An Iraq war veteran was shot in the face while trying to save a mother from a brutal assault in Kansas on Sunday. Another good Samaritan with a concealed-carry firearm was able to take the shooter out, while the other assailant ran away. The incident happened at a Shawnee, Kansas Walmart parking lot, just outside of Kansas City.
While the mother was strapping her baby into the car seat, the two black assailants approached her and repeatedly struck her in the back of her head.
Hearing the mother’s screams, the good Samaritans rushed to help. One of them, 33-year-old Air Force veteran Joshua Owen, was shot multiple times when one of the attackers, later identified as John W. Simmons III, pulled out a gun. The second rescuer, who has yet to be identified, had a gun of his own and he fired back, killing Simmons, police said. The baby wasn’t hurt.
Police later caught the second suspect, 27-year-old Arthur Fred Wyatt III. On Tuesday, Wyatt was charged with attempted first-degree murder charges, aggravated kidnapping and attempted aggravated robbery. He pleaded not guilty and is being held in Shawnee jail. Owen, the wounded good Samaritan, remains hospitalized.
Owen’s sisters-in-law created a GoFundMe page to help cover the cost of his medical and living expenses while he’s recovering. In just seven hours, the campaign raised nearly $30,000.
“We are so very grateful for the outpouring love and support from everything. We are so overwhelmed with emotions,” Leslie Owen, the wounded man’s wife, said in a message to CNN.
The second good Samaritan, a 36-year-old De Soto, Kansas, man, was interviewed by police and released.
Back in April, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback (R) signed a law allowing the carrying of concealed handguns in the state without a license or a training requirement. Yesterday Missouri joined Kansas and four other states in passing such a concealed-carry law. In three of the states that have adopted permit-less carry laws similar to that of Kansas, murder rates have gone down.
Josh’s GoFundMe page — which has now raised over $88,000 — describes some of the injuries he sustained:
Josh is suffering from three gunshot wounds. He was hit in the face, where the bullet swiped his nose, removing a large portion of the left side, traveled into his cheek shattering bones and damaging nerves and extended up to his left ear. He was also hit in his left wrist, leaving him with a broken wrist and loss of some nerve function in his hand and arm. Lastly, he was hit in his chest where the bullet traveled up into his left shoulder and remains lodged in the bone. His shoulder is also broken.
This so-called “random” black-on-white attack in Kansas was just one of thousands of such “random” attacks that have been occurring on the streets of both big- and small-town America in recent years.
“I was kinda glad that there was a citizen that was armed,” a bystander told KMBC News. “I think that could have prevented further harm.” Another bystander agreed. “Good people should be able to have their guns,” Johanna said. “We’re just thankful that that man was there to help that family.”
Meanwhile, family members of John W. Simmons held a “vigil” for their deceased loved one, who attacked a defenseless mother and shot a war hero in the face. Police were at the scene “to keep some angry protesters away.”
“I know he did wrong, ” his sister Kayla Blackmon said. “That wasn’t in his heart. It doesn’t justify the person that he is. He has a pure heart that was currently hurting.” Simmons’ mother told reporters she thought her son might have been high, possibly on cocaine, at the time he committed the crime and that “he was trying to get help.”