A U.S. Air Force veteran who served in both Afghanistan and Iraq, used her personal carry gun to thwart a carjacker who tried to break into her car while she and her two-year-old son were sitting in gridlock traffic in New Orleans last week.
Charise Taylor, a 15-year Air Force veteran, told WDSU 6 she was in her car on Interstate 10 in New Orleans on Friday when a man tried to get into her car, yanking on the passenger door handle. It was at that moment that her military training kicked in and she pulled out her handgun.
“So, as he comes up he’s close and he’s pretty aggressive trying to get the car door open makes eye contact with me he’s still trying to get it open a couple times,” Taylor said.
As the man tried to get into the car, Taylor said she pointed the gun at him and recalled telling him, “It’s locked and loaded” before the man ultimately ran off. Taylor didn’t pull the trigger, but she said she was ready.
“I’m trained to do this, I’ve gone to classes, I’m prior military,” she said. “If I have to pull this trigger that’s what I have to do.”
While she was initially concerned about the carjacking incident itself, she’s now concerned by the fact that the New Orleans Police Department characterized the incident only as a “disturbance.”
Crime and security expert Michael Haggard told WDSU the incident should be considered more than just a misdemeanor disturbance.
“You shouldn’t have to navigate your own city like a war zone,” Taylor said. “It’s un-American. The crime is out of control and it’s terrifying. At this point, having to use the same tactics in an American city that you use in Iraq and Afghanistan simply to navigate through the city it’s scary and I’m not the only mom feeling this way.”
Taylor reportedly sought therapy with the Department of Veterans of Affairs after the incident.
The carjacking incident involving Taylor took place a day after another pair of gun owners, including a military veteran, used their firearms to help a pair of police officers who had come under fire in Peaceful Valley, Wash.
On Thursday, Feb. 10, after officers arrived at a call involving a dispute between neighbors, a suspect by the name of Joel Young allegedly began firing a shotgun, striking both officers. Nearby armed civilians Jesse Marshall and Cody Deeter responded to the shooting.
Marshall, a military veteran, said, “We got the kids inside, went in, got guns to return fire. Come out and handle the situation.”
Young had reportedly already hit both officers when Deeter said he came around the corner and saw Young standing in his doorway with his shotgun.
“I unloaded, just to get him to go away so we can get these guys back,” Deeter said.
After he “unloaded” at Young, Deeter said he and Marshall joined a third neighbor and were able to pull the deputies out of the line of fire and into a nearby garage where they rendered first aid until backup arrived.
“We are extraordinarily blessed that several armed citizens came to the deputies’ assistance at the critical moments when they were most vulnerable,” the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office said about the incident. “I have contacted all three of the good Samaritans and expressed appreciation on behalf of myself and all members of law enforcement and their families. There will be a more formal recognition of these humble citizen heroes once more details of their actions can be released.”