thoughts? Do you think Nick did the right thing? Should he have just kept on driving? Should he have just recorded the incident on his cell phone like the other witnesses?