Friday, July 10, 2009

Jeanne Speaks to Firearms Coalition

When a gunman went on a spree at New Life Church back in December of 2007, security guard Jeanne Assam stepped in and took down the shooter before he could take any more church members' lives.

Assam has only spoken a few times in public about what happened that day. Thursday night she told her story to members of the Pikes Peak Firearms Coalition. She says a lot of what happened that day hasn't been told.

She says she actually wasn’t even supposed to be working on that Sunday as a security guard at New Life. She planned to take the day off, then she had a vision.

"I had a vision of a gunman coming into the church," she said.

What she says she saw came true, and she just happened to be in the right place when gunman Matthew Murray walked in and started firing.

“All of a sudden I heard the crash of shots from a high powered rifle," Jeanne said.

The spree was already deadly in the parking lot. She says Murray must have fired off at least 40 rounds once he got inside the church. "He didn't hit anyone, it's a miracle.”

She says she knew she had to stop him. "I asked God to be with me and to protect me and He did, otherwise I would have been dead, I would have been killed."

Jeanne says she sprinted down the hallway where the gunman was shooting, she remembers somehow staying calm and fearless. "I'm going to kill him, he's not going to kill me," she said.

She took cover until the perfect moment, then she says she fired off 10 rounds. "Our bullets crossed mid-air, I hit him and knocked him off his feet."

A standing ovation from her audience confirms her act was heroic and for members of PPFC, who are dedicated to protecting the second amendment, Jeanne's is a story they've been waiting to hear.

Jeanne says she has had the opportunity to meet Matthew Murray's family and they are now friends, all very forgiving about what happened. Jeanne is also writing a book about that day.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Colorodo Senate Honors Jeanne

In April, the state legislature of Colorado passed a joint resolution honoring Jeanne for her bravery.

Read the full text of the resolution here.$FILE/SJR019_enr.pdf

Friday, February 22, 2008

Fantastic Interview with Jeanne Assam

In a live interview, Jeanne describes her experience in detail, even walking with the interviewer through the church where she saved so many lives.

Go here for the interview.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Jeanne's Personality and Childhood

Jeanne's boss at New Life, minister John Bevere, says about Jeanne, "The word I would use to describe her is meek," adding that the Christian connotation of that word is "power under control. She's humble and very under control."

Bevere said what has constantly stood out to him is how gentle she is. How she reacted to the shooting was the best example of that, Bevere said. She used her training to try to get the gunman to stop, then used force when nothing else worked.

John Bevere must feel real good about hiring Jeanne to his ministry, because she saved his own son's life, as his son was attending services the day of the attack. "My son could very well have been one of the lives she saved," he said, "so I'm very grateful."

Jeanne grew up near Sioux Falls, South Dakota, one of seven children — six girls and one boy — born to Fred (a second-generation immigrant of Lebanese descent) and Kay Assam.

Her first cousin Matt Swenson recalled playing hide-and-seek and cowboys and Indians with her when they were kids. "I remember a picture of her with a cowboy hat, a six-shooter and cowboy boots. She was a very focused person. Of her sisters, she's the one I'd want being a security guard. She knew how to shoot guns when she was a kid."

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Jeanne Receives Medal from St. Gabriel Possenti Society

The St. Gabriel Possenti Society, Inc. [website here] this week awarded Jeanne Assam its Medal and Certificate of Honor, founder and Chairman John M. Snyder announced.

Snyder said that "Assam is a true heroine who manifests the qualities of personal courage, faith in Almighty God, and genuine charity towards one's neighbors valued so highly by our Society. She certainly is most deserving of this Award. I sent it to her in care of Rev. Brady Boyd, her church's Senior Pastor who said that she probably had saved the lives of a hundred people by her action."

The interdenominational Society is named for St. Gabriel Possenti, a Catholic seminarian who used a handgun to rescue villagers of Isola del Gran Sasso, Italy from a gang of 20 marauders in 1860. After rescuing a young woman from a rapist, Possenti's single-shot shooting of a running lizard so impressed the gang that they willingly obeyed his orders to disarm and leave town. Possenti died a couple of years later of natural causes and was canonized by Pope Benedict XV in 1920. The international Society seeks Possenti's official Vatican designation as Patron of Handgunners.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Jeanne Assam Receives Eleanor Roosevelt Award

For her remarkable display of heroism and courage under fire, the Second Amendment Foundation announced today that it will recognize Jeanne Assam, who confronted a gunman on Dec. 9 at the New Life Church shooting in Colorado Springs, with the Eleanor Roosevelt Award.

“Jeanne Assam, an armed private citizen who volunteered to provide security at the New Life Church, was suddenly faced with a deadly emergency and without hesitation, disregarding her own safety, she rose to that challenge.”

“We created the Eleanor Roosevelt Award to recognize the efforts of armed women who practice personal safety. In Jeanne Assam’s case, we are honoring a truly remarkable woman who placed herself in harm’s way for the safety of others. We are humbled by her good and noble deed.”

Read the full press release at

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

In Her Own Words

transcripted from her media interview:

I want to extend my sympathy to the families of the victims and the gunman, and I mean that very sincerely.

What happened yesterday at church: I heard shots fired, and there was chaos and there were a lot of people in the church, and people were running away from where the shots were fired. The shots were so loud, I thought he was inside. He wasn’t even inside yet when I heard the rounds. It seems like the halls cleared out, I saw him coming through the doors. I took cover, and I waited for him to get closer, then I came out of cover, and I identified myself, and engaged him, and took him down.

I give the credit to God, and I mean that, I say that very humbly. God was with me… this has got to be God, because of the firepower that he had versus what I had, was God. I did not run away, and did not think for a minute to run away, I just knew that I was given the assignment to end this before it got too much worse.

I just prayed for the Holy Spirit to guide me, I just said Holy Spirit be with me. My hands weren’t even shaking. Honestly, I was very focused, and it was chaotic, it was so loud, I will never forget the gunshots, it was so loud. I was just focused, I just knew I was not going to wait for him to do any further damage. I just knew what I had to do.