You probably heard about the mass shooting in California yesterday but there was another attempted mass shooting Tuesday in Cheektowaga, New York near Buffalo. A man, later identified as 29-year-old Travis Green, went to the local Dollar Store dressed in camo and body armor and started firing an AR-15 at the front door from a position in the parking lot. Only one person inside was hit, and he is expected to recover, but police believe it could have been worse if not for a couple of local businessmen who took action. From the Buffalo News:
As a man started firing a pump action firearm into the discount store at Union Road and Gardenville Parkway West, Christopher Kaufmann, a manager at Daryll’s Car Audio across the street, called 911.
Mark Pinnavaia, the owner of Daryll’s, grabbed his cellphone and keys and hopped into his Ford Focus in the parking lot. His initial intention, he said, was to maintain a good vantage point so he could be “the best witness that I could possibly be.”
“But I felt that I had to do something,” Pinnavaia said.
When he saw the gunman put down his weapon for a second time, Pinnavaia gunned his car toward him.
“At that point I put my car in drive and I proceeded to drive as fast as I possibly could to hit the individual,” he said. “I had full intentions to hit him if that’s what it would take to stop him.”
It sounds as if Green tried to leap over the car but didn’t avoid getting clipped. Pinnavaia says there is a shoe print on his roof. In any case, Green gave up on his attack and ran. Pinnavaia and Kaufmann chased after him on foot and moments later police arrived. An officer tackled Green and he was arrested (dash cam video is included in the clip below).
Considering how Green was armed and the number of rounds he still had in his car (over 800), Cheektowaga Police Chief David Zack said Tuesday, “It is a miracle I’m not at this podium reading the names of the dead.” He also praised Pinnavaia and Kaufmann’s “incredible bravery” and said, “There is no question these individuals saved lives yesterday, they are heroes.”
I’ve written several posts about people who step up in these situations. They come from every race and background but they have on thing in common: After risking their lives for others, they all deny being heroes. And sure enough, Kaufmann and Pinnavaia denied it too.
Despite the accolades from police and others, Pinnavaia and Kaufmann said they don’t consider themselves to be heroes. The real heroes are the men and women in law enforcement and the military, Pinnavaia said.
“You do what you do in a situation,” Kaufmann said. “I don’t think it’s about being a hero. It’s about doing what you think you need to do. You just do it, you don’t think about it. You just do it.”
As for what motivated the attack, that’s still not clear but the Associated Press reports that Green’s marriage of seven years was in the midst of breaking up:
His mother, Viola Green, was with her son during his arraignment and afterward said he and his wife recently broke up after seven years of marriage. She said her son spent part of the day Tuesday moving his things out of their house.
“I guess the stress took over,” Viola Green said.
Stress is certainly understandable in that situation, but why attack strangers at a Dollar Store unless this was an attempt at suicide by cop. Thanks to the intervention of Kaufmann and Pinnavaia, no officers had to shoot it out with Green and no officer had to go home that night having had to kill a disturbed man to protect others. You can deny that’s real heroism if you want. I just hope that if I’m even in a terrible situation like this I’m brave enough to react the way these two guys did.