Police Shoot Texas Man Who Disarmed Potential Mass Murderer

Tony Garces (Photo: ABC7Amarillo)

Tony Garces got more than he bargained for when he walked into the Faith City Mission last month in Amarillo, Texas.

The same day a degenerate in Parkland, Florida, killed 17 students and teachers, another gunman tried to take hostage over 100 people in the mission’s chapel.

Garces managed to wrestle the firearm away from the suspect, but a short time later was shot twice by police: once in the back and once in the lung.

He survived the encounter but returned to the hospital last week to be treated for a blood clot in his lung, according to NBC News.

Some take Garces’ experience as evidence against arming teachers in schools, a proposal currently endorsed by President Trump.

“If this proves anything, it proves that when a situation is that tense and you’ve got officers trained to shoot first, and have been told by the law to shoot first if you’re remotely threatened, they’re going to feel threatened when they see a teacher with a gun,” said Jeff Blackburn, Garces’s lawyer.

“When you have officers who are ready to use lethal force they’re going to use it.”

But a closer look at the incident reveals that Garces’ actions, though brave, weren’t the most cautious.

Garces told NBC that the suspect entered the church and told the attendees he wanted to hold them hostage for several days. He ordered a woman to zip-tie Garces’ hands, but the woman left one of the ties loose.

SEE ALSO: George Clooney Donates $500K to Gun Control March on Washington

When a few other people lunged towards the gunman, Garces went after his weapon.

“As soon as I moved, he pulled the trigger,” Garces said. “It hit the wall.”

Garces disarmed the suspect, but instead of placing the gun out of reach, he took the handgun with him as he fled through a side door.

He was carrying the gun upside down with both hands when he encountered a police officer, who ordered Garces to drop the weapon.

“I started bending down to put it on the ground,” Garces said. “I didn’t want to drop it. It would go off. That’s when he shot me.”

Garces did not explain why he fled the chapel even after the suspect had been subdued or why he decided to take the gun with him.

That suspect, identified in a separate statement as Joshua Len Jones, 35, was booked on six charges of aggravated kidnapping.

The Amarillo Police Department has admitted to the incident but has not said why the officer pulled the trigger.

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.

{ 56 comments… add one }
  • Billy M March 23, 2020, 9:15 am

    Contrary to Graces’ lawyer, the training of teachers INCLUDES what to do with your weapon and HOW to interact with the responding police. Mr. Graces made several mistakes. The first was taking the weapon and running. As a responding LEO, armed with all the information about a situation (I say that quite tongue-in-cheek because we all know we don’t get all the info), he rolls up on a call of an armed individual, someone comes running out of the location with a gun, possibly pointed at them and then moves erratically, yeah, they will probably get shot. Mr. Graces if fortunate that the responding officer wasn’t a good shot.

  • Willie-O April 22, 2019, 12:38 pm

    Never read as many anti-LE comments on this site. Are all cops great at their jobs ? Hell no. Are all cops even decent human beings ? Again, hell no. That said, most are. For all you geniuses that simply can’t understand how someone gets shot in the back – 1st shot causes perp to turn/spin and 2nd shot enters from the rear. Plain enough or maybe you need a power-point presentation. Hell, some of you would have a hard time with a stick-figure drawing. It’s real easy to second guess what someone did AFTER the fact – you weren’t there. I’d be willing to bet that most of you cop-haters would be the 1st to call them if you were about to get your ass kicked by the local Girl Scout that wanted her cookie money. Sure, there are some bad cops out there. Probably more today than ever because of pricks ready to crucify them 1st and determine what happened later – who the hell would want to be a cop today ? Sure as hell not me and ALOT of these comments and the pricks behind them are why.

    • Robert Bradley August 9, 2019, 11:51 am

      How effin stupid are you? You condemn the “criticize first and ask questions later” attitude by John Q towards Leo’s and then ignore the ‘shoot first and ask questions later tactic the police use. LET ME SEE: CRITICIZE SOMEONE OR SHOOT THEM??? YEAH, IM PRETTY SURE BEING SHOT IS NOT ON ANYONE’S TO-DO LIST.

    • R. King March 23, 2020, 7:54 am

      First I want to say, thanks to all police and fire fighters for your service! It’s a thankless job now days. When growing up we, my brothers and I were raised to respect the police, yes sir, and no sir when questioned, Now days they get cursed at disrespected and all while putting them self’s in harm’s way to protect us. So I would imagine some officers get a damned if I do and damned if I don’t attitude. Most police are excellent at their jobs, and do care. Thanks again for your service!

  • Robert Dearborn December 29, 2018, 2:17 am

    Well first off that’s the problem with today’s LEO’s… They almost always shoot first… Why we even bother teaching them the application of deadly force anymore in the acadamy is pointless when I graduated the acadamy and worked with the publuc, I knew I was to the least amount of force to gain controle of the situation. Being a combat veteran also gave me knowledge to be a good judge of character on physical body language/ intent. This is what is missing in today’s police. We have these pimple faced kuds who got bullied yet revived thier participation rewards in high school who are hell bent on being Johnny Law ” You will Obey my orders”… Rather than remembering they are sworn Public SERVANTS. A call of a hostage situation is going to drive up the emotions but cops are supposed to be able to keep calm and make rational descision. An order of ” Place the gun on the ground” while positioning your body out of dire t line of fire is #1. #2 is recognizing the guy had the gun upside down and no fingers in the trigger guard.#3 the suspect/ teacher was following orders by getting on the ground. This entire incident could have been handled without a single shot fired only if we hired qualified police who were more interested in being a publuc servant rather than playing John McClain…

    • Johnny Tax payer February 27, 2019, 2:01 pm

      Hear hear!

  • Nick M May 25, 2018, 11:11 am

    “Some take Garces’ experience as evidence against arming teachers in schools, a proposal currently endorsed by President Trump.”

    No, it shows many in law enforcement should not be in law enforcement. Take me for example. I don’t have the temperament. I see people acting out and think they should be pistol whipped. I am in fact wrong.

  • Eric March 13, 2018, 8:45 pm

    Why hasn’t anyone commented on the “brave hero” running away from the scene of the crime w/ gun in hand? If the cop shot him and he truly was trying to cooperate, that’s definitely on the cop. But one has to ask the questions, “Why did he take the gun and run? And what was he running from?”
    If I was a cop (or anyone with a gun), and knowing what just went down inside, I’d be highly suspicious of anyone running out the back door with a gun in his hand, all by himself. Even nervous.

    Why didn’t he hold the guy under aim while someone called the cops, explained the situation, the wait for their response? He would be potentially protecting the people, if the man had an accomplice, and certainly keeping himself from attracting suspicion.

    Sounds kinda like this guy was used to hiding/running from the cops with his impulse reaction. That makes me suspect him, too.

    • Jake March 19, 2018, 2:03 am

      Your a holster sniffing badge bunny asshat.
      LEO shoots American citizen (hero in this case) and some how dumb fukcs like you still argue the blamelessness of law enforcement.
      LEO’s are pond scum just look at the “bravery” demonstrated when a kid decides to kill 17 children… they stand outside guns drawn Incase the danger comes towards them but nobody even try’s to help the children…. oh aye then the sheriff blames the NRA….
      law enforcement has no accountability…. not your local scum bag cop not his boss the the chief he’ll not even the FBI every body treats a badge as a get out of jail free card and it’s a real issue in this country.

      • Johnny February 27, 2019, 2:04 pm

        Finally someone is making sense. This needs to be repeated across the country.

  • Marvin March 10, 2018, 8:32 am

    Anecdotally, it seems the shooter in these mass casualty events either runs or commits suicide when LE arrives and shoots, the shooter’s priorities change. If my scenario is correct, an armed citizen confronting the perp should trigger (yeah, I get it) the same perp reaction. I don’t recall running gun battles between the perp and LE. Thoughts?

  • Richard Escareno March 10, 2018, 12:50 am

    Unfortunately, bad incidents happen in the heat of the moment. If your instructed to drop the weapon then drop it as instructed. The officer was not threatened if the muzzle is pointing down as the story indicates. Why he shot is to be investigated. I’m glad this innocent man didn’t die for his heroic actions.

    • Jake March 19, 2018, 2:05 am

      It’s cuz cops are scum bags that kill American citizens… generally by shooting in the back. It’s safer for the officers to shoot people in the back you see…

  • Sly March 10, 2018, 12:05 am

    This is actually what will happen when you arm teachers, when Law Enforcement arrive on the scene, they will not know who the bad guy is, they will shoot the man holding the gun. If not the teacher will have to assume the position until the Police determine who the bad guy is. face in the dirt, hand cuffs , produce Id and Gun permit and so on. This is the best example you can get, this Media report is for all that want to arm Teachers

    • Ryan March 10, 2018, 5:04 pm

      If teachers are allowed to carry training will change and I’d imagine the teachers will be instructed to disarm or holster up once LE is in the area.

    • Raymond Phillips September 13, 2019, 7:09 am

      Law enforcement train at schools for these situations. The protocol for most schools wanting to arm teachers, is to train with police, therefore officers would know teachers who are armed. Additionally police would do back ground checks and have photos of armed teachers. I guess the anti armed teachers crowd would prefer the gunman shoot 30-40 students & teachers than chance a teacher getting shot by a cop. How else are they going to get blood soaked headlines to sell stories and their socialist agenda.

  • Ben March 9, 2018, 8:55 pm

    The cops are so afraid that most shoots on site! They are tough that shoot first and ask questions second!! You would think that would change by now. They could help there self if they act a little different when things happen.

    • bobh March 10, 2018, 4:30 pm

      Ben- According to the USDOJ/BJS statistics there were approximately 13 million total arrests in the US in 2010, the latest year I found stats for in a quick Google search. Just over 1.7 million of those were for violent crime. If as you say, “cops are so afraid that most shoots on site!”, one would expect at least 10% or 170,000 of those violent criminals would have been shot by police. In fact the number of violent criminals fatally shot by police that year was roughly 300 so even if 99% of those shot by police survived their wounds police would have shot just 3000 violent criminals that year.
      I suggest you actually inform yourself of the facts before reaching any conclusions. You might also learn some basic grammar and spelling.

  • Hesse March 9, 2018, 7:31 pm

    It says he was shot twice. Once in the lung and once in the ” back”
    Why was he shot in the back.

    • bobh March 10, 2018, 4:31 pm

      You’ve never shot at a moving target, have you?

      • Bill the Cat March 12, 2018, 5:51 pm

        according to his statement he wasn’t moving, except to bend down

  • CJ March 9, 2018, 4:31 pm

    Did this happen before or after the Florida shooting? If after, then a similar situation as Florida would guarantee the police are going to shoot first and ask questions later, whether the shooting was justified or not, I’m finding the whole monday morning quarterbacking a bit hard to swallow. The cops catch hell if they aren’t acting aggressively, or if they are acting too aggressive. Real life has nothing to do with Goldilocks. They should have done that or they should have done this, all from people that would be lost without their cell phones. Mistakes were made by everyone involved. Learn from them and move on.

    • Tim March 10, 2018, 3:49 am

      I’ve been in a combat zone where everyone and anyone has the potential to kill you. I lived daily on high alert for being ambushed. Potential threats would come and go, and I had to decide whether or not to shoot before being shot. There are three things required for using deadly force, whether you are military or police. It is taught to both as a matter of routine.
      1. Does the person(s) have the means (a gun, bomb, knufe, vehicle, etc.) to cause serious bodily harm or death?
      2. Does the person(s) have the opportunity to cause serious bodily harm or death? (are they in reasonable proximity)
      3. Does the person(s) have the intent to commit serious bodily harm or death? (are they just walking along with a gun or are they pointing it at you or verbally stating they intend to use it?
      If anyone of these three criteria are absent, use of deadly force is not authorized.
      In my time in a war zone, I had to use the highest scrutiny, as did every other military person. Why are cops so friggin’ trigger happy? The guy in this incident, as reported, did not demonstrate intent to use the gun. He had the weapon, and was in proximity, but he was holding the gun upside down and attempting to place it on the ground. The police officer needs to be punished for his actions, or at least suspended and retrained.
      It really irks me when people say, “well, put yourself in the officers shoes. It’s a tough job.” Well, after 20 years of active duty military and some time as a state corrections officer, I am certain that I am qualified to say that too many cops are poorly trained and getting a pass for their mistakes, even the deadly ones.

  • Leonard Feinman March 9, 2018, 4:31 pm

    Friendly fire will kill you just as dead as enemy fire. Police will train on a Hogan’s Alley to improve their shoot/no shoot skills. But the police officer that shot Garces was not in danger from him, and he apparently never was given the chance to put his gun down. It was not pointed or held in a threatening manner.
    Police make mistakes too.

  • Dave Brown March 9, 2018, 2:16 pm

    I have been saying for years that we need to start training cops like we did 50 years ago. Of course some will say that won’t work as the world is different now. To that I would say Give Me the same rights to shoot that a Cop has. Only difference is I would not shoot until I saw the weapon and it would have to be swinging my way. Easy to say, easy to do if your human enough.

  • Mike Watkins March 9, 2018, 1:54 pm

    Lot of cops are in fear for their own lives, which is logical and understandable, but leads to this kind of thing.

    Of course, this Garces guy that disarmed the hostage-taker, he was a bit stupid too.

    • Jake March 19, 2018, 2:13 am

      lots of cops should be flipping burgers rather then given the power to kill Americans with impunity.
      You holster sniffer

      • Robert Dearborn December 29, 2018, 2:41 am

        I agree… The ” Use of Force” training seems like it has faded away over the years. Used to be that you used the least amount of force needed to gain controle of the situation… Now its shoot first and ” blue protects blue”.. Or how bout this that is CURRENTLY TAUGHT IN TGE ACADAMY” ( Position your body in front of your dash cam and in a loud firm voice give the command to ” stop resisting”.. Continue to shout this over and over as you approach the poor SOB who broke the unsaid law of POP, A.K.A. Piss Off the Police, as you have your baton our help, give them a good spray to the face before the ass beating for making you get out of your car)……. I BS you not! This kind of ignorant abuse is taught to today’s pimple faced punks with a licence to murder and we wonder why cops killing Innocent unarmed Americans is up over 400% in the past 10 years. Not to get all political but you can thank Obama and his band of anti police left wingers who felt it OK to go after the police as this defiantly added to this problem. I remember the local homeless man in I want to say Wyoming… Everyone knew him and knew he suffered from mental health issues. More than 24 police officers responded to a call that the homelessan was up a dirt hill on public land sleeping in his tent. When the first unit if POS cops showed up, tgey figured to have some fun so the called all thier brothers & sisters in blue to join in on what would be known as one of the most outrageous police murders that cops ever got away with. 26 cops….26!!!!! This homeless man had a take and was ordered to put it down and in his mental capacity that was said to be that of a 3 year old, he didn’t comprehend so guess what? It of the 26 cops, not a single one of these ” trained professionals” knew how to de-escalate the situation nor did a single cop know how to handle the situation with non lethal force….. Folks, this poor guy was shot over 57 times!!!!!! The local news tried claiming it was 42 times but the autopsy report that I personally read along with the reports from the 16 cops who ” all felt thier life was in immediate danger” by a man known to have the mind of a 3 year old and homeless… Not 1 cop could…… You know what? Every cop who put a round in that man should have been executed on live TV in the electric chair with no hood, no tape over the eyes. Let that serve as a warning to these POS unqualified idiots who feel war stories before shift report is more important than actually serving your community and making a differance.

  • Louis Zemek Sr. March 9, 2018, 1:53 pm

    What a bunch of Monday morning quarterbacks!! Apparently you were all present at this shooting and have first hand knowledge of what happened. And, how do you know what kind of training a police officer receives? Have you been through the training? Have you visited a training acadamy?
    One mindless idiot decries police training and the rest of you ignorant minions go along. Get your facts together before you become expert in police training.

    • Robert Dearborn December 29, 2018, 2:20 am

      Ah yes, I do have the training, yes I have Unfortionatly been in very similar and active shooter incidents in life and yes, police in this generation, I hate to say this but they are sub standard compared to 30 years ago.

  • Pat j March 9, 2018, 12:16 pm

    Pension first, shoot first. Today’s cop is a late-on-scene hysterical killer.

  • Michael Byfield March 9, 2018, 11:11 am

    It looks like we need to work on police too they are getting out of control with their trigger fingers. I dont care what anyone says its unacceptable period!! Everyone talks and acts like it just ok and normal for cops to be trained to kill, last time i checked they are peace keepers not assassin’s. It is not ok to shoot innocent people. Shooting up schools is not ok and neither is shooting innocent people when you are a peace keeper something needs to be done there are people out there who carry guns or would rather take down the criminal before the police get there and they have to be worried about being shot by their own police, this is not ok!

    • skipNclair March 9, 2018, 11:57 am

      They are no longer called peace officers, they are no longer there to protect the public as the supreme court has ruled so. They are now called police and they are paid by us, but protect the establishment. In the good ole days most police never drew their weapons and would take a bullet for one of us, these guys today are pussies compared to real cops of the old days. Today its shoot first ask questions later, and lie your way through the whole investigation along with your superiors helping you, they testa lie in court, and the people fear finding them guilty thinking if they do, they will come and get them one night. How sad that the people of today fear the cops, for that means they live in a police state, In the old days cops were looked up to and respected, these cops today are not respected, and if you don’t show it they make an example of you. The cops today would not make a bad pimple on a good cops ass from the old days.

      • Topol March 9, 2018, 10:31 pm

        Well said. I completely agree with you. Modern police are complete jokes, acting like complete bullies when they have every advantage on their side and sniveling cowards whenever their might be some risk.
        Police today seem to believe that they have some inherent right to eliminate all threat, while refusing to involve themselves in any situation where they cannot do so.

        • Jake March 19, 2018, 2:18 am

          Keep posting. This is truth.

      • Jake March 19, 2018, 2:17 am

        Spot on, sir . Cops kill citizens..

  • r risler March 9, 2018, 9:38 am

    as a retired old worn out copper it sure appears the shooting officer was quick on the trigger finger. The employing agency insurance company will settle this pretty quickly and the victim will be a millionaire. But, remember we hire officers from the human race, and they make mistakes in judgement everyday. That is why you have to rely on yourself for survival . I very, very seldom arrived at a crime scene before it was over in my 34 years. Yes this guy made a mistake but the officer made a bigger one.

  • Steve March 9, 2018, 9:08 am

    BS, When you have three outside and a kid inside with a rifle, noone does anything. Maybe the police aren’t the answer. Secure the schools. No one that doesn’t belong there shouldn’t be getting in anyway. Especdially carrying a rifle. Who the hell was even watching? Secure vestibules, metal detectors, and two resource officers that will act. Several undercover duel position. janitor/security people need to be in every school in America. And this gut the PD shot? What kind of settlement does he deserve? Huge!

    • Jake March 19, 2018, 2:36 am

      They had guns drawn Incase the danger came towards any officers though didn’t they… children don’t matter to LEOs, citizens don’t matter to LEOs, truth and justice don’t matter… but blue lives sure as hell matter don’t they? If a cop dies they shut down the roads for a parade, don’t they? Any time the narrative turns a way they don’t like there is a LEO on every channel saying just how brave they are, don’t they? Every news channel starts doing fluff pieces on cops feeding stray dogs or playing a fiddle or some other made for tv crap taken right out of the hells angels play book. Be goofy and nice on camera or in a crowd so people forget you are a scum sucking piece of constitutional abusing dog shit that kills American citizens.
      Go to capital hill with crying children of dead scum bag officers and demand that you get more money, more guns, more spy technology like cell site simulators and more immunity to kill Americans in safety.

      How are LEOs Hero’s? Because one time one happened to actually help in some small way?
      If a gangster saves a mans life are all gangsters hero’s? Or are gangsters scum bags who kill and rob American citizens?

  • Jose Pena March 9, 2018, 8:58 am

    Training cops to shoot first if they feel threatened is sheer stupidity and reckless disregard for the safety of the citizens cops are supposed to protect and serve. The “shoot if you feel threatened” mentality gives cops a license to kill, and they abuse that right.

  • Andrew March 9, 2018, 7:47 am

    How about we train police properly? Is it really appropriate for police to shoot first and ask questions later??

  • Dr Motown March 9, 2018, 7:27 am

    At least this officer fired his weapon….it was the wrong target, but HEY, they’re always there to “protect and serve”

    • Richard Schnedorf March 9, 2018, 10:19 am

      Another reason that Police can’t be trusted with guns.

      • Jake March 19, 2018, 2:40 am

        Yes! Give these punks pepper spray and a set of handcuffs and make them drive a hybrid. That is much more fitting in all reality for the job we want them to preform. Like euro cops.
        If citizens didn’t think that the cops where going to kill them they would be less likely to react violently and thus a safer work place for the pussy ass officers

  • Mandatory firearm training advocate March 9, 2018, 3:43 am

    I’m not saying the guy who got shot was an idiot, but if he’d had the benefit of training he could have quickly and easily removed the magazine and ejected any chambered round then been quite happy to drop the weapon. Everyone should have the benefit of firearm safety training. It would make the entire country a safer place. Of course, with adrenaline running high, he probably ran away because he wanted to make sure the guy didn’t have a chance to get the gun and didn’t even really have time let his brain catch up to him when he got out of the church.

    But I’ll go back to my original point. Every person should know enough about firearms that they know basic firearm safety with any firearm that uses the relatively standard set of controls. I’ll admit if the guy had something like a PS90, even someone religious with basic safety training might not know exactly how to safe the weapon.

    • deanbob March 9, 2018, 9:04 am

      Like so many important and relevant subjects, gun safety and shooting has long been dropped from the school curriculum. Guns were even sold in several mail order catalogs!

    • Phil March 9, 2018, 10:45 am

      Bad guy could’ve had another mag, so that wouldn’t completely resolve the issue. If he got loose again, he could’ve got the gun back after the good guy unloaded and dropped it. Handguns could be “holstered” in a belt or pocket; not sure what the best option would be for a rifle.

  • Mike March 6, 2018, 12:18 pm

    Cops like this should have been screened better Fire him. TOO MANY GOPD COPS THAT HAVE TO TAKE THE HEAT BECAUSE OF THIS IDIOT!

    • Ron March 9, 2018, 6:35 am

      Thank God that you were able to get all the facts on this incident and are now leading the charge for the dismissal of this obviously inept officer.
      Oh, wait, you probably just read the same article I did but have already jumped to the conclusion that it was the officer’s fault and not the man fleeing from a crime scene with a weapon in his hand.
      It is idiots like you that make me sick to think about who is able to cast a vote……

      • Jake March 19, 2018, 2:45 am

        Shot in back… nobody to blame but the cop.
        In Colorado, if you shoot a black bear in the back and claim “self defense” you goin to jail buddy… but if your a cop it’s cool to shoot people in the back? No sir… that is cnn fake news.

    • Zupglick March 9, 2018, 11:54 am

      Calm down. This armchair quarterback sees a bit of blame on both sides.

    • Jake March 19, 2018, 2:49 am

      Good cops only exist in movies… Tom Salic movies.
      The reality is a group of greedy gangsters who rob and kill American citizens.

  • Blue Dog March 5, 2018, 5:32 pm

    I never thought I’d see a greasy snake-in-the-grass like Jeff Blackburn quoted on this website.
    If you guys think I am an enemy leftist, check out that civil rights Don Quixote.

    • SigStu March 9, 2018, 6:40 am

      Well Garces Lawyer just did a great job for the police, that he should be suing for his client, he should be disbarred, Why is he saying it’s his clients fault he got shot???
      And i don’t watch the news much, but why have i not seen this on the news? they only report when people die?

      • joefoam March 9, 2018, 10:05 am

        SigStu- no it only makes the news when anti-gunners can use it to promote their agenda.

      • Jake March 19, 2018, 2:50 am

        Law enforcement is super good at keeping stories hidden from the public.

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