The National Rifle Association released a video this week profiling a self-defense shooting involving professional off-road racer BJ Baldwin and his girlfriend, former Glock brand ambassador, Tori Nonaka.
“Two weeks ago, an armed attacker approached me and my girlfriend in this parking lot willing to end our lives,” Baldwin says while standing in the lot where the incident took place. “But he didn’t know, in two seconds I would be ending his.”
The shooting occurred on April 22 in the parking lot of an In-N-Out burger joint in Las Vegas, Nevada. It garnered attention from several local media outlets, but the NRA has seized on it to promote armed self-defense and gun rights ahead of the 2020 election.
“It’s more important now than ever to join the fight to preserve our rights,” Baldwin says at the video’s conclusion. “So we can ensure the safety of ourselves, the safety of our families, and preserve the right to do so.”
New details have emerged in the case since GunsAmerica covered the incident on April 29.
Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson told the Las Vegas Journal Review that Baldwin’s actions were “a clear case of self-defense.”
According to a police report obtained by the Journal Review, two men, Joseph Smith, 43, and his brother, Kevin Smith, 40, approached Baldwin and Nonaka while the two stood near their car.
“(Kevin) Smith said Joseph walked up to them, pulled his gun out, pointed it at the female and smiled as he began shooting at the male,” the report said. “Kevin stated Joseph was the first to fire his weapon.”
In the NRA video, Baldwin adds that Joseph Smith approached Nonaka first and shot his first two rounds at her.
“As Joseph Smith got closer, he turned his firearm toward Baldwin,” the report said. “When Joseph Smith turned his pistol toward Baldwin, Baldwin drew his 9 mm semiautomatic pistol from a holster on his waist and stepped north, taking cover behind a trash can.”
Baldwin’s account is slightly different on this point. He says that he didn’t pull out his firearm until Joseph Smith turned his firearm away from Baldwin and point it at Nonaka.
Police said Joseph Smith fired seven times at Baldwin, and Baldwin fired 11 times at Smith (contrary to the NRA’s video, which claims Baldwin landed all 10 shots). Baldwin wasn’t sure who shot first, but he did claim he never shot at Kevin Smith, who was unarmed.
Joseph Smith died at the scene.
Kevin Smith told police that he and his brother did not know the couple.
“Kevin told detectives the white male shot in self-defense and should not be charged,” police said.
GunsAmerica reached out to Baldwin and Nonaka but has not received a response.
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According to the report, Kevin Smith told police that his brother had been upset after failing to purchase a gun at a nearby store. It’s unclear why that incident precipitated the attempted murder.
“Kevin had a feeling Joseph was going to do something stupid, but denied knowing what,” the report said.
Meanwhile, Baldwin and Nonaka fled the scene to the home of Baldwin’s father, Bobby Baldwin, chairman and CEO of Drew Las Vegas, a Strip resort set to open in 2022.
Police said that Nonoka tried to call 911 while they were in the car, but hung up after saying, “we were just in a.” When they reached Bobby Baldwin’s house, the couple called an attorney, who called the police, according to the report.
Kevin Smith was eventually arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit robbery, attempted robbery and assault with a deadly weapon, according to the Journal Review.
GunsAmerica requested a copy of the official police report but were denied that request because the case is still “open.”