Real Life Combat: LA Tan Robber Shot, Killed

From the South Town Star:

Hero Jason McDaniel

First he saw the young clerk, bound with ropes. Then Jason McDaniel saw the gunman.

Moments after the 29-year-old husband and father walked into a south suburban tanning salon Saturday night, McDaniel looked into a pair of hard cold eyes and he knew he might not make it out alive.

After shooting and killing the intruder who was terrorizing two women, a customer and an employee, at the L.A. Tan, Jason McDaniel can’t stop being thankful.

“I thank God I came in those doors to help those girls. I thank God it was me,” McDaniel told the SouthtownStar on Sunday night from his southwest suburban home, his 15-month old daughter playing at his side.

His first thought wasn’t shooting. He tried to offer money. He tried to reason.

“Man you don’t have to do this. I’ve got a little girl at home, I’m a new daddy.” McDaniel told the man, that tactic wasn’t working. The gunman – a stocky, dark-skinned white man in his late 30s to early 40s, McDaniel recalled – told him that he didn’t care. Instead, he ordered him to tie his hands.

When the gunman, who authorities identified as 48-year-old Gary Amaya, of Rankin, Ill., reached for the ropes he carried in a bag, McDaniel saw his chance and took it. Lunging at the unmasked man and knocking him to the ground, he then grabbed the gun from the counter where the man had left it.

The man fought back, and McDaniel shot him as the two struggled on the ground.

“Then I was standing up again and he was still grabbing for things in his pocket, so I shot him again.”

He doesn’t own a gun but he knew how to use one. He didn’t aim to kill. He just had to save those girls, and save himself, he said.

“I did what I had to do,” he said.

For those who want to pretend that you can talk your way out of a robbery or rape, Jason tried everything, but was unsuccessful.

And for those who say the typical robber or intruder “just wants your wallet or TV,” the suspect may be the “Honeybee Killer,” wanted for mudering one man and injuring a second.

As for the “he’s just a harmless guy who needs money” theory, Jason says,

McDaniel, for his part, is pretty sure the man was not after money.

“I think he was there to hurt people. He had all kinds of things with him. He had a beating stick on his belt – one of those batons police carry. And more things, too. It was like he was going to war.”

McDaniel figures the man didn’t expect survivors to identify him after. “What scared me most is he didn’t have a mask on,” he said.

Lessons Learned:

Are You Prepared to Shoot?

You need to be mentally and morally prepared to shoot if necessary. Classifying men with guns as victims of society or the oppressed underclass of a capitalist society, or a junky merely looking for a fix, does not prepare you to pull the trigger if need be.

Furthermore, this outlook is just plain wrong, especially when you are confronting a killer.

Can You Shoot? 

How Do You Operate the Safety? Magazine Release? Slide Stop?


Suppose you say you don’t want to own or carry a gun. Great. Can you use a gun if you need to save your life? Can you use a gun to save someone else’s life? Can you operate the safety on a Colt .45 auto? Can you rack a round into an automatic pistol? Do you know how to prevent a revolver or an automatic from firing?

Don’t Let Him Tie You Up

If the objective was simple theft, the robber could have run out the door. Once he stayed to tie people up, his agenda may have included rape, torture, and murder.

The story ended well for the innocent. Jason might very well have been killed while making his move, but if he got tied up, he would have been powerless, and all 3 victims could have died, perhaps after sexual abuse and torture.


12 Responses to “Real Life Combat: LA Tan Robber Shot, Killed”

  1. You’re right on all accounts and the guy owed it to his child not to let himself get tied up.

  2. Thank you for the great post!

    Remember, an attack on you is an attack on your family.
    Treat it as such.

    Continued success,

  3. […] Big Stick Combat Blog breaks down a foiled robbery with a very happy ending. […]

  4. If he used a broom or any long staff-like stick, how would the baseball bat techniques applied? I have your ebook and would like to apply the bat techniques to a five foot staff.

    P. S. I hope this is the right place for this question.


  5. Joe,

    A 5 foot long staff is really too long for the two handed bat grip, like a baseball bat. The Tapado people use a 4 foot staff effectively with a bat grip, but past that, the staff becomes too long and too slow.

    For a 5 foot staff, you might investigate “Kung Fu Dragon Pole,” by William Cheung, which I prefer as a simple yet effective staff method.

    The foiled pizza robbery post earlier is probably a good example of two-handed techniques.

  6. I should also mention that the article says Jason tackled the robber when he bent over to get rope out of his bag. A strong side kick would have been a good weapon in this situation.

  7. Les Nessman Says:

    Mr. McDaniel is a hero; but this part of the story bothered me :
    “He didn’t aim to kill. He just had to save those girls, and save himself, he said.”

    I don’t know if this is accurate or just the reporter’s interpretation; but if you are in a life-or-death situation, you had better ‘aim to kill’.

  8. Les,

    I think many savvy people are at great pains to say that they weren’t trying to kill anybody, they were merely trying to defend themselves, or protect others, etc.

    On a forum here I can say the guy is an sob who got what he deserved, and the world is better off without him. On this webpage I can say in this circumstance you should kill him, and then kill him again just to be safe.

    On the other hand, if I were the shooter in the LA Tan robbery, these statements could be twisted by a lawyer to show malice, “bloodlust,” or that I was a middle class schlep with Walter Mitty revenge fantasies, or that I was prejudiced (even though I may not have known that the victim was Armenian), etc.

    Mas Ayoob has written of how easily post-incident statements can be perverted by a lawyer and used against you in court, so that YOU in effect become the defendant.

    • Les Nessman Says:

      Agree 100%. Which is a darn shame because it candy-coats what it takes to prevail in these violent encounters. The bad guys aim to kill and too many good guys might hesitate at the moment of truth if it isn’t ingrained in them.

    • Les Nessman Says:

      Nice looking blog, btw.
      Thanks for taking the time to do this. Lots of interesting info here.

  9. When I was going through the hiring process for the LAPD I was told that “We don’t shoot to kill, we shoot to stop a bad guy”. When I asked what, exactly, that entailed I was told “Two in the chest and one in the head”. Yeah, I guess that would “stop” someone. My point is, don’t get hung up on semantics, just do what you have to do and then envoke your right to remain silent and let your lawyer do the talking for you.

  10. @Tommy . . well said, especially the self silence. No need to get jammed up by letting your pie hole over flow. My advise is for every man and woman to have a good attorney on retainer. In todays world it is a MUST! And a sound Tactical move.

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