JAMES ENGLAND, Staff Writer
via WTAJ News
ALTOONA, BLAIR COUNTY— Police credit several neighbors for coming together and helping a woman escape an assault.
Police say Henry Yancey held his ex-girlfriend hostage for more than 20 hours. He allegedly physically assaulted her throughout the night, threatened to kill her and stabbed her in the leg.
Friday morning she tried to make her escape, but Yancy, who was naked at the time, caught her and continued to assault her near the 1000 block of Lexington Avenue.
“There was a lot of ruckus,” said neighbor Tatiana Scriver. “They almost sounded like there was a stampede going through the building.”
Another neighbor Nicky Mimikos said, “He’s on top of her just punching her in the face. He got up and started stomping her in the face.”
That’s when another neighbor, Henry Oppenheim, saw what was going on and sprung into action.
“So I quickly ran into my room grabbed my gun and went out to defend her,” said Oppenheim “I said let her go. And then he finally did it.”
Oppenheim has a concealed carry permit and says he brings his gun almost everywhere he goes.
This was a bad situation that could have quickly gone from bad to worse. Already horrifying is the idea of being trapped in a house, beaten mercilessly, with no end in sight. The second, to know your neighbors are nearly helpless to do anything about it. Thankfully, today wasn’t one of those days. Henry Oppenheim, a neighbor to Henry Yancey, the alleged man behind the hostage situation, finally decided enough was enough.
In a swift move that ensured the safety of the woman and an end to this horrifying stalemate, Oppenheim simply leveled his concealed carry pistol directly at Yancey – who was allegedly beating his ex-girlfriend whom he had taken hostage for twenty some hours prior.
How Daily Carrying Ties Into Strong Communities
While details are still emerging surrounding this strange case, what is clear is the utter importance of daily carrying.
“And then we moved her to the front to get her safe and secure and away from him,” said Scriver.
“We all stick together and when we see a girl getting beat — we just don’t allow that,” said Mimikos
As for Oppenheim, he says he’d do it all over again.
“In a heartbeat. Not a second thought. No reservations.”
Mental preparedness to be a participant in one’s own defense and that of others begins with a willingness to carry concealed every day. It’s people like Oppenheim who demonstrate the civic founding behind the idea of concealed carry weapons. Not just a statement or simply a cool thing to do – it’s a way to actively demonstrate that the lives of you and those around you are essential and you’re willing to take any and all steps to preserve them.
That’s what makes a community strong.
And thankfully, for this community, someone was willing to step up to the plate and say “enough’s enough.”
Reality Versus Perception of Concealed Carrying
This event isn’t anything out of the ordinary. Men and women across the country have come and continue to come to the rescue of themselves, their family members, and would-be victims of criminal activity. That does stop some organizations like the Violence Policy Center (VPC) from making grandiose, factually incorrect statements about the concealed carry community as a whole and the concept itself.
The biggest threat to a concealed carrier seeking to build the foundations of a strong community are organizations seeking to undermine him through pushing forward bad policy that places him at a disadvantage. Criminals are never hampered by policy decision. This is stuck tightly into the realm of law abiding citizens seeking to be responsible for their own well-being.
That’s why heroes like Oppenheim and so many others are so important. Oppenheim shows the true face of what it means to be a daily carrier – the willingness to use lethal force to protect someone and the training and understanding to know exactly how to apply it.