Lifestyle & Human Interest

Dad Shot in the Face While Protecting Young Daughter from Robber: 'I'd Do It Again in a Heartbeat'


On Friday morning, Parkland, Washington, resident Matthew Phillips was on his way to drop off his young daughter at daycare. Abruptly, his plans for the morning were shattered.

It was about 6 a.m. when Phillips rounded drove around a neighborhood corner and a young man, armed with a rifle, approached him. He aimed the rifle at the back window.

“As soon as I took this corner, he came out from the back of this RV and was held — holding a rifle to the back window, which is where my daughter was sitting,” he told KIRO-TV in Seattle.

The robber demanded money and Phillips’ truck, and approached the driver’s side.

As soon as he was close enough, Phillips wrenched the gun away from the man and tried to drive away. But the gunman reappeared with another gun and told Phillips to stay put.

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“And by the time I had it in gear, he was in front of me,” Phillips said. “He told me to stop. I put it in reverse, he fired at the truck. Three rounds. One hit me and I took one to the mouth.”

The bullet ricocheted, hitting Phillips in the mouth, leaving him with gashes in his lip and tongue and taking out several teeth. But it didn’t stop him. It only made him more insistent on stopping the attacker and protecting his little girl.

“All I could think of was my daughter,” he said. “You’re not getting up. You’re not taking this gun.”

Phillips once again attacked the robber, pinning him to the ground and calling the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, according to another KIRO report. Neighbors came out and helped keep the robber in place until deputies could arrive.

“And to have somebody rush and come help me when I needed it, that was, that was awesome,” Phillips told the station. “(My neighbor) was a good guy.”

But by the time deputies had arrived, the situation had become even more complicated: A 17-year-old girl, the robber’s accomplice, armed with a gun, advanced.

“She pulled that gun out,” Phillips recalled, according to KIRO.

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“”The officer told her to stop. She pulled it out. Pointed it right at the police officer. The officer said, ‘Drop your weapon now.'”

Thankfully, she ended up putting the weapon down, and both she and the male robber, 20, were arrested.

The KOMO-TV report is below:


“The adult male suspect was booked into the Pierce County Jail for robbery in the first degree,” the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department posted on Facebook. “The juvenile female was booked into Remann Hall for robbery in the first degree and assault on a police officer.

“Prosecutors will review the case for additional charges related to the shooting.”

The sheriff’s department’s Facebook post later added that the male was also charged with four counts of assault in the first degree and four counts of escape in the third degree.

The female was charged with an additional case of assault in the first degree and robbery in the first degree.

Phillips had to get stitches and will require dental work in the future, but he has no regrets about his actions that morning.

“But you know what, I’d do it again in a heartbeat to protect my daughter,” he told KIRO. “Because that’s all there is to it. It’s for her. Anything.

“My teeth will come back, and my tongue will be OK.”

He and his family are also planning on moving as a result of this encounter, and his sister Chelsea Martel has set up a GoFundMe to help them in that endeavor.

At the end of the day, this father recognized the most important takeaway: “I am very thankful that my daughter is still here.”

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