Almost A Defensive Knife Use: Michigan Rapist Edition

Image: John Carlisle/Detroit Free Press

Image: John Carlisle/Detroit Free Press

TTAK is collecting stories of defensive knife uses. This near-DKU took place in January (before we started telling the truth about knives) and it comes to us compliments of the Detroit Free Press.

When an injured young woman appeared on his doorstep, screaming and wrapped in packing tape, 14 year-old James Persyn III took her in and locked the door before arming himself with a hunting knife.

Convicted felon Eric Ramsay had just kidnapped the woman from a campus parking lot at gunpoint and raped her at his mother’s house. She had escaped by jumping from Ramsay’s car as he drove past Persyn’s house.

Persyn herded his siblings, the family dog and the injured woman into the bathroom, where he waited in the dark with his knife. When Ramsay couldn’t get in he set the house on fire and fled, but police and the senior Persyn arrived and put it out. Ramsay was shot to death by police several hours later.

I’m glad our brave 14 year-old never had to face an enraged and homicidal felon in hand-to-hand combat. It would have been ugly, but the 142 pound, 5′ 8″ Persyn was armed and waiting, and he was as ready as a man can be without a gun.



  1. Nigil says:

    5’8″? That’s a big 14 year old. I sure wouldn’t want to take my chances against a guy like that with a knife defending his household.
    Then again, I’m not a homicidal rapist, so hopefully James III and I would be buddies. I would like to pat him on the back and take him shooting sometime. Good job, James…it’s people like you that help keep society polite and safe (as much as possible).

    1. jwm says:

      I was 5-10 and weighed 170 when I was 14. I know because I played football at school and was on the wrestling team. 3 years later when I enlisted I was 6 even and weighed 191 pounds.

      When I was 14 would I have been as level headed and ballsy as this kid? Hard to say, I wasn’t put into that situation at that age.

  2. Pat says:

    There is nothing worse than a knife fight…..except not having one in a knife fight.
    Have a knife.

  3. Out_Fang_Thief says:

    Diseased rapist, and likely psycho-killer is killed by the police…later.
    I know the story had turned out well, save for the woman who was raped,
    but it’s that “later” part that jumped off the page. In fact, quite a bit later.
    Thankfully, this psycho didn’t commit a violent crime against somebody
    else in the “several hours” before the police finally caught-up with him
    and put him out of his misery-causing life. And not a moment too…soon?

    Then…the screaming, crazed with panic dad nearly gets shot on his own
    porch by the police because he fits the description given on the 911 call.
    The 14 year old kid acts calmly and decisively, while his dads unhinged
    and frantic behavior resembles that of a maniac rapist, arsonist. FAIL!
    It’s sad, the only valuable lesson we learn from this father, is how not to
    respond in a crisis situation.

  4. Jason says:

    It seems like this kid has a good head on his shoulders. How do we find more people like him?

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Almost A Defensive Knife Use: Michigan Rapist Edition

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