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Old September 17, 2010, 10:01 AM   #1
spacecoast
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Story - good judgment?

I found this on another site - thought it worthy of soliciting feedback as to whether the action of shooting was justified or not (seems shaky justification to me even as told by the shooter). I'd hate to accidentally startle this guy in a parking lot.

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I was walking to my car, which was on a dark almost deserted parking lot, at about 1 a.m.

Two guys emerged from an old sedan about 50 feet away and stated they were out of work out of cash and needed a loan. They kept on walking toward me as though I was dead meat if I didn't fork over. At that point I drew the Bersa from my paddle holster (it and the Bersa are my everywhere, all the time gun combination). Without further discussion, I let one round fly toward the bigger guy's shin bone and he fell like a sack of potatoes. I left a 380 caliber hole in the other guy's gut. He too dropped like a rag doll.

Called 911 showed the police my CCW and explained. Seems the 2 were recently paroled. Shaking like a leaf, knees shaking, pouring sweat and scared like a possum in front of a dog pack, and stomach in a knot, I drove my car home. This was on August 7, 2009.

From now on when I walk through that parking lot I have my Bersa in hand, safety off with one in the pipe plus 6 in the mag. Carry Federal or Corbon. Police were supportive as I have my CCW here in Texas. From now on I have renewed faith in the 380 ACP. It's no power house, but can make a significant hole where the Bad Guy didn't used to have a hole.
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Old September 17, 2010, 10:25 AM   #2
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More details needed ! Did they say anything as the walked closer ? Did he say anything ? How far away were they ? Were they armed or did they threatened in any way ? Did they sue him ?
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Old September 17, 2010, 10:36 AM   #3
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No way to tell from that whether it was justified or whether it actually happened.

If it did happen, I think that his posting of the story demonstrated extremely poor judgment. He has now told the world that he fired "without further discussion" and that he shot the second man after shooting the first. That entertaining little note could prove damaging in civil court, and it just might provide an impetus for the initiation of a criminal investigation.
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Old September 17, 2010, 10:38 AM   #4
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I'd have shot them. Twice each, and repeated as necessary.

Two guys demanding money in a dark parking lot at 1 AM? No question, especially in Texas. The thugs are lucky this guy did not kill them...... Society, not so much.
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Old September 17, 2010, 10:48 AM   #5
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Quote:
I'd have shot them. Twice each, and repeated as necessary.

Two guys demanding money in a dark parking lot at 1 AM? No question, especially in Texas. The thugs are lucky this guy did not kill them...... Society, not so much.
And now, Jimbob, should you ever end up shooting someone in a situation in which your defense of justification must rely solely on your own account of what happened, plaintiffs and prosecutors will have a very important piece of evidence with which to persuade others about your state of mind, and to indicate that you had a predilection for using deadly force under circumstances that may be questionable at best. You have provided it yourself.

According to the "story", each went down after one shot. Why twice each?

It is not at all unusual to encounter someone requesting money, for gasoline, food, baby formula, whatever. Usually it's a con game. In many places it is illegal.

However, the smart thing to do is to get away from them.
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Old September 17, 2010, 10:52 AM   #6
aarondhgraham
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Why the shinbone shot?

Quote:
I let one round fly toward the bigger guy's shin bone and he fell like a sack of potatoes.
This is where I have a bit of a problem,,,
From everything I have read and heard before,,,
Any time you actually pull the trigger, it's not to wound.

We were coached in our CCW class to shoot for center mass,,,
Because a shot intended to wound will be interpreted as a cruelty shot.

"I knee-capped the Sonuvab****."
"Taught that pr*** not to mess with me."
"That permanent limp will remind him not to try to rob people!"

In civil suits after the shoot,,,
This plays a big part in turning sympathy,,,
From the shooter to the attacker who was shot.

I'm no lawyer,,,
JMHO.

.
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Old September 17, 2010, 10:53 AM   #7
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I agree... not enough info.
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Old September 17, 2010, 11:01 AM   #8
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Quote:
did they threatened in any way ?
A reasonable person would feel threatened if two guys demanded a money while advancing on him in a dark parking lot. Starting 50 feet away, they explain that they are out of work and "need a loan" while advancing. By the time they have done their spiel, they are nearing the 21 foot Tueller zone, in which you could expect a healthy male to cover in less than 2 seconds- and there are TWO of them. You have to be able to draw and fire to stop them both...... the Tueller zone just got a bit bigger.

A reasonable person would feel threatened in that situation, and would therefore be justified, as there is no "Duty to Retreat" in Texas. IIRC, In Texas, you can use deadly force to protect property, especially after dark.

In the same situation, if it occurred in my state, I am pretty sure this met AOJP requirements, unless I was in my car with the engine running when they started their spiel..... then I could have driven away. As the scenario was given, I doubt if there is a prosecutor in this state that would charge me, so long I as I did not shoot them in the back.
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Old September 17, 2010, 11:05 AM   #9
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According to the "story", each went down after one shot. Why twice each?
Because I was taught (CCW permit class) that you shoot to stop, and the best way to ensure this is "2 to Center of Mass". That is the way I trained, so I imagine that is the way I'll handle it if the situation arises.
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Old September 17, 2010, 11:08 AM   #10
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Quote:
However, the smart thing to do is to get away from them.
I don't run very well .... where am I running TO? Can I outrun these two? Would I bet my life on it? No. I would bet my life on my ability to stop them.
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Old September 17, 2010, 11:29 AM   #11
Brian Pfleuger
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I call BS on the whole story.

Sounds like a Rambo wanna-be 12 year old with delusional fantasies.

Unless someone produces a news story, I call this one crap on a stick.
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Old September 17, 2010, 11:32 AM   #12
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Not enough info and the story as stands probably isn't justification in TX.

Stand your ground is not a excuse to open fire without justification.
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Old September 17, 2010, 11:38 AM   #13
Brian Pfleuger
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P.S.-

Walking through parking lots with your gun drawn and no imminent threat is decidedly NOT good judgement. No matter what else. That part is stupid and foolish and a good way to go to jail, in almost any state and locality.


(But I still say the whole story is BS.)
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Old September 17, 2010, 11:47 AM   #14
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Quote:
In the same situation, if it occurred in my state, I am pretty sure this met AOJP requirements...
A and O, probably, as the "story" was related, but J and P are questionable.

The other problems are the questions of whether (1) the shooter will be able to produce sufficient evidence on each element of justifiability (A, O, J, and P) and (2) the state will provide evidence to either cast doubt on what evidence he did produce, or worse, to provide contradictory evidence.

I worry about ever having to use deadly force outside the home with no witnesses other than the attackers' testimony or perhaps that of people in their neighborhoods.

So, if his alleged incident actually did happen, one would have the shooter's testimony ("there were two of them walking toward me and I felt threatened") against that of the other two ("we just asked for money for food, and he pulled a gun and shot me in the shin, and than he shot my partner", and "we did not threaten him at all, and for no reason, and without saying anything at all to us, he shot my partner, and right after that I felt something hit me". Add, perhaps, a security camera's records showing two men approaching another, a gun coming out, and two men going down; state's witnesses' testimony to the effect that panhandlers routinely try out people in the area for money but this is the first time that anyone has used a gun on them; and security camera records showing benign encounters ...

Back to "P", the shooter (or defendant, if you will) will really be in the hot seat on that subject during cross examination.

"No duty to retreat" laws are a good thing, particularly in an era of firearms. However, not trying to remove oneself from a confrontation can be a big mistake when the evidence necessary to support a defense of justification is sparse or questionable--or even when it is not, when one considers the aftermath that could have been avoided..

That halo the shooter thinks he wears is not visible to the eyes of the law, and from the outset of an investigation to the beginning of jury deliberations, the "good guy"and "bad guy" names have yet to be assigned.

All good reasons to make us understand that the gun is a last resort.

Another very, very good reason is the fact that those bullets can miss and hit an innocent. Should that happen, the shooter's liability could be astronomical.

Last edited by OldMarksman; September 17, 2010 at 11:55 AM.
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Old September 17, 2010, 12:18 PM   #15
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I'm with peetza, there are a few holes here.

Was he aiming for the shin? I hope not.

Why did he fire only twice?

Why was he in this dark deserted parking lot?

50 feet away is a pretty long distance. It would take a normal human to cross 50 feet about 4 seconds if they were sprinting. These guys weren't sprinting. Was this a credible threat?

I guess I can understand the shot to the shin bone dropping someone (maybe), but the "gut shot" dropping someone? Maybe an average human, but if these guys did spend time in prison I don't think simply being shot in the stomach is going to "drop" them. (What I mean by this is that the "dropping" of a person following a gun shot is usually a mental response, not a physical one, of "OMG IM SHOT"... These guys are not normal people, they have experienced violence.)

The way this guy writes the story makes it sound like he thinks himself a hero ("Without further discussion", "like a rag doll", "holes where he didn't used to have them"..., especially the way he describes the criminals falling. And what's with the caliber endorsement at the end?

He drove his car home? The police did not confiscate his firearm?

And the biggest hole in the story (in my opinion): What happened during the time between the shooting and the police arriving? Neither of those shots sound lethal so the criminals were not dead. One of the wounds does not sound debilitating, so one of the criminals could have escaped (or further harmed the shooter). Did the criminals, just out of prison, just lay there waiting for the police?

If there is any lesson to be learned here it's don't post about stuff like this on Internet forums.
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Old September 17, 2010, 12:23 PM   #16
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I also think it's a crock.
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Old September 17, 2010, 12:31 PM   #17
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I agree with some, it just doesn't add up and make sense.
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Old September 17, 2010, 01:11 PM   #18
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I am also skeptical of the story, too many missing details.

...But, from what I've read, I'd have to say poor judgment on the author's part. It didn't sound like the two individuals posed a real threat to his life/livelihood, and it didn't sound like the author made any attempt to end the scenario without using deadly force (in this case wounding force, or so we're led to believe).

Though I'm with jimbob. Why did he only shoot each 'threat' once? The group that I always trained with(PA State Troopers and Marines), the goal was always two shots at center mass, more as necessary until the threat is neutralized. In fact, I've had several state troopers and local LEO's say to me: "If you're going to draw your weapon and shoot somebody, you damn well better kill them." The logic being, only one side of the story to be told, no brain-dead vegetable/paralyzed scumbag that a sleazy lawyer can use to get the sympathy vote from the jury.Its like that old cliche, 'Better to be tried by twelve than carried by six.' I'd rather be alive trying to justify my actions to a jury than be dead and try to justify to God why I surrendered my life so a junkie could sustain his 'substance abuse problem' for another week.

To me, If I ever must draw my CCW, the situation has turned to $h!t, I have run out of options and I am legitimately fearing for my life, I would not hesitate to take the life of another who would rob me of mine. This doesn't seem to be the situation with this story, though..

But that's just me.
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Old September 17, 2010, 01:45 PM   #19
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Ummm....sounds like a crock to me. According to my CHL laws, you must tell the offender to stop, or be shot, then shoot if he/she doesn't stop. After you have done that, then you are justified.
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Old September 17, 2010, 02:11 PM   #20
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Not enough details. However, I've had a guy approach me rather quickly from over 100 yards away in a desolate parking lot at about midnight. Long story short, I was replacing a radiator hose in my girlfriend's car that broke down in a bad part of town. I saw the guy coming....I waited....waited....waited....waited....pretended like I didn't see him until he was about 6 feet away from me, then I turned around and lunged at him with the only weapon I had - a long screwdriver - I screamed at him that "I'm gonna gut you like a pig...." The man turned tail and ran.

I survived. He survived. But you better believe my next move would have been to gut him like a pig. No question in my mind that the man meant to do me harm - I'm leaving out details, but in my mind I was dead meat if I didn't go on the attack. Running wasn't an option - girlfriend was in the convertible car I was working on.

The bottom line - if you think there's a good chance someone means to do you harm and you're in a real fix, you do what you have to do at the time, then worry about the law later.
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Old September 17, 2010, 02:39 PM   #21
Bartholomew Roberts
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Quote:
According to my CHL laws, you must tell the offender to stop, or be shot, then shoot if he/she doesn't stop. After you have done that, then you are justified.
I'd say it is a good practice to give a verbal warning if you can do so safely and the situation permits it; however, I am not aware of any Texas law that requires you to do this. Are you sure you aren't confusing advice on what to do with what is legal to do?
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Old September 17, 2010, 02:49 PM   #22
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There is not enough info to go off of in the OP. Now speaking on Texas law. If he did in fact use force he would have gone before a Grand Jury Hearing. In that hearing if it had been found that he was justified in his use of deadly force he would have been waived of all civil liabilities. If he had been found not justified he would have faced 2 counts of Agrivated Assault With Bodily Injury (carries a sentance of 5 to 99 years in Texas). As well as civil liability.
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Old September 17, 2010, 02:58 PM   #23
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Quote:
pretended like I didn't see him until he was about 6 feet away from me... I screamed at him that "I'm gonna gut you like a pig...."
I'm sure it wasn't funny at the time, but this strikes me as humorous in the retelling. He was probably more scared than you were.

I'm with the rest of you in being skeptical about the story, but it's actually part of a contributed gun review on a legitimate site. I do think that either the author left out a lot of details, or that it is totally fabricated. I can't see any police officer letting him go scot free based on what was described. I do believe that he had some responsibility to let the "bad guys" (if indeed they meant him harm) know that they should stop and not come closer rather than just opening fire. In any case it was a poorly written account and he came across sounding like someone looking for a chance to blast away.

Last edited by spacecoast; September 17, 2010 at 07:52 PM.
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Old September 17, 2010, 07:12 PM   #24
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I think a good argument can be made for feeling threatened of imminent serious bodily harm or death when two men (turns out recently paroled, so we get a good idea of their attitude, demeanor, behavior, etc - not exactly nice folks) approach you in a vacant dark parking lot at night demanding cash.

Even if they don't have a weapon in their hand, 4 fists and 4 feet would be very threatening to me. Two men can easily overpower one man and then do as they please. At that point he's faced with imminent serious bodily harm or even death.

While I don't agree with the wounding shot, we are taught to shoot to 'stop the threat' and that's what he did. The threat stopped. I agree that he would have been better to shoot COM just in case the immobilized guy had a weapon and drew it while laying on the ground.

But I think his actions, while not textbook from us armchair quarterbacks, was reasonable (at least in my state).

Posting in on the 'net is a different story.
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Old September 17, 2010, 08:30 PM   #25
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Quote:
I think a good argument can be made for feeling threatened of imminent serious bodily harm or death when two men (turns out recently paroled, so we get a good idea of their attitude, demeanor, behavior, etc - not exactly nice folks) approach you in a vacant dark parking lot at night demanding cash.
Feeling threatened is but one element. How would the "good idea of their attitude...etc." enter into the discussion? The storyteller here did not know the people, and their backgrounds were therefore completely irrelevant and were not subject to being entered into evidence.

Quote:
Even if they don't have a weapon in their hand, 4 fists and 4 feet would be very threatening to me. Two men can easily overpower one man and then do as they please. At that point he's faced with imminent serious bodily harm or even death.
Well, according to the story, they had the ability and the opprotunity. So do many people who pass by every day and night.

Did the person have an articulable reason to believe that he was in jeopardy? How about preclusion?

What evidence can he provide?

Speaking hypothetically here, of course, since there is question about whether this so called incident ever occurred.
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