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Old February 11, 2012, 11:38 PM   #26
BillCA
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I think the civilian is in deep trouble. The court will say that he should not have had a gun if he could not think clearly under stress. I cannot think of a situation where you being robbed is not stressful. I am speaking from more than one experience! One cannot make a mistake when you are carrying a gun without severe consequences!
I have to disagree. By definition, a stressful situation is one where you will have an elevated pulse, probably elevated blood pressure, experience anxiety, nervousness and fight to control basic impulses. A high-stress situation, like a life-or-death moment, can result in desperate panic impulses if you are unprepared, extreme fight/flight responses or a trained response if you have trained for something similar to what's happening. Claiming that an average citizen who very likely has little or no training under stress should be able to react in a calm, deliberate and perfectly lawful manner strains credibility.

Armed robbery implies the threat of death or great bodily injury by definition. The implication is give me what I want or I will maim or kill you with my weapon. And there is no guarantee that your compliance will result in you leaving without harm or even alive. Being in fear for your life is justified, as is using every tool at your disposal to prevent the threatened injury.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MLeake
If the "uniform" was in fact a shirt with embroidered badge, that would add more reason for doubt. I could come up with one of those pretty easily, and I'm not a LEO.
I recall some years ago that a guy managed to "take advantage" of a woman because he was wearing a Police Athletic League polo shirt that had a star embroidered on it over the PAL script. She never noticed the script, just the "badge". Turns out he was a civilian who was a 3rd base coach on the PAL little league team.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleNaughtSpy
Back in the 70s, a lot of guys who had been to Vietnam and who came be to police jobs or got jobs as police officers had tattoos. I rather thought it commonplace for cops to be inked.
Actually, it's a different "type" of tattooing. Military Veterans who become cops usually have a unit tattoo on the forearm or shoulder. Sometimes they'll have a tat on each arm. But seldom do you see them with "sleeve" tattoos that cover the majority of the arm down to the wrist.

In the post-war years, it was not uncommon for police agencies to be strict about the appearance of their officers. Many "larger cities" (pop >50,000) required officers to be clean shaven. That meant no beards or mustaches at all and sideburns that stopped no lower than the bottom of the ear canal. Hair was to be trimmed above the collar in the back and cut short enough to prevent it getting in front of the eyes. Tattoos were frowned upon, but one (and only one) visible on each arm was marginally acceptable if they were "in good taste" and/or military service tattoos. It wasn't until the mid-to-late sixties that mustaches became acceptable in larger agencies, as long as they were trimmed, did not extend over the lips and did not 'droop' below the corners of the mouth.

I'm used to LEO's wearing leather (or faux leather) gun belts, either plain black leather, brown/cordovan (russet) leather or black basketweave pattern along with a uniform shirt, slacks and a pinned-on badge. In 2001, along the CA-NV border we were approached by a Park Ranger who's appearance caused several of us some concern. He wore a Ranger's uniform shirt, but with denim jeans, pull-on, square-toe cowboy boots and Bianchi's nylon duty gear with what looked like a H&K USP pistol. But he was ultimately very professional and didn't take offense when asked for an ID card. Had he been heavy handed, however, he would have encountered much more resistance.
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Old February 12, 2012, 04:28 AM   #27
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tragic case of mistaken identity?

What a tragic situation.

It just points out that you need to pay attention to your environment, and know what kind of vehicles and uniforms the cops have where YOU live . . .

A tip to the unaware or unfamiliar in dealing with the police: first of all, know who the police are! Know the difference between the city police, the county sheriff's department and the state troopers. They have slightly different but overlapping jurisdictions. Their cars are probably painted differently and they probably have different colored uniforms. Know who your primary service provider is! If you live near the border of your jurisdiction, know what the uniforms and the squad cars of the neighboring town look like. That isn't too hard -- just pay attention when driving around on your normal business, and then remember what you see. Neighboring jurisdictions back each other up all the time, and if one agency gets tied up on a major incident, the department next door may end up being primary responders to calls in your town. It happens all the time, and it is NOT evidence of a particular emergency nor of a government conspiracy . . .
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Old February 12, 2012, 06:23 AM   #28
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If he is wearing a police uniform and identified himself as a police officer the (odds) are that he is a police officer . Then unless you are 100% sure he is not a police officer then you don't shoot at him. You take on a responsibility when you decide to carry a firearm one don't shoot unless you know what you are shooting at. Know that if you get it wrong then you could be going you jail. PS. I am not sure what having a tattoo has to do with anything.
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Old February 12, 2012, 07:06 AM   #29
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I have followed this for the last couple of days when I first heard about it. It seems to be a tragedy for the tire store manager. It went from bad to worse in a very short time, and may now have long term penalties.

As to a couple of points, at least how I see them from my point of view.

The officer in uniform:

I have not heard any absolute details on the uniform the officer was wearing. If it was the traditional "type" uniform for patrol, the uniform then should be enough of a notification that this person "is" a real police officer. I put the "is" in quotes because rarely someone may steal a uniform, but its very rare one tries to use it to impersonate an officer. If it was a polo style shirt, etc, I could understand some concerns about that, but in a public area, such as this, with others around, I would take my chance that it is a real police officer. Basically, how I have always been taught and trained, is that in regular patrol duty uniform, that is enough notice for people to realize I am a police officer when I am working. If I am wearing a dress down type uniform, it is generally accepted to say "sir/ma'm Im a police officer and would like to talk to you about, etc" just sa C.Y.A. What I say depends on why I need to speak to them. Tattoos are pretty common nowadays too. Some depts require them to be covered when you work, some are a bit more loose on the standard. It varies a good deal. Most people just glance at an officer and dont look at some details like that.

As far as the shooting:

The tire store manager had the right to defend himself when he was threatened. While I understand it can be said he was panicked and did not know that the police officer was a police officer, I feel he made a mistake. While yes he was probably for all acounts really scared and shook up, you still need to know and realize your target, and whats behind that, etc. Ultimately, right or wrong, you are responsible for each round you fire.

What does strike me odd, is the fact that in the article it mentions a crowd of people helped to struggle the tire store manager, and help the officer. If your resisting an officer, and a crowd of people help the officer, its kind of hard, at least in my mind to not think that the officer is a real police officer. If there is an officer in uniform, and others are telling you he is an officer, and are helping the officer detain you, why dont you listen and stop resisting?

Again, just my personal views, Have a great day all.

Last edited by Fishing_Cabin; February 12, 2012 at 07:12 AM.
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Old February 12, 2012, 09:15 AM   #30
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Actually, it's a different "type" of tattooing. Military Veterans who become cops usually have a unit tattoo on the forearm or shoulder. Sometimes they'll have a tat on each arm. But seldom do you see them with "sleeve" tattoos that cover the majority of the arm down to the wrist.
I am talking about forearm tattoos.

With that said, Officer Keith Roach is a fairly dark skinned African-American. Tats aren't going to show up on him very well. That means that Roach must have gotten a very good look at him to see the tats.
http://www.ajc.com/news/atlanta/no-b...an-538250.html

I can see the prosecutor challenging the jury to consider that if Thomas could see the tats well enough to decide Roach was a criminal, then why could he not see the uniform good enough to decide Roach was a cop?
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Old February 12, 2012, 09:51 AM   #31
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Self Defense gone Wrong

Quote:
Claiming that an average citizen who very likely has little or no training under stress should be able to react in a calm, deliberate and perfectly lawful manner strains credibility.
This is the big question with carrying a gun. Claiming the average citizen cannot act right when carrying a gun also strains credibility and does a disservice to those that carry! My own experience at being twice robbed, once at knife point and once at gunpoint proves this. I was unarmed but knew exactly what to do in each situation. I was unarmed and complied with the criminals. Maybe I was lucky. There are no guarantees in an armed confrontation! The third time I was accosted, I was ready! I pulled out my .357 S&W and leveled it at my attackers and cocked the hammer. They put down their crowbars and quickly left. I could have blown them away. I didn't. My feelings are, if you can't react in a calm, deliberate and lawful way, you shouldn't be carrying a gun.
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Old February 13, 2012, 02:07 AM   #32
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DNS, he claimed to see the tats when Roach was kneeling on his back, reaching for his hands to put the cuffs on, while he was flat on the floor.

That would make it fairly easy to get a good look at forearms, but not the whole person...
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Old February 13, 2012, 03:10 AM   #33
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#16

BillCA

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Today, tattoos seem to be a big rage with the younger generation. But they do not project a professional attitude and depending on the content of the artistry they can be offensive to some. If I were stopped by an officer in short sleeves who's forearms were covered in tattoos, I would also be apprehensive about his legitimacy and attitude.
I could see that, but I think the tattoos were an after point.

By the way, who had the tattoo's? I thought everybody has tattoos. Some, they just like to show them off were everybody can see them.

They definitely make an scary (Bikers, prisoners, scum bag's) impression. It's a stigma, it will always will be. So there you have it!

My main point is, I don't think tattoos played a roll is this.

Last edited by Walklightly; February 13, 2012 at 03:21 AM.
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Old February 13, 2012, 03:40 AM   #34
BillCA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KBP
This is the big question with carrying a gun. Claiming the average citizen cannot act right when carrying a gun also strains credibility and does a disservice to those that carry!
Please understand that I didn't say that a civilian cannot act legally when SHTF when carrying. What I said was that in a life & death situation, it is unreasonable to expect someone to act in a calm, deliberate and perfectly lawful manner. There is a difference.

For example; In Sacramento about 10 years ago, an intoxicated patron caused a ruckus. The bartender and bouncer showed him out the door. The patron threatened that he would "come back and kill everyone in the bar" and that he would start with the two employees. Now, their S.O.P. would be get his license and report to the police and let them handle it. Instead, this intoxicated "genius" grabbed a large scuba-diving knife from his car and charged the bouncer, then charged the bartender (and part owner of the bar) standing in the doorway. The bartender drew his S&W .40 pistol and drilled two holes in the guy. Sounds justifiable to me. The surveillance video from outside, however created a problem. When the guy charged the bouncer, the bartender stepped out of the doorway to draw, putting his left foot (and himself) "in public place". He "straddled" the threshold of the door, but the prosecutor split the hair and charged him with unlawful CCW and homicide (on the theory that the drunk might not have actually entered the bar).[¹]

Such fine, hair-line distinctions are what I mean. Experts all agree that life & death crises create tunnel vision, auditory exclusions and time and distance distortions. In moments of heightened danger it is unreasonable to expect a citizen to maintain total situational awareness of "fine legalistic details".

In incidents of police fratricide during a gunfight, most agencies call it a "tragic mistake" or "an unfortunate incident", even when the officer is in a patrol uniform. Unfortunately, prosecutors seem quick to attribute evil intent to citizens who make the same error under the same stress (or more).

I'm not excusing the tire shop manager's behavior. I'm only saying that there is sufficient "reasonable doubt" on his part that the man was a police officer.


¹ A coworker served on the jury and related it to me. They acquitted.
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Old February 13, 2012, 11:45 AM   #35
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My feelings are, if you can't react in a calm, deliberate and lawful way, you shouldn't be carrying a gun.
I suppose this is all fine and good if taken on it's own, but the man in question here had been ROBBED at GUN POINT mere seconds before this altercation with the LEO, and was at this point given a knee in the back and was in fear for his life.

There is no "calm, deliberate" anywhere in this scenario. He wasn't eating a ham sandwich on a park bench while sipping tea and feeding the ducks here. He had just been set up, attacked by a man with a gun, fired shots, RAN, and only then was detained by the LEO who didn't come from a marked car and apparently wasn't dressed as a uniformed street cop.
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Old February 13, 2012, 05:07 PM   #36
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The picture of the officer in Double Naught's link shows him in an official looking uniform. I searched Google Images for "Atlanta Police Department Uniform" and found only the more traditional style. Looks unlikely that he was in a polo shirt as was suggested as a possibility earlier in this thread.

I still wish both the shop owner and the officer well, but given the prosecutor's apparent attitude and now the no-bond, this guy is in for a rough ride. Think about this one for a minute: He wasn't carried by six and he will be tried by twelve. Or as the kids say "<Stuff> just got real".
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Old February 13, 2012, 08:03 PM   #37
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Self Defense Gone Wrong

No doubt that everyone in this post has a valid point. Unfortunately, common sense and reasoning don't seem to count many times in a court room, As I said in my earlier post, I think this poor victim is in big trouble. It won't matter if this guy was in control of his emotions or not, it won't matter if he thought the man on his back was going to kill him or not. What will matter is if the jury will believe his story that he thought he was in mortal danger and find him not guilty! Your guess is as good as mine. Terrible situation for the families of both men.
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Old February 13, 2012, 08:16 PM   #38
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My feelings are, if you can't react in a calm, deliberate and lawful way, you shouldn't be carrying a gun.
If you really believe this than I am pretty certain this means your life has never been in serious jeopardy, you have never been in a gun fight of any type. If you have and are claiming that everyone was acting "calm, deliberate and lawful" I'm throwing the BS flag.
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Old February 13, 2012, 10:42 PM   #39
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Walklightly, while you may not think the tattoos played a real role in this, the shooter himself said they had a strong impact on his thought process.

You might want to re-read the ajc article.
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Old February 13, 2012, 11:05 PM   #40
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MTT TL, exactly so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevens
I suppose this is all fine and good if taken on it's own, but the man in question here had been ROBBED at GUN POINT mere seconds before this altercation with the LEO, and was at this point given a knee in the back and was in fear for his life.
Yes, this is key - he had not only been robbed at gun point mere seconds before, but he had been set up in a criminal conspiracy to rob him and do God knows what else.

Frankly, and I hate to say this, I probably would have reacted just as this man did. The DA's fatuous conclusion that Mr. Thomas shot Officer Roach out of anger is simply out of control. There is no reason at all that Mr. Thomas would be in any state other than utter terror that he was about to be executed by a criminal.

The "let me apologize and go home" remark was unfortunate, but this was no garden variety armed robbery. These criminal scum laid a trap for him and everything that followed began with that.

Oh, and BillCA is spot on regarding appearance and professionalism. Past generations' military vets had tatoos of their branches/units on their arms. Now we have pagan or pornographic inking from wrist to shoulder. You want the job? Look the part.

Based on the very limited amount I know, if I'm on that jury, it hangs.
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Old February 13, 2012, 11:27 PM   #41
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thought for a few

I saw wayneinFL reply to another thread mentioning manslaughter in the case of the accidental shooting in church shooting incident. Since I replied there and asked the question, I wanted to reply here as well and ask a similar question.

Since in the church shooting it is more a case of a pure accident, but in the self defense gone wrong case it is more of a mistaken intent as you will, which should carry more punishment, or should they be similar?

Mods, take note, I do feel this is a very valid question in both cases.

Edited to add:

I do not feel either case really had any evil intent, but the actions warrent a level of punishment.

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Old February 14, 2012, 12:04 AM   #42
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Well, Fishing_Cabin, since you're citing to another post, it would be helpful to provide a link. I suspect most members aren't inclined to go searching.
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Old February 14, 2012, 12:37 AM   #43
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http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=478957

this is the thread I was reffering too.

Edited to include the other threads here at TFL about the same church shooting topic.

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=478954

and

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=478892
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Old February 14, 2012, 01:24 AM   #44
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Fishing Cabin, with all due respect, that's a horrible analogy.

Moises Zambrana, or the guy who was looking at the Ruger 9mm, (not clear who was actually handling it when it fired) was grossly negligent in handling a gun, with a chambered round, in a public and populated area.

OTOH, the shooter in this thread had just been attacked by a gang, and was being man-handled by a person whom he had some legitimate reason to suspect might not be a cop.

Those are grossly different.

Zambrana and friend were criminally negligent, at the least. I wouldn't want the DA to go for maximum charges or penalties, but an assault or (hopefully it won't come to this) negligent homicide charge would be appropriate.

In the case in this thread, assuming the officer used the force described, and if all else is as reported, I'd find Not Guilty as a juror. The standard is what a reasonable person, with the same knowledge as the defendant, would do in the same situation. I could easily see myself thinking "fake cop," and fighting for my life in that same situation, based on the combination of the gang setup, the non-police car, the tattoos, and the rough handling.

Apples and oranges between that and Zambrana.
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Old February 14, 2012, 11:31 AM   #45
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Mleake,

I disagree about this incident. It would have been one thing if, while shooting at the armed persons that were trying to rob him and threatened his life, if he had missed and hit an innocent person directly behind the robbers. That would be understandable though very tragic.

Fleeing the scene on foot, in fear, and asking for police to be contacted, but when an officer arrives in uniform, believes the officer is real at first, and then changes his mind upon seeing the tattoos and shoots said officer not once, but 3 times. It sounds like other witnesses, that understandably should have been shook up and in fear from witnessing the officer being shot, stepped forward to help, believing the officer was in fact real.

While this and the other case of the girl shot in church are apples and oranges in what happened, I think both people who fired their firearms should be charged and have a level of guilt placed upon them. That is my feelings on this. Both made bad choices, and should face some penalties.

Apart from a pure self defense shooting, or a miss while actually defending oneself as I mentioned above, I have always been taught, from childhood, throughout my adult life, and even in my training, that each shot I fire I am responsible for, both civil and criminally speaking. The only reason that I place a pure self defense separately, is that it is an affirmative defense to the shooting, and even then there may be charges or a civil trial.

I guess from others views, my feelings may be wrong.

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Old February 14, 2012, 01:50 PM   #46
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Fishing Cabin, the officer didn't arrive after police were called, and that's the problem with your take on this.

The guy ran into a diner, and asked the waitress to call the police. As he was asking her to do this, the off-duty cop came up behind him and ordered him to the ground. It was not in response to his call; there were no sirens; there had been no acknowledgement.

IE, it happened very fast.

(Edit, in the interests of sounding less combative, no offense intended to Fishing Cabin)

Since the officer did not actually arrive as a result of the shooter's call, and since the timeline was much faster than you seemed to think it had been, how does that affect your thoughts on the incident?

Last edited by MLeake; February 15, 2012 at 05:32 AM.
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Old May 12, 2013, 01:24 AM   #47
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Sorry, I realize this is an old thread, but wanted to post an update on this case.

The Tire store manager Atibi Thomas went to trial in March 2013 and the jury deadlocked on the charges of attempted murder and aggravated assault. It was reported that they came close to convicting him on the later charge. He was acquitted on a third charge of beating the Police Officer with a gun due to lack of evidence. The District Attorney has announced that he plans to retry this case.

http://www.myajc.com/news/news/break...n-atlan/nWxrg/
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Old May 12, 2013, 09:21 PM   #48
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Looks like Officer Roach got an award for the incident.
http://www.atlantabar.org/displaycom...articlenbr=391

Interesting that his gun jammed.

In reading the accounts, it all still sounds hokey.
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Old May 12, 2013, 09:38 PM   #49
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However, his innocence is in doubt since apparently his only factor for deciding the officer was another criminal was the tattoos... that's not a reasonable assumption.
Agreed. I find it a bit harsh that some of the other posters relate tattoos to bad guys. They are much more common than they used to be. While I do agree that visible tattoos can still be seen a unprofessional, a lot of military and police, including me, have tattoos. If tattoos and a civilian car are this guys only reason for thinking the cop was another bad guy, he's going to have a tough time in court, and I foresee a change in policy in the near future for the inked cops department.
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Old May 12, 2013, 10:54 PM   #50
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Officer Roach should be commended for his actions; intervening in an off-duty capacity to prevent injury to other citizens in the area......
Perhaps so....perhaps not. I didn't seen any indication that other citizens were in danger of being injured. A victim was running away from an attempted robbery with a gun in his hand, apparently after having shot at the alleged robber(s).

In CCW class, you are told that attempting to intervene in something you have no information about (ie., walking up to two people fighting, etc.) is not a great idea. This is exactly what the LEO did. Not saying he shouldn't have....but just like the advice given in class, the LEO had not idea what was happening. He assumed the guy escaping from the attempted robbery was the bad guy (because he had a gun?), it would seem. No doubt about it, it was a bad day for everyone involved....and that was the worst part about it.
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