Mistake Costs Father Of 3 His Life

LA Times, Orange County Edition- 3/31/06

This morning's LA Times had a tragic story from Mar Vista.

"A man was killed early Thursday after confronting a car thief in the 12600 block of Mitchell Avenue, police said.

John Rocha, 39, a grocery store manager and father of threee, left his apartment with pellet gun to investigate noice near his carport about 3 a.m., Los Angeles Police said.  He confronted a man trying to burglarize his car.  The man fired a shot at Rocha, then fled through an alley, police said."

Obviously, you shouldn't take a pellet gun when you confront a bad guy.  But, the car wasn't worth losing his life over and was probably insured.  If someone is messing with your vehicle or even in your home, but you are not in danger, call 911.  It's a macho attitude that has gotten many men killed.  Those of us who train, are especially vulnerable because of our training and self confidence. 

I would recommend going over these scenarios in your mind and make a mental committment to not confront someone unless you have no choice. 

Prayers go out to the Rocha family.

"Learn from the mistakes of others, it's much less painful."

Gary Hughes

Confronting these guys is not a good idea, especially when you're only armed with a pellet gun

T Bag is correct.  Even with a real gun, don't let your macho attitude get you killed. 

Gary Hughes, Hindsight Vision Is 20/20

Yup, very dangerous to confront people these days.

Who was that Fairtex kickboxer who chased a car thief then was shot to death?

Gary, for awhile I thought you were kind of obsessive over personal security, but it is clear you have a very common sense approach to things. That's awesome.

I hate to bring it up, because it is also a very sad story, but Alex Gong comes to mind.  Alex Gong would be alive, if he didn't confront someone who had hit his car and was fleeing the scene.

BTW, I'm not disrespecting Mr. Gong.  I'm sure his family wishes he wouldn't have confronted the guy too.  At least we can all learn from these tragic situations.

It bothers me more, because Alex Gong and Rocha left fatherless children behind.  RIP.

good advice for anyone, especially in the world as it is today



The quote you posted... "Learn from the mistakes of others, it's much less painful."

Is that a famous quote or something you made up? I like it.. it works in many situations.

i guy i trained with, Keith Haflich, who fought Jeff smith for the world title and most thought he had won, confronted a guy. haflich was shot several times in the chest, and throat. killed instantly.


First I hope the dead man's survivors get thru the pain of his loss as easily as possible.

"Those of us who train, are especially vulnerable because of our training and self confidence."

And truthfully, I don't understand why. I spar and although I hit the other guy, I still get hit. I wrestle and although I sub the other guy, I still gotta work for it. I've never been able to get out of a sparring session unscathed/untouched and I've never ever seen anyone else do it.

If nothing else MA training should make you aware that mistakes happen, luck happens and sometimes things just plain old don't go your way. If it happens in training, no big deal - ya get hit/subbed/thrown/whatever. So why don't more people think about this in the context of how you'd end up if you made a mistake/had bad luck/whatever when someone really wanted to hurt you?



It ain't worth your life! EVER!

Although I agree in principle with the above posters, I don't know about oswfighter's post.

Paul Vunak used to propose this situation: you're walking on the beach with your 3 year-old girl and confronted by someone. They ask for your wallet, you hand it over. Then they ask for the little girl.

Some things are worth fighting for.


This brings up a question for me. If you car was parked on the curb infront of your house, you went outside and saw an armed person stealing your car, would it be legal to shoot them because they are armed, or would it be illegal because they are off your property?



If it's my wallet, he can take it.

If it's my family, I'm taking him with me.

"And truthfully, I don't understand why."

There was a chick in my judo class, who told me that she kind of hoped she'd get attacked because she felt she could hurt the attacker.

This is one example of bad thinking, especially from a woman.

A buddy of mine saw his dome light on. He ran out and well no one really knows exactly what happened but we think that he grabbed the dude and then another guy stepped out of the shadows with a bat and clubbed him. They left him to die between his car and a row of bushes. Luckily the next day at around 11am his neighbor found him. He was lucky to be alive with slight brain damage. They took his change from the ashtray and a fresh pack of Marlboros.

dont bring a toy gun to a gun fight...also speeking as some1 who has been shot,i would still have confronted the guy,just not with a toy....i know the safe thing 2 do is call the cops and let them confront him,but why have them do what u can do?? if you can handle these situations...if u feel that the situation is not 4 u then stay away and let the fuzz handle it...
but me its just in my nature to get involved....

This is an eye-opener for me. I live a couple of blocks from where the incident took place. Mar Vista is usually a very quiet area, with relatively little violent crime. Of course this is Los Angeles, so nothing can truly be surprising. My heart goes out to the family of the victim, as this is devestating for them.

As for martial artists who like to handle these types of situations, I highly recommend a training regimen that addresses handgun/combat handgunnery situations.

Firearms combatives is not as simple as pointing a gun at somebody. Just like MMA training, it requires drilling under realistic conditions, in order to acclimate the trainee to the fight/flight mechanism that kicks in under combat stress.

Simply picking up a weapon and acting like a sheriff against an armed perp is just as bad as entering the octagon without doing pad drills, sparring, roadwork, etc.

Proficiency in combat sports does not equate proficiency in all combat scenarios.