It was the beginning of a traditional fishing trip for Brad Ratkovich and his 10-year-old son. But it turned out to be a valuable example of the importance of Second Amendment rights.
Ratkovich, who was honored by Sen. Jake Chapman (R-Adel) on the floor of the Iowa Senate on Monday, said it was about 5:15 a.m. His son got into the truck and Ratkovich asked if he locked the back door. When he couldn’t remember, Ratkovich jumped out to make sure.
“Within 7-10 seconds, by the time I came back around the garage, there was a gentleman at the door trying to get into the vehicle,” Ratkovich said. “Right before he was able to grab the door my son, Logan, hit the lock button, enabling the gentleman to be able to not get in the vehicle.”
Ratkovich had little choice at that point.
“I was able to draw my weapon on him, commanded him to get on the ground,” he said. “He did so at first, which I was completely shocked by. I was able to grab my iPhone. Then I used the security feature on the iPhone to call the police where it sends your GPS location to them.”
During that time, the suspect popped back up and became combative.
“He started to close the distance and I swung at him and I tried to break his nose,” Ratkovich said. “It didn’t affect him any. He got back down on the ground, then he popped back up again.”
At this point, the suspect started to yell for help, as if Ratkovich were the aggressor.
“Then when he heard the sirens come, he tried to get me to kill him by saying ‘just kill me now,’ and he tried to rush me again where I had to close the distance,” Ratkovich said. “Keeping in mind during that whole situation, my son was trapped inside our vehicle, which was in the parameter of shooting. So at all times, I had to be aware of that in case I did actually have to shot the gentleman.”
When the man grabbed for the door, he put both hands up and Ratkovich saw he had a cell phone in one hand and the other was empty.
“At that millisecond, I was able to determine that I did not need to shoot him at that point,” Ratkovich said.
According to reports, Ratkovich said the man was potentially high on meth or some other drug.
“It could have been a very difficult fight had it not have been me at that point,” he said. “My wife and daughter were right behind me, so he could have still been lurking in the bushes. It could have been them had it not been me. And if I did not have my weapon, it definitely would have turned into a full-on brawl fistfight.”
Being able to carry his weapon lawfully is even more important now.
“It means the world to me to be able to carry and protect my family, protect others in public places,” Ratkovich said. “You know, I strategically sit places so that I can protect people in restaurants and just different situations that I’m in.”
He always has his head on a swivel, he said.
While he isn’t shy about sharing his story, he noted it did take an emotional toll.
“For a good, long while I haven’t slept,” he said. “Just reliving the whole situation from beginning to end. The comments I got were mostly positive. A lot of people wanted to know why I didn’t shoot him to save the taxpayers money. You get a chuckle out of that, but when it comes from, you know, five, 10, 20, 30 people, and then in public you get the same thing, you kind of get that whole situation out of your mind and then it gets brought up again.
“This helps today with a little more closure and just kind of recognizing how good I actually did at stopping the guy and the fact that I didn’t have to shoot him and now he’s back behind bars.”