Skip to main content

Houston Man Claims Self-Defense in Road Rage Death

According to KHOU 11 News, 28-year-old Jonathan Darling claimed he acted in self-defense during an altercation that left a man dead following a traffic collision that occurred in the 8800 block of the Gulf freeway on March 5.

Per Darling, the bumper of his vehicle collided with the bumper of another vehicle as each driver attempted to merge into the same lane.  Darling indicated that after the minor traffic collision, the driver of the other vehicle, 42-year-old Tate Welton approached and threatened him, stating "I'm going to mess you up. You messed up my day. I'm going to be late for work. We're going to fight."

Darling asserts that he attempted to get away from Welton and that he told his wife to call 911. However, Darling was unable to escape and Welton struck his face and head. According to Darling, Welton even went after his (Darling's) wife and kids, who were still seated in their SUV.


During the course of the fight, Darling was knocked to the ground and Welton continued to punch him. Darling managed to get Welton in a headlock as the two struggled.


"The more he tried to get up, I held a little bit tighter", said Darling.  Fearing that Welton would be even more enraged if he were to break free, Darling held Welton in a headlock until police arrived on scene. When police separated the two, Welton was not breathing. He was transported to a nearby hospital where he later died.

Welton's family indicated that he too, was a quiet family man and they did not understand how such a thing could have happened. Perhaps Darling summed the incident up best when he told a reporter, "It was pointless."

Without question, everyone has the right to defend themselves and their family with a reasonable degree of force. In some cases the use of deadly force is not only warranted but required to prevent the attacker from causing great bodily injury or death. Perhaps Darling indeed acted in self-defense. It remains to be seen whether his actions will be deemed "self-defense" or if he will be charged in Welton's death.

Of course, Welton isn't able to tell his side of the story. Darling's account of the incident may be spot on. If so, his actions would seem justifiable. After all, he indicated that he tried to back away from Welton and even told his wife to summon the police. Welton initiated the confrontation and was winning. It's easy to see how Darling would have been in fear for not only himself but for his family as well.




While I can't speculate as to what happened in this case, as a police officer, I have dealt with my share of "road rage" incidents. In my experience, the vast majority of these situations could have been diffused had one of the involved parties kept their cool.

My humble advice is that if you find yourself in a situation such as the one described by Darling, fight like hell to protect yourself and your loved ones. Short of that, take a deep breath and consider what the situation could deteriorate to if you were to succumb to your anger.

Current Magazine Cover

Enjoy articles like this?

Subscribe to the magazine.

Get access to everything Guns & Ammo has to offer.
Subscribe to the Magazine

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

David Fortier of Firearm News talks with Silencer Central CEO and founder, Brandon Maddox about the origins of the company and what led to its inception. From its humble beginnings at trade shows to inside the newly renovated complex in Sioux Falls South Dakota, Maddox talks through how Silencer Central is now everywhere owning a silencer is legal.
How-To

Behind Closed Doors; An Intro to Silencer Central

Jack Oller of Guns & Ammo and Josh Schirard of Byrna go over the future for Byrna Non-Lethal weapons. Introducing the 12 Guage projectile, just as powerful as Byrna's other projectiles just utilizable in the 12 gauge weapon you already own.
Accessories

Non-Lethal 12 Guage

Jack Oller of Guns & Ammo and Josh Schirard of Byrna go through the three law enforcement and civilian home defense weapons, the Mission 4, TCR, and the MLR. Useable with the entire line of Byrna's projectiles, learn about the weapons law enforcement is becoming equipped with and how they can step up your home defense systems.
Accessories

Non-lethal for Law Enforcement and Home Defense: Mission 4, TCR, MLR

Jack Oller of Guns & Ammo and Josh Schirard of Byrna go over the aspects of the rapid deployment body armor Shield Backpack that make it invaluable in today's world. No matter where you're going, Byrna's Shield backpack will protect and equip you the ability to provide medical assistance to anyone in need.
Accessories

Anywhere Protection With the Shield Backpack

Jack Oller of Guns & Ammo and Josh Schirard of Byrna take a closer look at the pistol-style SD Launcher and how to set one up. Pneumatically powered, utilizing Byrna's "pull-pierce" technology, the SD Launcher is ready whenever you need it.
Accessories

Everyday Ready With the SD Launcher

Jack Oller of Guns & Ammo and Josh Schirard of Byrna go over the various projectiles to utilize with any of their launchers, including Kinetic, Pepper, Inert, Eco-Kinetic, and Max.
Accessories

Power to the Projectile

Jack Oller of Guns & Ammo talks with Josh Schirard of Byrna to discuss the aspects of Byrna launchers and projectiles that are revolutionizing the world of non-lethal protection.
Accessories

Meet Byrna: An Introduction to Non-Lethal

Digital Editor Jack Oller reviews EAA's Girsan MC P35 9mm pistol. Based the original P.35 Hi-Power pistol, the P35 features easy-to-use rear and front dovetail sights, slide serrations, slim trigger, ambidextrous safety, 15+1 capactiy and more. Sitting between a subcompact and full-size handgun, this hammer-fired 9mm is a great option for open or concealed carry.
Handguns

Range Tested: EAA Girsan MC P35 9mm Pistol Review

Digital Editor Jack Oller reviews EAA's Girsan MC312 Sport shotgun. With a 24-inch barrel, fiber-optic front sight, vented rib, enhanced loading port, extended magazine tube, integrated Picatinny rail, pistol grip and more, the Girsan MC312 Sport shotgun may be the perfect firearm for an entry-level 3-gun competitive shooter.
Shotguns

Range Tested: EAA Girsan MC312 Sport Shotgun Review

Guns and Ammo Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Guns & Ammo App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Guns & Ammo stories delivered right to your inbox every week.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Guns and Ammo subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now