Reckless Discharge in Waco

Waco, Texas. A town that most people have only seen from I-35 traveling between Austin and D/FW.  It is a town my wife and I recently begin to visit on day trips because we discovered fun activities for the kids and lots of good food to eat.  But a recent incident in Waco, that was captured on video, was not fun and games and it sets a prime example of what NOT to do.

Here is a brief synopsis of the events.  The suspect, 27-year-old male, stole a purse from an 84-year-old woman’s shopping cart at Walmart.  Several men pursued, and as you can see in the video, they tried to restrain him.  He was able to twist, contort and fight back enough he was ultimately able to get loose.  That is when a woman named Emma Cotten, who had decided to offer assistance with pistol in hand, fired her weapon into the air and herein lies the problem.

Let’s get this out-of-the-way first.  Ms. Cotten did not possess a legal means to conceal carry a handgun in any State.  In fact, she was not carrying it on her person, but had taken it from her truck when she felt the overwhelming desire to play sheep dog and intervene in the situation.  It is worth noting that in Texas, the carrying of a concealed pistol in your vehicle is generally legal without a Concealed Handgun License. As the men tried to apprehend the suspect, she foolishly trained the weapon on both the suspect and the men wrestling with him. When the suspect broke free, Ms. Cotten fired a warning shot into the air, without regard to where it would land.

So what we have is a woman of unknown training and background aiming her firearm into the air and firing a round over both a bank building and Interstate 35!  The best we can presume is that she wanted to scare the suspect into submission.  It is blatantly obvious she was unaware of Texas law regarding firearm discharge, self-defense and deadly conduct.  Those of us with CCW’s can learn a lot from this.

Gun in Hand

Note the attitude of the gun when Ms. Cotten broke the shot.

Remember, this suspect was not a child molester. He was not a rapist. He was apparently unarmed.  He was but a petty thief – a pathetic excuse for a human being – when they tried to apprehend him.  That begs the question we should all ask ourselves.  What if she had actually shot him?  Do you really want to face a grand jury because you shot a purse snatcher in the back, while he was fleeing?  Where is the imminent threat to her life.  Might this be different if the suspect had just committed a mass shooting?  I believe so; for starters that scenario would involve a criminal actor that is known to be armed and violent.  This suspect was neither.  He was a worthless piece of crap that robbed an old lady of her purse from a shopping cart and ran.

The final baffling part is that after popping a cap into the air (oblivious to Newtons Third Law of Motion), Ms. Cotten left the scene!  You read and that correct.  When law enforcement arrived she walked back to her vehicle and drove off!  When I first saw the video I thought she was securing the firearm.  Nope, she was driving away.  Luckily the police where able to identify and locate her.  She has since been in indicted by a grand jury for Deadly Conduct.

To paraphrase the meaning of Deadly Conduct in the State of Texas – “a person commits deadly conduct if he or she recklessly engages in conduct that places another in imminent danger of serious bodily injury… or if he or she discharges a firearm at or in the direction of one or more individuals, or a habitation, building or vehicle.”

For this act of galactic stupidity Ms. Cotten faces either a Class A misdemeanor or a third-degree felony, depending on the evidence as presented to the grand jury.  At this point that information has not be release to the public.

This entire video is an example of why we, as CCW’s, need to know the laws in our State and those we visit with firearms.  We must be cognizant of our surroundings and obey the safety rules – ALWAYS.  We have to think before we act, and we must do so quickly, as such events are often fluid and turbulent as they unfold in front of us.  Training and competition both induce stress; they help you learn problem solving under stress with a loaded gun in your hand.  Training beyond the CCW license requirements are a necessity for someone with a CCW.  Don’t find yourself sitting in jail because the sheep dog mentality took your actions too far.

And always remember, people need not be from Waco to be Wacko!


  1. I believe this says it all…”For this act of galactic stupidity Ms. Cotten faces either a Class A misdemeanor or a third-degree felony, depending on the evidence as presented to the grand jury.”

  2. Damn, that’s crazy. I hadn’t even heard about this. Great job helping give the left more examples of stupidity to use against us there Emma. Appreciate it.

  3. If you read the comments below the local news reports you’ll see well educated, thoughtful and well trained gun owners are a tiny minority. The amount of “Derp” down here hurts my brain.

    1. For your own sanity, never read the comments on general news sites. When you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back.

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