A pastor in Eugene, Or., was cited by local police for his role in a July 7 incident in which he shot at the tires of a car driven by a robbery suspect.
Crossfire Ministries lead pastor Aaron Taylor confronted 44-year-old Ramiro Mata in a Lowe’s parking lot after learning that Mata had stolen merchandise from the store, according to local media.
Police documents indicate that Mata stole $1,385 in merchandise, including a power washer and an air conditioning unit.
After confirming that Mata had stolen the merchandise, Taylor attempted to stop Mata by grabbing his arm. But Mata got away and got into a van. Taylor shot one round at the van’s tires, but Mata was able to drive out of the parking lot.
Taylor told police that he regretted firing his handgun at the getaway car, but that he was tired of people getting away with stealing. Police didn’t find his justification convincing, apparently—Taylor was cited for reckless endangerment.
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Mata, who has had multiple criminal charges dating back to 2013, was apprehended about 18 miles away from where the incident took place. He was charged with first-degree theft.
Taylor is a longtime pastor of Crossfire World Outreach Ministries and owner of Factory Fireworks Outlet, a statewide fireworks retailer.
He posted a cryptic message on Facebook the day after the media report of the incident. While it’s unclear precisely what he’s referencing, he appears to be casting doubt on the media account as it appears in KEZI 9 News.
“Not sure if it’s fake news or they just don’t know or tell the whole story,” he says. “Sometime your good gets spoken evil of.”
GunsAmerica reached out to Taylor but did not immediately receive a response.
Shooting the tires of a getaway vehicle is a common Hollywood stunt and theoretically could be successful in some circumstances.
But as a matter of law and common sense, it’s a terrible idea. Legally speaking, many jurisdictions only allow private citizens to present firearms if they are in fear of death or seriously bodily injury. Based on the media reports thus far, it does not appear that Mata threatened Taylor with any physical violence, whether before or after he began driving his vehicle. Shooting at a fleeing robbery suspect is almost always grounds for some kind of criminal charge.
Firing at a rapidly moving rubber wheel also presents serious safety concerns, both for the concealed carry holder and bystanders. Bullet trajectory can be unpredictable, and a ricocheting projectile (or piece of a projectile) could easily injure anyone standing around the vehicle—even assuming a shot could be placed on the tire.
Taylor isn’t the first concealed carry holder to attempt the stunt. In 2015, a woman was charged with a misdemeanor after firing at the tires of a fleeing robbery suspect at a Michigan Home Depot.
After that incident, police advised that taking pictures of the suspect’s license plate would be more helpful.