This video report above begins with the hero of the piece, Charles Place, saying that he’s “the diner’s entertainment at times. I’m their aggravation at other times, I suppose.” What does that mean? We can certainly infer that Place’s interpersonal skills aren’t always the best. As this is a gun self-defense story, that raises an important question: did Pace get in an argument with “local transient” Bryan Treloar before their potentially lethal encounter?
That he did. Here’s another account of what went down, via 2.tbo.com:
Place said the incident started when he was eating breakfast at Castillo’s, 1724 N. Fort Harrison Ave.
Treloar approached him and asked the retired Navy sailor to buy him a meal.
Place said he told him no, but Treloar kept talking to him, asking “silly questions” and claiming to know him from Alcoholics Anonymous. Place said he had never been a member of AA and became suspicious of Treloar . . .
So the man tried to take his wallet, Place said, shortly after he left Castillo’s restaurant in Clearwater on Thursday morning.
Bryan Treloar, a 43-year-old transient, grabbed Place from behind, police said.
“He put his hand in my pocket here,” Place said. “And I grabbed his arm with both my hands. And I screamed, ‘Hey!’ and he let me go.”
Place was knocked to the ground. The attack was thwarted when Place pulled out his .25-caliber semi-automatic handgun from his pocket.
“I was ready to shoot if he got me, you know,” Place said. “And I didn’t want to. I’ve never wanted to shoot anybody.”
On the face of it, the critical issue seems to be whether the attack was “thwarted” or over when Place hit the deck. If it was over, his gun should have remained holstered. The legal litmus test: would a reasonable person believe that Place’s life was in danger at the moment he drew his weapon? That he was in imminent danger of death of grievous bodily harm?
In practical terms, it makes no difference. If Trealor had simply pushed Place to the ground (without trying to take his wallet) and Place had shot him, I bet the Florida DA would have let him walk. Vet kills argumentative transient? Fuhgeddabowdit.
The real moral of this story is not to carry a gun just in case. It’s to deescalate dangerous situations or leave. Or deescalate AND leave.
Trealor was trying to engage Place. I’m sure Place knew that Trealor wasn’t quite right (by smell alone, perhaps). If Place couldn’t vamoose, how much would it have cost the vet to buy Trealor a meal at that little hole in the wall?
I know some of you are thinking “Screw him. Why should an old man leave the restaurant. He had every right to be there. And why let a bum intimidate an old man into buying food? That’s robbery. Extortion. Intimidation. Thuggery. You let people get away with that shit and civilized society is doomed.”
Place, who has a concealed weapons permit, was cut in the hand during the struggle, but said he didn’t need to go to the hospital. He said he hopes Treloar can find help to get off the streets.
In hindsight, Place said he wished the incident would’ve happened differently.
“I would have bought him something to eat, I think,” he said.
It’s not the story you see in the video, but it’s the one that has the most to teach us. IMHO.