In the video below, a solitary armed robber enters a pharmacy and, eventually, liberates some cash. (Not before the clerk pretends she can’t open the drawer.) Let’s say you were an armed customer in this situation, where the bad guy is NOT . . .

pointing — or in this case continually gesturing — his gun at you or anyone else other than the clerk. He has NOT issued any verbal death threats. He doesn’t seem particularly agitated. Would you shoot him?

93 Responses to Pharmacy Robbery: Would You Shoot This Guy?

  1. No, I wouldn’t shoot him because he hasn’t threatened me or mine and nobody seems to be in grave danger. But I would drop a dime on him and if he didn’t like it, I’d cap the sumbitch.

    • “… and nobody seems to be in grave danger.”

      I disagree. The ARMED robber pointed his firearm at the clerk several times during an ARMED ROBBERY. By definition the clerk was in grave danger.

    • And what happens when he turns his attention to you and does threaten you?? That might be too damn late!
      He’s committing an armed robbery. He has a weapon, he’s playing the dangerous game. With that games comes the potential for serious consequences…for everyone. You delay and hesitate or second guess, you might die or worse someone else because of your decision. I don’t want to be a hero and you don’t want a hostage situation.

      In that situation inside, I would have positioned myself so any of my shots didn’t hit anyone and would have dropped him with a tactical head-shot. You use those when time allows and close range for instant incapacitation. He’d be deader than fried chicken and I would have kicked his body for making me do that.

      • Doesn’t matter….. CAN you shoot the guy? Yes. You are absolutely justified and there is pleanty of case law to support you…..

        Your feelings and mental state play a large role at the moment of truth. One day you may shoot the next day you might not. You can war game this out all you want but every person and situation is different. You wouldn’t know what you would do unless you were there and in the mix.

  2. Isn’t a weapon intentionally pointed at someone in the commission of a robbery a clear threat of deadly violence?

    • That’s the way I see it….intentionally pointing a gun at somebody who isn’t threatening anybody is an act of violence. That is enough justification, in my mind, to light him up.

      • Who appointed you Sheriff? Nope. Not threatening me or mine. The employees could have taken steps to protect themselves.

        • And even if the clerk was armed and a crack shot, that doesn’t help when someone gets the drop on you. For that reason alone it would be mighty compassionate if you were willing to help out since you could find yourself in the exact same situation and desperately hoping for someone to intervene on your behalf.

        • You can use that rationale to justify about anything. Call it the Zimmerman rationale. Zimmerman I am not.

        • The Gray Poseur,

          I suppose that this is an excellent time to remind everyone of two incredibly poignant pearls of wisdom:
          — All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.
          — If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

        • You know what I think about it, some people are bubble wrapped cowards. They haven’t seen or faced death enough.

        • Interesting Gray, so in you’re also one of those people that believe a label or title gives a person moral authority over others, regardless if they are present or not. Laughable, infantile logic at it’s best. As if “Sheriff” means anything. It’s a word. You’re one of those people that tells others to “wait for the police” because we regular folk just don’t know what to do with ourselves otherwise. Is that it? How novel.

          In an armed robbery situation, you are on your own to decide your fate. Imagine that. The criminal, in this particular situation, has horrid situational awareness. Meaning they are a sitting duck for any lawfully armed citizen.

          My opinion? I say to any lawfully armed citizen: do whatever you feel is in your best interest, in the interest of the people in the store, or society. Your pick. That criminal made their decision so they have no room to complain about the repercussions of their actions.

        • Robbery gangs who hit Houston fast food restaurants routinely start at the register, then go table by table robbing customers of wallets and cell phones. Noncompliance or actual resistance has been known to result in death.

          Make your own lawful decisions, of course. Just don’t assume that just because the wolf hasn’t gotten to you, yet, that he doesn’t have you in mind next.

        • Reality check:
          Not sure what country you are from, but a label and/or doesn’t give you magic powers or moral authority over anyone.

          And this is nothing like Zimmerman. Thanks for playing.

        • You guys and Zimmerman all have the hero complex. No thanks. For me and mine only.

      • So here’s the deal. I am not a cop, but I AM there and witnessing the crime. I can do nothing and hope I do not become actively involved and he just goes away with his cash, or do nothing and watch him get annoyed at the clerk and shoot her for taking to long (there are videos on YouTube with this ending), then I pull my pistol and shoot him because now I am a witness at his murder trial.

        Or I can quietly duck out the front or back door while he’s distracted and see on the news later that night that an innocent woman that I could have saved was shot to death during a pharmacy robbery that I could have prevented.

        Or I could come home tomorrow and find cops on my front porch to tell me that a perp matching this guy’s description shot my wife to death at a nearby pharmacy while she was buying Tums.

        I am not a cop, but with this guy is waving a gun around and committing a felony. I am at a minimum going to let him know he’s not the only one in the room with a weapon. If he leaves, game over, description to the cops and all’s well. If he decides to point that pistol at me it’s GAME OVER. But he WILL be challenged.

        All these people who go on about getting home safe are the same as cops who only care about getting through their shift and home to their family. I do not live a high risk life (although 14 years as a long haul trucker put me in the top 10 of most dangerous professions in America) but I can think of at least 6 times when I damn near didn’t come home, always unexpected and never involving a gun. If you have not arranged your life so that your family can carry on when you don’t come back through that front door, then you have made a serious tactical error. No matter how careful you think you are, you NEVER know which day you will not come home. I could not personally accept walking out of such a situation and leaving another person in harm’s way when I might have done something about it.

        YMMV

        • Only warning I might add is the risk of provoking a hostage crisis by confronting the robber. Then again, that might be more of a television-type scenario than reality. Other than that, nothing here I can disagree with. Good post.

  3. Tough call, at anytime one of those random gestures could be when he pops off a round or two. On the other hand, he didn’t take a huge interest in his surroundings, so he might be the one to not shoot at.

    One thing for sure, he is wearing at least one coat, and either a hoodie sweatshirt or a hoodie zip-up, plus whatever else. Makes a good case for the right gun/ammo combo for penetration.

    • Setting aside the stated question of whether or not to engage, I’m not concerned about penetration on this target. Given his lack of SA, it looks to me like this loser is wide open for a pretty close range, braced up, plenty of time to aim, single shot to the back of the head.

      Don’t overlook obvious solutions.

      • Yep, and then enjoy having your local DA try their hardest to destroy you for “executing” a man, circumstances be damned.

        • YOUR local DA in Colorado is not the same DA here in my part of California or 50 miles away in San Francisco. All people, circumstances, perceptions, etc are different and you can not dictate nor predict how things like this play out.

          Shooting may be a bad choice. Not shooting may be a bad choice. There are too many variables outside of your control to predict the out comes that you guys are discussing.

          Do what you think is right and live with the consequences. You have to live and sleep with yourself for the rest of your life.

    • The guy is comitting armed robbery with a firearm. The situation already “went really bad” when he walked into the store brandishing the gun. Wait until it gets worse? Yes, put him down as soon as possible.

      • Pretty much this Huntmaster.

        The lethal threat element here is as imminent as its going to get until he actually starts shooting someone. Things are indeed already very bad from the moment the purp enters the store. If you have the option, and the inclination, running away is a viable tactic in this situation. Lacking the ability to flee or the inclination to leave the clerk to the mercies of this menace, shooting this guy immediately, rapidly and repeatedly until he ceases all hostile activity is also a viable option.

        I just read something here today about the Israeli tactic of attempting to overwhelm a would be suicide bombers nervous system by shooting them rapidly and repeatedly. Perhaps that’s why it occurs to me watching this video. As I pointed out above though, given this losers lack of SA, and with an eye towards limiting the opportunity for either a dead man’s chance from the purp or collateral damage from my own fire, a nice clean single headshot shouldn’t be off the table on this one. Nothing says ‘cease hostile action’ like a CNS hit. The only real drawback I can think of, and it’s pitiful that this has to be a consideration (though it certainly does), is that a controlled, intentional headshot is sufficiently unpalatable that it may result in more prosecutorial attention than would lighting this guy up with a flurry of CoM shots, even if the latter are more risky.

        TL;DR: Yes, I’d shoot this guy.

      • Exactly what I am saying. This guy should be put down at the 1st tactically sound moment.

        “Really bad” is a relative statement. To be robbed, and walk out alive, is bad, but being executed during the coarse of a robbery is really bad.

        The case that I linked in my comment the former LEO, from all appearances was calm, then went ape shit because an elderly customer wouldn’t/couldn’t lay on the ground and started shooting everyone in the pharmacy. This is what I based my statement of going really bad on.
        Which is exactly why not shooting this guy is the wrong choice. You cannot predict what someone is going to do in the heat of a moment, especially when drugs are potentially involved. He could have just as easily told everyone in the pharmacy to lay on their stomach and then put a bullet in each of them.

  4. I don’t know that I would try shooting him, it being risky in so many ways, but I think that it would be the civic thing to do.

  5. It’s a legal shoot situation. Would I take the shot? Only if he escalated it past this point. Nobody is hurt at this point and he’s not out of control.

    That’s if I was alone in the store. One of my grandkids with me? Bad guy dies before he can escalate.

    • Your grandkids, your call. But, if I’m there with mine I’m trying to get them out first if at all possible and the clerk is on his own. Engaging in a gunfight is just too unpredictable despite what some of these keyboard commandos imply.

      • Trying to convoy a herd of grandkids to the nearest exit will almost certainly draw his attention and maybe his fire.

        And you give up the element of surprise. I would not do this on a whim or to prove how macho I am.

        He called this dance. If my young ones are with me, he dies.

  6. If somebody do an armed robbery i shoot him if i can to remove the dangerous situation for me and other.
    Safest Option !

  7. If the guy showed an interest in me then I would have shot, otherwise it’s up to the clerk to sort her own crap out… Wish it wasn’t this way but California has made it too risky to my freedom and costly to defend my actions to justify stepping in to help someone being robbed.

    • Like 7-11, Stop & Go, and most other Quickie Marts, plus Walgreen’s, CVS, Bartell’s, Walmart, etc. the clerk has ZERO options. He/she keeps the job by not carrying at work. Most of these chain stores have serious policies about employees carrying on the job even when they tolerate armed customers.

  8. I would shoot him. For the simple fact that eventually these jerk offs commit a crime while high or in withdrawal, obviously not thinking rationally or sanely, and they kill someone in the process. Letting this guy go on to rob others is just waiting for tragedy to happen.

  9. First option is to run out of the store removing myself from the situation, then call cops.

    Second option is to observe. If bad guy just wants a grab and scoot robbery, fine let him get on with it.

    Third option occurs when bad guy tells everyone to get in back room to be tied up or he tries to take hostage ect. Bad guy will have a closed casket funeral.

    Seconds to make a decision, maybe not that long. Not an easy task and I hope I never have to.

  10. If he pointed at me or mine YES. Otherwise no. I doubt the drugstore would shoot for ME…

  11. I absolutely would shoot this guy if I was in the store when he came in. What’s to say he doesn’t just walk up and cap me and the clerk both just for the fun of it?

    By bringing the threat of death into the situation, he’s established that right then, human life is the cheapest thing in the store.

    Fuck that guy. If he wasn’t willing to risk finding out that his life is worth less than pocket lint or the price of a couple hollow-point bullets, then he would have chosen a different route in life.

  12. I think morally and legally you would be in the clear. However, im not sure if i would or wouldnt. Ive never been in a robbery situation like this and ive never had to shoot someone. Also, theres the added fear that bystanders might get hurt or even just get ptsd from it or something like that. i know a guy who had to use a gun to defend himself a few years ago. The robber died and he struggled with what seemed like ptsd for a couple years afterwards.

    • i know a guy who had to use a gun to defend himself a few years ago. The robber died and he struggled with what seemed like ptsd for a couple years afterwards.

      Note that your friend/acquaintance was actually ALIVE to deal with PTSD. That is a good thing.

  13. Pointing a gun at anyone constitutes a threat of serious bodily injury or death. Absolutely a justified shot in any jurisdiction in this country. Now, whether carry in order to make the shot is authorized in the jurisdiction is another matter entirely.

  14. Only if he pointed his gun at me or mine. I care not if he pilfers drugs. If he threatened me/mine BLAM. I doubt the drug store would help me out either…

  15. Here are the facts:
    — It was an armed robbery.
    — The robber has a firearm in hand.
    — He points his firearm at the clerk several times.
    — He could shoot the clerk at any moment.

    If I was confident that I could quickly move in behind cover/concealment without the armed robber noticing me, I would have done exactly that and shot the ARMED robber. (Assumption: that I could move into a position such that the clerk was not in the line of fire.)

    The fact that the clerk was not my family member does not matter. There are times when my family members cannot possibly be armed and I cannot be with them to be their defender. In those situations I hope and pray that other armed people ARE there and WILL BE their defender in my absence. And if I expect other people to defend my family in my absence, it is only fair that I must be willing to defend other people in the absence of their family defender.

    It is a virtual certainty that this robber has robbed before and will rob many more people in the future — killing any or all of them. That is why it is best for everyone if someone, anyone, stops him sooner rather than later. If I happen to be the one who winds up in that position, so be it.

  16. Of course, you all realize that if you are involved in a shooting, the Democratic prosecutor will spend years before trial looking for any postings you may have made.

    • That assumes, Anon, that we can be linked to our accounts and comments. Let’s consider though, what said prosecutor would find here regarding this: That we carefully considered all the options, weighed out the legal and moral concerns and ramifications pro and con for using lethal force to bring an end to the situation…I don’t see how any of this is detrimental to a future claim of justifiable homicide in some other situation, or frankly how it’s much different than the mandatory curriculum in the legal section of many states required CCW classes.

      As an aside, it’s difficult to imagine a successful bid to subpoena your social media pursuant to prosecuting a homicide involving an individual who was actively threatening another with immediate lethal force…I think it’s a stretch.

  17. One of my ccw instructors would always tell a story about a convenience store clerk who was the victim of an armed robbery. He fully cooperated with the robber, then took a bullet to his head for his compliance. Killing someone may be tough, but watching someone die to some scumbag when I could have stopped it would definitely be worse.

  18. A lot of you guys didn’t learn shit from the Zimmerman ordeal. I did. Get the flock out of that drugstore.

  19. From Oregon training courses, I’d have to yell “Armed citizen!” and tell him to put the gun down first.

    Of course as my favorite instructor pointed out, this provides an opportunity to eliminate the bad guy, because it’s almost certain that the result will be the guy’s attention, and gun, swinging toward me, and the moment the gun starts to swing my way I am in lethal danger.

    • IMHO that’s the dumbest advice I’ve ever read. Giving up the element of surprise and intentionally putting yourself in harms way unnecessarily is dumb. If you decide to engage based upon the circumstances then get into the best position and take the best shot available. I see no advantage to you by announcing yourself.

    • I’d probably yell something like that, but I’m not sure I’d be heard over the sound of all the shooting.

  20. Pretty clear it would be a legal/justifiable shoot and permanently removing this robber would benefit society but as always in these scenarios there’s many unknown variables one has to imagine to fill in for their decision process. Many of you that are so quick to say “yes” need to consider that even if you do everything right, you still might end up dead or seriously injured in a gun fight – and if you do, is your family ready to deal with the consequences of that? That clerk and store sure aren’t gonna pay your funeral or medical bills, or support your family. If possible I’m gonna get out and be the best witness I can. If not possible, then all bets are off.

  21. If I was armed, in a heartbeat. I’m in the People’s Republic of California, where the peasantry cannot carry a firearm for self-defense, at least in my county.

    Why would I shoot? Well, I don’t know what he’s going to do, if he’s going to just take the money and leave, if it’s a toy gun painted to look real, if he’ll panic, shoot the clerk and bolt, or if he’s going to shoot everyone in the store so there’s no witnesses.

    Four to the chest, one to the head if he doesn’t go down due to adrenaline or if he’s wearing soft armor under all that clothing.

  22. The guy has a firearm in his hand, he is pointing and gesturing the gun at the clerk. He is danger to everyone in the immediate vicinity, whether he is pointing it at other people other than the clerk or not. If I was in a position to take him down without endangering the other innocents in the vicinity, I would do so. If I couldn’t without endangering others, then I would continue to watch for any threatening escalation and take action only if I felt it absolutely necessary to save lives. Lot’s of variables to consider in that type of situation.

  23. Never an option in Jersey! Law abiding citizen would consider this scenario a “should have been…” Yes. I’d shoot him. As if robbing the place isn’t enough. Brandishing a firearm indicate to me that he is willing to use it to neutralize any resistance in his quest. I don ‘t do mental stability test via ESP. I can only hope to control the outcome of my survival. LEOs’ doctrine is to put down and neutralize threat until environment is safe. Why should I be any different.

  24. I’m not going to shoot someone to keep them from stealing a few hundred bucks at most. Imagine the hell you’re going to go through.

    • The day I got my permit back in 1990. I made the decision that my actions might end a life.
      As long as its not mine or one of mine.
      My conscience in this case would be very clear.
      Id drop him given the right opportunity without a doubt in my mind.

  25. If he is armed he has decided to apply force to another person. I have no way of knowing whats going on in his head or if something I do could potential set him off. Since he has a weapon I an safely assume he is willing to use it.

    In the words of Lance Thomas “There is no negotiation, my life is to precious to me”

    If you are armed and attempt to rob me I will shoot you.

  26. As a pharmacist and pharmacy owner this is a simple answer.

    Yes.

    There is very little reason why an independent pharmacy owner would not be armed. Drugs and money, all day long. I never leave home without mine and an extra mag.

    glock43 for my stores and if ‘Im working for anyone else on the bad side of town it’s the HKp40 on my hip.

    Bang!! BANG!!

  27. Meh, I’m not a cop or a hero. This gun is for me and mine. Everyone else has made their choice. Not risking my life, legal fees, or my freedom over a couple bucks that’s not even mine. You want to be a victim, that’s on you, not me.

    • This. All day long.

      I look at it like this:
      1) I shoot and he goes down/dies. Then all the legal crap happens which, hopefully, results in a no filed charges at best.
      2) I shoot, he doesn’t go down. Then we have a potential gun fight on our hands. Danger goes up exponentially to everyone in the building. See #1 part 2.

      Neither of those are appealing over a robbery that isn’t involving my property.

  28. He’s armed, and he’s robbing. It takes but an instant, and no verbal threats, for a gun to go from pointing down to firing a round at an innocent.

    I have to assume he’s an imminent threat to my life and lives of others in the store.

    I’m not going to wait until he’s actually pointing the gun at me or threatening me. Why wait until I’m at a chronological and tactical disadvantage? I’m going to shoot him in the back, if possible.

  29. Unfortunately, even though the criminal in the video is in the commission of a felonious crime with a deadly weapon, whether or not you respond with deadly force should receive careful consideration before doing so. After all, many jurisdictions in this country see men like that as potential vote-getters if they are harmed/killed. Dirty ADAs with an ideologically driven agenda looking to notch their belts would be happy to bring charges against and prosecute an “evil vigilante killer”. That would be supported by the mass news media always desperate for ratings and with a worldview hostile to armed self-defense, much less defense of third-person. I would almost wager that people such as DeBlasio and Gavin Newsome dream nightly about situations like these, and all the votes they would get by putting someone behind bars for shooting a “precious oppressed individual who was just starting to turn their life around before being gunned down by an evil vigilante killer who refused to just let the police handle it”. Tell me I’m full of it, call me as many names as you want, but politicians (especially Democrats) and the news media are NOT your friends, and they like criminals a lot more than they like you.

  30. I’ve mentioned this story before, but bears repeating. Happened to me, not a 2nd hand recounting. Inside back of convenience store. Hear a ruckus up front. Turn around to see large “thug” dressed black guy angrily shouting across the counter while pointing a pistol at the scrawny, cowering/cringing indian/pakistani/south-asian guy behind the counter. I’d been drinking that evening, so I didn;t have my gun on me. Thank goodness too, because I was SURE I was witnessing an armed robbery, and if I’d been sober/armed, there is a good chance I’d have drawn my gun. Instead I stayed hidden in the back and put a drinks cooler between myself and the action. Not too long afterwards, police arrived… and arrested the scrawny south-asian guy behind the counter. I HAD been witnessing an armed robbery, but not the one I thought. Turns out the black guy was the store clerk, and the south-asian guy had come in, pretended to have a gun (or had a fake one, never got full story) and got behind the counter. Which is when the clerk retrieved his hidden firearm, put the counter between himself and the robber, and held him there until the police he’d called arrived.

    That was a wakeup call for me. So now when I carry, my rule of thumb is I don’t get involved unless the threat is directly to me or a loved one of mine. I might add random children to that list too. Anyone else? Sorry, you’re on your own. no matter how well I think I know a situation, there’s always room for error, and if I’m drawing my gun, then the consequences are going to be VERY serious, for me and for others. Not worth the risk to me, unless I absolutely NEED to. Call me a coward or whatever you want, but thats how I roll.

    • Someone who thinks critically finally. I don’t carry a gun to be a hero I do it to make sure I make it home. You almost never know the whole story. If it was me? I’d be hiding/trying to make my way to the exit, gun drawn. But unless he directly threatens me or mine, I’m out of there.

  31. I wouldn’t give him the chance to turn his attention to me. At that point he would have the initiative. Not giving him the chance means either shooting him or slipping out. Whichever is easier. Unless the pharmacist it my friend. Then the dude is shot. Hopefully dead because he won’t sue me at that point.

  32. Armed and pointing a gun at another human being.
    Id drop him in a heart beat given the opportunity.

  33. I live in Texas.

    An armed citizen in Texas can use deadly force to stop a the commission of a felony, which this fellow with the gun was certainly committing.

    I’m of the opinion that anyone who robs a store clerk is also going to want to rob me. And, when he finds I’m carrying he’s likely to shoot me.

    I would have produced my pistol and fired immediately…to save my own life.

    • Not all felonies and several things that aren’t necessarily felonies. See Sec. 9.32. DEADLY FORCE IN DEFENSE OF PERSON, Sec. 9.42. DEADLY FORCE TO PROTECT PROPERTY, and 9.43. PROTECTION OF THIRD PERSON’S PROPERTY.

  34. Let’s not forget the many times where the robbery victim has been shot by the robber even while cooperating, or after cooperating. Why would a robber do that? Who knows, but a dead victim can’t call the cops right away or identify the perp in a police line-up.

    One of several examples I found: Google “Gas station clerk shot and killed during robbery in Los Feliz”. Happened in LA in January of this year. The clerk was cooperating, and was shot for his trouble.

  35. “He doesn’t seem particularly agitated. ”

    Huh? He looks unstable to me. Totally deserved a shot.

  36. This would be an absolutely justifiable shoot, should someone decide to defend the clerk and themselves from someone pointing a gun during the commission of a robbery. No question about it.

    However, after reading some of the comments above, I should point out the obvious; just because it would be legal or justifiable does not mean one MUST engage. If I could draw and get a good shot on him, I most certainly would. He already has the weapon out and is pointing it. All he has to do is squeeze the trigger to begin killing. I’m not going to bet on his good nature.But if someone chose not to engage until he had started killing, I wouldn’t say they were wrong… just engaging from a more defensive start than I would be comfortable with.

  37. No; since the armed robber’s attention isn’t towards me, I’d get out of the store as soon as possible. I’d only take the shot if the robber was between me and the exit. Better to be a living coward than a dead hero.

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