View Full Version : So a store is getting held up... hypothetical

February 17, 2006, 02:45 AM
I'll try to keep this quick and simple.

1. Store, say a Target, is being held up by one person.
2. The person draws a weapon, aims it at the clerk.
3. Demands money.
4. Is given it and leaves.

Now, under what circumstances would your weapon be pulled? I'm assuming no one would pull at this point.

Now, say he fired off a warning shot, and / or possible fired at the clerk? Pull your gun yet?

What if he were to take a hostage, and you KNEW you had a clear shoot (say to his back with gun in air, etc.) Would you take it?

At what point do you put your life on the line / defend someone elses. What does the law say?

Always wondered, thanks!

Optical Serenity
February 17, 2006, 03:19 AM
I would have to retreat to a place of safety and make contact with 911 to send backup :)

Now, if he fired a warning shot in the air I'd for sure take a shot.

February 17, 2006, 03:34 AM
i'd have to say that if someone's life was in eminent danger and had a clear shot,i'd not only draw but take the shot.(but first i'd have to start carrying)

if they are not pointing the gun at clerk/customer then i wouldn't put my life in danger for a companys money that i don't even work for.

February 17, 2006, 06:51 AM
First, I am not a laywer. Now, on to the response: Similar scenarios keep croping up here. The instant the BG pulls a gun, he is implicitly threatening to shoot the employee, and possibly others in the store. The instant he threatens the use of lethal force and, in some way, is evidencing the capability to use such force, it is justifyable to use lethal force against him.

In other words, the moment the BG brings out a gun to rob a store, one is justified to shoot him because he is threatening to shoot the employee if his demands are not met. While it may seem like the issue is money, that is not really even an issue. The issue is that someone is unjustly threatening to shoot someone and they have presented the means to do so. They have the intent, means, and motive to shoot the employee (if demands are not met to the satisfaction of the BG). Therefore, it would be a justifyable shoot.

Now, what would I do? I don't know and I doubt I would unless I was there. Depending on the demeanor of the BG, and my instincts at the time, I would probably either be as inconspicuous as possible while watching the BG or I would draw and either order him to drop the gun and comply with my detaining him pending LEO's arival, or I would shoot until the threat is neutralized (drops gun, runs away, is wouned and cannot attack, is dead, etc).

February 17, 2006, 07:09 AM
I would say it depends on how crowded the store is as well as the others variables posted above. Odds are everyone would hit the deck but you never know. If there are a lot of bystanders in the area I doubt I'd shoot until I had a clear shot just as all of you have stated. Also, if I am with my g/f or someone else, I would not want to put them at risk by trying to be the hero. Depends on the situation I suppose. I'd like to say that I'd save the day but does one really know how they will react in that crucial moment?

Chris Cullen
February 17, 2006, 08:08 AM
I say - Use your brain. If you don't think that you can handle the situation effectively without causing harm to yourself or innocent bystanders, then don't take a risk. Assess the situation and weigh up the options. The objective is for everyone to walk out alive remember??!

In my mind, if I cannot control the situation with any other method other than lethal force and my actions may cause injury to anyone - my method is:

Observe and Report.

Yes I know its a guy waving a gun at a clerk and has possibly fired a warning shot, but has he actually injured anyone as yet? Of course they are scared out of their minds, but they can still walk away at this moment can't they?

Do you think that standing up with a 'moral responsibility' because you're the only one that has any form of possible training and a loaded firearm is going to immediately solve the problem? I don't think so. The bad guy is already 'pumped up' and nervous with the fear that something is going to go horribly wrong. You sir might just be the last straw that broke the camels back and cause this gentleman to do something he really shouldn't! Shoot you.... shoot someone else???

Observe and Report.

Its a 'chickens way out' in any form, but remember.... The LEO's would rather walk you to the ambulance than them drag you out to it.

In the heat of the moment our senses flare out of control. We experience tunnel vision, rapid heart beat, and in most cases.... a loss of attention to detail. We focus our attention on the immediate threat - thus being the bad guy. Bringing our firearm into the equation is something that increases that level of tension in which our mental record of the offenders description goes flying out the window. Your sole aim now is to put a round in the seen centre of mass. Thats it.
Now, from the 'chickens' perspective. I'm sitting here watching this guy like a hawk. I have a complete mental image of every little detail, including his buddies in the getaway car parked outside. Something I might have failed to notice as I was concentrating on the primary target.

It comes down to a question of "could I?" or "should I?".

Both may have serious outcomes. We often wonder if we could have been able to stop the threat, or if we did stop the threat... should we really have done it that way?? Maybe the law may not agree with your decisions however...

This is not my final say in the situation, as every event is different. The circumstances may be in my favour to end this situation peacefully, or not.

The choice lies in the hands of the individual at that moment in time.

Chris Cullen

February 17, 2006, 10:06 AM
Chris Cullen had about the best advice. Be the best observer/witness that you can. If you feel that it's safe, try to see if the bad guy gets into a car. The least would be to see what direction he takes when he exits the store.

Adding to the other responses, figure that you are ALONE. Just because you only saw one bad armed bad guy, there's the possibility of there being a "lay-off man" nearby, covering the bad guy that you see.

Lastly, even if you feel that you CAN make a clear shot at the bad guy, it might not instantly "stop" him....and it could escalate to a full-blown shoot-out inside the store (the bad guy may be so "stoned" that he doesn't feel the pain. If you remember, the two North Hollywood bank robbers "juiced" themselves with pain killers before entering the bank). Eventually, the police will arrive and find TWO armed men and nothing but mass confusion and panicky customers. They won't know who the bad guy is, so you could be dropped by "friendly fire"!

February 17, 2006, 04:37 PM
Where's the back door at?

February 17, 2006, 05:10 PM
I think I draw as soon as I see he has I weapon - I may not draw conspicuiously(sp?), or ON HIM, but I want MY gun in my hand in case things turn bad.

February 17, 2006, 07:02 PM
Retreat to a safe area! Draw Cell Phone and call 911, give really, really good details about the situation. You have to realize that if anyone gets hurt in the ensuing chaos AFTER you pull your gun and shoot or even just pull your gun and let the BG know you have it...you may become directly responsible for the events. If say you shoot the BG (in the back? which means he was not threatening YOU) and he manages to fire off a round and kills an innocent or you get into an exchange of fire with the BG and YOU accidently shoot an innocent, are you willing to take that chance and live with that? Again...way to much a price to pay for being a One Day Hero! Tell ya what I would do if anyone starts firing guns...get the hell outta there!!

February 17, 2006, 07:16 PM
Retreat and call 911, if I am able to do so safely. Engage the robbers as a last resort.

February 17, 2006, 08:32 PM
If he is simply robbing the place and not shooting at people I stay out of it and call 911. If he starts shooting people ala the Luby's cafeteria incident in Texas in the early 90's I think that I have a moral obligation to defend un-armed bystanders and myself with deadly force. For anyone who doesn't remember what happened at that Luby's google it and ask yourself what you would have done in THAT situation! One woman in the restaurant had a gun but left it in her car and subsequently lost her mother and father.

February 17, 2006, 08:39 PM
winder + 1

James K
February 17, 2006, 08:55 PM
If the BG has shot or is trying to shoot someone, that is different.

But in other stick ups, remember, you are not a police officer. You have no duty or sworn obligation to make an arrest and your license allows you to defend only yourself and your family. In those situations, even police are trained to stay calm and observe, not start a shootout that could get innocent people killed. And if the BG leaves, do NOT follow him and engage in a gun fight. If you do, you are now the aggressor and if you kill or wound him or an innocent party, you are in trouble. Any threat to YOU ended when he left.

Note that a CCW license does NOT GIVE you the right of self defense. You have that right, with or without a gun, or if you have a gun, whether it is legally carried or not. A gun only allows that right to be exercised effectively.


February 17, 2006, 09:07 PM
Jim Keenan has it. You are not hte police. If you whant to be, join the force and get a badge.

February 17, 2006, 09:08 PM
Anyone else? I love to hear what some people would do, they make for interesting reads.

Personally I'm not a CCW owner (yet, once I move out I will), so I wouldn't really be able to comment. I guess it all depends on the circumstances. God forbid he fired on a child or something of that nature, then I'd have to do whatever necessary to stop him. Of course, this is all assuming I'm a good shot. If I'm not, well, that's a different story.

February 17, 2006, 09:17 PM
One thing I've taught as a martial arts instructor is that your life is every bit as important as your childrens. You are after all your childs father or mother and for thier sake must protect that. That being said the threat of violence for money is not what anyone would call an "IMMINENT" threat and if you choose to shoot at that moment be prepared to convince a jury otherwise. If the badguy takes actions that you believe warrant a real threat to you or someone else and you feel it is worth risking your life for, then is the time to act. I would then draw and shoot. I wouldn't challenge the person I would draw and shoot to stop the threat. It's a tough decision. I've had a person in my sights on two different occasions and would have been justified to shoot both of them. Luckily I did not and all worked out fine. I've never forgotten those moments and I'm glad I didn't shoot. I carry every day and I pray will never have to fire at another person. I am prepared though.

February 17, 2006, 09:20 PM
Jim Keenan: In my area our licenses do cover interefering to prevent a violent act "on yourself or someone else". If I saw a rape in progress I can blow the guys head off from behind and its OK, for example. Definitly +1 to your comment not to follow and engage in a gunfight. A lot of guys are dying to get into it with a BG in a situation like that. Put the tarining to use etc. I say stay out of it. Clerk is OK, so who cares if Target's short a few bucks. They can afford it.

February 17, 2006, 09:21 PM
Be sure of your own skills and capabilities before you take the shot.

Be sure what is around and beyond your target before you take the shot.

Be sure you didn't happened to have walked on a movie setting taking place at a Target store where there's an actor pointing a gun at someone. :D

February 17, 2006, 10:09 PM
If I saw a rape in progress I can blow the guys head off from behind and its OK,
"A rape in progress" is a whole different ballgame then "If he is simply robbing the place and not shooting at people" and I totally agree. I too would intervene with "deadly force" to stop a rape and worry about the consequences later. I know what someone is going to say. What happens if it's a lovers quarrel or domestic dispute. Well, rape doesn't fit into that category as far as I'm concerned and I'll just have to take my chances and hope that someone would do the same for my wife or daughter.

February 18, 2006, 02:28 PM
I think you also have to consider the mechanics of this. If you are sporting a Keltec .32, and are 50 feet away, taking a shot is pretty moronic.
Remember, all those discussions of 'one shot stops' point out, if they are honest, that the chances of ending it with one shot are sometimes slim. If he does not drop dead from your shot, then the perp is very likely to shoot also, killing you or someone else.
Sometimes it scares me to see all the folks nowdays running around with a gun. Training at the range does not teach mindset, or common sense. Getting all your knowledge of what/how/when from a discussion group is pretty scary too.

February 18, 2006, 05:34 PM
Sometimes it scares me to see all the folks nowdays running around with a gun. Training at the range does not teach mindset, or common sense. Getting all your knowledge of what/how/when from a discussion group is pretty scary too.
Funny you should mention that. I did a while back in another thread and almost got my head torn off! Like I've always said, shooting at a paper target is one thing, shooting at a live target is another and that's not "hypothetically" speaking.

February 18, 2006, 06:08 PM
I shot at a moving target for the first time last week, and boy, that was an interesting experience within itself.

February 18, 2006, 06:43 PM
I have thought similar over myself ---

If the shot presents it's self and is clear and clean I'd take it as armed robbery is explicit threat of deadly force can can be met with such where I live. How much activity I take in trying to get to a point to take that shot will depend on the situation

In a large store situation as you mention with 1 robber I am highly unlikely to do so as tactical advantage is going to be hard to gain, I am unlikely anywhere near the action, by the time alarm is raised event may be over, I do not HAVE to neutralize the robber to secure my well being and I'm guessing one guy does not plan to take / shoot the whole store full of people,

What I would be doing, provided I am not in the immediate area of the BG and some may argue with this, is I would have my weapon unholsterd with the safety off and held low and at my side to reduce alarm from others, (who if they are panicing will likely not even notice) and I will be rapidly going to the back / exit to extract from the situation. Drawing at this point is debatable but I would rather have that extra second or two of concentration and speed to aim and make decesions if force becomes needed than to have to draw and engage.

The situation in a small convinence store is totaly diffirnet i my estimation as egress is much harder and is it's late night with you and a clerk with a robber the potential for badness happenign to you is much greater so your best defense may be a good offence --- i.e. engage the BG immedialy as he is armed and near perhaps the only exit --- but that is a whole diffirent thread.

Don P
February 18, 2006, 09:56 PM
:eek: Firepower426 drop back 10 and punt! Sounds like you need to join law enforcement. Do you people sit up at night and think of ways to be involved in gun battles? My best advise is IF YOU ARE NOT carring a badge to go along with your conceled weapon then keep it conceled. YOU ARE NOT a sworn law man so why put yourself in harms way. Like I have stated on other threads if you people are itching to be in gun fights join the largest team in the world the U.S.Army or U.S.M.C. and they will train you, supply the weapons,the ammo needed, and plenty of targets in the middle east. Have at it, and the only draw back is they shoot back!. Enough said.:cool:

February 18, 2006, 10:03 PM
That's the best advice yet! +1 :D

February 18, 2006, 11:08 PM
Nah, I don't even C&C. In fact, I only own a Ruger 22. It was more curiousity. :D