563. They Didn't Plan On Leaving Witnesses
After saying goodbye to his wife, Mary, Brian Rigsby left their home outside Atlanta, Georgia, to pick up his friend Tom Styer for an impromptu camping trip on the afternoon of Saturday, November 24, 1990.
Getting a late start and making a few wrong turns in the Oconee National Forest, the two friends didn't arrive at their campsite until well after dark. They'd chosen a spot convenient to the public rifle range in Oconee, and eagerly looked forward to some target practice the next day.
By the light of a lantern, the friends pitched a tent and then built a campfire. They were settling in for the night when they heard the distinctive growl of a diesel engine approaching. Shortly thereafter, a truck pulled up, right into the middle of the camp. Rigsby noticed that it was a work truck, with the name of a business painted on the side.
Two men got out and introduced themselves, explaining that they were driving around to meet people and help out. Exceedingly polite, the visitors insisted on helping Rigsby and Styer cut more firewood. During their hour-long stay, the courteous duo depicted themselves as long-time residents of the area, boasting about their extensive knowledge of the surrounding woods.
Rigsby remembers feeling uncomfortable with the two men, and relieved when they finally left. He even considered moving the camp to another location. But before any firm decision could be reached, Rigsby and Styer heard the truck's diesel engine once again driving down the road toward their camp. It was the only road in.
The truck stopped before reaching the camp, and its engine abruptly cut off. In the quiet that followed, Rigsby and Styer heard the faint crackle of leaves rustling as their former visitors stole toward the campsite.
When the two friends realized they were being stalked, each grabbed his gun and made sure it was loaded. Rigsby took cover behind his truck, armed with a Ruger Mini-14 with a 30-round magazine, while Styer knelt in the tent's shadow with his .45 pistol at the ready.
Rigsby was shocked and filled with disbelief. "I tried to listen for the men," he recalls, "but couldn't hear much over the sound of my breathing and the pounding of my heart."
It was Styer that saw them first. One of the men slid suddenly into the light cast by the campfire, pointing his double-barrelled shotgun in Rigsby's direction. Afraid he would actually shoot, Rigsby kept his head down, and heard Styer ask the man why he came back with a gun. In reply, the man swung the shotgun toward Styer and answered, "I'm going to kill you."
Styer instructed the intruder to drop his gun. Instead, the intruder fired, hitting Styer in the legs.
Rigsby remembers seeing the front sight of his Mini-14 centered on the assailant's chest. He fired twice. Quickly swinging the rifle toward the second attacker's position, Rigsby fired six or seven additional rounds, determining his point of aim by the flash from the other man 's muzzle against the blackness of the surrounding forest.
Partially blinded by the flash from his own muzzle, Rigsby dropped back down behind his truck. He looked underneath the frame, across the campsite. Seeing no one, he yelled for help. There was no answer. He called out to Styer, but heard no response.
Rigsby knew that the first attacker was down and no longer a threat. But the other gunman was out there, somewhere. Rigsby strained his ears, trying to hear any movement in the nearby trees. He heard nothing. He looked around the camp and beyond it into the woods, but still saw no one. Waiting a few minutes, he called again to Styer, but his friend still did not answer.
Rigsby then began to move slowly and cautiously backward, away from the camp. Seeing a light through the trees, he started toward it. Amazingly, he found a camp filled with hunters about 300 yds. away.
One of the hunters hurried away to call the police, who responded and immediately placed Rigsby under arrest. They returned to the scene of the attack and found Styer, still alive.
The shotgun-wielding attacker had been hit twice and died at the scene. His accomplice was also hit twice, but survived. Both carried 12-ga. scatterguns loaded with 3" magnum buckshot, and both had fired their weapons at Rigsby and Styer.
The two friends gave statements to the police, whereupon Rigsby was released from custody and Styer was taken to the local hospital. In his statement, the surviving gunman admitted he and his accomplice had returned to rob the campers, a crime they had planned while smoking crack cocaine following their initial visit to the campsite. The surviving gunman was subsequently charged with aggravated assault, convicted and released on probation.
Later, an officer told Brian Rigsby and Tom Styer that police were convinced the pair of attackers would have murdered both campers; when introducing themselves, the deceptively courteous men had used their real names and drove a truck owned by their employer. Apparently, they didn't plan to leave any witnesses to their crime.
(Ed. Note: Although Brian Rigsby's Mini-14 was not on the list of so-called "assault weapons" prohibited by the 1994 gun ban, with a few cosmetic changes, it would meet the criteria established therein by the 103rd Congress. All magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds were banned.)
Not a bad story.
I look forward to the small blurbs of self defense in my American Rifleman mags.
yep, the "armed citizen"
BTW, i see you DID adopt that as your new sig line.....
Centered it as well
It has nothing to do with other cultures. No sir-ee. I just highly dislike the moon. And sickles... with hammers.
I have read an article by Massad Ayoob saying that you NEVER challenge an intruder or tell him to "drop his gun," because most intruders use that split second to fire; even if they are not facing you they can spin and fire at a reluctant armed citizen. Ayoob advises you just blast them, if they present a threat.
I, for one, would have blown those two dudes shit away, no questions asked.
My vehicle got broken into in my driveway once.
Couple nights after that, vehicle alarm was going off middle of the night.
I was GLAD to have my Sig 229 to go out and secure the property.
I would have expected SteyrAUG to have a nicer fire arm than a mini 14, considering he's an FFL and all. Maybe for his next group buy he should buy himself a nicer rifle.
Long story short, a woman was getting beaten up on the street outside my house late one night. I stepped outside with my Norinco Uzi at my side, and yelled 'Hey!'. The attacker/boyfriend saw me and immediately ceased, turned and began walking in the other direction. The lady refused my offer of help, and didn't want me to call the police either.
I am sure she was back with the guy the next day.