Armed bystander ends shooting attack by taking down gunman

Lawyer: ‘My client looked at that and realized there was one thing he could do’

An armed bystander is credited with saving lives by fatally shooting a 22-year-old gunman who had killed a cemetery worker and was about to shoot another.

WISH-TV in Indianapolis reported police in Brownsburg, Indiana, said the attacker, Joshua Christopher Hayes, chased and shot Seth Robertson, 36, at Brownsburg Cemetery on Tuesday. Hayes had a gun to the head of the second worker when he was gunned down by the armed citizen, who was stopped at a traffic light.

The man credited with stopping the attack, who has asked not to be identified, was injured by glass when a bullet from Hayes went through his car window.

“This tragic event could have been much more disastrous. So, victim three not only saved victim two’s life, but he saved potentially the lives of many others,” said Police Capt. Jennifer Barrett.

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“Victim three did exactly what anybody would have wanted him to do at that scene that day.”

Police believe the shooter, a black man, and the victims did not know each other.

Barrett said police met with Hayes’ family, and the investigation is leading them to believe “there was a mental health component” behind the attack.

The family, she said, “has expressed is that they want there to be a mental health awareness component to this.”

“They’re, of course, devastated. But they’re also devastated for the other victim,” the police captain said.

WISH noted homicides are rare in Brownsburg, and the apparently unprovoked violence received considerable attention on social media. Police said numerous posts jumped to the conclusion that the shooting was racially motivated.

No charges

The lawyer of the man credited with saving lives says his client was completely justified and there will be no charges.

Second Amendment attorney Guy Relford said in an interview with WIBC in Indianapolis it’s still unclear what motivated the attack.

“One of those bullets actually went through my client’s vehicle window. He was actually injured with shrapnel, my client was,” he said.

After Hayes killed Robertson, he chased the other man and put a pistol to his head, said Relford.

“My client looked at that and realized there was one thing he could do and that was take action to save an innocent life,” the attorney said. “The scenario was fairly clear to him in that one person was chasing another and the other was saying, no no no, please don’t shoot me!”

He said his client took aim and shot Hayes once.

“The gunman stood up and was looking around and still had the gun in his hand, appeared to clearly intend to continue the attack at which point my client fired another two or three shots and the gunman went down.”

Relford said police quickly determined his client “acted completely lawfully and he was justified under Indiana law.”

The attorney helped write and get passed a 2019 law that protects people who are justified in shooting someone from frivolous lawsuits.

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