Concealed handgum permit holder's intervention in Texas shooting may have saved lives
Charleston Daily Mail (West Virginia)
February 25, 2005, Friday
SECTION: News; Pg. P8C
LENGTH: 788 words
HEADLINE: Texas man dies confronting gunman
BYLINE: FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM
BODY: Man dies while trying to stop rampage credited with saving the life of the gunman's son
TYLER, Texas - A 52-year-old manufacturing plant employee, credited with saving another man's life by jumping into the middle of a fierce firefight on a Texas downtown square, was known for taking life "head-on." Friends weren't surprised to hear that Mark Wilson sacrificed his own life byconfronting a gunman firing an AK-47 assault-style rifle Thursday in Tyler, Texas.
"He is the type of person who would grab his gun and go," said Lewis George of Dallas, Wilson's former brother-in-law and best friend for 30 years. "If it was me, I would have been running the other way.
"Mark, he took life head-on."
Wilson was shot several times by David Hernandez Arroyo Sr. during a deadly shooting spree outside the Smith County Courthouse. Aroyo also killed his ex-wife and wounded his 23-year-old son and three police officers.
Wilson, who lived in a loft apartment on the square, had apparently just returned home after having lunch with a friend when he saw Arroyo walking down the street, shooting people, friends said.
Wilson, who had once owned a gun range in Tyler, apparently grabbed a Glock9mm handgun and ran downstairs. One eyewitness said they traded shots, initially missing each other until Arroyo hit Wilson.
"The gunman walked up to Wilson and shot him while he was on the ground," TheAssociated Press reported Tyler Morning Telegraph publisher Nelson Clyde III saying in today's editions of the newspaper. "I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It was sickening."
Arroyo was wearing body armor. But by distracting Arroyo, police said, Wilsonprevented him from fatally shooting his son, David Hernandez Arroyo Jr.
"Based on what we can tell, Mr. Wilson may have saved the younger Arroyo's life," Tyler Police Chief Gary Swindle said. Swindle told The Associated Pressthat Wilson may have hit the gunman, but that his rounds did not penetrate the man's body armor.
"Arroyo was shot by his father, and we believe around that point in time is maybe when Mr. Wilson came up and confronted the suspect," Swindle said.
Lorraine Childress, a sales assistant for Merill Lynch, watched the shootout from her 16th-floor office overlooking downtown Tyler. Little did she know that her friend Mark Wilson was trying to stop the rampage. "We are so proud of our friend," Childress said. "We know Mark saved this young man's life by doing what he did."
Word of Wilson's courageous act quickly spread through this community of 86,000 about 125 miles east of Fort Worth, and no one seemed surprised that Wilson jumped into the middle of the shootout.
Just outside the front of the loft where Wilson lived, the courthouse square was covered in crime scene tape and the street was littered with shell casings. Police had cordoned off Wilson's white Dodge pickup.
Behind the truck, Wilson's prized Porsche 911 was covered by a tarp.
"Ever since he moved into those lofts eight years ago, he's been on the lookout down on the square," said Deborah O'Sullivan, whose husband, John, is the landlord of the lofts where Wilson lived.
"With his knowledge of weapons, he would have immediately known it was gunfire and taken action. That's just Mark. He was always looking out for others." . . .
By contrast the stories that I found on NBC and ABC did not discuss the concealed handgun permit holder's actions. CNN also had some stories that provide useful details about what happened. Thanks very much to Howard Nemerov for bringing this to my attention.
I have additional posts on this case at Tyler, Texas here, here, and here.