An armed woman stopped an attack on a party in Charleston, West Virginia on Wednesday by shooting a man who began firing into the crowd.
At a news conference on Thursday, Charleston Police Lieutenant Tony Hazlett said that woman who stopped the shooting did not have any law enforcement background. He said the woman’s quick actions may have saved many lives.
“This lady was carrying a lawful firearm,” Hazelett told WARL News. “A law-abiding citizen who stopped the threat of probably 20 or 30 people getting killed. She engaged the threat and stopped it. She didn’t run from the threat, she engaged it. Preventing a mass casualty event here in Charleston.”
The incident comes amid a national debate over mass shootings following two deadly attacks in recent weeks. In Buffalo, N.Y., a shooter killed ten shoppers at a grocery store, and a school shooter in Uvalde, Texas, took the lives of 19 schoolchildren and two teachers. On this occasion in West Virginia, however, the gunman was prevented from taking the lives of others by a woman using her own firearm legally.
A 37-year-old gunman was speeding around the parking lot of an apartment complex earlier in the day. He was approached by people attending a graduation party who asked him to slow down because children were playing. Butler reportedly left and returned with an AR-15 rifle which he used to shoot at a crowd of around 40 attendees.
Police say the bystander drew her pistol and fired at the gunman fatally wounding him. After the altercation, the woman waited with several witnesses and cooperated with the investigation, according to authorities.
Hazelett said no charges would be filed against the woman.
“She’s just a member of the community who was carrying her weapon lawfully,” Hazelett told WOWK 13 News. “And instead of running from the threat, she engaged with the threat and saved several lives.”
Police said that Butler had an extensive criminal record, including multiple felony convictions, and was not legally allowed to own a firearm.
She has not been identified. No one attending the party was injured.