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Old October 28, 2008, 03:10 PM   #1
chris in va
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Need help with legitimate scenerio

We have occasional armed robberies around here. But they're 'polite' in a way, the BG simply presents a firearm or threat of one, takes the money and leaves. No violence ensues. BG is caught a few hours later usually.

So, if I'm stuck in a convenience store or bank lobby with a 'polite' robbery in progress, what is the best course of action I can take? The best I've come up with is find concealment/cover, hand on holstered weapon and wait to see what happens next.

Here's a couple that happened recently. ABC (liquor) store opens up for the day. Customer asks clerk to help with a selection toward the back of the store, brandishes a firearm and demands money. Caught at the grocery store next door.

Woman walks up to the back driveup window at the BB&T. Says she has a firearm, attempts to get some money. Clerk presses THE BUTTON, cops show up and she's still standing at the window.

Customer walks into the Suntrust at WalMart in full view of cameras. Brandishes firearm, clerk refuses to give money. He gets in a huff and walks out. Arrested soon after.

Seeing as most robberies around here don't involve anyone getting shot, what should I be doing if I get caught behind one of these winners?
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Old October 28, 2008, 03:40 PM   #2
Keltyke
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My CWP instructor told us, "If someone has a gun, you MUST assume they're ready, willing, and able to use it."

If they have ability, opportunity, and intent - you may assume you're in imminent danger of life or serious bodily injury.
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Old October 28, 2008, 04:16 PM   #3
David Armstrong
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Seeing as most robberies around here don't involve anyone getting shot, what should I be doing if I get caught behind one of these winners?
Most robberies everywhere in the US don't involve anyone getting shot. The best response is to cooperate with the robber until and/or unless something indicates that the robber is intending to harm you rather than rob you.
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Old October 28, 2008, 04:18 PM   #4
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keltyke
My CWP instructor told us, "If someone has a gun, you MUST assume they're ready, willing, and able to use it."

If they have ability, opportunity, and intent - you may assume you're in imminent danger of life or serious bodily injury.

I would concur with that except that I would emphasize the "may" in "may assume". Your take of how the situation is playing out should always dictate your response.
I don't think any reasonable person should ever see a gun and start shooting in automatic response.

(Nor am I asserting that you are suggesting such Keltyke)
(Unless you are)
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Last edited by Brian Pfleuger; October 28, 2008 at 05:06 PM. Reason: typing correction
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Old October 28, 2008, 04:59 PM   #5
Keltyke
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That's right "peetzakilla". If the guy has the gun pointed in the air or at the ground, no shoot. If he begins to aim it at you or someone else - nail him. Of course, nothing prevents you from aiming at his COM and flipping the safety off just as a precaution.
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Old October 28, 2008, 05:31 PM   #6
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Of course, nothing prevents you from aiming at his COM and flipping the safety off just as a precaution.
Applied to running backs, however, this is questionable advice.
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Old October 28, 2008, 06:24 PM   #7
Keltyke
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Applied to running backs, however, this is questionable advice.
Unless he turns and throws a shot at me. I can always be ready to shoot, then I have the option not to. Read my other post where I said the BG has to have opportunity, ability, and intent. I also have to be in imminent fear of my life.
"peetzakilla" understood it.
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Old October 28, 2008, 06:26 PM   #8
James K
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Unless the BG is a direct, immediate threat to you or some other innocent person, do nothing. Don't draw, don't let on you are armed. You are NOT a police officer, you are NOT sworn to uphold the law and make an arrest. Even if you are, starting a gun fight where innocent people may be killed is NOT a good idea. (In fact, LEOs are told basically the same thing - don't try to make an arrest or begin shooting where there is a high risk to innocent people. The BG will be caught later.)

And what if you are the one who kills an innocent person, just so you can play cowboy and show off your gun skill, or lack of it? Are you SURE that you can absolutely, certainly, fire a handgun and take the BG down without hitting anyone else, or having his gun go off and hit someone? If you claim you can do that, then you are a liar.

If you start the shooting, and kill an innocent person, you could be charged with murder, especially if the BG's gun turns out to be a toy.

Does this mean you let the BG fire first? Not necessarily. If he points the gun and says he intends to kill, you would be justified. But just the fact of a crime being committed does not authorizer you to start spraying bullets all over the place.

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Old October 28, 2008, 07:13 PM   #9
kraigwy
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Most stores you mentioned only have a few bucks to loose if they are robbed. Not worth getting involved in a shooting.

In my CCW classes I advise, Money isnt work shooting over. I advise only using deadly force to protect life regardless of what the law says.
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Old October 28, 2008, 07:43 PM   #10
BillCA
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I'm with Jim Keenan on this one.

None of us are required to take any action. In the course of a robbery, if the robber simply demands the cash and isn't otherwise indicating violent tendencies, we should all be the best witnesses we can.

If he becomes violent - pistolwhipping the clerk or another patron - then I may decide to intervene. Or not. If I can't take a clear shot, I won't.

A huge problem in most convenience and grocery stores is that the shelves are merely concealment. In a gunfight, bullets can penetrate at least one aisle, maybe several. It would suck to survive only to find out your bullet struck a woman crouching low & out of sight to protect her two kids.
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Old October 28, 2008, 07:59 PM   #11
grymster2007
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Quote:
what should I be doing if I get caught behind one of these winners?
In all the situations you describe, do just what these other folks suggest. Stay out of it until you witness the BG do something that, should you act, your actions would survive the “reasonable person” test. Much easier when the BG’s gun is pointed at you rather than someone else, but a tough call for good people to make in any case.
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Old October 28, 2008, 08:11 PM   #12
publius
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As others said, do nothing unless necessary, run if you have the opportunity. ( I hope I will follow my own advice if this ever happens.) As people here on TFL are reasonable, law abiding citizens, I think instinct will guide you in the right direction.
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Old October 28, 2008, 10:48 PM   #13
GetYerShells
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/ agreed

I would lay low and try to not get myself killed first of all. If his intent turns from stealing money to inflicting bodily damage and mayham then I would take the shot. Only when life is threatened should you have to draw and fire.
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Old October 29, 2008, 09:24 AM   #14
Dwight55
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I agree David Armstrong is 100% correct in what he says, . . . "Most robberies everywhere in the US don't involve anyone getting shot. The best response is to cooperate with the robber until and/or unless something indicates that the robber is intending to harm you rather than rob you."

The only caveat is that I really don't know what is going through the thinking process of the robber. If I cooperate, . . . and he is one of the minority of "leave no living witnesses" variety, . . . then I have to wait until I or someone else is shot before I begin to defend myself/us.

I really believe that IF I HAVE THE CHANCE I would unholster, be ready, be a good witness, . . . and if he decided to leave with only the money and maybe a bag of chips, . . . let him leave. Circumstances may not allow me to unholster, . . . so then you just have to watch closely and pray he just leaves.

However, . . . I do not plan to be in such a situation with the pre-formed attitude of doing nothing just because "most robbers don't shoot". Running into one that does changes my whole retirement plan and ruins my living 401k.

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Old October 29, 2008, 12:23 PM   #15
David Armstrong
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If I cooperate, . . . and he is one of the minority of "leave no living witnesses" variety, . . . then I have to wait until I or someone else is shot before I begin to defend myself/us.
Not really. "Comply with BG is the best response" does not mean "comply with BG is the only response". If the BG is going to shoot you the odds are he is going to do it either right away before you can do anything or he will do it after a build-up or response to something going on. Certain keys have been shown to be problematic over the years, and should probably indicate a need for a defensive response before the BG actually shoots anyone.
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Old October 29, 2008, 12:42 PM   #16
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Quote:
a 'polite' robbery in progress
I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the concept of a "polite" robbery.

I suppose I advocate choosing whatever path seems most likely to get you out of the situation without injury (or with minimal injury). However you'd better be ready to switch to "fight hard or die" mode if some twitch suddenly changes the situation.

I'm also going to harp on my same old saw about situations like this one (quoting because this is a repost).

Quote:
Whenever a scenario like this one comes up I feel compelled to mention that this is also one of those classic scenarios where you MUST remember that the perp may not be alone.
Even if you are able to deal with the obvious threat it is critically important to remain alert and aware of your entire surroundings in case the badguy has backup present (just outside, in a car, or even in another part of the restaurant/club/stop n shop, etc). That's why it's so important to avoid acting too fast. You must assess the ENTIRE situation as much as possible before taking action and you MUST assume that the criminal has partners.
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Old October 29, 2008, 01:33 PM   #17
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The difficulty with these "what if" deals is that there are so many variables. What is the layout of the premises? Could there be accomplices? What is the demeanor of the assailant and exactly what is he doing? Where are you? Where are there other people? The range of appropriate responses will depend on exactly what the situation is and how it's unfolding.

We all should pretty much know the standards for the justified use of lethal force. The question then becomes, if you use lethal force, can you articulate, based on the totality of the circumstances, why a reasonable and prudent person in like circumstances and knowing what you know would have concluded that lethal force was necessary to prevent immediate and otherwise unavoidable death or grave bodily injury to the innocent?

So you must observe and be prepared to exercise your best judgment. But absent one or more specific factors that you can identify as indicating that the assailant was manifesting an intent to escalate the level of violence, I think you'd have a very hard time justifying the use of lethal force.
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Old October 29, 2008, 01:47 PM   #18
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In this area not long ago, a disturbed man started shooting at random from the sidewalk outside a motel. He hit no one and, contrary to what you might think, witnesses did not run away or take cover; they stood around watching and getting in the way of the police. A sheriff's deputy maneuvered himself around to a point where he could get a clear shot without endangering anyone else and settled the problem.

Of course, he took a chance that someone could have been killed while he got into position, but he chose to take that chance rather than being in a position where his own shot would almost certainly have endangered innocent people. I think he did the right thing.

Jim
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Old October 29, 2008, 02:01 PM   #19
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Sounds like a good plan to me, unless you are close to an exit.
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Old October 29, 2008, 02:58 PM   #20
Glenn E. Meyer
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Jim - people milling around in disasters when the best plan is to head for the sunset is well known.

At some university rampages, the call to stay inside brought out students to see what was happening or to posture defiance. Duh.

I was in WalMart and a bunch of cop cars arrive, flashing and sirens. You should have seen the wave of 8 year old boys running from Mommy to go see. Darwin, Darwin, Darwin.

I sedately figured out where the cops weren't and strolled that way, despite having the bat belt.
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Old October 29, 2008, 03:18 PM   #21
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If a gun comes out, shoot shoot bad guy to the ground. If there is just a threat of a gun, give them what they want, call police and insurance co.
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Old October 29, 2008, 09:33 PM   #22
onthejon55
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Maybe if more BGs got shot there wudnt be as many robberies?
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Old October 29, 2008, 09:38 PM   #23
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I have a right to my property. If and when someone tries to deprive me of my property, i will protect it by any means necessary. If it comes to killing the BG, I will do so unflinchingly. However, this will not be my first response, unless, of course, I feel that my life or well-being is being threatened (such as being robbed at gunpoint).
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Old October 30, 2008, 10:20 AM   #24
David Armstrong
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Quote:
Maybe if more BGs got shot there wudnt be as many robberies?
Or maybe if more BGs got shot, instead of just robbing someone they would start shooting first and then robbing them.

Quote:
I have a right to my property. If and when someone tries to deprive me of my property, i will protect it by any means necessary.
How about protecting it by any legal means? Like it or not, protecting your property by any means necessary is pretty silly if you spend the next 20 years in prison for doing so.
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Old October 30, 2008, 10:28 AM   #25
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Be the best witness you can be.
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