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Old June 22, 2012, 06:38 AM   #1
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question on a defensive scenario

Ok, some time back a woman I work with told me about a sittuation her husband was in, and iv wondered about it sense. Her husband was on his way home from work in a bad part of town, and while stopped aat a redlight or stop sign, a single armed man attempted to carjack him, armed with a handgun. The husband quickly presented his own arm, and before he could fire the perp wheeled and ran, fireing hus handgun blindly behind him. The husband held his fire as he didn't think it would be legal to shoot the fleeing man. However, I think stopping the blind fire in a residential area would be more than justified. As far as I know no one was hit.

Like I said I believe I would have fired as jail time is worth preventing the death of an uninvolved bystander to me. I'm sure a prossicution would tear the defensive shooter appart as the suspect was fleeing, but he still presented a very real threat to everyone with his blind behind the back fireing. What do you guys think would have been appropriate in the sittuation?
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Old June 22, 2012, 06:43 AM   #2
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There is a difference between dangerously firing unaimed shots that might hit someone and presenting an imminent threat that necessitates the immediate use of deadly force.

Firing would have been a very foolish thing to do.
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Old June 22, 2012, 06:44 AM   #3
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I am not sure of this question. First off I think it would matter on where you live and your local laws.

I personally live in Alaska. I am not 100% sure but I believe here I could legally shoot the guy. He attempted to rob you and he then ran away and is now shooting at you. SO it would be considered self defense I believe. But hopefully a more knowledgeable poster could clear this up for me.
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Old June 22, 2012, 08:08 AM   #4
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Talk with your local police. These scenarios depend very much on local law.
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Old June 22, 2012, 08:23 AM   #5
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No, I would not have fired back in that situation. You are not a police officer, and that scenario would likely have bad results for you.
Let the BG worry about where his bullets went.
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Old June 22, 2012, 08:40 AM   #6
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It is debatable but I think firing upon could have been understandable. Although he is just shooting randomly those bullets were obviously meant for him, all it takes is one lucky shot so I do think you could say it was self defense. However, it sounds like it was probably a good thing he didn't, he made it out alive and didn't have to take someones life in the process. He got lucky.
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Old June 22, 2012, 09:25 AM   #7
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If the law was always applied equitably, it would be hard to say that a person being fired at was not within his rights to return fire. Whether the BG is moving toward or away from you would hardly seem to matter. Unaimed fire can still make you dead.

"If" can be an awfully big word, though. It is easy to see an over-zealous prosecutor turning a situation like that around. And even being acquitted leaves a big impact on one's finances, reputation, and state of mind.

As far as whether returning fire is tactically valid in this instance, there are too many unanswered questions to take a position. Were there bystanders? Where? How many? Were the surrounding buildings occupied? Did the good guy have a clear shot, and at what distance? What was his backdrop? How much of this information did he have at hand? Complex situation with fractions of seconds to make decisions. It is hard to criticize the outcome, and I would be very hesitant about returning fire in a situation where a BG was already fleeing, but at the same time I can understand a different decision in some circumstances.
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Old June 22, 2012, 09:47 AM   #8
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You really don't want to get your legal education at the defendant's table in a courtroom. Check with a local criminal defense attorney to find out what the laws in your jurisdiction have to say about that kind of scenario... and anything else involving self defense, while you're at it.

I believe I would have fired as jail time is worth preventing the death of an uninvolved bystander to me

And you can ABSOLUTELY GUARANTEE where every one of your bullets will wind up when they are fired? What if it was your bullet (a miss, or overpenetration) that dropped an innocent bystander?
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Old June 22, 2012, 10:21 AM   #9
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The husband did the right thing. Short & sweet
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Old June 22, 2012, 10:37 AM   #10
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The husband did the right thing.
I believe so as well, better just to floor it at GTFO at that point.

Plenty of people have had very big and expensive headaches over (even justifiably) shooting a fleeing perp.
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Old June 22, 2012, 10:41 AM   #11
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Carjack and fleeing

I think the victim did right in presenting his gun. It made the perp flee, shooting in defense.
I'm glad the vic elected to not shoot. The best time to shoot would have been at the car.

Not having to explain the whole story over and over again to the law would be a relief. And with all the expense and trial.....

I'm glad to read the victim wasn't harmed.
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Old June 22, 2012, 12:04 PM   #12
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Thanks guys. I guess I just figured a guy spraying rounds through down town Batton Rouge with the entention of hitting you was as good a reason as any to put him down. Guess a guy has to be sure the perp actually hits him, prefferably with a life threatening hit, before he's allowed to shoot. :/

(Not argueing with you guys at all. You all know WAY more than myself. Just get more and more frustrated with our system every day)
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Old June 22, 2012, 12:13 PM   #13
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Oh, you didn't mention that it was in Baton Rouge. In that case go ahead and shoot, with a crime rate that's in the top 5 of the nation the chances of hitting an innocent person is pretty slim. That's one of the reasons I got out a long time ago.

Seriously though, duck and's still an approved tactict.
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Old June 22, 2012, 12:20 PM   #14
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Another thing to consider as far as legality and how the the jury could help or hurt you would be, is the BG wheeling backwards or running forwards firing sideways or under his arm. If you were to hit the BG, would it be in the chest or back? If it was in his chest it would seem he would still be an aggressor even if he was making distance, but if you hit him/her in the back it would seem he would be fleeing to someone who was not there. Food for thought, otherwise I have no idea.
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Old June 22, 2012, 01:56 PM   #15
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No matter what position his body is in, if the bad guy is firing shots at you, you are justified in stopping the threat. Stopping the threat could involve shooting him...and this would be justifiable. However, the threat could also be stopped by you simply taking cover or driving away as he flees. I don't think I could say with certainty how I would react without actually being in the moment. I'm glad everyone is safe, though.

As some have suggested, it may be an equally instructive exercise to determine what may have been done differently to begin with. Here are a coupld of thoughts...
- avoid "bad" parts of town, even if it means driving a lot farther
- firing immediately upon presentation of the weapon...after all, the bad guy already has his gun out. Why give him an opportunity to shoot at you at all?

Good thread.
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Old June 23, 2012, 09:51 AM   #16
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If I'm in a vehicle, and it isn't immobilized, the best tactic is most likely to use the gas pedal.

If the vehicle were immobilized, and the BG were shooting at me, and it seemed at all likely to me that he might hit me, I would shoot the BG.

Unaimed shots can kill every bit as well as aimed shots. The BG was posing a real threat. Legally, shooting him would have been defensible in any jurisdiction - but some jurisdictions would be more likely to press charges, and some more likely to not press charges.

The real question isn't whether returning fire would have been legal, but whether it would have made the most sense. Apparently, the car owner felt it would not have in his particular scenario.
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Old June 23, 2012, 11:05 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by swampcrawler
Thanks guys. I guess I just figured a guy spraying rounds through down town Batton Rouge with the entention of hitting you was as good a reason as any to put him down. Guess a guy has to be sure the perp actually hits him, prefferably with a life threatening hit, before he's allowed to shoot. :/
Actually, in Baton Rouge, he would probably have been justified in shooting the perp. Louisiana law doesn't exactly spell it out, but there has long been a rule that you're allowed to use force if the offender is using force, is fleeing, and is liable to use force against an innocent third-party. We can assume as reasonable persons that the offender was armed, was willing to use lethal force to escape, and that his actions showed he was willing to use force indiscriminately. Ergo, a shoot would probably have been legally justified.

However, the difference between being legally justified to shoot someone and being involved in the aftermath of a shooting is huge. Our hero did the right thing by presenting his weapon, then leaving the area. I hope that he called it in to the police, gave a description, and let the cops know that someone was trying to carjack someone at gunpoint.

State law varies, and this is based on my understanding of Louisiana law.
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Old June 23, 2012, 11:17 AM   #18
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The only issue I have was the first action by the GG. If the BG has you at gun point you do not present it and have a mine is bigger contest.
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Old July 6, 2012, 07:23 AM   #19
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Better to think twice about shooting someone in the back. You will be paying a lot of money in legal fees............even if the cops find those empty casings from the dead man's gun.
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Old July 6, 2012, 07:28 AM   #20
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I agree that the driver *probably* would have been exonerated *eventually* had he decided to return fire, but the fact that he didn't made everything so much simpler, because the issue never had to be addressed at all.

I've written a few "line of duty/misconduct" investigations in the Navy, and alcohol consumption is the same way. If there's even a trace of alcohol in the member's system, there are a whole bunch of questions that have to be asked and answered, and the investigation is suddenly a dozen pages longer.

Just as there's a world of paperwork difference between a BAC of 0.00 and 0.01, there's a big difference between an investigation where the victim returns fire (however justified), and one where the victim didn't.
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Old July 6, 2012, 08:59 AM   #21
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Not shooting was the right thing to do. It takes lots of training to do it right and not hurt bystanders. The FAST, Firearms Simunlator Training will prove that to you. Another fact to glean from this senario is how most people will hesitate when it comes time to actually pull the trigger and kill another human being (yes even scumbags are humans). If things had gone properly the draw cycle would have been quick, clean and ended with the trigger breaking. The scumbag did not hesitate to fire which shows that he would kill you without hesitation. He just couldn't shoot well, which is fortunate. The simple presentation of the gun did stop the crime though.
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Old July 6, 2012, 11:33 AM   #22
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I'm afraid I'm with Rgrundy on this one:

My last act in presentation is the trigger pulled in as many multiple times as it needs to end the threat.

Hesitating at the end of the draw stroke: "OK, . . . bad guy, . . . now we both got guns, . . . do you want to lead, dance, follow, . . . or just run?" is the kind of actions that can easily escalate to the good guy getting shot.

Whether is was Baton Rouge or Fiddletown is unimportant, . . . there was enough of a threat to warrant a pulled weapon, . . . therefore there is enough threat to warrant 230 grains of copper jacketed hollow point answer, . . . mulitples if needed.

I would probably have not shot at him though, if he was running away. As he turned to go, . . . my foot would have smashed the gas pedal to the injector, . . . and I would have been out of there.

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Old July 6, 2012, 03:05 PM   #23
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May I add the following caveat? Should you or I ever find ourselves in that situation, might want to ponder being the first to call the gendarmes to report said ner-do-well would be car jacker with gun... as opposed to him calling first and reporting you as the bad guy in question.

Not that he would. But that he could... and your world is all of a sudden topsy turvey and getting really expensive fast.

I'd agree with those that call it a "no-shoot" scenario, even if that leaves ner-do-well out there to do the same to another potential unarmed victim. I am not the worlds saviour.

YMMV obviously.
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Old July 6, 2012, 03:39 PM   #24
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This is why everyone needs a dog in the back seat chase him down and make him suffer. Naw, I woulda just called 911 and gave the best description I could. Maybe a camera pic? seems everyone has these nowadays. I see guys riding bikes have cameras on the bill of their hats.

Shooting at the guy only increases the chance of a miss and hit on a innocent person IMHO.
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Old July 22, 2012, 11:30 AM   #25
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Yes, he certainly would have been justified in shooting. Just because the bad guy's aiming poorly doesn't mean you have to sit there and hope one of his bullets doesn't hit you. Of course, as in all self defense scenarios, there are a million variables.
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