Jeanne Assam of Colorado Springs, Colorado is the CCRKBA Gun Rights Defender of the Month for February.
In nominating Ms. Assam for the Award, John M. Snyder, CCRKBA Public Affairs Director, said that, “this woman, by her recent heroic defensive action in an extraordinarily difficult conflict situation, demonstrates that guns in the hands of good people are necessary for the defense of life. She certainly is most deserving of this Award.”
It was just a couple of months ago that Jeanne Assam, 42, armed only with her handgun, courageously interrupted and stopped a one-man killing spree perpetrated by a madman armed in car and person with a Bushmaster XM15 rifle, an AK-47 rifle, a Beretta .40 cal. semiautomatic handgun, a Springfield Armory 9mm semiautomatic handgun, and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition.
On one Sunday, when a number of Americans participate in church services of various denominations, Matthew Murray, 24, reportedly shot and killed two people on the Faith Bible Church campus in Arvada, Colorado and wounded two others in the morning.
Murray then moved on to New Life Church in Colorado Springs where he shot and killed two other people and wounded two more.
It was at that point that Jeanne Assam demonstrated her heroism.
“There was chaos,” Assam said, as parishioners ran away. “I will never forget the gunshots. They were so loud.”
Assam said, “I saw him coming through the doors” and took cover. “I came out or cover and identified myself and engaged him and took him down.”
Assam, a private citizen with a permit to carry a concealed firearm, was acting as a volunteer guard at the church that Sunday. Police said later that Murray had fired 26 rounds from his Bushmaster rifle and one round from the Springfield 9mm. They said Assam fired 10 rounds at Murray and that Murray subsequently took his own life.
“God was with me,” said Assam. “I didn’t think for a minute to run away.”
Assam said she believes God gave her the strength to confront Murray, keeping her calm and focused even though he appeared to be twice her size and was more heavily armed.
Sgt. Jeff Johnson of the Colorado Springs Police Department confirmed that, at the time of the actual encounter, Murray was carrying two handguns and a rifle.
Assam said, “It seemed like it was me, the gunman and God.”
She said, “I was given the assignment to end this before it got much worse. I just prayed for the Holy Spirit to guide me. I said, ‘Holy Spirit, be with me.’ My hands weren’t even shaking.”
When the gunman entered New Life Church, she said, she took cover and drew spiritual and physical strength from her religious faith.
At the present time, Assam works for a ministry.
At New Life Church, she attends one religious service on Sundays and volunteers as a guard at another service.
Formerly a police officer, Assam said that she had pulled her gun several times in the course of her job but never had to fire at anyone.
About 10 years ago, Assam was a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota who was fired for lying during an internal investigation. Sgt. John Delmonico, President of the Police Federation of Minneapolis, said police were investigating a complaint that Assam swore at a bus driver in connection with an incident on a city bus. “In giving a statement about the incident, she was untruthful and she was fired,” Delmonico said. The swearing was on tape, he said. “The union arbitrated the case and the arbitrator upheld the termination.”
That 10-year old incident did not bother officials at New Life Church. Pastor Brady Boyd said Jeanne Assam’s license to carry a gun and her experience at other police departments had persuaded leaders to let her serve as a volunteer security guard at the Colorado Springs church.
“She is a fairly new believer in Christ,” Pastor Brady said of Assam and her Minneapolis background. “If you go back into pasts, you can dig up something on any of us. She admittedly made lots of bad decisions but only in the past few months has she become a devoted follower of Christ. Her life has changed. She was let go, but that happens every day to good people. I don’t want her to be convicted or crucified for being a heroine. That’s way a lot of people don’t get involved. She did the right thing at the right time.”