A RECENT ARMED SELF-DEFENSE
CASE IN NW MONTANA
by Dick Wells
Reporting For KeepAndBearArms.com
October 2, 2001
Last edited October 3, 2001
Dan Schacht's once photogenic
backside (click to enlarge)
There have been four gun related incidents in our small part of Montana in
the past several weeks. Two resulted in charges being brought forth, and the
other two involved suicides. The one that caught my attention concerned the
armed response of a couple wounded by a relative who subsequently took his own
KeepAndBearArms.com -- On the morning of September 8, 2001, Mary Black
and her partner Dan Schacht were going about their chores on their
"ranch" in rural NW Montana. It was peaceful, birds were doing their
thing in the creek-side meadow, and trout
were lazing in the creek, easing in and out of the sparkling sunlight before
turning the water to a frenzied froth as Dan tossed feed pellets to them. This
morning was much like other early fall mornings, like something we all look
forward to in our own way: contentment, enjoying the company of that special
someone while doing just as one chooses. Earlier, an unfortunate injury to
Mary's back prompted these partners for life to close their thriving antique
shop and retire to this less demanding life style.
8:30 AM, and almost time to settle on the deck behind their rustic home for
some coffee & quiet conversation. Just a little more to do beyond the gate
leading to the meadow. The pair recalled that suddenly, Dan's older brother,
Richard, leapt out from behind the corner of an out building beyond the gate! He
was dressed head to foot in camouflage clothing, with camouflage paint on his
face. Mary & Dan were armed, and when Dan saw Richard pointing a riot gun at
them, he drew his own revolver in defense. "Though the distance was only 15
feet," Dan said he "quickly decided he had little chance of firing an
effective shot before he was cut down by his brother's shotgun, and a frontal
shot would surely be fatal."
According to Dan, Richard has a history of instability, so he saw no hope of
reasoning with him. When Richard ordered Dan to drop his weapon, Dan complied.
With Mary in the lead, they turned & started to run toward the safety of the
house 100 feet distant (both are conditioned runners). Richard shouted,
"Stop!" Before they'd gone more than 15 feet, a blast from the riot
gun caught Dan in the back. At that point, Dan says, "All thought of
'brotherly love' left me forever." Dan hurried on though the pain was
fierce, as Richard continued firing; two more shots hit their mark as before.
Mary received a minor wound to her arm, but Dan caught the brunt of the attack.
Defenders are standing where
they were when the first shot hit Dan. Richard was at the corner of the
out building 30 feet behind them. (click to enlarge)
Once inside the house, Dan collapsed in pain, as Mary called 911. Upstairs in
the bedroom, they'd mount a defense. There, they could defend the door from any
intruder. Mary helped Dan negotiate the stairs to their hideout. Dan lay across
the bed with his back-up revolver pointed at the door. Mary continued talking to
the 911 operator: "Be sure to tell the responder to make his identity
known, because anyone coming through the door unannounced will be shot! I've got
two handguns and a shotgun here & I'll use them if I have to!"
For, what the defenders say was one and one half-hours; they consoled each
other, as they listened to Richard prowling around the exterior of the house. He
was most likely hoping to catch them off guard & shoot them through a
window. Dan, fighting to remain conscious, could only think that his brother was
insane & that he'd have to kill him before this ordeal ended. At one point,
Dan recalls, Richard had told him: "They'll never take me alive."
They recall hearing sirens coming down the road, relieved that help was
finally on the way! Subsequently, the beleaguered pair could hear the Sheriff's
deputies talking at the end of the driveway, as they tried to decide what to do
Then, as nothing else was happening, there was a shot fired in the woods
nearby. Finally, it was over, and the Sheriff's men came to the house to help
the wounded pair into the waiting ambulance. When they located Richard, he was
dead from a self-inflicted shot to his head.
The peculiar part of this story is the fact that, thankfully, Richard was
irrational to the point of attacking with what were apparently trap loads (low
velocity, light charges of small shot) in his riot gun! Dan's back is covered
with tiny wounds, but only one shot had reached a kidney, and two entered his
liver. His Doctor says they are of little concern and recovery should be
complete. Today, Dan says he has a shot work its way out from day to day, as his
body rejects it: a testimony to his good health.
Dan and Mary agree that the only thing that saved them was that Richard knew
they were in the house, armed, and committed to self-defense. Both repeatedly
observed that women, especially, need to be armed for self-defense. Fifty feet
from the rear door of the house I saw a perforated pistol target, all of the
holes are in the black.
Mary's self-defense commitment comes as the result of some terrible
experiences. Mary tells of the loss of her sister in 1968: her sister's husband
murdered her sister before her eyes. "I could have shot him, before he shot
her, if only I'd had a gun," she said. That was the turning point for Mary
-- she promptly purchased a handgun. Some time later, Mary recalls, she stopped
at a rest area near Boise, Idaho, when suddenly in broad daylight, from a car
bearing New Jersey plates, a group of black men surrounded her car. She calmly
withdrew her .357 from her purse and they left quickly. Mary knows first hand,
the value of being prepared to defend herself from an attacker. She says this
most recent experience taught her that there could be no doubt that 911 calls
are for picking up the pieces.
A Sheriff's Deputy commented to Dan and Mary that they were lucky: when
Richard's body was found, his backpack contained handcuffs, torture implements
and a quitclaim deed to their "ranch." Had Richard succeeded in his
demented plan, Dan & Mary believe they would not have had a nice visit with
him & most likely they would have been dead and buried somewhere in NW
Montana, beside a creek full of trout.