Shoot/Don’t Shoot?

My conceal carry insurance is with USCCA.  I get a very good monthly magazine that has really good information and this month, there was also the below email about a shooting situation to discuss.

Friendly Fire Isn’t
According to WFMZ News, 27-year-old Darrell J. Mussa robbed an Allentown, Pennsylvania, beer store at gunpoint. Moments later, he robbed a pizza store in the same shopping center.

The pizza store clerk saw Mussa’s gun, gave up the money, then ran for the back of the store. The robber scooped up the cash and turned to leave. Turning, he saw the owner of the beer store he just robbed. Mussa raised his gun.

The beer store owner shot first, fatally wounding Mussa. The clerk, who fled, was hit in his buttocks by a stray round from the beer store owner. The district attorney did not file charges.

In Review:

Every situation is different, but here are the key takeaways:

• Legal: When the robber left the beer store, the threat to the store owner terminated. There was no need for self-defense. The owner’s pursuit could be attributed to a desire for revenge.
While the DA declined to prosecute the store owner — ruling it self-defense — pursuing the robber was outside the bounds of self-defense. He inserted himself in a different situation.

He is very lucky he was not charged. However, the injured clerk could easily file a personal injury lawsuit against him.
• Tactical: Private citizens do not have police powers. There is no right way to chase a felon unless you have a badge. Had police encountered the store owner armed with a weapon and pursuing the suspect, he could have been shot or killed.

What did the person in this incident do right? What would you have done differently?

The DA probably made the prudent decision.

There is not enough information given to know what the beer store owner was doing when the robber saw and fired his gun.  If the beer store owner had his weapon up and was a threatening the robber, I might go with charges against him.  But if his weapon was down and the robber drew on him, then I wouldn’t agree with criminal charges.  The DA might have thought he would have a hard time getting a conviction with a dead bad guy and two robbery victims.

BUT !!!

I certainly would not have pursued the robber out.

You are a civilian, it is not your job or responsibility to chase a bad guy.

You do not have the legal protections that a LEO has.


5 comments on “Shoot/Don’t Shoot?

  1. kidme37 says:

    Agree, when the threat no longer exists you cannot fire legally.

    • Matthew W says:

      I take a lot of heat from gun guys I know be cause I’m not in their “Kablooey Group” that thinks they should be able to shoot any bad guy at anytime for any reason.
      No thanks.

    • ruralcounsel says:

      But since the perp was pointing a gun at someone else in the immediate locale, arguably the threat was not over and it was just a continuation of the original incident … just a second victim. Think you would have to prove the pursuit was with intent to kill, not detain for authorities or retrieve his property. Tough to prove.

      I see the original point, but based upon the facts presented, it isn’t that clearcut. Which is likely why the DA didn’t prosecute. A decent defense attorney would have made a pretzel out of him.

  2. A Landmesser says:

    So if a man burns down your house and kills your wife and kids and then flees you aren’t justified in hunting him down and ending his miserable existence? Sounds like gender studies logic to me. Or law as taught at Harvard.

Comments are closed.