Learnings from the Wichita Falls stabbing

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A man, who Wichita Falls Police said got into an argument with a store clerk and then stabbed a customer who tried to intervene, is in custody.

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There is much to learn from this story.

Let’s start with the opening line: got into an argument with the clerk and stabbed a customer who chose to intervene. As Tom Hogel says to me, “No good deed goes unpunished.” I addressed this topic in last week’s Personal Tactics Skills class. Intervention isn’t always the right answer; in fact, most times it’s the wrong answer. I understand the urge, the drive to respond – especially when you see an injustice committed. I’m not saying to not respond. What I am saying is you need to know where your line is drawn. What are you willing to die for? Are you willing to die for a rando store clerk? Maybe you are, maybe you are not. This is a personal decision. I don’t care where you draw your line (it’s your line, not mine) – I just want you to ensure you have a clear, well-defined, articulable line. If you don’t have one right now, you need to get one right now. Because if you intervene, you risk death – what are you willing to die for?

When WFPD officers arrived at the 7-Eleven at 2012 Grant just after 3 a.m. Wednesday morning, March 1, they said the victim was holding napkins and applying pressure to a bleeding wound in her neck.

7-Eleven – gas stations are the urban water hole, because everyone – good citizen and bad – needs gas for their car.

3 a.m.

Stabbed in the neck. Her neck. Medical skills are important.

She told them she was buying items when [Alejandro Villanueva (27)] came into the store and began arguing with the clerk. The victim and a witness said Villanueva left, then came back and began arguing with the clerk again.

Arguing. That’s not a good sign.

Leaving, then returning to continue arguing. That’s an even worse sign.

Why did he leave, and why did he come back? What did he perhaps get? And if he was arguing, coming back… why is he doing that? High tempers. My dudes, these are signs of trouble – what good can come of this? Big red alarm bells should be going off in your head.

Time to go. Drop your groceries and leave. Be prepared for stupid to go down (and that you might get caught up in it, like it or don’t).

The witness said he left a second time, and returned once more and began yelling at the clerk.

Leaving a second time, and returning a third to continuing arguing. That’s the worst sign.

Why are you still there? It’s either voyeurism or just frozen with disbelief – no plan of what to do, not seeing it for what it is. Third time’s a charm right? Believe what you are seeing. Why it is happening you can try to figure out later (and realize you may never know why); right now it doesn’t matter why it’s happening – it’s happening and you need to act.

The witness said the customer stepped in and told Villanueva to leave, and he began to yell at her. The customer said she told him if he did not calm down and stop confronting the clerk and leave, she would go get her gun in her car.

When in the history of telling people to “just calm down” has anyone ever calmed down? 🙃

If someone has demonstrated themselves not just irrational but irrational and irate, please believe them! Your attempt to apply rational logic and behavior will not be met with the response you are hoping for.

Then he turns his attention to her, increasing aggression. More customer begging and pleading – she doesn’t want to shoot him, she doesn’t want to hurt him. I can understand that, just the approach being taken isn’t (and wasn’t) effective for her to obtain the result she’s hoping for (expecting?). As the late Dr. William Aprill said, “They are not like you.”

A gun. First, why is it in the car? Your car is not a holster. Second, why it is not on her person? A gun you must retrieve is often of little use.

Most of all, why did you do this? The (threat of) introduction of a gun into the equation escalated the situation. She was hoping the threat would end it, but there’s always someone willing to take you up on your offer…

She said Villanueva came at her and began pushing her with his chest, and she pushed him away but he kept coming at her, and that is when she felt a sharp pain in her neck and fell back into the door and ran outside.

I’m sorry that happened. It was preventable. However, everyone has to have a first time, a time to learn. Let’s all learn from this.

Police located a truck matching the descriptions in the 1000 block of Wenonah and found Villanueva standing by it and took him into custody. They said he had a large folding knife with a brown handle on his person.

Officers said he told them he had been in fear for his life because the victim said she had a gun.

Interesting angle there, son. Now, as a “reasonable man”, I would say Ability, Opportunity, and Jeopardy are NOT present if for nothing else the knowledge he possessed about the gun was it was in the car. She didn’t have the gun on her person so it was not an immediate threat, and if she went to retrieve it he would have a window of escape. So nice try son, but it fails AOJ on that alone.

Still, it’s paints an interesting twist. You might feel yourself the “good guy” and them the “bad guy”, but good people can make mistakes, and it could wind up costly. Rare is the self-defense incident that goes according to your notions and fantasies.

I’m sorry this happened to the store clerk and customers. They paid a small price – we can ensure that price was not paid in vain by learning and growing from the experience.

One thought on “Learnings from the Wichita Falls stabbing

  1. Once more, a citizen who did not have her tools on her when the time came. OC spray would have deflated Villanueva quite well, but “I have a gun in my car” is a stupid thing to say.

    Would I have gotten involved? Maybe. But I would have been armed with both lethal and nonlethal weapons if I did.

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