Friday, March 27, 2009


Let's have a little discussion of real world tactics. As we all should be aware, there was recently a shooting in a Burger King in Miami which left the perp dead but the citizen wounded. According to the report in the Miami Herald:

An afternoon shootout at a busy Burger King restaurant in Miami left a potential robber dead and the customer who shot him seriously wounded.

The bloody event unfolded about 4 p.m. Tuesday at the restaurant at Northeast 54th Street and Biscayne Boulevard. It was a time, employees said, when it is usually crowded with schoolchildren and people getting out of work early.

The robber entered wearing a ski mask. He approached a clerk, showed his gun and demanded money, said Miami police spokesman Jeff Giordano.

A customer eyed him and the two started arguing. The customer had a concealed-weapons permit and his gun — and the two exchanged gunfire.

The robber crumpled to the floor and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The customer, with several gunshot wounds, was in serious but stable condition at Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center. Source: Miami Herald

Now the report specifies that the citizen said something to the slime before the shooting began. What I want to discuss is....

Do you order the slime to drop the weapon and surrender? Or, the weapon having been presented, do you just start shooting? Which is tactically correct? Which is legally correct?

I think it goes without saying that the legal part needs to be generalizations as each state will vary, but a baseline to operate on could be generated. I'm going to ask a couple of LEO bloggers to please pop over and weigh in on this. One is in Texas and the Other is in Ohio. *Update* I couldn't get a hold of the Ohio LEO, and I'm hoping Brigid will read this and say something, but with any luck, the comments are gonna go all Tam and Breda on you.

How do I vote? Well, I have to tell you that if I had more readers and was sure that a discussion would be generated, I would reserve comment until a few folk had weighed in. Since I don't generate that much discussion, I tell you that what I'd do is perform a surreptitious draw, set my sights carefully on the target, then double tap it in the chest. Then I'd dial 911. The slime already has announced it's intention to break the law and has presented a deadly weapon with which to back up it's intentions. At that point, what it is thinking is clear and it has now presented a danger to everyone in the immediate vicinity. I believe that any sane person would feel a justifiable amount of fear at this point so legally, you should be covered if your state (Michigan does) allows you to employ lethal force to meet perceived lethal force threats anywhere you have a legal right to be. Burger King would fit that description.

My opinion (as a layman, not an attorney or LEO) is that I would be tactically sound in not announcing my intentions and legally sound in engaging a perceived lethal force threat with lethal force.

Remember not to focus all of your concentration on the slime at the counter. There may be another nearby. Cowards like these often work on pairs or small groups. Continue to be vigilant to your surroundings.

H/T Syd at Front Sight, Press


Tam said...

If the dude was standing there with his gun already out, and yelling I do is probably going to be drowned out by the sound of gunfire.

I'm not there to tell him to drop his gun; it's not like I have a squad har in which to put him.

Tam said...

(er, that should read "any yelling I do...")

The Duck said...

There are times to shout warnings & there are times to simpley shoot.
Rember yelling could startle him & cause him to fire, most bad guys have the bogger hook on the bang switch.

Lorimor said...

Being an overly cautious type, I'd try first to slink out the door w/o drawing or drawing attention to myself.

Yes, there's no telling what the BG may or may not do in this situation.

Given the fact that handguns are notoriously poor manstoppers, I'd sure hate to think that putting two COM from across the counter area might cause Mr BG to open fire willy nilly before expiring.

On whose hands would the blood of innocents lie and more importantly, where would your local prosecutor put the blame?

Frankly, BK's money isn't my concern.

Yeah, there's more at stake here than just property, but doggone it, something about no good deed goes unpunished comes to mind.

fast richard said...

Getting into a shouting match with someone with a gun in their hand is for someone else to try. Shoot now or leave and call 911 are my most likely options. Which I choose would depend on the details of the situation. Am I there alone, or with family? How crowded is the place? Can I see any acomplices? How many people might get in the way of my shot? How close am I to the door? What kind of police response do I expect? If it IS time to shoot, talking would be a distraction.

West, By God said...

In Florida (and most places) to legally shoot you need three things to be true. One, the bad guy must have the ability to commit a violent felony. Clearly met, he had a gun. Two, the bad guy must have the intention to commit a violent felony. I'd bet anything he clearly stated his intentions to "shoot anyone who didn't do what he says." Even if he didn't, I think that intent can be assumed in a robbery situation. Three, there has to be jeopardy. If he intends to commit the felony in two weeks, you can't shoot him. Clearly he was in the process of committing a violent felony.

Florida law is actually pretty clear that you may defend yourself or others with lethal force against what a reasonable person would see as a violent felony or at least the immediate intention and ability to commit a violent felony.

If it was a good shoot, it probably was also legal to shoot without warning the bad guy.

I don't think I'd risk drawing my pistol in a situation like that unless I (or a member of my family was) was immediately and personally in danger. At that point, there is no verbal warning anyway.

Vote For David said...

Everyone has heard of robberies that ended up with a clerk dead after handing over the money.

Pointing a gun at somebody is in itself a deadly threat. Asking if they really, really mean it is a little dumb.

And if you're both in the waiting-to-order area, and especially if you haven't alerted the felon to your presence, why not center of head?

Bob said...

If it turns out that the CCW carrier was saying some variation of Go ahead, make my day, or Do ya feel lucky, punk? then he's going to win the Dumbass of the Year award and deserves to have his license pulled, IMO.

Stingray said...

If it turns out that the CCW carrier was saying some variation of Go ahead, make my day, or Do ya feel lucky, punk?

I believe he was saying "Have it your way!"

Personally, and not as a lawyer or LEO, I'm pretty sure that any noises I emitted in such a situation would've been a [strike]series of terrified shrieks[/strike] manly battle cry serving only to disorient and frighten the enemy whilst I [strike]fumbled around with a cover shirt[/strike] completed a fast, smooth draw to engage with as many hits to COM as I could deliver before he hit the floor. Thereupon I would immediately [strike] forget about his friend who would then ventilate me by way of thanks[/strike] take proper control of the aftermath, alert the authorities and calm the crowd. So yeah, no warning.

(damn blogger won't take my "make it funny" tags.)

staghounds said...

I'm a Sagittarius, and a criminal prosecutor.

I can't imagine an otherwise justified self defense action in which a jury would be likely to consider a failure to warn important. And under the law, at least here, it isn't.

In my state, and in most, self defense (and defense of others) is a justification of actions, or defense to charges arising from, something that ordinarily is a crime. The man in Florida did each and every element of murder, in my state the "knowing killing of another".

He's not guilty of murder because he was defending another (the clerk) and possibly himself from a reasonably perceived imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury.

Once a reasonably perceived imminent threat exists, self defense justifies any reasonable response. There's no duty, in my state, to engage in any specific conduct (like retreat or warning) to be able to claim self defense as a justification.

If the patron saw the clerk being threatened by a gun, he could sneak up behind the threatener and shoot him in the back. Killing is killing. As long as a jury found that he reasonably perceived that imminent deadly threat, and the action was a reasonable defense from that threat, his action would be justified.

Even those places which require retreat include language like "safely", for the cases where retreat wouldn't avoid the threat. (Examples, victim is on a walker. Or criminal has a rifle and victim is at arms length with an axe handle. Running away can be deadlier than closing with the threat.)

Tactically, though I'm no expert- the victim is not trying to arrest him, he's trying to protect.

The victim doesn't know this person, whether he has accomplices, or if he's deaf and can't hear you or is able to speak English, unable to understand a command to stop. The victim certainly doesn't have any idea whether he'd obey.

I'd think it foolish under those circumstances to warn the potential killer, and any pals he might have nearby, that resistance is coming. Or even to startle him, since he might panic and twitch that trigger finger.

Honest to Louboutin, the submit word is preyeu.

No, preyEU

Warthog said...

Thanks for chiming in all, I really appreciate the feedback.

I gotta chime in here for Breda who e mailed me back rather than commenting with the lame excuse that she's no expert.

And David Codrea who sent:
If he was threatening me, I'd blow him away and probably run if I thought I could get away with it because I don't believe in permits and don't want to get arrested. That might make me hesitate long enough if he was threatening someone else to be useless to them. An unintended consequence of treating a right like a privilege, but I have to think of myself and my ability to provide for my family above all else.

ditto said...

Gun out and pointed at clerk equals getting shot with no warning.
No other explaination is needed.

ohio right wing nut said...

gun pointed at clerk+ good clean shot= 1 dead goblin.

In my humble opinion