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A recent NBC News article, Judge blocks California's ban on high-capacity magazines over 2nd Amendment concerns claims the judge wrote an 86 page decision that included a story that a woman fended-off three armed home intruders using a firearm and a high-capacity magazine.

In the third case, the pajama-clad woman with a high-capacity magazine took on three armed intruders, firing at them while simultaneously calling for help on her phone.

"She had no place to carry an extra magazine and no way to reload because her left hand held the phone with which she was still trying to call 911," the judge wrote, saying she killed one attacker while two escaped.

Did this happen?

As far as I'm aware, the judge's decision did not list the woman by name (but I'm struggling to find a full copy of the decision either), which is why I find the story difficult to fact-check.

Reasons why I'm skeptical are:

  • Home invasions involving three armed assailants seem pretty rare in America, unless it's gang or mob violence. It seems more common for one financially-desperate person to go on a solo robbery, target unlocked homes, and give-up if the homes prove to be occupied.
  • It seems like ordinary burglars would give-up on a robbery after 6+ shots are fired. I don't see why they would keep persisting at that point unless this were a vendetta. You're better off just looking for a different unoccupied house, and I wonder why they suspected that this house offered some sort of bounty that was valuable enough to brave being shot at by dozens of bullets.
  • The whole layout of the situation feels like it was architected to justify a legitimate use for high-capacity magazines.
  • Supposedly she wouldn't have been able to reload ordinary-capacity magazines because she couldn't put the phone down, but like... she could put the phone down. When you call 911, you're actually allowed to put the phone down for a bit if you need to.
  • It's also kind of hard to accept the justification that an ordinary-capacity magazine would not have been capable of achieving the result "she killed one attacker while two escaped."
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    @DanielRHicks I'm sorry, but this Snopes article doesn't provide any supplementary information -- it pretty much matches-up with the information in the link I provided. But I wasn't fact-checking that the ban was stricken-down; I was fact-checking whether the story in the judge's decision was made-up. – John Mar 31 at 4:53
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    All of your reasons for not believing the story are merely personal incredulity. – Joe Mar 31 at 22:09
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    I would point out that it is easy to pick apart a situation when one is reading an account of it. Consider how hard it would be to set a phone down, manipulate the controls on a handgun, properly insert a new magazine, and pick up the phone all while being rushed by three attackers. You have to deal with a heart rate that is through the roof, shaking hands, and no fine motor skills. – Drew_J Apr 1 at 12:30
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    @Joe: Sure, but that is part of what this site is about. Taking a position of personal incredulity and following up with evidence. – Oddthinking Apr 2 at 1:45
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    I don't know how complex "calling 911" is in the US. But I have taught self-defense courses, which included some "playing through scenarios". For a scenario like this one, I used to recommend to just dial the emergency number (911, 999, 110, whatever), and put the phone aside. One, you have both hands free. Two, it isn't immediately obvious you have called 911, or where the phone is. After a couple of seconds, you start getting vocal about what's happening, and where you are. The operator will get the hint pretty quickly. (And yes, I double-checked this with emergency operators.) – DevSolar Apr 2 at 8:19
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Yes, this looks like the story Video shows woman shooting at burglars during Gwinnett home invasion:

Surveillance video from inside the home shows the Gwinnett County woman rush from her bedroom and then unloads all her bullets on the three men who kicked in her front door. [...]

As they exchange fire with drywall debris clouding the dark home, the video shows one man run through a glass door.

Another man died of his injuries in the driveway.

I don’t know what type of gun she used, but all the other details match: the pajamas, phone in left hand, and her trying to call 911 (but ultimately being too busy with the attackers).

woman and gun

  • This does seem to indeed match-up with the details stated in the judge's decision; so I find it plausible that it is the same event, and I've accepted the answer. – John Mar 31 at 4:54
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    Yeah, but.... this doesn't confirm that, as the judge claimed, a high-capacity magazine was part of the equation. – PoloHoleSet Apr 1 at 19:55
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    The article says she fired all the rounds. I was able to count only 9 fired from the footage shown. If there's more footage, there may have been more shots fired. How many is "high capacity" anyway? 11+? – fredsbend Apr 2 at 2:14
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    After some searching, I found many articles on this event, revealing the name of the man she killed, the name of the one they found 18 months later, and that the third is still at large. None reveal how many shots the woman fired. – fredsbend Apr 2 at 3:58
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    The news says "unloaded all magacine", I count from the flashes in the video 9 shots. That matches @DanielRHicks comment, so certainly not a "high capacity magazine" but an standard one. – bradbury9 Apr 2 at 13:02
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Thanks to Laurel's answer we can check fact what happened and see if that did happen or not.

  • Home invasions involving three armed assailants seem pretty rare in America, unless it's gang or mob violence. It seems more common for one financially-desperate person to go on a solo robbery, target unlocked homes, and give-up if the homes prove to be occupied.

It was not a home invasion, but a business/shop. It makes sense.

  • It seems like ordinary burglars would give-up on a robbery after 6+ shots are fired. I don't see why they would keep persisting at that point unless this were a vendetta. You're better off just looking for a different unoccupied house, and I wonder why they suspected that this house offered some sort of bounty that was valuable enough to brave being shot at by dozens of bullets.

They did indeed fleed acording to the video, but the woman chased them shooting.

  • The whole layout of the situation feels like it was architected to justify a legitimate use for high-capacity magazines.

Totally agree, there are no signs of a high capacity magazine. Assuming an average of 10 bullets for standard capacity and the commentor of the news saying she unloaded the magazine we can conclude checking the video she was using a regular one.

  • Supposedly she wouldn't have been able to reload ordinary-capacity magazines because she couldn't put the phone down, but like... she could put the phone down. When you call 911, you're actually allowed to put the phone down for a bit if you need to.

The incident did not last enough to reload the magazine, afet 9 shots there were no intruders and one of the intruders was dead.

  • It's also kind of hard to accept the justification that an ordinary-capacity magazine would not have been capable of achieving the result "she killed one attacker while two escaped."

The video Laurel found proves you are right in that assumption

Conclusion

True: That woman did kill one and two fled, using a regular magazine.

False: The judge claims are wrong because clearly was not a high capacity magazine.

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    I think you are wrong to say that it "clearly was not a high-capacity magazine". It might have been, there is just no evidence to support it. – TonyK Apr 3 at 16:21
  • Besides the nine shots seen in the video and the link where it says that most USA States high capacity is more than 10 bullets? – bradbury9 Apr 3 at 16:37
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    Your answer has a fatal flaw: the assumption that the video shows all her shots fired. A further assumption, though perhaps justified, is that only 9 shots can be identified from the video we have. I'm the one who said he saw 9 shots, but I wasn't looking very hard. – fredsbend Apr 3 at 17:27
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    What does this add to the other answer? Just personal speculation and opinion? – Oddthinking Apr 4 at 4:23
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    "not a home invasion, but a business/shop" - that seems to directly conflict with the news report.This article confirms it was a house containing some restaurant supplies. – Oddthinking Apr 4 at 4:24

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