TAMPA, FLORIDA — A 3 am parking spot dispute led to a concealed carrier firing her gun. Although the discharge was unintentional, the woman did draw her firearm before the trigger was pulled. The bullet, however, struck her girlfriend.
Local media reports;
“He hit me, and my first reaction is ‘I’m going to protect myself and I’m going to protect my partner,'” said Joann Williams.
Williams says she arrived just before 3 a.m. Labor Day morning to pick up her girlfriend outside of New York New York Pizza in Ybor. She says a group of men was standing in an open parking space off East 7th Avenue.
Williams says one of the men punched her and another bit her during an unprovoked attack.
That’s when Williams drew her firearm, but it was met with quick resistance. One of the men immediately punched Williams after seeing the firearm.
That’s when her girlfriend, Jasmine Wynne, was accidentally shot in the arm. At some point during the confrontation, the firearm discharged.
“Through the forearm and out about six or seven inches under it, right before the wrist,” said Wynne. “There was a lot of throbbing.”
The men dispersed before police arrived.
While this defensive gun use went wrong, Williams stands by her decision to draw her firearm.
It’s not so much a question as to whether or not Williams was justified (because it seems that she was), but rather the act of keeping control over the firearm AND getting yourself a safe distance away from the aggressor before drawing your firearm.
Florida’s Stand Your Ground laws are likely to cover the actions that Williams took, if she indeed felt that her life or the life of her girlfriend was in danger.
It seems, though, that the aggressors were in close proximity to Williams as she drew her firearm. This can open up a can of worms, as we see here, because maintaining control over your firearm is an essential part of the equation.
Gaining distance between yourself and an aggressor is essential. It’s not always possible, of course, but attempting to do so is an extremely important aspect of self-defense.
We’ll keep an eye on this and see how things develop.