Monday, July 7, 2014

Hand and Arm Injuries during Attacks


I love your blog, YouTube channel and book.  I live in Phoenix, Arizona USA.  Recently two Catholic Priests, that I know and am friends with, were attacked by a homeless ex-felon who was on parole.  The parish is located in a dangerous part of town.  These priests lived in the rectory attached to the parish.  The  attacker climbed a back fence, entered the courtyard of the rectory, and then attacked Fr. Terra with a tire iron.  The attacker then murdered Fr. Walker.   Here is an excerpt from the article linked below:

            "Terra told investigators that he heard a noise on Wednesday night and opened the kitchen door when he was attacked by a man holding an angle iron. Terra was bleeding and wanted to get to a gun that was kept in a nightstand next to his bed, according to  the records.

            Terra told police that he and Moran struggled over the weapon, but he was unable to shoot the gun because he had injured his finger in the scuffle with Moran.

            "Father Terra stated the male made him get on his hands and knees and told him to give him money," according to court records. "Father Terra stated he blacked out and does not remember calling 911. The next thing he remembered was giving Father Walker absolution."

I work only a couple of blocks away from this parish and I regularly go to this parish on my lunch break and chat with Fr. Walker and Fr. Terra.  The other day I was talking with the new priest assigned to fill in at the parish while Fr. Terra recovers.  He told me that the attacker climbed a back fence and entered the courtyard area.  Fr. Terra heard a noise in the courtyard and opened the kitchen door to investigate.  The attacker immediately hit him over the head and arms, while Fr. Terra attempted to block the blows to his head. He was hit with the tire iron several times.  Fr. Terra attempted to escape the attacker through the kitchen and down the hall to the bedroom, where he pulled his revolver from the night stand.  He pulled the revolver onto the attacker but could not fire the weapon because hands and arms were badly broken from the attack.  The attacker then took the gun and murdered Fr. Walker as Fr. Walker ran down the hall of the rectory to come to help Fr. Terra.      
It dawned on me that this must be a common event during a home invasion or mugging.  It must often happen that people are not able to fire their weapons because their arms or hands are injured from defensive blows.  I wanted to get your thoughts on this.  Have your heard of this happening during home invasions or during muggings before?  Even if you have a gun close by you might not be able to fire it because your hands and arms are broken.  What do your recommend?  

I value your opinion and I sincerely care for Fr. Terra and all of the other priest at this parish.  They live in a very dangerous section of Phoenix.  I would really appreciate any thoughts or advice you could give.  I will pass it onto the current priests at that parish.  They are obviously concerned for their safety in the neighborhood.  
I have attached a link to the news article below and have included a recent picture of Fr. Terra after the attack, below. 

Thank you,

A few things come to mind. First, I’m truly sorry for the murder of Father Kenneth Walker. Second, its pretty cool that Father Joseph Terra had a gun in his nightstand. About your question, yes these things happen a lot and for a few different reasons.
First, the natural defensive reaction humans have is to place the arms and hands between you and the threat. You can live without a hand, you cant live without a head so its pure instinct to bring your arms up when attacked. That’s why you will find in most cases of people being attacked with guns, knives or any other weapon that arms and hands often sustain numerous wounds.
Also, during a gunfight, it is also likely that your arms and hands will get shot even if you are shooting as well. Weaver, isosceles or even natural point shooting stances place your gun and hands somewhat over your center of mass. If someone is shooting at you and you are shooting back, there’s a good chance that if the attacker is aiming center of mass while you are shooting back, that your hands and arms will get shot. This happens a LOT, in fact, it happens in most shootings that I know of where people got wounded, arms and hands are often hit.
I know of a CIT guard that got killed because he couldn’t reload to keep shooting after getting attacked. One of his hands was wounded during the car accident when they were first attacked and he was left with an empty gun when the attackers closed in to finish the job. This is why any serious defensive shooting course insists a good amount on weak hand shooting. You need to practice a lot with your other hand, practice transitions, reloading, clearing your gun from malfunctions and drawing, all done single handed with both right and left hand. Any good defensive shooting pistol class will insist a lot on this given how likely it is to occur during a fight.
In a similar way, it’s a good idea to carry either two folding knives, one in each of your front pockets or at least have your knife in one and your single-handed open mutlitool in the other hand. If you are wounded or pinned down by an attacker you can draw your knife on either side.


Anonymous said...

Another good idea that comes from this story is never to open your door at night without some kind of weapon. A walking stick, a large flashlight, or better. Anything that could be used to slow down this kind of sudden home invasion attempt.

BFR said...

Never open you door, night or day, unless you are ABSOLUTELY sure that whoever is on the other side is 1. Known as non-harmful to you in any way. 2. Unaccompanied by anyone that you do not know according to rule #1.

Opening your last defensive structure is unwise at many levels.