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Gun Dealer's Personal Account of Saving His Own Life with a Gun
A Small, Concealed Handgun Saved J. David Phillips' Life.

January 15, 2001

Two days ago, J. David Phillips, who was attacked by a deranged man with a samurai sword last year, sent an email to the President of Citizens Of America, the organization running a national PRO-GUN media campaign ( There are many important messages contained in Mr. Phillips' emailed account of the attack, which he kindly allowed us to publish on Following is his letter, plus contact information and an address, should you care to lend a hand:


On September 26th of last year, I had a man try to purchase a 357 magnum from me here, in the store. He had come in the week before, and paid for it, and had to wait the obligatory three business days. Upon opening the store at 11:00am on the 26th, he was waiting for me. After having him fill out the 4473 form, I called it in to FDLE (Florida Division of Law Enforcement), which is the point of contact to the FBI for us dealers in the State. The check came back Conditional Refusal, which gave the authorities another three days to further check out the guy.

"Without a small, concealable, firearm in my pocket, I'd be dead. It is that simple."

Well, he wasn't real happy about it, and tried to get me to transfer the firearm anyway. I told him, no ok from the State, no gun. He left, and waited about an hour, and a half, and came back when no one but myself was in the store. I was sitting at my desk, which is in the back of the showroom. As he approached, he produced a 36" blade Samurai sword, and said " this is a Ninja sword", and stabbed me in the upper right chest. Evidently, my subconscious saw something coming, and I immediately pushed myself back from the desk so hard, that I pushed myself out of the chair, and onto the floor behind me.

As I'm trying to get up, he ran around the desk, and kept trying to stab me.

The fight was pretty intense, and I was starting to get the worst of it. I had my Glock 19 on a file cabinet under my desk that I had reached for as I went past it--- but missed. After what seemed like a few minutes, I was able to break contact, and ran for my office door, which is about ten feet from my desk. Unfortunately, he was about a half step behind. I was fixated upon getting to my office desk, where there was a loaded .38 revolver in the drawer.

At the office door, I took the door and slammed it as hard as I could on him, with no effect. But, he did stab all the way through the door with the sword. ( pretty sharp instrument) I was able to get over to my desk, and stumbled as I got to it, sprawling myself, and everything on top of the desk in a pretty messy manner. As I got up from the top of my desk, I remembered that the 38 in the drawer, was in fact, not loaded, and was in pieces from my taking it apart the day or so before to clean. neat-o.

As I turned around to face my attacker, he stabbed me in my left abdomen, piercing my upper intestine. With the sword in me, we began to struggle again, and somehow waltzed to the other end of the office, from whence I came. While he's trying to shove the damn thing in deeper, I was using my left hand to try to pull the blade out. At that moment, was when I realized that I still had my pocket pistol in my right pants pocket. It is a 950 Beretta, in .25 caliber.

As he was focused upon trying to thrust the sword deeper in me, he didn't notice me reaching into my right pocket and pulling out the Beretta. I thumbed the hammer back, as it is a single action, and aimed for his left eye. I only remember firing two shots, but it was actually five. I hit him twice in the left eye, and twice in the left cheek, in close proximity to his eye. I also hit him in one of his hands, and that round went all the way through his hand, and through my office door, out to the street.

The two rounds that made it to his cheek, spent themselves, and dropped about 15 feet behind him on the floor. The two that got his eye, tumbled around in his brain, and one lodged in his spinal column, and the other lodged somewhere in his brain. He dropped like a sack of lead. I stumbled out into the store, and called 911, and waited for the cavalry to show up.

They flew me to St. Joseph's hospital in Tampa, Florida, who has one of the best trauma units in the State. I was on the critical list for a couple of days, and stayed for ten.

The so-called Ninja warrior died the next day, after being pulled off of life support. He had been stalking Kristine Abernathy of the Weather Channel for two years, and had not been found out. He had between 2-300 rounds of 357 ammo in his van, and additional swords, knives, throwing stars, and the like. On a piece of paper he had written his agenda, and the last entry was for him to go to Atlanta.

I still feel weak, and like garbage most of the time, but the doctor says this will pass in about 6 months to a year.

The digestive tract is really goofed up, and I really have to watch what I eat. Work is still work, but at least I'm alive to complain about it. We have Blue Cross, and Blue Shield insurance, and so far, they have only paid a fraction of the bills. Sorta like getting attacked again. Hell, if we don't pay our premiums on time, we're cancelled. If they don't pay their bills on time, nothing happens. Go figure.

I just thought you'd like to know what happens to people who do choose to carry a firearm, and what would have happened to me if I hadn't. Without a small, concealable, firearm in my pocket, I'd be dead. It is that simple.

Wish I would have remembered it a lot sooner, though :-) I'd have saved myself an additional four stabs, and a lot of additional pain.

Thanks for the work that you people are doing, and you can count on me to contribute again.

J. David Phillips
A-1 Pawn & Jewelry
1925 S.E. Hwy 19
Crystal River, Florida, 34429
Phone: (352) 795-2777
Fax: (352) 795-2093

Read original Associated Press account of this event in our Guns Save Lives section, as posted two days after the attack: