U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- Armed citizens have to be prepared to defend themselves at any moment. That moment can be as common as your neighbor scaring away an intruder who broke through her back door. Sometimes, it is as significant as stopping mass murder. You might not remember every incident when an ordinary armed citizen took extraordinary action. The mainstream media certainly forgets to mention it. We remember how Kenneth Gage saved lives in Manchester, New Hampshire, back on the 14th of April, 2007.
April 14th, 2007 | Manchester, New Hampshire
Trouble started between midnight and 1 am. Two customers had been drinking at a bar. They were known around town, and they were also known at the bar. One of the two men grabbed a woman in the upstairs lounge. She objected, and the two men didn’t take corrections very well. The upstairs bouncer then asked the patron to stop. The two men objected again, and the bouncer asked them to leave. The three men were now downstairs. When the two customers, Eliezer Encarnacion and Gilbert Brown, again objected, that drew the attention of the assistant manager and the downstairs bouncer.
The five men were near the back door when one of the two customers, Gilbert Brown, punched one of the bouncers in the face several times. These two customers were known as fighters. Brown medaled in the New England Golden Gloves championship. That was when Kenneth Gage, another customer at the bar, got up to help in case the fight got worse. The two customers, Encarnacion and Brown, were forced out the back door of the bar.
Eliezer Encarnacion then drew a 45 caliber handgun. He shot at the two bouncers and the assistant manager who was standing at the back door. The three men ducked. So did the customers and staff inside the bar. One exception was Kenneth Gage. He moved toward the sound of gunfire. Gage stepped into the doorway and shot at Brown and Encarnacion. Encarnacion stopped shooting. He and Brown ran. Gage stayed at the scene. There were about 50 customers in the bar that night. The patrons of the bar chased Brown and Encarnacion. Police found the two attackers a few blocks away.
Encarnacion shot his 45 caliber handgun six times and hit no one. There were at least two 45 bullets embedded near the door frame where the bouncers and assistant manager were standing. Kenneth Gage shot three times and hit Encarnacion twice, once in the arm and once in the leg. Gage was shooting a 380. The manager at the bar said that Gage saved their lives.
Encarnacion was charged and held on $100,000 cash/surety bail. Brown pleaded innocent to assault charges for punching the bouncer. Brown already had a 1 1/2-to-3-year deferred jail sentence pending, which stemmed from a cocaine conviction. His bail was set at $2,000.
The Uptown Tavern closed in November 2007. We don’t know how many customers at the bar were within line of sight of the back door so we don’t know how many people inside the building could have been hit by the shots Encarnacion fired. We know that the two bouncers, the manager, and Gage could have been hit by the attacker’s gunfire. How was one person shooting a small firearm able to hit his target while another man missed? The usual answer is practice and aim.
The defender was closer to the back door. The light over the doorway may have illuminated his sights allowing him to aim better and hit his target. The attacker was farther away from the light and may have been shooting in the dark. Also, we don’t know how the men were dressed or the color of the background. We don’t know how much or how often the two armed men practiced with their firearms. We do know that Gage thought there might be trouble and was both mentally and physically prepared to save lives.
Events like this don’t happen every day, but there are lots of fights outside bars at night. We have millions of honest citizens carrying concealed every day. An intoxicated criminal was bound to meet one of us eventually. Thank goodness someone like you was there when it happened this day in Manchester, New Hampshire.
This story is part of a series. Dr. John R. Lott Jr. put together a list of mass murders that were stopped by armed citizens. We’ll explore another event in the next few weeks here at Ammoland Shooting Sports News.
About Rob Morse
Rob Morse writes about gun rights at Ammoland, Clash Daily, Second Call Defense, and on his SlowFacts blog. He hosts the Self Defense Gun Stories Podcast and co-hosts the Polite Society Podcast. Rob was an NRA pistol instructor and combat handgun competitor.