If you were asking what I would have done...
When the thugs starting chasing them with knives and bats, I would ideally drawn and yelled at them to halt. If they kept charging me with the weapons, I would have fired. Of course, that's what I would plan on doing. Lord knows life has a way of making plans go to hell in the real world.
By the way, what do you mean by "hinky?" Legally murky?