The people who used a fire extinguisher and even a 5-foot (1.5 meter) narwhal tusk Friday to fight back against an attacker who stabbed two people to death and wounded three others by the London Bridge are a reminder of how ordinary people can take extraordinary actions to save themselves and others.
Similar examples in the United States include:
United Airlines Flight 93 was headed from Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco on Sept. 11, 2001, when it was diverted by hijackers in an apparent effort to direct it to Washington. The hijackers crashed it over Pennsylvania as people aboard the plane tried to wrest control of the cockpit. All 33 passengers and seven crew members died.
Lori Kaye, 60, was the sole person killed in an April attack at a synagogue near San Diego. Kaye blocked the shooter with an AR-15 rifle by jumping in front of rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, whose index fingers on both hands were wounded. A 34-year-old man and an 8-year-old child were also hurt. A man who spoke about his hatred of Jews was arrested after the attack on the Chabad of Poway.
Riley Howell, 21, was shot and killed in May while tackling a gunman who entered his classroom at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. Another student also died and four others were hurt. A 22-year-old man was arrested in the attack.
Kendrick Castillo, 18, was the only student killed at his Denver school in May when he lunged at a shooter in his classroom, allowing other students time to hide. Eight other students were hurt in the attack on the STEM School Highlands Ranch. Two teenage suspects were arrested.
Electrical technician James Shaw Jr. was a restaurant patron who rushed a shooter and wrested away his AR-15 rifle during an April 2018 attack on a Waffle House in Nashville, Tennessee. Four people were killed in the attack.
Shaw escaped harm and said he was a “regular person” trying to save himself.
“I chose to react because I didn’t see any other way of me living, and that’s all I wanted to do,” Shaw said. “I just wanted to live.”