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Old April 5, 2011, 11:19 PM   #1
stonewall50
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Wait vs Don't Wait Scenario?

If someone attempts to rob a place and they are unaware of your presence, but they have a firearm on the cashier/server/whoever? If you wait on the person to turn or take the firearm off of the person you are in a sitution where they may NOT take the gun off of them or they may shoot the person. If you announce your presence you may run the risk of a hostage situation. If you just shoot them you risk either collateral from either the bad guy shooting on his way down, or YOU hitting the bad guy and the bullet passing through(unlikely but possible if you have the right ammo).

If the person has a knife I would probably make it known that a gun was on them and give them the option of dropping the knife, but a gun changes the equation. I am wondering what should be done in this situation? I don't know if I would trust my anatomy lessons for the apricot shot. Anyone else want to weigh in on this?
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Old April 5, 2011, 11:27 PM   #2
MrDontPlay
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I think if they have a gun in someones face you are justified to shoot. I would make a good example out of them. If they dont know you're there I would think you would have time to put the front sight on their head. quick follow up shots would also be advised.
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Old April 5, 2011, 11:42 PM   #3
stonewall50
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Sorry if I wasn't clear, but I am not questioning the justification. I know in my state the law is "stand in their shoes." If they are in danger of being shot then I can kill them legally and the state will pay for my court fees. My question is along the lines of what is a safe shot?

I understand that it is possible to shoot someone in the back of the head and end ALL bodily functions, but in that situation with a gun to someon else I do not know if that is a safe shot to attempt. What are the odds that they squeeze the trigger? I mean I reckon there is no safe shot but still. I mean obviously there are other factors like what the person with the gun is saying and how the person at the register reacts. I could point for them to move before I shoot, but any kind of action might tip off the bad guy and result in a shot anyway.
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Old April 6, 2011, 12:36 AM   #4
Lost Sheep
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Medical or legal?

So, is this a medical question rather than a legal question?

Quote:
(edited from OP's post #3)My question is along the lines of what is a safe shot?

I understand that it is possible to shoot someone in the back of the head and end ALL bodily functions, but in that situation with a gun to someon else I do not know if that is a safe shot to attempt. What are the odds that they squeeze the trigger?
A lot would depend also on the tactical situation. the amount of risk to the clerk being covered by the gunman/robber depends on your tactical situation. While your presence is unknown to the gunman, can you draw and aim at leisure or are you limited to a snap shot? How sure are you that there is not an accomplice stationed to cover just such a contingency as you?

Aside: If you live in a jurisdiction that will spend money to defend a private citizen in any kind of shoot, I think you are an exception.

I think there are too many variables for a single, definitive answer. The best you are likely to get is a list of factors that may or may not have bearing determining the answer.

Despite the above assessment, here is my snap opinion, given the scenario as I understand the way you have presented it:

Most convenience stores instruct their clerks to give up the money and not try to "be a hero". Regardless of how we feel about such policies rewarding bad behavior, I think they have found it has statistically better outcomes than resisting robberies.

In this case, standing aside and being a good witness might be the preferable course of action, no matter how much it galls your sense of right and wrong.

My defining factor: If it appears there is no intent to kill or injure, just to rob, I would probably forego use of deadly force to stop a robbery.

Good Luck

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Old April 6, 2011, 02:43 AM   #5
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Quote:
In this case, standing aside and being a good witness might be the preferable course of action, no matter how much it galls your sense of right and wrong.

My defining factor: If it appears there is no intent to kill or injure, just to rob, I would probably forego use of deadly force to stop a robbery.
Very well said.

For me the correct answer is, it depends.

While lethal force may be authorized it is not always the best way to handle a problem. It is but one of the options.

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Old April 6, 2011, 03:32 AM   #6
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Iv'e given this type of situation a lot of thought. You have to assume that they are going to pull the trigger. They are the one/ ones who started it.

To protect innocent persons step to the side or drop to one knee to change the angle. And as mentioned aim for the head. Try to imagine a line around the head at eye level. A shot here will disconnect the central nervous system and he can't pull the trigger. This is where a cool head and MARKSMANSHIP will pay off.
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Old April 6, 2011, 04:22 AM   #7
Crazy88Fingers
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I'd tend to agree with Lost Sheep. But in my neck of the woods, it seems like robbery victims are getting shot whether they cooperate or not. I don't know if this is a new trend, or I'm just now noticing. Another thing to consider in a worst-case-scenario.
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Old April 6, 2011, 05:56 AM   #8
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Most robberies end with only cash being stolen. If you introduce your firearm then you have just started a gunfight. IMO the best course of action would be to stay hidden and prepared to defend yourself or perhaps the cashier if the bad guy starts the fight.

I know alot of you guys are gonna flame me but it is foolish to start a gunfight when only money was going to be taken especially when it ain't your money.

Yes I would like to ruin the bad guys day and take them off the street and save the cashier but things don't always go as planned in gunfights. Thats why someone coin the saying that the best gunfight is the one that was avoided.

An old adversary (Glenn Myers know of whom I speak DA) once explained this to me in a similar debate. I was ready to open up a can of whoop butt on the bad guy no matter what. I felt it was the correct course of action. After our debate I realized he was right. Since most robberies end with no shots fired my premature involvement would certainly result in shots being fired. No shot vs shots, one of these scenarios ends way better than the other everytime.
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Old April 6, 2011, 05:59 AM   #9
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Quote:
But in my neck of the woods, it seems like robbery victims are getting shot whether they cooperate or not.
Crazy, I know it seems that way but its not so. Check the FBI unifored crime report or a similar report from your area. Shots being fired is way low in terms of odds.
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Old April 6, 2011, 06:18 AM   #10
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Not at all foolish to avoid an avoidable exchange of gun shots. Be the best witness you can be instead, preferably from concealment (actual cover will likely be hard to find in a stop n' rob), then wait until his exit and try to watch his direction of travel, or get his getaway ride while dialing 911. Most likely, you will increase the risk to the cashier by attempting to intervening, unless of course deadly assault is already under way (which you wouldn't have been able to prevent anyway).
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Old April 6, 2011, 07:17 AM   #11
ClayInTx
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There are a couple of ways to deal with this. One by the store and one by you.

Many years ago I was working construction in Albany, Georgia. One weekend a C-store was robbed, the cashier killed, and no witnesses. Next weekend the same thing at another C-store and a liquor store. Examination of victims indicated it was getting to be copycat.

You owl-BEN-nee locals probably remember this.

The owners got together and made a plan, took it to the judge. The judge agreed and called in the sheriff, police chief, and reporters. He told them what it would be and no news until Monday. The reporters agreed to a temporary suspension of their 1st Amendment.

The owners arraigned stock at the counter so a customer could approach the cashier in only one place. Behind the cashier was a screen with a look through hole. As soon as a gun was shown the cashier fell to the floor and the owner behind the screen blew away the BG. Monday morning there were, IIRC, seven dead men in the morgue.

After that a virgin with a sack of gold on her head could stand in any C-store in Dougherty County and no one dared harm her. It likely became the safest place to work in a C-store in the USA.

That’s an owner solution.

For the guy who just happens to be there as a customer it becomes a problem. You don’t want to witness a cashier killed and hope it’s just money going to be taken, but you don’t know that.

If the BG believes it’s just him and the cashier in the store there is a great possibility of the cashier getting killed. If you let your presence be known you are in danger of getting killed.

It has become far too common for a BG, if he believes there are no witnesses, to get the money, then kill. Especially if the store is in an isolated or rural area. That’s right, being in the boondocks doesn’t equal safe.

So what do you do? It’s a lose/lose situation. I would have a hard time living with the knowledge that I stayed hidden and witnessed murder but could have intervened. I’m not certain a shot to any part of the body would prevent a trigger being pulled by reflex action. Being a good witness to a robbery is one thing; being a good witness to murder is vastly different. Until a shot is fired or the BG just runs there is no way to know which one it will be.

Thinking it over, I believe I would do something like knock some cans off a shelf and if he didn’t run but came to investigate be ready to blast him.
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Old April 6, 2011, 08:43 AM   #12
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Not to play devil's advocate, but what if, it was a toy gun that looked real, had no bullets in it, and the 'robber' just went through some sort of trauma like he lost his job and his wife, and felt he had no choice but to 'steal' some cash so that he could feed his kids?
There are hundreds of circumstances that could cause a good person to do something bad. Should they lose their life for it?
Could you sleep at night, knowing that 3 kids would have even more to deal with and live through, because you wanted to be a 'hero'?
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Old April 6, 2011, 09:25 AM   #13
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If a guy comes in with a fake pistol, he needs to get whats coming to him.
There is, sometimes, no way to tell if a gun is fake or real, nowdays. If you
add to this the fact that a clerk is under stress from the robbery, looks like
a recipe for someone getting shot! I would feel no stress from shooting
someone that is robbing me, he put himself in that position. If he has kids,
he shoulda thought about that before trying criminal activities.
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Old April 6, 2011, 10:18 AM   #14
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While I agree with the majority in avoiding a gunfight whenever possible, it is quite conceivable that one would, in this situation, pick up some clues (verbal, body language, etc.) that the robber had an intent to kill. Our goal, in my mind, should be to let go a robber who only wants to leave with money, but to protect the lives of innocents from a robber with intent to do harm. The very presence of a firearm in this situation admits the possibility of the latter, but we need to simultaneously acknowledge to ourselves that our perception of the intent of a robber is going to be imperfect and we are not responsible for the actions of another.

As for the scenario proposed by GoOfy-FoOt, we clearly cannot require anyone to check an assailant's firearm for authenticity, functionality, and being loaded before defending themselves or others; nor can we require a review of their socioeconomic status. There are other avenues besides armed robbery for people who need financial assistance, and a person who commits armed robbery takes upon himself a certain risk, whether he chooses to use a loaded gun or a spray-painted water pistol.
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Old April 6, 2011, 10:31 AM   #15
MLeake
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Goofy-Foot's scenario...

... though it might cause me some discontent after the fact, wouldn't ultimately matter much.

If somebody convinces me that he intends to harm me or somebody else, he alone is responsible for the outcome.

I know any number of people who've gone through absolutely miserable scenarios. None of my acquaintances have handled their difficulties by robbing banks or stores.

On the other hand, some of my relatives have been badly hurt by people who handled their personal demons by drinking, and then driving afterward. I haven't found myself sympathetic in any way to those drivers, either.

As to the OP's scenario, I'm not sure how I'd handle it. In my area, there have also been several killings of compliant victims in the last few months. Statistically, they most likely constitute a minority, but they still happen with frightening regularity.
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Old April 6, 2011, 10:38 AM   #16
Hiker 1
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The problem with this scenario is that we don't really know what is in someone's dark heart. Someone robbing another person at gunpoint is not an individual climbing the socio-economic ladder very well. If you could see into his mind that all he wants is money, that would affect your decision, but you can't.

How many robberies, burglaries, etc end up with a dead victim because one of the perpetrators "just lost it" or "went nuts"? The Cheshire, Connecticut, home invasion murders is a great example.

Violent criminals can become drunk with power they don't normally have and make snap decisions that weren't initially part of their plan.

As far as the down-on-his-luck man-with-a-toy-gun scenario? Is that a joke? You buy the ticket, you take the ride.
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Old April 6, 2011, 10:59 AM   #17
markj
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Quote:
If someone attempts to rob a place and they are unaware of your presence, but they have a firearm on the cashier/server/whoever?
Find cover, dial 911 I wouldnt just go blazing away unless he pointed it towards my vicinity. Even then you may expect problems afterwards.
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Old April 6, 2011, 11:43 AM   #18
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Bottom line...you just don't know what a criminal will do. When the BG is caught they swear up and down they didn't mean to hurt anyone, yet an innocent person is dead.

If I am in a c-store and a BG pulls a gun or knife, do I wait hoping the perp just leaves with the money?

Or wait till the store clerk is shot or guts are spilling on the floor?

Sadly the safest option is to just stop the BG. Move quickly to the side thus taking the store clerk out of the line of fire and stop the deadly threat.

"You buy the ticket, you take the ride." [Hiker 1]

Last edited by Seaman; April 6, 2011 at 11:48 AM.
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Old April 6, 2011, 12:26 PM   #19
BikerRN
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Quote:
I would feel no stress from shooting someone that is robbing me
Lots of bravado in this thread that doesn't match up with reality.

I can guarantee you that you will at some point in the entire encounter that you will feel stress. It may be when the DA is considering charging you with murder, but rest assured, you will feel stress.

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Old April 6, 2011, 12:44 PM   #20
Mr. James
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Quote:
. . . felt he had no choice but to 'steal' some cash so that he could feed his kids?
And why, pray, is steal in quotation marks here? Isn't that precisely what he's doing?

As for this fictive sad-sack's feelings, he best should have waited until he felt like something different, like maybe getting another job, asking family or church members for help, etc., etc.
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Old April 6, 2011, 01:08 PM   #21
therewolf
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IMO, if the BG wants to kill somebody, then he's not going to

ask for money.

It's a little difficult to state for certain what they will or won't do,

as there are no guarantees in life.

What I DO know for sure, is I have NO LE :

BACKUP

AUTHORITY

INSURANCE

TRAINING


If I take no action, no one will question it. If I do anything, and

somebody is injured, they're going to pour all over me like maple syrup.

YMMV, but I'd prefer not to fish without B.A.I.T.
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Old April 6, 2011, 01:56 PM   #22
MrDontPlay
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I'm still sticking by my guns and saying if you can stay calm enough to line up a shot, make a good example out of him. He has a gun pointed at someone who is just trying to do their job. If I did nothing and the clerk got killed I think I would really beat myself up over it.
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Old April 6, 2011, 02:31 PM   #23
old bear
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AS I'm not willing to start a shootout in pubic place unless I have no other choice. I would not get involved, as much as I would like to, I will be a good witness when the police arrive. Now if the bandit turns on me or mine that is a different story.

Last edited by old bear; April 6, 2011 at 02:32 PM. Reason: Sp.
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Old April 6, 2011, 02:55 PM   #24
irish52084
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Ok, I'll play the what if game. If the robber is armed and not aware of my presence, I draw my weapon and remain hidden if possible. If at any point I feel the tone of the situation is escalating then I say engage the robber and end it then and there. As always, make sure of you targets background and foreground. Mae sure the clerk is clear of your bullet path and shoot at the bottom half of the back of the head. If you hit the CNS, he will die before being able to react.

I would agree with being a good witness unless I felt like that particular situation was escalating. It comes down to a personal judgment call and everyone perceives situation differently. In my mind, robbing a store at gun point makes it reasonable to believe that they will use lethal force to get the money and I should react accordingly. State laws vary in this regard as well, so that affects the situation as well.
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Old April 6, 2011, 03:39 PM   #25
ltc444
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One of the gun writers, retired NYPD, I respected, I unfortunately cannot remeber his name, was faced with a situation in Michigan.

He and his wife were in a C Store when it was robbed. He was armed, experienced and able to intervene. He chose not to. His position was that the only way he would have drawn was if the Perp. had tried to force the customers into the cooler. At that time perps who put the victums in the cooler intended to kill them.

If a man of his skills and experience would take that course, then I will probably follow his lead.

Arkansas Sheriffs Tommy Robinson and Sheriff Jack Dews initiated a policy of posting Deputies in C-Stores with orders to shoot to kill any robbers. The Stores were clearly posted with warning signs stating that an armed Deputy might or might be present. If the Deputy was present he had orders to shoot to kill. After a couple of perps were dispatched there were no robberies of participating C-Stores.

Until faced with the situation, one does not know what he will do. The aftermath of a shooting is extremely hard on the shooter. If it isn't then that individual is not responsible enough to carry a firearm.

I have found that those with the most Bravado are the least likely to act responsibly.
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