Man Threatens Girlfriend with Hammer; Son Responds with Handgun

This is a little tricky. A fight broke out among members of a Memphis, Tennessee family. A man, his live-in girlfriend and her son were having a heated argument when the man Tony Hardin chased after the other two with a hammer and a wrench, threatening to kill them. The woman and her son managed to escape, but amid the chaos, the son shot several times at Hardin, who was drunk at the time. Apparently, Hardin survived and is facing several aggravated assault charges.

The son isn’t being charged at this time, because he claimed he acted in self-defense. But Hardin was shot in the back. That could mean that the son fired at Hardin while Hardin was pursuing them but missed, and then was finally able to hit him when Hardin tried to retreat. Or, it could mean that the son didn’t shoot until Hardin had turned around. We don’t know the details, because there weren’t enough witnesses.

In this case, since there isn’t really enough evidence to prove that the son tried to murder his mom’s boyfriend, he shouldn’t be charged. It doesn’t mean that I’m on the son’s side or that I think he’s completely innocent. There just isn’t enough evidence to convict him. He should be presumed innocent until proven to be guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Of course, there is the issue of stray bullets, which the media predictably fixated upon. They like to focus on what bad things could have happened, all because a civilian had a gun. In other words, no neighbors would have been frightened if this family weren’t allowed to own a gun. I wonder if they’d be that critical if it had been the police that fired the stray bullets.



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  • RevG

    Sadly the pos isn’t dead.

    • woonsocket

      Need any help? Your idea is one commonsense “tax cut.”

  • Paladin

    I’ve covered scenarios such as this in my concealed carry class. The victim in my case study however actually did die from the gun shot wounds.

    It takes a person about 2 seconds to cover a 20 foot span of space. A person then with a hammer running at you will still effectively be able to reach you even though they have been shot dead. The momentum of their body will ‘carry them forward’.

    In an instance where a person is shot in the back, in some documented cases, the person fires ‘blind’ which refers to physical reaction in anticipation of the report of the gun as it is discharged. In other words the shooter… the son (who it is questionable as to the extent of training and experience level he has with a firearm) might have instinctively closed his eyes as he was depressing the trigger.

    At that same time, the aggressor, on seeing the gun immediately turns. Do this in your own home. It takes less than a second to turn around. Now if the son raised his hand with the handgun points and then closes his eyes before pulling the trigger… he may not have been able to see the aggressor reversing his movements.

    Of course all this has to be supported by forensics; powder burn pattern on the victim, angle of the shot, etc…

    It is enough though to create reasonable doubt to a jury and could be enough then for the prosecutor to second guess a convitcion. If he isn’t convinced himself, he will not present it to a grand jury for an indictment.

    • helen sabin

      The actually statistic from 1986 Swat Magazine is that a perp can cross 21 feet in 1.5 seconds. Dennis Teuller is the author.

  • helen sabin

    The media are worthless. They only follow – if it bleeds it leads….facts be dammed.

  • Sunshine Kid

    There is also the possibility that the man had turned to assault the woman the moment the gun was fired by the son of the woman. This, again, would not be ‘murder’ but defense of a family member under deadly assault.

  • abinico

    Give them ALL handguns and let they try again.