DENVER (CBS4) – There’s no substitute for a cop — and only a cop — in the right place at the wrong time.
That’s the opinion of Jeanne Assam, a Colorado woman who faced an armed gunman in 2007 and took action.
With the debate over gun control taking center stage in the political conversation in the wake of this month’s school shooting in Connecticut, Assam’s views are partially in line with what the National Rifle Association has proposed and partially not.
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When asked for her thoughts on putting an armed, uniformed officer in every school as the NRA has proposed, she said “I understand people who don’t like guns and don’t want to be around them but in the hands of a trained officer, it’s a safe thing.”
Assam said she thinks that trained officer does not need a high powered rifle.
“All I had was handgun against an AR-15 and, you know, I asked God to be with me and I won,” she said.
Assam was providing security at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs in December 2007 when a gunman shot and killed two sisters in the parking lot. The gunman, Matthew Murray, then went inside the church and was confronted by Assam.
“He turned and pointed his AR-15 at me, so I quickly fired five rounds, he went completely back on his back and I kept walking toward him with my gun on him and I said ‘Drop your weapon or I will kill you.”
She did, insisting reports of suicide being the official cause of death that came out afterwards were wrong. She says she shot him 10 times.
“A police officer is trained to shoot to stop the threat and I had to keep shooting. He gave me no choice,” she said.
Nearly a day before Murray’s shooting spree in Colorado Springs, the gunman had shot four people in Arvada at the Youth With A Mission training center, killing 2, and wounding 2 others.
Assam, who has an extensive background as a police officer and investigator, says she draws the line in the gun control debate at allowing teachers to carry a gun.
“That’s their goal in life is to teach, they don’t want to be Rambo, the Rambo teacher,” she said.
Three other volunteer security members at New Life Church were armed, but she was the only one to engage the shooter.
“People really think that just because they have a gun they’re going to magically know what to do, and that’s not the case. I say that in a caring way, so nobody gets killed.”
Assam also believes the AR-15 has no business being in the hands of civilians. She says it’s a weapon only for the military and police. She also supports reducing the amount of bullets an AR-15 can carry at any one time.