When Stories Collide

On March 10th, Middlefield, Ohio police made what appeared to be a routine traffic stop of a man who had run a stop sign. But then James Gilkerson emerged from his stopped car firing 37 rounds from an AK-47 rifle. Amazingly the two officers in the cruiser sustained only relatively minor injuries and fired off 54 rounds of their own, eventually killing Gilkerson.

You can see the shocking and somewhat disturbing dash-cam video released by local police just this weekend here.

Perhaps not surprisingly, in Gilkerson’s car police found eight 40-round magazines for the AK-47 and a bunch of militia and terrorist related literature.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer released photographs of the different books and pamphlets. And here’s where it gets even more interesting and, yes, more disturbing. TPM Reader JL notes that the 7th slide in the slideshow shows what appears to be a course manual for the Fighting Rifle course taught by a Tennessee outfit called Tactical Response.

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Now, ring a bell?

Well, remember back not long after the Newtown massacre, a crazy gun guy down in Tennessee who was the CEO of a ‘tactical’ firearms training operation said he was “gonna start killing people” if President Obama issued an executive order on guns. Well, that was James Yeager, CEO of, yep, Tactical Response. If you don’t remember, here’s the initial video.

A short time later, Yeager clarified that he wouldn’t murder anybody “unless it’s necessary.” But that apparently wasn’t enough for the State of Tennessee which suspended Yeager’s carry permit because his comments suggested a “material likelihood of risk of harm to the public,” which sounds like a reasonable enough position.

Not to worry though, Yeager got his permit back last month.

Here’s the page on the Tactical Response website about the particular course Gilkerson appears to have taken. (Obviously, we only have this manual in his position at the time of his death. Conceivably he could have gotten it through some other means.) The course is next taught on May 18th and 19th. Sign up now. Here’s the couse description from the site.

You know how to shoot your rifle or subgun now let us teach you how to FIGHT with it! This course is far more advanced than any other rifle course you can attend (with the exception of our advanced course) and covers trajectory, battlesight zero, gear set-up, sling configurations, transitions to pistol, use of cover and concealment, practical ready and firing positions, close- and medium-range snap shooting, weapons handling, urban applications, team drills, firing while moving, multiple targets, plus the tactics required to employ this potent tool in combat. Every student leaves this class with empty mags, a red hot rifle, and a smile from ear to ear! This is one of our most popular courses.

This class is great for nearly any magazine fed rifle or subgun and any traditional military style rifle. We will show you how to run your MP5, AR, AK, RPK, FAL, M1A, G3, VZ-58 or whatever weapon you have!

Needless to say, one can’t lay any direct responsibility on Tactical Response for what Gilkerson did. But when you make it a habit of giving urban combat training on automatic weapons to civilians in a climate of gonzo threats to start civil wars or start blowing away government officials, it’s hard to say something like this is entirely unexpected.

We’ll call tomorrow and see whether Tactical Response has records of Gilkerson attending the course or any comment on these unfortunate developments.

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