A recent case in the Phoenix area has me curious about the concept of felony murder. A woman was in a vehicle, fleeing from a police car. Another police officer was on the road attempting to set up a barrier to stop the woman. The woman drove past the police officer, but the pursuing police vehicle struck the officer and killed him. The woman was charged with the murder of the police officer, because his death was caused by her felony activity, despite the fact that someone else’s vehicle hit the officer.
I can understand why that law is proper, and I agree with it. I have some questions about how that applies to ordinary citizens, though. For example, what if I am legally using deadly force to defend myself, and happen to accidentally kill someone nearby? I’m thinking of a scenario like someone walking into a store shooting a gun at random people, and I am legally carrying my own gun. If I fired at the person, it would almost certainly be self defense, right? What if one of my bullets ricochets off a wall and hits an innocent person? Would the original gunman be charged with murder, or would I? If I wasn’t responsible criminally, could I be held civilly responsible?
I’m not asking for legal advice. I am not looking for an attorney, and my question is purely hypothetical and in no way related to any real-life court case or legal investigation.