I have said it before – as have many others – when it comes to personal protection, we are our own keepers. The police, while well intentioned, will not be there when they are needed. They will be there … eventually … to clean up the mess, take names, and investigate - maybe. But at the critical moment you are looking a violent criminal actor (VCA) in the face, down the barrel of a gun, or at the knife blade held at your throat, you are on your own.
Here are some recent examples of why it is prudent to become educated and trained to defend yourself and your family. Two of these incidents involve carjackings and multiple suspects:
• Maverick County (TX) Sheriff's Office confirmed that 64-year-old Roberto Emilio Vasquez-Santamaria - An illegal immigrant from Peru - was arrested in connection to a homicide that happened Monday in Eagle Pass, TX.
Vasquez-Santamaria - an illegal migrant from Peru who entered the U.S. in May - was arrested on Tuesday, September 19 and charged for murder. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection sources, Vasquez-Santamaria was released into the U.S. with a court date in 2025.
• A mother, and her 13-year-old son, were the victims of a carjacking in Minnesota. Apparently, the mother and son were returning home from grocery shopping. While carrying groceries into the home, the mother "looked out the window and observed a grayish sedan occupied by multiple males pull up in front of her home."
When she exited her home into the attached garage, she noticed one suspect in her husband's vehicle in the garage. The man couldn’t start the car, so he ran back to the suspect vehicle. When she went to confront them, two other men attacked her. When the 13-year-old son tried calling the police, one of the men started dragging him while trying to take the phone but was unable to overpower him. The four suspects then sped off in the suspect sedan and the victim's vehicle … trying to run them over when they left the driveway and then they went down the dead-end street and turned around and tried to run them over again.
• Deputies in Denver, CO are searching for four suspects, possibly juveniles, who are wanted in a deadly carjacking in Arapahoe County. On Wednesday, the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office tweeted about a deadly carjacking. According to deputies, the victim was shot and killed, and the four suspects took off in the victim’s car.
• Dallas Chief of Police Eddie Garcia shared new information Monday on the shootout and arrest of a man they say fired into a pickup truck Thursday afternoon, killing a man, and then firing on police during a chase and injuring an officer. During this second exchange of gunfire, Williams was shot in his vest as the man drove past them.
The suspect in the shooting, later identified as 45-year-old Juan Vincente Zavala Lopez, was believed to be at a private residence in Lewisville. Dallas Police, joined by SWAT and Lewisville Police, went to the address, and found Lopez hiding in a horse stall. The victim of the shooting died at the scene. Zavala Lopez entered the country illegally and had been deported nine times before.
• In a local (Savannah, GA) incident, a suspect – Shawn Campbell – who has been charged with murder twice – and denied bond twice as he was deemed a “significant threat or danger to person(s), to the community, or to any property in the community”, was released on bond. The bond requires Campbell to “remain in a residence on an electronic monitor and without possessing any firearms, commit no new law violations and attend all court appearances.” Yeah … good luck with that.
What are the takeaways from these incidents? Here’s a start:
1. There is a very strong possibility there will be more than one VCA. In two of these incidents there were four suspects involved. a. Be prepared to deal with more than one attacker. Remember, the VCA does not want a fight – he wants an easy target and to leave unharmed. 2. VCA’s are not intimidated and have no fear of consequences. a. Most VCA’s are not strangers to violence and have been in the ‘system’ before and know how to play it. 3. VCA’s are often armed and are not afraid to use lethal force. a. Again, the VCA’s are not strangers to violence and the use of weapons to intimidate and worse. 4. VCA’s are amoral and have no regard for others' personal well-being. a. VCA’s have no conscience and act with total disregard for your safety. 5. They often target specific individuals (the victim in the Minnesota carjacking stated she and her son were probably followed from the grocery store). a. We must continually maintain situational and environmental awareness. Stay in condition yellow whenever you leave your home. 6. The legal and immigration systems are broken, and we can’t depend on them anymore. a. Long term solutions need to be explored, developed, implemented, and vigorously enforced. 7. Law Enforcement cannot be everywhere and often don’t respond at all. a. Many jurisdictions are facing shortages in their departments. Funding, hiring, and retention all must be addressed.
Given the above, we can see there is nowhere that is totally safe – not even our own home. We must be vigilant to stay safe. Proper education, training and a good mindset will help to keep you safe.
BE SAFE. BE EFFECTIVE. BE READY.