“A 30-year-old Chattanooga man who shot and killed a 19-year-old man in March will not face criminal charges in the slaying,” timesfreepress.com reports. “Investigators decided Joshua Smith acted within the law when he shot Steven Hurston 11 times at a Hixson apartment complex March 26.” Turns out . . .

Mr. Smith thought he was meeting Taylor Smith (no relation, above) for paid sex. When Mr. Hurston stepped forward to rob Mr. Smith, Mr. Smith shot the aspiring robber.

Eleven times. Specifically, “eight times in the arms, twice in the shoulder and once in the chest, according to his autopsy.”

While the media made big deal of the number of shots fired, notice that only one of Mr. Smith’s rounds struck center mass.

We don’t know the sequence of shots, but the round that perforated Mr, Hurston’s chest was likely the fatal ballistic blow. Bottom line: it may have taken all of eleven shots to stop Mr. Hurston’s imminent, credible threat of grievous bodily harm or death.

This incidents evokes an oft-repeated piece of advice for anyone prepared for a defensive gun use: keep shooting until the threat stops. Three things to keep in mind:

1. You have a legal right to continue firing until you’ve stopped an imminent, credible threat of grievous bodily harm or death

After all, that’s what you’re doing. You’re not shooting to kill. You’re shooting to stop the threat. If the cops or anyone else asks why you shot someone, that’s your answer. Nothing more, nothing less.

2. “Stop” doesn’t necessarily mean kill

You can stop a threat without making the bad guy assume room temperature. Unleashing one or more rounds may incapacitate or stymie your foe. Stymied foe? Threat stopped. Stop shooting.

Whether or not you’re on safe legal ground to continue firing depends on the bad guy’s potential to continue his or her imminent, credible threat of grievous bodily harm or death.

Does the bad guy have access to a deadly weapon? How incapacitated are they? It’s a grey area subject to the “reasonable person standard” (i.e., would a “reasonable person” share your opinion of the threat at the time of the shooting).

In any case (so to speak), the cessation of hostilities triggered by your gunfire may create an opportunity to escape while the bad guy reconsiders his options. Take it if you can.

It may sound silly — given that we’re talking about the direst or dire situations — but you’re better off legally if you don’t kill your attacker. You also reduce your chances of later retribution from the dead perp’s associates. There are also psychological considerations — for you.

3. Conserve your ammo

Mr. Smith may have simply emptied his gun at Mr. Hurston, accounting for the multiple hits. (We don’t know how many times Mr. Smith missed.) Regardless, “spray and pray” is a technique better used on insect-ridden plants than human beings.

If nothing else, you may be facing multiple attackers. If you keep firing until you stop a single threat, you may not have enough rounds to deal with the bad guy’s colleagues. In that sense, you need to keep firing to stop the entire threat.

Whether you’re facing one bad guy or four, fire only as many rounds as it takes to stop the threat. As mentioned above, look for an opportunity to stop firing. And run.

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73 Responses to Self-Defense Tip: Keep Shooting Until the Threat Stops

  1. “Mr. Smith thought he was meeting Taylor (no relation) Smith above for paid sex. When Mr. Hurston stepped forward to rob Mr. Smith, Mr. Smith shot the aspiring robber…”

    Also, doing illegal things tends to expose you to other illegal things you may not want as much. The shooting may have been necessary and he may not face charges there but I wouldn’t be surprised if he catches a different charge now.

      • Exactly what I was thinking.

        Just had that conversation with my 16 year old grandson last night……because he has gone to stupid places with stupid kids and done stupid shit. Nothing bad or illegal but stupid nonetheless.

    • Except that in this case, the very fact that it was illegal was very likely the reason it turned violent in the first place. See also drugs, gambling, and (once upon a time) alcohol.

    • The young woman of questionable repute is charged with “attempted aggravated robbery”. I am at a loss as to why she is not charged with FELONY MURDER ? A felony was committed (attempted armed robbery) directly resulting in death. If the prosecution connect the attempted robbery case to her, with the murder conviction only requires proof of the death.

    • There are places where you can pay for sex without worrying (much) about being robbed. Those are generally places where it is legal or at least practically legal. Frankly I think we should have more of those places. What two consenting people want to do shouldn’t be any of the government’s concern.

        • You don’t have pimps because they become owners of entertainment establishments. You get more human traficking because the cops don’t bother looking into legitimate businesses. The Netherlands is a center of traficking whereas is Sweden is not. If you want to reduce the number of prostitutes prosecute the Johns, not the girls.

        • Regarding increased sex trafficking in places where prostitution is legal, I’m not sure I buy that. Anyone in law enforcement who’s worth their salt will tell you that, AT BEST, figures on human trafficking are vague guesses based on extrapolation. No one really knows how often it happens.

          And this fact is precisely why legalized prostitution is a good thing for everyone, ESPECIALLY the girls. It provides a means for exploited people to make their plight known and get help. Prostitutes, even if they are slaves, can’t exactly go to the cops here in the States or they risk prison time for prostitution (do t say that doesn’t happen either; there are PLENTY of examples of human trafficking victims being further victimized by the system for breaking the law (voluntarily or otherwise).

        • ” The Netherlands is a center of traficking whereas is Sweden is not…”

          How is Nevada (with legal prostitution) for that? Somehow I suspect that regulation in the Netherlands is pretty much hands-off. That isn’t the case everywhere.

  2. “Three things to keep in mind ….”

    Well yeah, but how about avoid the whole dang situation by not going to meet prostitutes?

    Edit: I see that several beat me to the same thought: this is prob not the best example to discuss the merits of shooting to stop the threat

  3. Next time I’m cruising Colfax looking for some strange I’ll make sure I have my burner with me.

    Not that it would be any different from any other time I go anywhere near Colfax but… well hey, when you go looking for strange you might just find it so maybe I’ll carry two spare mags instead of one.

    • If you want strange, why not just head up to Boulder? It’s plenty strange up there. I once saw a man trying to teach a llama to play a dulcimer.

      • Respectfully, you ain’t seen strange in Colorado til you’ve been at the Zephyr Lounge after midnight on a Friday. Right across the street from Mon Chalet if you’re into that sort of thing too. Pop on in, ask for someone named “Lucky” and you can get a taste of Thailand right on the corner of Colfax and Peoria.

        Colfax is a one stop shop for entertainment. Booze, drugs, hookers, drug dealers running each other over with SUV’s, plenty-o-shootings. Good wholesome family entertainment pretty much kiddy-corner to the hospital in case you find yourself having too much fun.

      • Generally speaking I don’t take advice from people who managed to light themselves on fire freebasing cocaine.

        Regular baseheads, sure. Especially if I’m in the market for high end stereo equipment or hubcaps at a deep discount.

        • I once bought a pair of Krell Monoblocks from a pair of tweekers who seemed to think that 300 bucks was the key to all their dreams.

        • I have a Krell active crossover buried in storage. I never was really impressed by the sound of it.

          The metalwork is drop-dead gorgeous, like it was milled from a bar of aluminum. Once I was turned on to Nelson Pass’s designs, I never went back. *Endless* extension in the bottom octave.

          But that came from a Jesus freak, not a tweaker…

      • Although the name “Taylor” is ambiguous, I’m guessing from the prostitution angle and and appearance that Taylor is a she.
        Joshua Smith (the John) and Steven Hurston (the pimp) are doods.

        • If there is a remote link to a picture of a attractive women Rob with put it in the article for clickbait.

    • According to the article, they met on backpage.com. Don’t slander the Craigslist hookers, they’re the good ones. 😉

    • Most of the hookers on backpage look a lot more used up. Sometimes there is such a thing as ‘too good to be true.’ I wonder what her advertised rate was.

  4. “the round that perforated Mr, Hurston’s chest was likely the fatal ballistic blow.”

    See, that’s why I come here for TTAG’s expert analysis. Golly, I don’t think I ever would have figured that out by myself.

    • well it’s possible he blead out from an artery in his arm or something. Saw a cop get shot in the shoulder with a .22 and drop 10 steps later, dead; the round somehow bored all the way through to his heart.

      • A hit to any artery is almost certain to be fatal. If the wound is to an arm or leg, a tourniquet may save him. It it’s to the torso, he will bleed out before a surgeon can repair the wound. He will probably be DOA at the hospital.

        • “.22LR bounces around inside people quite a bit.”

          I’ve always heard this, but is it true? .22LR doesn’t seem to “go walkabout” in ballistic gel tests… does it?

        • I heard it from the surgeon who saw my buddy after he took one to the grape so I imagine it’s true.

          He told us he hated .22 because of this. People shot in the leg, you find the bullet in the chest and vice versa. He said such things were quite common in his business when dealing with street shootings using .22LR.

        • Ballistic gelatin doesn’t have bones in it and bones are what will make a .22 round ricochet in a human body. A .ricocheting .22 will go wherever the angle of the bone it strikes sends it. That will sometimes mean into or through a vital organ even if the original bullet hole is well away from it.

  5. “Family members of both Hurston and Taylor Smith told investigators that the pair had been working together for some time to pull off robberies with the same approach. Family members said they’d asked Hurston and Smith to stop.”

    WTF is wrong with these people, these fine family units with such high morals?

    This shooting was about a mile from my house. I have seen Chattanooga (and most other cities) degrade substantially over the last 30yrs.

    • Sadly it’s not just your area that has degraded. I live in a relatively small town about an hour outside Pittsburgh. We had ever day crime until the heroin wave hit. We just had 3 eighteen years olds murder and almost decapitate a young drug dealing couple in front of their 2 kids. We have home invasions, prostitution, and kids ODIng all over the place. This is Obama’s utopia.

      • Even here in rural New England, heroin from south of the Rio Grande & additives to same have made things dangerous. If I were Donald Trump, I’d tell President Peña of Mexico to shape up or face US troops inside Mexico to handle the crime he and other irresponsible Mexican pols are now shipping north. That and an expedited very high wall between us and that corrupt failed state south of us should go a long way to returning a semblance of law and order to the US.

  6. I hope she goes to prison for life for felony murder. I don’t have a problem with hookers, but robbing a man before the happy ending is too much.

    • They’d been a two person robbery ring for months from what I’ve heard.
      Yep, let her spend at least as much time in prisons as she’s already spent outside of them.

  7. If the plan is to trade sex for money, why not just trade sex for money?
    Why rob the John?
    You might get more money, but you might get shot dead
    I see the risk/reward equation differently than these people

  8. Too many people just purchase a gun and conceal carry it with minimal training. I highly recommend getting formal training and then practice, practice, practice it’s a skill that requires lots of hard work and continue efforts to keep sharp. Under real life and death situation you’re adrenaline is going to be pumping and your TRAINING kicks in.

    Also make sure your using top quality self defense ammo in your carry guns, some of the ammo way outperforms the other in FBI testing.

  9. I’ve always found a threat end definitely when it stops breathing. That’s the standard I’d use as jurror and what I teach my kids.

  10. You are worse off if the perp dies?
    My BS meter nearly pegged on that one. Especially the part about the decedent’s associates more likely to seek retribution. Yeah because shooting him wouldn’t piss off any thugs but taking his life just crossed a line. The way I see it, there’ll be one less member of that posse and I have friends with guns too. Some of them in law enforcement.
    I’m not shooting to kill, but planning that seed of worry about the well being of an attacker for any reason, legal or otherwise, seems counter intuitive when your only thought process should be to survive.
    What say you Mr. Pincus?

  11. Years ago when my brother was in med school, he showed me one of the cadavers that had committed suicide via 22 cal to temple.
    That bullet ricocheted several times within the skull. Enough power to get in but not enough to exit.

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