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.

Eyewitness Account

Larry Bourbonnais, a Vietnam combat veteran and witness at the scene of the shooting, described her actions as the bravest thing he had ever seen, including his time in Vietnam. He did not have a gun, but attempted to distract the shooter, calling him names and giving him a target behind a pillar (which turned out to be a decorative hollow pillar!!!).

"I saw him in the hallway...I saw the rifle go up… My only option was to distract the gunman...

"To my left, she came through the doors...

"It was the bravest thing I’d ever seen, including my 14 months in Vietnam…

"She was heroic... she was like an angel, I mean, it was unbelievable, and she was fully exposed, I hear him firing, and she's returning fire, and she's yelling surrender surrender, and she just starts calmly, like she's walking to her car in the parking lot, firing round after round...

"After we met at his slumped-over body, I said, 'You were so calm.' She said, 'I was praying to Holy Spirit the whole time.' "

Jeanne Assam is a Hero

Jeanne Assam, modern day Joan of Arc, prevents mass killing in Colorado City under the protection of the Holy Spirit!

What an incredible woman!

When asked by a reporter if she felt like a hero, Assam said, "I wasn't just going to wait for him to do further damage."

"I give credit to God," she said.

"There was chaos," Assam said, as parishioners ran away, "I will never forget the gunshots. They were so loud."

"I saw him coming through the doors" and took cover, Assam said. "I came out of cover and identified myself and engaged him and took him down."

"God was with me," Assam said. "I didn't think for a minute to run away."

Assam said she believes God gave her the strength to confront Murray, keeping her calm and focused even though he appeared to be twice her size and was more heavily armed.

Murray was carrying two handguns, an assault rifle and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition.

"It seemed like it was me, the gunman and God," she said.

Assam said she was ending three days of fasting on Sunday when fate put her in the path of the gunman.

"I was praying to God that he direct me" in what to do in life, Assam said. "God made me strong."