Soldier accused of fatally shooting Arlington gym owner
Good Samaritan Anthony Antell Jr. did what he thought the situation called for: When he saw a woman shot in front of a Walgreens in Arlington on May 2, he got his gun and went toward the suspect.
Antell died a week ago after suspect Ricci Bradden reportedly slapped his gun out of his hand and shot him. Arlington firearms instructors said everyone who carries a gun has to do some quick thinking in a situation like Antell’s.
“Do I have to do it? Do I have to do it now? Is there anything else I can do?” instructor Brandon Carlton said he tells his students to ask themselves. He trains students at Go Strapped Firearms Training in Arlington.
Tony Arbelaez, chief instructor at Arlington Gun Academy, recommends that those with a concealed handgun license carry a gun at all times. That way the delay caused by retrieving a firearm — and potentially putting anyone at greater risk — is minimized.
He teaches his students that for every step the criminal takes away from you, you’re safer and that person is less of a threat to you.
“I don’t ever recommend that someone step out of their store and chase them down the street,” he said. “You can certainly take your firearm out and protect yourself in case that suspect comes back.”
Arlington Police Lt. Christopher Cook recommends that citizens be the best possible witnesses.
“Call 911 to prevent possible further victimization,” Cook said. “With that being said, we know that citizens have to make their own judgment call based upon the reasonableness of the circumstances as it relates to insert themselves by becoming involved in a situation.”
Both gun-training instructors emphasized that every situation is different and that no matter how much background and training you have, decisions may have to be made in the heat of the moment.
“I never teach anyone to kill anyone — justifiable deadly force is used to stop someone,” Arbelaez said. “When the threat stops, your justification for deadly force also stops. You can’t pursue it.”
When you are a bystander to criminal activity, the human instinct to help others kicks in, instructors said.
The main thing to do is think rationally, Carlton said.
Provide support and safety for yourself and other victims in case the criminal does come back, but if he is getting away, citizens do not have the duty to pursue. If he does come back, by all means stop him, Arbelaez said.
Put up a fight and protect yourself, Carlton said.
Arbelaez said he hopes the tragic end to Antell’s heroism last Monday won’t deter people from helping others in similar emergencies.
“I hope people will see that it is important to protect yourself in the day and age we live in,” Carlton said. “We encourage everyone to protect themselves, their family and the people around them they love.”
Azia Branson; 817-390-7547, @aziabranson