One intrepid woman who was a bystander near an area where a party was being held in West Virginia took matters into her own hands when a man pulled out an AR-15-style rifle and started shooting at partygoers, according to police.
The woman yanked out a pistol and shot the man to death.
“Instead of running from the threat, she engaged with the threat and saved several lives last night,” Chief of Detectives Tony Hazelett stated. He added that the woman would not be charged.
No one else was injured after Dennis Butler, 37, started firing into the crowd gathered in in a grassy area near an apartment complex in Charleston, according to police.
“There was a graduation party, a party with kids,” Hazelett said at a press conference. “So obviously somebody just graduated high school and another birthday party. We could have had a casualty shooting there.” He estimated between 30 to 40 people attended the parties.
Hazelett said Butler “was at the apartment complex earlier. He was approached about speeding while there was a birthday party/graduation party going on.” He said that Butler did have an “extensive criminal history,” according to WCHS.
Butler later returned in his vehicle and parked near the party. Hazelett noted that roughly 30 minutes passed between the time Butler left and then returned. He said, “He got in the back seat and pulled out an AR-style rifle and started firing into the crowd.”
Hazelett stated that the woman firing her gun was lawfully carrying her firearm and was not a member of law enforcement, just a “member of the community.”
“There were multiple gunshot wounds,” Hazelett stated. “She quickly engaged him and returned fire.”
“Again, I credit her with being vigilant; watched him get out, engaged the threat, stopped him,” Hazelett said.
Gesturing to the map of the area of the shooting, Hazelett stated, “If you see anything in this area, feel free to call. There’s no charge for calling 911; that’s what we’re here to do. We’re here to respond to calls and to take calls. I’d rather it be a false call than a real call.”
“If you think you see a gun, call,” he advised. “We’ll respond.”
The woman, joined by several witnesses, waited for police to arrive after the shooting; all said they would cooperate with any investigation.
“She did the right thing. I don’t know if any other person would have done that,” Hazelett concluded.