Oregon Pastor Cited for Shooting at Tires of Robbery Suspect’s Vehicle

Aaron Taylor told police he regretted his decision. (Photo: Aaron Taylor Facebook)

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.

SEE ALSO: Minnesota Man Sentenced to 90 Days in Jail, May Lose 2A Rights After Fatal Shooting of Teen Burglar

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.

SEE ALSO: Guns of the North Hollywood Shootout: Life Imitates Art

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.

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over four years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Waco. Follow him on Instagram @bornforgoodluck and email him at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Will August 3, 2020, 9:58 am

    This guys an idiot!
    The “Pastor” doing the Lord’s work!
    My ass!

    Firing off a round in a busy parking lot is absolutely reckless and definitely not called for.
    Get the description and license plate of the person and vehicle.

    WB-USMC-RET.

  • Frank Gaughan August 3, 2020, 9:50 am

    Never intervene in these incidents. No good deed ever goes unpunished!

  • Dave Williams August 3, 2020, 7:53 am

    I believe the author needs to learn the difference between robbery and theft.

  • Rick August 3, 2020, 5:20 am

    Unfortunately, this is a technicality of the law. I suspect that the officers who cited the pastor did so reluctantly, but were bound by duty to do so. Using a firearm is lethal force; which can generally only be justified when you feel your life is in danger or someone else’s life is in danger. This was a fleeing felon who did not present the requisite danger to legally justify the use of a firearm against him. Even using a firearm to shoot out the tires of a fleeing criminal is considered using lethal force. This is true in most, if not all, states and not just Oregon.

    Now if he had stood in front of the vehicle as the thief was trying to escape, he could have said that he felt his life was in danger from being struck by the fleeing vehicle. I think that would have been enough justification. Regardless, I suspect that the adjudication of this will result in probation and not any real penalty for the pastor; I hope.

  • Will August 3, 2020, 4:38 am

    You know what bugs me the most? This frigging line, attatched to just about every ‘news’ story I read…

    “but did not immediately receive a response”

    Have you ever read a piece where they said “By golly, they picked up the phone before we even dialed!”

    We all know damn well 9 out of 10 times no one ewven bother trying to reach the subject…

    Oh well… Pet peeve petted… 😉 Hope the pastor doesn’t get railed & roaded… 🙂

  • Robert Messmer July 31, 2020, 5:43 pm

    Pastor at Cross Fire Church…..well

    • Jeremy J August 3, 2020, 11:14 am

      Crossfire Ministries lead pastor lol. This couldn’t be any more ironic. I guarantee nobody will shoot that church up or they’ll be met with the wrath of the Lord in the form of gunfire.

  • Greybeard July 31, 2020, 1:03 pm

    My handgun instructor said to just become a GOOD witness.

  • Jim July 31, 2020, 9:46 am

    But, remember…..it happened in OREGON. ‘Nuf said!

  • William Sweeney July 31, 2020, 7:47 am

    Cited, Ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo… LMFAO!

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