Midlothian, TX – A concealed carry gunowner sent an attempted carjacker running for his life, after the suspect jumped into the man’s car and threatened to murder him.
The incident occurred at Brookshire’s grocery store on Nov. 25, after Mike Panther dropped his wife off so she could run inside, the Daily Light reported.
Panther pulled into a parking spot to wait for her, then began looking through his phone.
“Out of my peripheral vision, I see these two individuals walking across, straight at my automobile,” Panther explained. “It was a younger man and woman.”
The man, later identified as 21-year-old Caleb Jefferson, pretended like he knew Panther, momentarily catching him off guard.
“I was looking at him, he puts his hands out and comes to the side of the automobile, says ‘Man, what’re you doing here? I haven’t seen you in so long. I can’t believe it’s you!’” Panther recalled.
But by the time he realized Jefferson was a stranger, it was already too late.
“He grabs my right hand, shakes it and jumped into the automobile,” Panther told the Daily Light.
Jefferson’s female accomplice, 17-year-old Niyah Williams, quickly ran around to the other side of Panther’s car and jumped into the seat behind Panther.
That’s when Panther realized that Jefferson appeared to be holding a gun underneath his shirt.
“[He] tells me, ‘I’ve got a gun. I’ll blow your head off,’” Panther told KDFW.
What Jefferson didn’t know was that Panther is a longtime gun owner and concealed weapon carrier, and that his .40 caliber handgun was in a bag right next to his seat.
“He said ‘The next word out of your mouth, I’m sending you to heaven,‘” Panther told the Daily Light. “I reached down, I grabbed the gun, pointed it right in his face and I said ‘Let’s go together.’”
That was the moment everything changed, and Panther quickly realized that Jefferson had never really had a gun in the first place.
“I couldn’t explain to you how fast he got out of my automobile at that point,” Panther said. “He jumped out that door in an instant.”
Williams and Jefferson then began screaming at him, yelling that he was going to kill them and had a gun.
As the duo took off towards the store, Panther saw his wife, Vickie, walking towards the vehicle and was petrified that the attackers would try to harm her.
“My wife is walking right toward these people,” Panther said. “She does not know what in the heck was going on. I was more scared at that moment that they were going to grab her more than anything.”
But Williams and Jefferson flew right by Panther’s wife and headed into the grocery store.
Vickie immediately called Midlothian police, who soon located the suspects exiting the opposite side of the store.
“It took three or four of them to get this girl under control,” Panther told the Daily Light. “She went plain ballistic. Kicking, screaming, hollering, everything. She was worse than the guy.”
Williams and Jefferson were both hauled off to the Wayne McCollum Detention Center, where they were charged with resisting arrest and aggravated robbery.
Police also confirmed that Jefferson was not in possession of a firearm at the time of his arrest, Panther said.
“My pistol shoots so easily. I can touch that trigger, and it’s gone,” he told the Daily Light. “It could have so easily went the other way. Then I would have a dead young man on my conscience for the rest of my life.”
“I was actually mad,” he continued. “I was actually really kind of PO’d that these people would do something like this. Think if that was an 80-year-old grandmother or a 16-year-old girl that this happened to. That right there is what bothers me more than anything.”
Panther said he reacted almost instinctively during the altercation, and said he’d long prepared to protect himself and others were the situation ever to arise, KDFW reported.
“I’m a gun owner. I’m an NRA member. I’m a TSRA member,” he told the news outlet. “I’ve waited for this day to happen. And even though I've waited for it to happen hoping it would never happen, it happened.”