Michigan City, Indiana — A man drew his concealed carry firearm and opened fire at a vehicle after being shot with a paintball gun, thinking it was a real gun. The incident happened while the man was pumping gas at the BP gas station on Franklin Street.
The Michigan City PD reported on their Facebook page that the man was pumping gas into his vehicle when he heard a popping sound and then immediately felt the stinging of the paintballs hitting his body.
When he looked around he saw what he thought was a male with a gun in the passenger seat, which led him to believe that he was being targeted by this person.
He then drew his legally-owned concealed carry gun and opened fire at the vehicle, shooting several times, as it was driving.
After the incident was over the man realized he had been shot by paintballs, and not with a real gun.
The local police department was called and their investigation led them to find that was is not the first incident in the area of its kind and that others reported paintball guns being fired at people and property close by.
Thankfully, no injuries were reported and there is no mention of charges being filed.
This is a crazy story and not something we hear of all that often. I chose this story to report on for this reason.
This will likely be seen by the police as a defensive gun use, because of a couple of different reasons. First, it’s easy to mistake a toy gun as a real one. In the case of a paintball gun, they produce actual pain so there is legitimacy to the man claiming he thought he was being shot. His senses were also heightened. His adrenaline was also likely going through the roof as he entered fight or flight.
He heard the popping sound, first. Then he felt the stinging of the paintballs hitting his body. Finally he saw what he thought was a gun. Given the totality of those specific circumstances, I have no trouble believing that he legitimately thought he was being targeted.
Second, because we all process things differently, his body and heightened senses may have told him he was being shot and to react, but he didn’t realize that the paintballs hadn’t penetrated his skin and that they were not real bullets. It’s fairly common for folks to not realize that they have been shot or how bad their injuries are until after an incident is over.
This could be because of adrenaline, tunnel vision, or any of the other changes the human body goes through when it’s in fight or flight.
Still, this is yet another excellent reminder to be aware of our surroundings to the best of our ability and to also do our best to understand what the threat actually is, or if there even is a threat.
Leave any thoughts you have on this incident, in the comments below. Do you think the man acted appropriately?
P.S. ~ To learn more about how to defend yourself in and around your vehicle, check out our Vehicle Firearm Tactics Course.