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View Full Version : Self defense or not?


TailGator
June 22, 2010, 02:52 PM
The following video was posted in another forum, the members of which responded by laughing at the response of the robbers and saying they wish the shop keeper was a better shot:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7w7-KYWqzLo&feature=related

A proprietor of a jewelry shop was maced 12 seconds into the video, and at 15 seconds the robbers break the glass top of a display case and immediately run away. I would presume this is because the shop keeper reappeared armed at that point. At 19 seconds the shopkeeper is back in the picture with a handgun.

At 34 seconds the shop keeper fires a shot. Fifteen seconds have elapsed since the shop keeper came back into the picture, and 19 seconds since the robbers made their last aggressive move by spraying the shop keeper. During that time, the robbers, scumbags though they are, made only cowering gestures with no visible aggression, and appear to have attempted to leave the scene (apparently blocked by a door with an electronically activated lock that kept them in the store). Granting that the shop keeper was maced, during that same period he appears to be in full control of his faculties, excepting only that he wiped his eyes a couple of times.

Suppose his aim was better. Would it have been a justifiable shooting? Or did he fire out of anger or frustration?

Whether we like it or not, there are jurisdictions in which shooting someone nineteen seconds after their last aggressive move, after you prevented them from leaving the scene, would be a decision that led to a prosecution, and perhaps a successful one. I hope the shop keeper turned out OK legally, but it seems marginal to me. Opinions welcome.

kodiakbeer
June 22, 2010, 03:00 PM
If I was sitting on the jury, I'd never convict. As far as I'm concerned he gets the benefit of a doubt - his vision is blurred by the mace and he may very well think they're armed. The shot at second 34 is actually when one them takes a step towards him.

They got exactly what they deserved.

primetime
June 22, 2010, 03:28 PM
Self defense all the way...I agree with Kodiak.. They got what they deserved and I believe a jury would not convict the jeweler..At least a jury in their right mind wouldn't...

kodiakbeer
June 22, 2010, 03:35 PM
On the other hand, if they sued him for the cost of a new pair of underwear I might grant them about $5 in damages...

JonnyP
June 22, 2010, 03:51 PM
Ditto what kodiakbeer said. However, I wouldn't put it past some juries to come up with some lame excuse for convicting him like, "Well, he was ONLY maced, and that was not life threatening."

Hindsight is always 20/20, but if he was in complete control of his faculties, my view from my armchair would be that he should hold them at gunpoint and call 911. Then if any of the intruders steps toward him, BOOM!

No conviction from me...

Glenn E. Meyer
June 22, 2010, 03:56 PM
Someone come up with a link to a description of what happened? Did they get hit? How bad? When the law arrive, etc.?

I'd hesitate to give a full analysis now. My gut says that he is in the right as they continued to pose an active threat and had attacked him.

They weren't proned out in full surrender but quite mobile.

What happened after the video?

Stevie-Ray
June 22, 2010, 04:15 PM
From what info we have now, I would agree that he is golden. He kept his gun trained on them but refrained from shooting until one appears to take a step toward him, then pop! Looks good to me, but short on info.

Dre_sa
June 22, 2010, 04:33 PM
indeed, it appears that that shot fired was in response to the bad guy on the right taking a step forward.

looks good to me...

TailGator
June 22, 2010, 04:48 PM
I checked it out a little more and found this link, still pretty short on details:

http://www.kpho.com/news/18416609/detail.html

It did say that each of the robbers was hit once, not life threatening injuries, and that the store owner was not charged.

I agree with all that, and agree that it was justified, but I wonder if it would have been an expensive defense in some other jurisdictions besides Phoenix, Arizona.

And my most nagging second thought about it is questioning the wisdom of having devices to lock robbers in. That is my supposition, based on what I interpret as an unsuccessful attempt by the robbers to leave - I haven't found an account that states that such a device was activated. Personally, I would rather my assailant escape than to be locked in with them after getting a face full of pepper spray. I know some on these boards have a different opinion, but my primary goal is self preservation.

The shop keeper did good, but my tactics and goals would have been different. If they want to leave, especially empty handed, after seeing my pistol, I would hold fire, not pursue, and help the police identify them with a good description and the video tape. Pretty funny to see them use a tablecloth for cover, though, I have to admit.

Nnobby45
June 22, 2010, 05:23 PM
Ditto what kodiakbeer said. However, I wouldn't put it past some juries to come up with some lame excuse for convicting him like, "Well, he was ONLY maced, and that was not life threatening."


If a lawyer can't make a convincing case that his client was at the mercy of his attackers after being maced and reasonably in fear of his life as long as his assailants were present since he couldn't see well enough to determine if they were armed with deadly weapons, and therefore needed to take aggressive action, etc., etc,-----then the defendent could always get a real lawyer.:D

Double Naught Spy
June 22, 2010, 08:17 PM
Regardless of what the video description says, I doubt the store owner was maced. He might have been pepper sprayed, but not maced.

I can see why the owner was not charged. As long as the robbers were in the store, they were a threat to him and had already demonstrate their intent to harm him with a chemical agent (of unknown type to the owner).

However, the shots at the guys while cowering on the floor is a bit disturbing. It is hard to say that they are being a threat.

Without knowing the exact specifics of the law, it would be hard for me to say if all the shots were self defense or not.

Deaf Smith
June 22, 2010, 09:11 PM
TailGator,

Let's just say in Texas we give medals to store owers like that.

Between the stand-your-ground laws and defense inside your own store, no the shop owner would not be charged unless he did something like cut off their heads and stick them on poles.

Deaf

Dr. Strangelove
June 23, 2010, 01:53 AM
Hmmm..

If that was an auto-locking front door, that's absurd to the point of being laughable.

From one of the links above:

"Fearing for his life, the victim removed a handgun from his pocket and fired several rounds at the suspects, striking them each of them one time," Scott said. The victim then held the suspects at gunpoint until officers arrived.

Nope, he chased them around the store like some sort of Keystone Cops episode. Additionally, where did he disappear to in the video prior to showing back up with a handgun?

I wouldn't want this video to appear in court if I was the store keeper, especially if that was really an auto-locking front door. If he had shot them both at the moment he had been maced, or they had pursued him behind the counter, I'd say he was in the right.

Locking them in and pursuing them around the store? Have fun with the civil suit, buddy. They will likely own that shop in the end.

Rich Miranda
June 23, 2010, 06:33 AM
Have fun with the civil suit, buddy. They will likely own that shop in the end.

Possibly true, but how absurdly tragic and out of whack. Someone comes into YOUR store, attacks YOU, tries to steal YOUR stuff, and the consequence of that is that YOU lose all you own to THEM?

Put me on the jury. I'd slap those idiots myself. :D

Dr. Strangelove
June 23, 2010, 11:39 AM
Have fun with the civil suit, buddy. They will likely own that shop in the end.

Possibly true, but how absurdly tragic and out of whack. Someone comes into YOUR store, attacks YOU, tries to steal YOUR stuff, and the consequence of that is that YOU lose all you own to THEM?

Put me on the jury. I'd slap those idiots myself.

Oh, I agree, but the reality of the situation is that The Firing Line members are unlikely to make up the jury. I certainly wouldn't want to bet my financial future on it, especially given that videotape.

Obviously the thieves were in the wrong, but given the fact that the store keeper prevented them from escaping by locking them in, then chased them around the store shooting at them, in many states I don't this case would have ended with the store keeper in the clear.

DanThaMan1776
June 23, 2010, 11:55 AM
I wouldn't convict the shop keeper because I don't know what he saw after a facefull of pepper spray.. but I also would NOT have taken the shot if I was able to see. The guys were very clearly scared s*itless and were no longer in attack mode. However, I also wouldn't have taken the pistol off them because I don't know if they have a weapon in one of the many folds in their clothing...

Maromero
June 23, 2010, 12:01 PM
Oh, I agree, but the reality of the situation is that The Firing Line members are unlikely to make up the jury. I certainly wouldn't want to bet my financial future on it, especially given that videotape.

I have a lock similar in my office. They come mechanical, the type you are buzzed in, or magnetic. The purpose is not to lock people in but to keep the front door locked until you van verify who is coming in.

If I was sitting on the jury, I'd never convict. As far as I'm concerned he gets the benefit of a doubt - his vision is blurred by the mace and he may very well think they're armed. The shot at second 34 is actually when one them takes a step towards him.

They got exactly what they deserved.

Thread killer.

kodiakbeer
June 23, 2010, 12:27 PM
From the link: One of the men then removed a metal baton and began to smash the glass to the jewelry display cabinet, Scott said.

So, they were armed.

Edward429451
June 23, 2010, 12:39 PM
Well if they sue the shop owner and win then he can always come back and rob them ;)

Charles Ellis
June 23, 2010, 01:30 PM
They got exactly what they had coming to them.There have been cases where LEO's have been sprayed and then shot their attacker before losing control,and the shoots were ruled justified.I see no reason why this man would be held to a different standard.The criminals were armed with chemical and blunt force weapons,and it appears to me that they didn't backoff until they got shot at.Who knows what would have happened to the store owner if he had not taken the actions that he did.I say job well done,but it's too bad the store owner didn't have a high cap semi-auto.