Self-defense files: Pastor's wife takes "thou shalt not steal" very, very seriously

“When we got our guns,” Pastor Robert Cook told the CBS News affiliate in Philadelphia, “we hoped we’d never have to use them.” That sentiment, shared by millions of law-abiding citizens who provide for their own safety, unfortunately got tested in the northeast section of Philly last night. While coming back to their residence next door to their church, an armed robber assaulted Cook. His wife, who also has a permit to carry, shot the robber and probably saved the lives of her husband and son:


It was about 11 p.m. when the family returned home from a concert. The suspect pointed a rifle at the pastor and demanded money.

He tells CBS-3 Eyewitness News there was a scuffle over the rifle.

“He tried to grab my wallet and I turned like I was going to get my wallet, but I was just stalling and he hit me really hard in the back of the head with the gun. Swung it like a baseball bat.”

That’s when the pastor’s 38-year-old wife pulled out her gun and shot the suspect once in the leg. He dropped the rifle and took off, hopping on to a moving SUV to escape.

It didn’t take police long to find the suspect, thanks to Cook’s quick thinking:

Pastor Cook took his wife’s weapon and followed the suspect. Police say the perpetrator dropped the weapon and fled.

Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Scott Small said, “The suspect was able to make an unusual escape by jumping on running boards of a moving vehicle that happened to be traveling east.”

Police were able to track down the suspect near a local hospital.

Officers apprehended the suspect. The victims were able to positively identify him.

Police continue to investigate the shooting, but told the ABC affiliate that they believe it to be a justified use of lethal force in self-defense. Assuming the facts don’t change from what has been reported, it seems like a textbook case. Even if it had been an actual baseball bat, the pastor and his wife would have been in reasonable fear for their lives and that of their 12-year-old son, but pointing a rifle at them at the start of the encounter would suffice for that finding, too.


No one arms themselves in the hope of having this kind of confrontation. They do so because they want to make sure they have a decent chance of surviving it if one occurs. “If it comes down to my family or him,” Cook states, “it’s him. And I don’t feel bad about that.” Thankfully for this family, they had the means to make that choice, rather than having it made for them.

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