Episode 333 with Amada Suffecool


Rob- Welcome to episode 333 of Self-Defense Gun Stories. We’re glad you found us if you’re well trained.. and if you’re still learning about armed defense. I’m Rob Morse and we’re joined this week by firearms instructor Amanda Suffecool. What has been keeping you so busy?

Amanda- Hi, Rob.  I’ve been extremely busy with election stuff.   You know that GUN people need to be represented in the political world as part of the protection of 2A.   So I am on my local board of elections, in addition to all the 2A stuff.  Have we chatted since 65 of my closest friends converged upon DC to represent Women for Gun Rights? It was amazing.

How about you?

Rob- My new gun has been at ATEI for three weeks, and they still don’t have the parts for it.

If you’re scuba diving in another country, were you overseas or under-seas? No matter how you describe it, I had a good week and you made it better when we received a new rating and comment on iTunes. Jacoby says we help him with mental preparation and with building a solid home defense plan. 

Dwayne commented on our earlier episode. He liked Candy Petticord’s comment that you never know what skills or weapons the opponent has. If your attacker gets that close with a knife at the very least you will be cut or stabbed.

Amanda- We’ll talk about knives a bit more in this episode. Thank you Jacoby and Dwayne. We also want to thank Roger for his help this week.

We had over 10-thousand downloads last month, and I noticed that a fair number of  you are going back and listening to older episodes. How can we make it easier to find the material you want to review?

Rob- We’re still looking for listeners who want to join our staff and write or edit this podcast. Someday, all this can be yours.

Amanda- Please go to the iTunes store where you subscribe to podcasts and tell new gun owners why you listen.

Here in the US, we defend ourselves with a firearm thousands of times a day. We look at a few recent examples to see what we can learn. The links back to the original news articles are on our podcast webpage.

Our first story took place last week in Morgan Park, Illinois.

Rob- First story- Are you armed at home?

The news doesn’t say how the man got into your home, but you are now yelling for him to leave. You’ve met him before, but now it is almost 1 in the morning and the man grabs a knife and threatens you. You retreat and grab your gun. Your knife-wielding attacker advances toward you again. You shoot him several times until he drops his knife and stops advancing. You step back and call 911. You stay at the scene and continue to talk with the police dispatcher. You put your gun away when the officers arrive.

You give the officers a brief statement about what happened. EMS transports your attacker to the hospital. You are questioned and released. Police take your firearm as evidence. You are not charged.

What did our defender do correctly?

(Bullet points by Roger T. Please do not make changes to these notes.)

  • The defender had purchased a gun, had it available and probably had a plan for a home invasion. Did she have her FOID card?
  • She did not freeze when she was confronted with a man she knew but had not invited into her home at 1:00 in the morning. Many people have a delayed reaction when attacked by someone they know. They get hit with the “I can’t believe that this is happening” moment. 
  • She tried verbal commands to get him to leave but that failed. He presented a knife and he kept advancing on her.
  • When the attacker advanced with the knife she recognized that she was in an immediate, lethal and unavoidable situation. The intruder had a knife (Ability), he was close enough to her in order to use it (Opportunity) and he had threatened her with words or with his actions (Jeopardy).
  • Did the defender have training in the Tuller Drill? How close was the attacker? Did the defender know how to shoot from a retention position?
  • According to the news report, the defender fired four shots at the intruder and all of them struck him in the torso. Did she have training or was she lucky?
  • She stopped shooting when he dropped the knife and he stopped advancing.
  • The defender gained some distance from the attacker and called 911.
  • She kept the phone line open to the 911 dispatcher and did not have her gun in her hands when the police arrived. 
  • She gave a statement to the police.

What would you tell your students to do (that the defender should have done)?

(Bullet points by Roger T. Please do not make changes to these notes.)

  • Neither the news report nor the story reveal how the intruder got into the defender’s home. Hopefully the doors and windows were locked. If they were, then how did the attacker get in without making any noise? Did the attacker have a key? Was the attacker an old boyfriend? If you change boyfriends/girlfriends it’s a good idea to also change the door locks.
  • The news report and the story don’t say where the defender retreated to in order to grab her gun. Apparently she was not home carrying.  If she moved to another room to get the gun, did she have the time to turn around, lock the door, grab her gun, move to cover/concealment and prepare to defend herself from inside of the room rather than go back out and confront the attacker? Tactically your odds of surviving are much greater with retreat and defend. Distance and cover are your friends.  
  • The defender stayed on the phone with the 911 dispatcher when she called. It’s good that she left the line open but did she remember that everything she said was being recorded and it could be used against her if she went to court? Don’t tell the 911 dispatcher or the police the details of what happened. Let your lawyer do that for you. 
  • The 911 dispatcher’s job is to gain as much information about the situation as they can for the safety of the arriving police and EMS personnel- not you! The 911 dispatcher is not on the scene with you and they are not the police. You do not have to do what they say and sometimes the dispatchers give defenders bad advice. You are your own first responder and you have to handle the situation until the cavalry arrives. That’s why you need training. 
  • The defender gave a statement to the police and answered their questions when she was held in custody. Did she consult her lawyer first or have her lawyer present during the interrogations? During these times the police are not your friends. Their job is to arrest you, not exonerate you and everything you say only helps their case- not yours. 
  • After a self-defense shooting, the police will often confiscate your gun(s) as evidence and you may not see them again for months or even years if your case goes to court. Do you have a back-up gun to use in the meantime? Most likely, the criminal(s) that attacked you will get out on bail long before you get your gun back or they may have friends who will want to pay you a visit. You can probably purchase another gun while you wait but some states have long waiting periods and additional paperwork like getting another FOID card in order to buy another gun. You may find yourself defenseless when you need a gun the most. There is an old saying in the self-defense community: “Two is one and one is none.”

Amanda-  I like that the defender recognized that bad things can happen to good people so she found a way to defend herself. That isn’t easy in Illinois. She applied for an Illinois Firearms Owners Identification Card. She purchased a firearm. She learned how to store it and how to use it. Every single step of that chain was necessary so she didn’t get stabbed to death at 1 in the morning.

The defender didn’t freeze when she saw someone in her home who didn’t belong there. She recognized that the attacker with a knife was a lethal, immediate, and unavoidable threat. She upped her defense game, step by step. She said I’m here and I see you. She told the intruder to leave. She said I’m armed.

Only then did she shoot her attacker and stopped shooting only when he moved away, but she did stop shooting when he did move away. Both of those are important. She shot four times and she hit her attacker with four shots in the chest. You all hear that in class – largest part of the target, center of mass.  That is good shooting and it is what I want my students to do.

She created some space between herself and the attacker so she was safe. She stayed at the scene and called 911. She stayed on the call until the police arrived. She put her gun down and had empty hands when the police arrived. Empty hand includes not having a cell phone in your hand when the cops see you. Show the officers – who are coming in hot – that you are not the threat.   They have a split second to determine who is the bad guy.    She gave a brief statement to the police about what happened to her.

Rob- Tell me a little bit more about talking to the dispatcher and then having to do what the arriving officers tell you to do.

Amanda- We try to be polite. We make it a habit. That habit doesn’t work in every situation. We’re in a conversation with the dispatcher on the phone and the police are arriving at our apartment. Put the gun and cell phone down and step away from them. Part of us wants to say goodbye to the dispatcher. To thank them. To wish them well.  Ask if we can meet for tea, then to check our phone messages because those familiar activities let us feel like things are normal even though the situation is absolutely abnormal.

This is the time to focus and do exactly what the police tell you to do. You might be handcuffed. You’ll be asked all kinds of questions. Give a very brief statement about what happened. Point out evidence, then say you’ll give a full statement after you’ve spoken with your lawyer. Now stop talking.   Let me repeat.   STOP talking.  

Rob- Are there other things you’d like your students to do?

Amanda- I want your doors and windows locked, secure your house. That way it is clearly evident that this was a forcible and unwanted entry into your home, IF the locks did not work to deter them in the first place. If you hear a breakin, then I want you to grab your gun, your light, and your phone.   Secure yourself somewhere in your house, and  the door should be locked. Get behind your bed or other furniture and call 911. Your job is to not get beaten, stabbed, or shot, so let the drunk idiot re-arrange your flowers but don’t go exploring for intruders by yourself in the middle of the night if you can avoid it.

I also want you to have a lawyer to call. Just like a firearm, you need your lawyer before the bad guy breaks into your home.

Rob- Where are we heading for our next story?

Amanda- Let’s go to Saint Louis, Missouri.

Rob- Second Story- Are you armed in public?

The news reports aren’t clear if this was a robbery or a carjacking. You are in or near your car. It is almost midnight, and two young men wearing ski masks run towards you. One of them breaks your car window to get inside. You tell them to get back, but one of the attackers charges you. You shoot him and he stops. The other attacker runs away. You stay at the scene and call 911.

You put your gun away when the police are nearby. You give them a statement and a description of your attackers. Police find your attacker a few blocks away. They also find the firearm he stashed. EMS declares one of your attackers dead at the scene.

Your other attacker is charged with armed criminal action, attempted stealing of a vehicle and tampering with evidence in a felony prosecution. He is held on a 1-million dollar cash bond. He is 18 years old.

You are not charged with a crime.

Amada- I like that our defender was armed when he got out of his car. He recognized that two masked teenagers running toward him was a potential threat. He used verbal commands. He shot his closest attacker when the armed attackers didn’t stop, and he saw that thing had turned serious. He stopped shooting when the bad guys ran away. Our defender stayed at the scene and called for help. He reholstered his gun and told the police what happened. Sorry about the car window.

Rob- When should we stop shooting?

Amanda- We stop shooting when we recognize that the threat has ended. Situations such as – A criminal ignored my shouts to stop and moved so he could grab me unless I defended myself.  He remains a threat until he is incapable of harming me or until his actions show he changed his intent.

This is an adult description. You might shoot him in the side as he turns, but you don’t want to shoot him when he is already lying on the ground and has dropped his gun. It takes you some time to recognize that the attack is over and the law understands that. It is called the reactionary period.

Rob- The defender shot an unarmed man. Why was this a lethal threat?

Amanda- Two criminals approached you and ignored your verbal command to stop. That showed intent. There are two of them and you are a single defender so they have  a disparity of force against you. In addition, one of them is armed. That means that both of them are a threat to you. There is a lot going on, you are fairly safe assuming the other is armed also.  And remember they can run you down faster than you can back up.

I’m glad you asked because those are the sort of legal points that your lawyer will highlight in your written statement. The fact that you put your gun away and retreated to a local business might show that you were not looking for a fight, but were in fact only looking for safety.

What did our defender do correctly?

(Bullet points by Roger T. Please do not make changes to these notes.)

  • The defender was armed when he was walking to his car in the parking lot in the dark.
  • The defender was situationally aware and he noticed the two thieves trying to steal his car. 
  • The defender tried using verbal commands but these failed.
  • The defender shot the masked attacker when he was charged.
  • The defender stopped shooting when the threat stopped.
  • He stayed at the scene, called 911 and put his gun away so he had empty hands when the police arrived.
  • The defender gave a statement to the police. 

What would you tell your students to do (that the defender should have done)?

(Bullet points by Roger T. Please do not make changes to these notes.)

  • It’s not clear from the news report if this was a carjacking or a car owner engaging two thieves in the process of stealing his car. Carjacking is the criminal taking of a car from the owner by force. That means that the car owner’s life was threatened. But if the car’s owner engaged the two thieves while they were in the process of stealing his car, then that would be considered a property crime. You can’t use deadly force against a criminal for stealing property- unless it happens in Texas and only under certain circumstances. Was the car’s owner protecting his life or his car? Know the laws for use of deadly force. 
  • At least one of the thieves was armed which means that there was a good chance that there might have been a gunfight with bullets going both directions. Could the car’s owner have retreated and called 911 instead of trying to stop the theft? No car is worth losing your life or going to prison over. 

Rob- Where are we going next?

Amanda- Our third story happened in Atlanta, Georgia.

Rob- First this message from the Crime Prevention Research Center



Rob- Third story- Are you armed at work?

You are a building contractor working on a home repair. You start back to your truck to return some tools. You see someone breaking into your truck. You shout for them to stop. The thief shoots at you. You’re armed. You shoot back. You duck back inside the home and call 911 for help.

Police arrive at the scene and disarm your attacker. EMTs treat your attacker and transport him to the hospital. Police arrest him and determine that he is a juvenile. You give a statement to the police. You point out the evidence.

You wonder who is responsible for repairing the bullet holes in the home.

You are not charged.

What did our defender do correctly?

(Bullet points by Roger T. Please do not make changes to these notes.)

  • The defender was armed while he was on the job doing home repairs. POGO- pants on, gun on. If your gun isn’t on you when you need it, are you going to have the time to go and get it? What if the defender’s gun was locked inside the truck the thief was trying to steal?
  • The defender saw the thief breaking into his truck and he tried using verbal commands which failed. They don’t always work but it costs nothing to try using them and it shows the courts that you tried non-lethal means to resolve the issue first. Under most circumstances, using a gun should be your last resort, not your first. 
  • The thief shot at the defender creating an immediate, lethal and unavoidable situation so the defender pulled his gun and fired back in self-defense.
  • The defender moved to cover/concealment and called 911 for help.
  • The defender pointed out the evidence to the police and gave them a statement. 

What would you tell your students to do (that the defender should have done)?

(Bullet points by Roger T. Please do not make changes to these notes.)

  • Did the defender move to cover/concealment before he tried verbal commands? Don’t engage a criminal during the commission of a crime unless you are doing so from a safe position. Criminals aren’t concerned about indiscriminately shooting at anyone who interrupts them. They just want to get away. Be prepared for a violent response. 
  • Who’s responsible for the bullet holes in the house? The criminal is held legally liable for every bullet that leaves his gun- just the same as we are. Repairs to the house might be covered by the home owner’s insurance but more than likely the repair costs would be added to the criminal’s plea bargain or the terms of his prison sentence. If the bullet holes were caused by the defender, he would have to pay for the repairs out of his own pocket since self-defense legal plans only cover lawyer fees and court costs.

Amanda- I work on home repair all the time. This contractor recognized that he is considered an easy target for criminals. He has tools and he might have cash to pay for materials or to pay subcontractors. He went armed.   He may or may not know the general disposition of the neighborhood he is working in.

Our defender tried verbal commands. He recognized that being shot at was a lethal threat and he decided to shoot back and stop the threat. He stopped shooting when he could. He retreated to cover and called for help. He told the police what happened. Good job.

Rob- Is there more you’d like us to do?

Amanda- Your truck is your office. Lock it and alarm it. Ask the police about the sort of crimes in the area. 

Also, you want to point out the evidence that you were attacked. There are bullet holes in the front of the house. There are shell casings on the ground next to your attacker. The neighbors should have heard your shouts and the attacker’s shots.

I wonder if the defender can sue the attacker’s family to repair the home and his truck. That is another reason you need a lawyer.   And shall I ask in a tongue in cheek sort of way,  He was a juvenile, How did he get a gun.   Guns for juveniles are illegal.  

Rob- Where are we going for our last story?

Amanda- Our fourth story took place in Wake Forest Crossing, North Carolina.

Rob- Fourth story- Are you armed in public?

You’re walking across the grocery store parking lot on a Sunday night. It is after dark when you hear some people arguing. It looks like a man is arguing with a couple. You slow down to see what is happening. The man shouts louder and you see him present a firearm and shoot at the couple. They back away. The armed attacker chases them.

You have your North Carolina concealed carry permit and you’re armed tonight. You present your firearm and shoot at the attacker. He stops shooting and runs away. You see him get into a car and drive away. You reholster you firearm and call 911. You move toward the couple and ask if they’re injured. 

You give a statement to the police when they arrive. The attacker crashed his car nearby. Police arrest the attacker and take him to jail. He is banged up from his car crash, but neither the couple nor their attacker were wounded. The attacker is charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, discharging a firearm in the city limits, driving while impaired, driving without a drivers license, failure to wear a seatbelt, and failure to maintain lane control. Police later called the attack “domestic violence.”

The news story doesn’t mention what happened to your groceries. You are not charged.

What did our defender do correctly?

(Bullet points by Roger T. Please do not make changes to these notes.)

  • The defender was armed when he went grocery shopping. POGO- pant on, gun on. 
  • The defender paid attention when he saw and heard the three people arguing in the parking lot. 
  • The defender did not fire on the attacker until the attacker started shooting at the couple.
  • The defender holstered his gun and called 911 when the attacker stopped shooting and ran to his car. 
  • The defender checked on the couple and gave a statement to the police.

What would you tell your students to do (that the defender should have done)?

(Bullet points by Roger T. Please do not make changes to these notes.)

  • Did the defender have a legal or a moral obligation to help the couple who was being shot at? NO! The defender decided to defend the third party (the couple) against the shooter without complete information. The defender risked his life, health, wealth and his freedom without knowing who was who and what was happening. What if the shooter was a cop making an arrest? It was a big gamble. 
  • Did the defender move to cover/concealment before engaging the shooter? 
  • The defender interrupted the shooter’s OODA loop and got him to stop shooting and run away.
  • Did the defender have the equipment and the training to treat any gun shot wounds? If you carry a gun, you need a trauma kit with you and the knowledge of how to use it on yourself and others. 
  • Where did the defender’s bullets go since they did not hit the shooter? Remember, every bullet you fire has to stop somewhere.

Amanda- Every firearms instructor has heard the statement that I’ll just carry my gun when I’m going someplace dangerous. First, don’t go there if  you know it is dangerous. Second, you won’t know it is dangerous until you’re already there. This defender put his gun on when he dressed in the morning. He recognized a lethal threat directed at innocent parties. He tried  to stop the attack. He stopped shooting when the attack was over. He checked on the victims and called 911. He stayed at the scene and gave the police a brief statement.

Rob-  What else do you see here?

Amanda-  It is a tough call to defend strangers because we don’t know the complete situation. A parking lot might give you cover or at least concealment. Your first job is to not get shot. If you yell for the attacker to stop then the ear witnesses will help identify you to the police as a defender rather than as an attacker. I worry that every shot you fire is going to stop someplace. If you miss the bad guy, then were did your bullet go?

One last comment, this was a psychological stop. Being shot at was enough to make the bad guy change his plans and run away.

The story said its a “domestic violence”,  and i am invested here.  I want to know more details of why someone you know is shooting at you in the dark. 


Rob- That wraps up this episode. Amanda, thank you for helping us again. Where can we learn more about you?

Amanda- My eye on the target radio show is syndicated coast to coast on Sunday nights from 5 to 7 eastern time. The show is also on video at OpsLens. I instruct on the weekends in Northeastern Ohio. I’m part of the DCProject – Women for Gun rights  that you can find at WomenForGunRights.org

Rob- After you listen to Amanda podcasts and watch her TV show, then please leave her a message on our podcast episode webpage.

Amanda- We share this podcast with you for free.
Please share the podcast with a friend and give us a rating on I-Tunes and Listen Notes.
We’re also available on
Amazon, Google Podcasts, Tunein, Spotify, Podbean and iHeart Radio.

Rob- This show is part of the Self-defense radio network. Find more pro-freedom podcasts at sdrn.us

I’m Rob Morse.  We’ll be back next week with more Self-Defense Gun Stories.


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