Skip to comments.Self-defense in Camden - A shooting not senseless
Posted on 01/09/2005 8:00:46 AM PST by dirtboy
There are too many handguns in the wrong hands in Camden, which had 54 homicides in 2004. But the city is fortunate that one of those guns was in the hands recently of a shop owner named Ngoc Le.
An immigrant from Vietnam, Ngoc Le and his wife, Kelly, run a cell-phone and fishing-supply store in the city. On Dec. 31, they were working in the shop when a man came in and asked to buy a cellular-phone clip.
As Kelly Le turned her back, the man jumped over a counter and grabbed her, holding a knife to her throat. She called out to her husband, who was in another room.
In that room, he kept a licensed .380-caliber revolver in a drawer for protection.
What happened next was captured, on audio and partly on video, by a security camera in the shop.
Ngoc Le, holding his gun, pleaded with the assailant: "I'll let you go if you let her go."
But the attacker kept holding the knife to Kelly Le's throat and threatened, "I'll kill her." He moved, with the woman in his grasp, toward another room.
The tense standoff continued. Ngoc Le repeatedly told the assailant that he wouldn't shoot if the man released his wife. The attacker refused.
Ngoc Le was pointing his gun at the man from four feet away, but the man was using Kelly Le as a shield. At that moment, Kelly Le's knees buckled, and she slumped in her assailant's grasp. Ngoc Le saw his opening and fired once, hitting the man in the head, killing him instantly.
Perhaps 20 seconds had elapsed from the time the intruder jumped the counter until he was shot dead.
Ngoc Le's split-second decision turned out to have significance even beyond saving the life of his wife. DNA tests on the dead man, 32-year-old Antonio Diaz Reyes, proved that Reyes was the serial rapist who had attacked three women since November in broad daylight in Camden's central business district. He also was suspected of robbing a pharmacy in Camden at knifepoint.
There are too many illegal handguns in Camden, in Philadelphia and across the country. But this one episode is a perfect example of what law-abiding gun owners want everyone to understand in the never-ending debate over the Second Amendment. Privately owned firearms, properly certified and used responsibly, serve a legitimate - and sometimes life-saving - purpose.
You couldn't find a better place to illustrate this point, unfortunately, than in Camden. In addition to a rising homicide rate, the city of 79,000 had more than 800 aggravated assaults in 2004 and at least 750 robberies.
Commending Ngoc Le's deed ought not to be misconstrued as an encouragement of vigilante justice. He did what he had to do, on his own property, when his wife faced imminent grievous harm, and only after he gave his assailant an opportunity to live. No civilian in his or her right mind would want to be forced into that life-or-death decision. It is an awful thing to take a human life, no matter how desperate the situation or how despicable the victim.
It is not an argument for the death penalty, either; the government, in a court of law, has an option that Ngoc Le in that urgent moment did not have: to lock the rapist away where he could hurt no law-abiding citizens.
But this shooting, perhaps, is a symbol that the citizens of Camden have had enough. In that sense, if ever there was a right time for a justifiable homicide, this case was it. The city should recognize Ngoc Le in some official way for that heroism.
As if summoned by the sound of that single gunshot, federal prosecutors announced last week that they are riding to the city's rescue. A team of federal marshals will target the 50 most dangerous criminals in the city, and offenders who use guns will be singled out for federal prosecution.
This is welcome news in a city in which the working relationship between local and state police has deteriorated. U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie should be commended for recognizing the city's urgent need, especially after state Attorney General Peter Harvey balked at devoting more law-enforcement resources in Camden. Federal lawmakers will need to back up this promise with real dollars over the long term.
Speaking of money, there was a $30,000 reward for information leading to the capture of the serial rapist. Now that he's dead, the law firm that helped to put up the money has discussed donating the money to a battered women's shelter or a victims crisis center. Here's another thought: Why not split it among Reyes' victims, including Kelly Le?
RKBA ping request
There are no atheists in foxholes.
Another example of very good gun control.
Proper use of a firearm. The guy should get a medal as far as I'm concerned. He performed superbly and I hope he doesn't suffer from the aftereffects.
C'mon dirtboy, that didn't come from the inky, who do you think you're fooling?
I'd love to see some stills from the video of Mr. Le dispatching this street urchin.
The ex-Pat Vietnamese community, here in Philadelphia in particular are rock solid, Patriotic American Republicans. The Vietnamese community gave my recent campaign more support than any other single group. God Bless these people, they know the true meaning of freedom and the pain of tyrany.
"You know, I'm going to start thanking
the woman who cleans the restroom in
the building I work in. I'm going to start
thinking of her as a human being"
Me neither. I'm saving the article before "PI" pulls it on Monday, when the left-wing, lib-dem wackos return.
I think this story is outrageous in its narrow scope. In addition to too many guns on the streets, there are too many knives. There ought to be a law that no unregistered knives can be owned except by, maybe, licensed chefs. This just underscores the crisis out there...maybe, we can get ACLU or the ATLA to sue the manufacturers of those damn knives,,,they cannot be allowed to fall into the hands of the criminals.
I fail to see where "...properly certified..." fits into the equation.
Way to go Mr. Le for getting the filth off the streets...but cell phones and fishing gear???...lol. So you can call your buds and brag about the one that got away before you're even out of the stream????
But Chris Satullo managed to save the day for liberal idiots with an inane column on Social Security reform that actually carried an implicit death threat on the president - he didn't mean it that way, but if you look at the headline and the last paragraph, it's there. So maybe he'll get to have tea with the Secret Service.
One step at a time. At least the Inky has acknowledged some pro 2nd-A arguments.
Proper display of gun control.
Any word from Reyes' familia ? I'm sure they'll say he was , "A good kid" , "He was just gettting started in life" and "He didn't deserve to die like that".
It is an awful thing to take a human life,
It is even more awful to have the life of an innocent person snuffed out by a criminal that should have been incarcerated to start with.
They should make Le an honorary police officer in Camden.
Ask the Warsaw Jews about registering guns.
Way too much moralizing. In a survival situation, do what you have to do and move on.
/loves living in Florida
the honest and law abiding citizens of this country are fed up, with the fed, and will eventually decide to take this country back
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