Armed Man Detains Neighbor Accused Of Rampage That Left 63-Year-Old Dead

An armed Arizona man is being hailed as a hero in his community for quickly jumping into action when a motorist began using his vehicle as a deadly weapon.

Local news reports indicate that John Lagana, 61, is accused of fatally striking his 63-year-old neighbor with the automobile before continuing to drive recklessly throughout the Mesa neighborhood on Friday.

When Emmanuel Reynoso Avila witnessed the destruction, he grabbed his gun and confronted the driver, detaining him until authorities arrived at the scene. Avila, 20, later told authorities that he had known the victim, Christopher Heimer, since he was a young child.

Footage from nearby surveillance cameras reportedly showed the victim on a sidewalk when the suspect’s car veered in his direction and struck him at a high rate of speed.

According to a police report, investigators determined: “Lagana continued to travel eastbound on the sidewalk, damaging mailboxes and landscaping before turning around and driving back toward Heimer.”

After stopping near his victim, police say the suspect “got out of his vehicle and proceeded to stomp on Heimer’s head multiple times,” at which point Avila emerged with a gun in his hand.

“All of a sudden we hear honking and we hear a car speed up,” the armed citizen recalled. “We look over and we see my neighbor Chris get full-on rammed by someone who was supposedly his friend.”

Avila described Heimer as a “super friendly” neighbor who had a positive impact on the neighborhood.

“No one deserves to go out the way he did,” Avila added.

Upon witnessing the horrific display of violence, he said that he “dropped everything” and picked up his firearm as someone else put in a call to the authorities.

“Then I shot off at the ground toward the driver because he was trying to leave the area after he had run [Heimer] over a second time,” Avila said. “At that point, I aimed back up at him [and] let him know that I was going to make sure that he didn’t get away, that I was going to shoot if he attempted to flee the area, which he was.”

Heimer was pronounced dead at the scene and Lagana was jailed on one count of first-degree murder with bond set at $2 million.

Arizona has some of the nation’s most permissive gun laws and state officials have fought to prevent federal mandates from abridging the rights of law-abiding Arizonans to carry firearms.

State Attorney General Mark Brnovich issued a public rebuke last month aimed at a proposed rule that would allow the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to regulate components of certain guns.

At the time, he said that the federal agency was “attempting to overshoot the authority granted to it by Congress,” asserting: “The rulemakings are unconstitutional, impractical, and would likely put a large number of parts manufacturers out of business.”