Robbery gone very wrong - defensive gun use

There’s a video involved that shows a man using a gun in self-defense against a robbery, killing the robber. Video spoilered since it show someone being killed

No, seriously, a guy gets shot and killed in this video. You were warned.

Relevant portion from 0:35 to 0:45

- YouTube

I’m putting this in GD because I figure it will spawn a debate.

Personally, I’m fine with the guy in the car having a gun (assuming he had the appropriate permits for his jurisdiction, but then I think jurisdictions should have concealed carry be legal without a permit).

I’m ok with the end result on an armed robbery being the robber dying, in general. While I would rather nobody died, if you stick a gun in someone’s face and end up dead, I’m not going to shed any tears.

The part I’m not ok with was how the guy in the car fired several shots at the fleeing robber. Protecting yourself from a threat, I’m fine with. Shooting a guy as he tries to get away, not so much.

Anyway, I figure the dopers will have a good perspective on this. Is the guy in the car in the clear legally? What about morally and ethically? (I assume nobody is going to claim the robber was in the clear either way).

The top comment about this being a robbery gone right seems dead-on to me (no pun intended).

The dude’s life was threatened; he had a gun in his face. He has no idea if the guy might attempt to shoot at him when he pulled out. Best to remove any possibility.

No sympathy for the robber.

Agreed with Red Barchetta.

Even if the robber is running away, you don’t know that he’s actually fleeing. He may be regrouping to a position where he can fire back from cover. Your job is to eliminate the threat to your person until they’re no longer a threat.

I’m at work, and can’t look at the video right now, and don’t know the jurisdiction he’s in, so it depends on where he is as to the legality of what he’s done. But morally and ethically, I would not find him in any wrong-doing.

Lastly, I applaud your stance on gun rights, OP.

I’m fine with it until he was firing at the fleeing robber-stray bullets don’t just drop to the ground when they miss their target.

If you’ve still got a gun in your hand, you aren’t fleeing.

If you are trying to get away, you’re fleeing even if you’re in a tank much less holding a gun. And that doesn’t address Czarcasm’s point about stray bullets anyway.

Anyone firing a gun should be aware of background factors anyway. I’m not the shooter, so I can’t verify that he was.

Stray bullets don’t drop, this is true, but an assailant that hasn’t dropped is still a threat, especially if he has a gun in-hand.

Like I already pointed out running way =/= fleeing. Running away could mean regrouping to cover. You can’t afford to assuming the former, if the latter means potentially losing your life.

This was surely the fastest ten seconds of this man’s life. If you asked him how many times he fired I doubt he would have an answer.

I can understand that line of thinking, but is it still legally self-defense at that point? I honestly don’t know.

That can vary from state-to-state. In Indiana, if I remember correctly, it is still justifiably legal. You are in fear for your life, your assailant still has a deadly weapon, and you have no duty to retreat. So it should be legal.

In Illinois, though, I think you have a duty to retreat. So as soon as he was no longer halting the car, and you have a means to escape, you’re legally bound to.

So it varies.

Agreed, but it wasn’t even 10 seconds. More like 6. And I’m sure he wasn’t thinking about the consequences of stray bullets, or about if the guy was regrouping or whatever. I’m sure that the entire train of thought that he had was “Oh, shit, gonna die, remove threat!”

I can’t blame the victim one bit in this.

Legally? I’m not sure. My WAG is he’s fine legally. Morally and ethically? Definitely, at least from what I could see in the video. The guy was minding his own business when some jackass comes up and sticks a gun in his face. An altercation happens and the victim pulls a gun of his own. The jackass starts to run away, but notice that HIS gun is still pointed backwards when he’s shot.

BTW, was that another robber in the video (looked like he was pulling something out from his waist band, but couldn’t tell), or just some guy coming around the corner? Either way, the dude in the car couldn’t be sure if this was some lone asshole or a pair of armed robbers.

Apparently this was Venezuela. No clue on the laws there.

The one thing that stands out is just how fast everything went down. I wouldn’t even characterize that as shooting at a fleeing target - more like he was shooting as his target while his target was moving. It happened so quickly I doubt he could make that evaluation.

To Czarcasm’s point, the shooter is in the driver’s seat a car, sticking his gun out the window to the rear of the car, and pops off 3-4 shots. The only part of him outside the car in the gun and his hand. I’m not convinced he could really see the robber - there’s not a lot of space between the car and a nearby wall so it’s unlikely he’d miss, but I find it unlikely he was taking aimed shots.

It’s not a very populated area of town (there’s only one bystander in the film), but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t someone 50 yards away the camera isn’t picking up.

I’m absolutely ok with the first few shots where the robber in next to the car window. And I’m absolutely ok when he gets out of the car, with the gun on the robber, to kick away the robber’s gun and see what else is around. It’s the “gun out the window at a fleeing guy” that’s giving me moral qualms. Not so much that the robber died, but that he was fleeing and there’s no way the shooter had a clear view.

Understand that you have the luxury of watching all of this play out from the safety of your house…and you can go back and watch the video several times to really follow, from a 3rd person perspective, how it all played out. I had to watch the video several times in order to really see what was going on and understand how it all played out…and I STILL don’t know if that other guy was an innocent bystander, just happening along or if he was part of the robbery.

The guy in the car (and the robber for that matter) didn’t have such luxuries…it all happened in confusing real time for them, and they had less than perfect information about what was happening.

I see no moral issue here (from the guy getting robbed anyway), personally. It all happened so fast, and I can’t see what he could have done differently. He couldn’t just sit in his vehicle as he didn’t know what the armed robber was going to do (he could have, for instance, been circling behind the car to get a shot at the driver). He couldn’t drive away, as I don’t think the car was on, AND he was blocked in (had he just reflexively backed up to run away, would you think it a moral problem if he hit a bystander with the car, or ran into that bus and killed or injured someone?). To me, shooting and hopefully scaring the guy off was his only option from HIS perspective…even if that meant accidentally injuring or even killing an innocent. Sometimes shit happens, and any moral or ethical bad karma is going to be deposited on the guy who started this whole thing, not the victim doing the best he can in a situation he didn’t create. ETA: The fact that he reflexively hit the robber was just a bonus. I mean, I don’t want robbers to die, but you pays your money and you takes your chances when you decide to use armed robbery against someone who is equally armed.

Yeah, “fleeing” and “repositioning” are two different things and make it a difficult call. I’d have to scour the internet for the story now, but there was a case where an armed suspect (maybe two) were running from police and the suspect was randomly firing behind them as they ran. By and large the police were not firing but were doing their best to both pursue and take cover whenever they could, ultimately one of the officers gets a clean shot that ends up striking the suspect in the back of the head. Instantly dead, and shot in the back (of the head.)

That’s a situation that will sometimes look a little iffy for a police shooting, but in that case it was found to be appropriate because the suspect was continuously firing on the officer despite physically running away as well.

This case seems more like that to me, it all happens so quickly and there is no way to ascertain that the guy ever stopped intending to rob/kill and so I’m fine with this shoot as I see it.

There’s another video out there of a really old guy in a video poker parlor. Two guys come in to rob the place and he pulls out a gun and drives them out. One of the guys actually runs out the front door and the old man actually gets onto the street and starts firing after him–when he could have just remained in the poker parlor and been safe. I don’t believe anyone died from that shooting, but that’s one where I went from feeling the old man was behaving in a justified way and then he transitioned into doing something illegal and dangerous. No one was killed, but the old guy in that scenario had no business leaving the building and firing on the guy from behind, he could make no plausible argument he was still in danger at that point.

It’s absolutely true that it happens incredibly fast. And if I was in that situation there would probably be no bullets left in the gun, so this guy has more self-control than I do. (Which is probably why I don’t concealed carry).

I suppose I’ve just had it drilled into me that shooting someone that’s fleeing is not ok, and haven’t really had to wrestle with whether that’s right or wrong and what I would do in that situation.

Short of getting out of the car, walking up to the guy who was already down and then popping a cap in his crown (to paraphrase from Kill Bill), I can’t see how what went down could be interpreted as ‘wrong’.

I can’t believe how people rush to judge that people don’t stop defending against their attack the millisecond their attacker MAY be backing off. You have a gun in your face, your life is in immediate danger. The guy may be running, he may not. He may shoot at you while he’s running to cover his escape. The burden of making this situation resolve with the least possible damage to anyone is not on the guy who just had his life threatened.

Imagine the situation turns out a bit differently. The guy flees, but he fires back at the guy in the SUV just to try to keep him from being shot himself. Guy in the van gets hit and dies. Are we all congratulating him on his self restraint?

Once a guy threatens your life, concerns about him have pretty much ended. Yeah, if you can control the situation enough that you don’t feel your life is immediately threatened, then yes, you have a responsibility not to execute the guy. But a fast, fluid situation where your life is threatened like that - your only concern should be collateral damage.

After having seen the video, I’ll call his whole shooting justified. I think it was his initial shots that hit the target, and his background was obviously clear. I think he only fired once, maybe twice, slightly backwards. And those probably hit the building. By the time he got out of the vehicle, he definitely wasn’t firing anymore, and that’s where he would have had to watch the backdrop.

All-in-all, I’d call it a clean shoot.