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TTAG has belabored the fact that police officers are under no duty to protect you, and as an armed citizen, you need to take a long hard look at what circumstances will motivate you to clear leather. Part of that long hard look needs to involve careful study of the laws in your area surrounding the use of deadly force. An un-named Chicago resident seems to have forgotten pretty much everything a responsible gun owner is supposed to know by chasing a robber out of a cell phone store on Chicago’s south side over the weekend . . .

The Tribune has the full story here.

A man with a concealed carry permit shot at an armed robbery suspect who was running from a cell phone store in Crestwood, prompting an officer who was also chasing the suspect to take cover, police said.

The man with the permit told police he was about to step inside an AT&T store at 4756 W. Cal-Sag Road around noon Saturday when he noticed the store was being robbed, Crestwood police said in a statement.

The man said he stayed outside to prevent anyone from entering, police said. After he saw the suspect leaving through a back door, he entered the store and ran out the back too, according to police.

Meanwhile, an officer had been flagged down by several people who told them the store was being robbed, police said.  The officer spotted someone running from the rear of the building with a large duffel bag and a gun in his hand, police said.

As the officer began chasing the suspect, the man with the concealed carry permit saw the suspect and fired two shots, police said.

Props to the cop for not plugging the concealed carry holder, a fear that pretty much everyone on the anti-gun side brings up whenever they can. It also appears that the permit holder did some ballistic backpedaling in speaking to the cops violating another rule by failing to STFU.

The man with the permit later told police he ran through the store and fired at the suspect because he had seen the officer run behind the building.

“He was concerned for the safety of the police officer that he saw go behind the building,” police said in the statement. “It was at this time that he ran into the store and out the back door and fired two shots in the direction of the suspect who was running towards the canal”

Crestwood and Palos Heights police set up a perimeter along the Cal-Sag Canal and arrested the suspect as he ran from the woods, police said.

No injuries were reported.

The suspect, Demetrius Merrill of Chicago, was charged with armed robbery and ordered held on $1 million bail.

All’s well that ends well as the robbery suspect is behind bars and held on a very large bail. Once the permit holder’s name is released, TTAG will be sure to send him a shiny new trophy for his mantle along with a copy of some basic rules to limit liability and keep him out of the court system for the next decade. Here’s what we’ve put together so far.

  • Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target
  • Be sure of your target and what lies beyond
  • Do not shoot at fleeing suspects
  • Do not attempt to pursue or arrests a suspect
  • Do not shoot wildly such that police officers in the vicinity feel the need to take cover

Feel free to drop a comment below to let us know what else we should add to the list.

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53 Responses to Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day: Un-Named Chi Town Permit Holder

  1. 1. It happened in Crestwood, not Chicago.

    2. The CCL holder didn’t do any “backpedaling”, he simply explained the situation and his intentions.

    3. The police and DA made the decision not to charge him with any crime, so maybe telling the truth instead of “failing to STFU” is a good idea.

    4. The police decided he did everyone a service. If you were there, please tell us why they were wrong and fill us in on the details we need to evaluate his actions properly.

    • I’ve waited for my permit all my long life. There’s a lawyer attached to every bullet. I’ll be damned if I’m going to “protect” a possible gun hater or oblabla voter or a damn cell phone store. If your good deed turns to shit, the cops won’t stop at arresting you, they will tear your home apart looking for other guns and ammo. welcome to chicago.

  2. Article says the CCL-carrying IGOTD won’t be charged. Most likely it’s because he didn’t STFU but cooperated fully with officers. Normally that’s not a good move but this idiot really didn’t have anything to lose.

    • He said he was worried about the officer’s safety. Once he acknowledged their superiority the knights had mercy on this peasant.

      • Or he articulated a justified threat. Just because someone is running away does not necessarily mean they are no longer a threat, unless they’re running away at about 850fps. If a fleeing felon has a firearm what may look like ‘running away’ could also be ‘running to cover’ to start a shootout. He could also shoot the next person that comes around the corner in front of him very easily.

        While I’m not suggesting it was a great course of action I think it may very well have been reasonable if he explained it that way…while without that articulation (i.e. “STFU always!”) he’d be in jail right now facing some serious charges.

    • Or, because he’s an 86 year old man with a spotless record, while the armed robber was a 17 year old punk. Sounds more like they’re not charging him because they don’t want a PR nightmare any more than the PA hospital which didn’t fire the company firearms policy-violating hero doctor.

      Unless your point is that politics never enters into decision making, in Chicago, then we should probably be open to more possible explanations for how this story turned out.

      As for STFU, well, the race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that’s the way to bet. It’s certainly possible to walk, after having sung, but it’s rare and it’s despite having talked to the police, certainly not because of having done so. If the evidence is there and the political cover is not, you’re going down. No one has ever talked themselves out of such an arrest, though many have certainly talked themselves into one.

  3. Suggestion to add:

    Turn off the TV and find some comprehensive firearms/ self defense classes. Owning a gun and having a “permit” does not make you qualified to chase down criminals.

    Good thing he was a lousy shot, or he’d probably be facing murder charges. I suspect he’ll lose both the gun and the “permit” now. Hope he gets a second chance to become a responsible gun owner.

    Edit to add: No charges? That’s pretty remarkable, especially in that state. I suspect there is a LOT more to the story we’re not seeing here. Wonder who he knows…

    • Dear Mama,
      It’s remarkable he wasn’t charged because it happened in the corrupt, progressive, anti-2A armpit of Illinois known as Cook County.

      Most of the rest of the state is made up of honest, hard-working, constitution-supporting people. The only problem is we’re outnumbered.

  4. I have to disagree with this: “Do not shoot at fleeing suspects.”

    Sometimes that’s good advice, but not always. In the case of an armed suspect who just committed a violent felony, it is reasonable to assume that he (or she, though a male suspect is much more likely) poses a potentially lethal threat to anyone in the direction he is fleeing in. Whether or not to shoot in such cases becomes a matter of prudential judgment and discretion, and making a rule that one should never shoot in such situations is foolish.

      • No, it is not. A robber with my watch in his pocket gets one between the shoulder blades as soon as he turns around. COMPLETELY legal in TX. Stating abolutes for the whole country/world is kinda silly, huh? OTOH, I’ll grant that shooting at a fleeing robber of *someone else* is asking for a world of hurt with no upside.

        • “As soon as he turned around…”

          Do you mean you’d wait for him to turn his back to you? Or turn back around to face you? That’s a whole different thing than shooting someone in the back. If you could live with that, even assuming you would not be charged, good luck.

        • Larry makes a good point, in that the laws are different in each state, and the laws can be interpreted differently within different parts of the same state. In Texas, while it is legal to shoot certain fleeing suspects, even in the back, even if they haven’t stolen from or attacked you, there still can be some complications.

          You could hit someone innocent or their property, for one. That’s an issue unto itself, regardless of any legal consequences. Also, even if you hit no one, you’re not legally allowed to act “recklessly.” Texas law provides guidelines on what constitutes recklessness, but ultimately that’s a matter to be determined by a jury, which as mentioned above can vary.

          It’s a good idea for carriers to get up to speed ahead of time on their states’ laws, AG opinions, and trends in jury verdicts, then decide what their own personal rules of engagement would be within those legal limits. These are pretty weighty issues, after all, and probably not something best left unexplored and undecided until the heat of a violent encounter.

        • I believe TX is unique in allowing deadly force for property crimes.
          In the other 49, unless the person is an imminent threat to an innocent, it’s potentially an attempted murder charge.
          Of course, if the upstanding citizen in question is moving away in the process of what most of the other states would consider a violent crime (e.g. moving through your house at 3am or chasing a young woman for nefarious purposes) then it’s perfectly legal to shoot him in the back.

        • You are right. No one can make a blanket claim that shooting a fleeing felon is justified or not. Each state has different laws. But, I might add, regardless of the law, the wildcard is the criminal justice system. Even in the same state, two different cases can be presented to similar juries with identical scenarios, one will be acquitted and the other will be convicted. I believe that everyone who legally carries a gun should know prior to an event what they are going to do in that scenario and understand how it could effect their future. Personally, I have already decided that I am willing to risk my future for the life of my family, myself, and those who are clearly in immediate danger. It is not worth it to me, however, to risk my life and future to chase down a fleeing thug. In my opinion, my job after the initial event is to secure the scene, sound the alarm (call police perhaps?), aid the injured, and protect the victims just in case this guy didn’t act alone or he doubles-back. I am not saying that is the way everyone should handle this scenario, this is just how I intend to handle a similar scenario.

      • The CCL holder thought the armed perp was a viable threat to the police officer and intervened. Use of deadly force to prevent a forcible felony is legal in Illinois. The police and DA agreed and he wasn’t charged. It’s surprising that he wasn’t, but maybe that says something about how clear-cut the situation was to the people that actually witnessed it.

      • In California you may use deadly force to prevent escape when making a citizen’s arrest, e.g.

        Your statement is overly simplistic.

        Furthermore, the jury instructions explicitly say in the general case of self-defense (outside of citizen’s arrest):

        “A defendant is not required to retreat. He or she is entitled to stand his or her ground and defend himself or herself and, if reasonably necessary, to pursue an assailant until the danger of (death/great bodily injury/ ) has passed. This is so even if safety could have been achieved by retreating.”

        The prosecution has the burden of proof to show it was not justified

        “The People have the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the [attempted] killing was not justified. If the People have not met this burden, you must find the defendant not guilty of (murder/ [or] manslaughter/ attempted murder/ [or] attempted voluntary manslaughter).”

        So no, it is not highly illegal in and of itself.

      • So you wouldn’t advocate shooting an individual who was fleeing with the contents of an explosives storage magazine?

      • You are simply wrong on the legality. The flight of an unimprisoned felon is not enough to justify shooting, but other elements- a violent crime, that he is armed, where he is running- can certainly justify shooting a fleeing subject.

        Let me ask you something. What’s the difference visually between someone fleeing with a gun and someone running to cover so he can more effectively shoot people?

    • You pays your money and you takes your chances. If YOU want to make that judgment, you must be ready and willing to accept the full consequences of that action. You are perfectly free to do so, of course.

      I have zero desire to ever have a need to explain to a jury why I shot someone in the back, as they ran away. And that would be true in a reasonably free country. Just think of all the legal fun and games Mr. Zimmerman had when he rightfully and lawfully defended his life. A back shooter, absolutely not in a self defense situation, would have a high old time, especially if the “colors” were not in his favor.

      • I can easily think of plenty of scenarios where I’d be happy to explain to a jury why I shot someone fleeing the scene of a crime.

        1. I witness a violent crime committed against someone else, and the armed perp is running toward me and mine as he flees the crime scene.
        2. A violent crime is committed against me or those with me, and the armed perp is running toward family and friends of mine.
        3. A violent crime is committed against me or those with me, and the armed perp is running toward others with apparent attempt to continue to commit violence against them.
        4. A violent crime is committed against me or those around me, and the armed perp is fleeing toward other people.

        This case seems to fall into the last category, which is the most dicey as a justifiable shoot. Local laws will vary, as will the attitude of the cops and prosecutors (and potentially, jury members).

        Let’s take a real world example and modify it to fit the issue at hand. Suppose that instead of catching the Vegas cop-killers in Wal-Mart (and getting killed for not realizing the woman was with the man), the armed citizen who tried to intervene came upon them just after they shot the lunching cops and were leaving the scene. He would have been absolutely justified in shooting them both in the back. It would be as clear-cut a case of justifiable homicide as could be found.

        There are times not to shoot a fleeing suspect, and times to open fire.

    • In the case of an armed suspect who just committed a violent felony, it is reasonable to assume that he (or she, though a male suspect is much more likely) poses a potentially lethal threat to anyone in the direction he is fleeing in.

      Until the perp becomes an actual lethal threat to someone I would leave the shooting to the po-po. They have union lawyers to defend them. You do not.

      • They do. But in Illinois, you have black letter law on your side. The use of deadly force to stop the commission of a violent felony is not a crime. Armed robbery is a violent felony. Fleeing from said armed robbery is a continuation of the criminal act.

      • You’re referring to the California case? So by “pregnant”, you mean “not pregnant, but instead lying to play on the sympathies of and avoid being shot by the elderly gentleman whose home she’d invaded and whom she’d violently assaulted”? Interesting definition. Might want to submit that to the dictionary guys, as they’re always looking for examples of the evolution of English in common usage.

  5. instead of Irresponsible Gun Owner, can we re-name the award as “Dumb Ass Gun Owner of the Day” ?

  6. Not sure exactly how this should effect the situation, but article says the permit holder was 86. I suspect that did effect the decision not to charge him.

    • Really. I bet it affected the fact that he missed, too! When (if) I’m 86, it will be VERY hard to make me draw.

    • 86 and he was “running” after the perp? Wow give that man a cigar! At 86, I’ll probably be walking after the perp.

    • Under IL law, they COULD NOT charge him. He was using deadly force to stop the commission of a violent felony. Black letter law, he has criminal and civil immunity.

  7. I think the fact that he’s 86 is why he’s not facing charges. If he was 26 and a person of color I’m sure that he’d be behind bars right now.

  8. If hes 86, Im impressed hes running anywhere to be honest.

    One of those “If you wouldnt do it without the gun, dont do it with the gun.”

    So I dont really ever plan on going to Illinois at this point haha.

    • He’s 86 and has a carry permit in Chicago? He’s not being charged because he is connected to the gubt, the Mob, or both.

      • The Chicago Tribune reported on June 17th that Cook County had 14,813 active concealed carry licensees, 774 applications had been rejected, and 3,963 were “under review.”

        It looks like this dude is one of the few applicants that the Cook County Sheriff didn’t object to, thinking he was too old to draw and shoot.

  9. Firing shots wildly in the city may get you in a whole lot of trouble, even if it was legal to shoot. Point is, where did those two bullets end up, if not in the perp?

  10. “He was concerned for the safety of the police officer that he saw go behind the building,” police said in the statement.

    Brilliant! Under IL law, deadly force is justified only if the shooter reasonably believes that deadly force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or another.

    Because the robber was running away from the defender in this case, the old-timer couldn’t claim that he was defending himself. But while the robber was running away from the shooter, Demetrius Merrill of Chicago (who is kind to animals and turning his life around) apparently was running in the direction of the officer and waving his gun around.

    Self defense can get you arrested anywhere, but a reasonable claim of “defense of cop” will get you a plaque from City Hall.

  11. I have to disagree with the “Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day” label. He shot at the suspect to protect the cop from an ambush. Even the DA is singing his praises.

  12. Get a few facts STRAIGHT before you write Tyler. This was NOT Chicago. Old guy was 86. In NO way is Crestwood or Palos Heights Chicago. Well except having 17year old criminals. I agree the old man should NOT be firing a gun at the fleeing punk especially if it had nothing to do with him. Sorry a legal concealed carry 26 year old BLACK MAN would not be charged either. I repeat it ain’t Chicago.

  13. Irresponsible? I am thinking not so much.
    1. No charges filed
    2. Authorities describe him as “described him as a “model citizen” in Crestwood, a village of 11,000 residents in south suburban Cook County.”.
    3. Assistant State’s Attorney Dan Kirk said: “This is an 86-year-old law-abiding individual who comes across a forcible felony in progress … and helped others avoid being victims.”

    I think that the anti-gun tribune is playing up that the cop had to duck and cover. If this guy had truly been irresponsible, I feel 150% sure that the Cook County DAs office would have filed charges just to make the point that newly minted CCW holders should not do this.

    Instead, they are holding him up as a model.

    Bottom line: Shooting to defend others (which is what he thought he was doing) is a tough call, subject to much Monday morning quarterbacking. I am in pretty strong disagreement that he was “irresponsible,” especially given the DAs position on the matter.

  14. Tyler,

    You’re relying on the media to get the story right in castigating this 86-year-old CCW holder.

    I know this might be news to some folks, but the media seldom get the story completely right, especially involving guns. Certainly not the anti-gun Chicago news media.

    The main point was that the old fella engaged the armed robber to save a police officer from ambush.

    If the old guy had acted recklessly, police would have arrested him and let the attorneys fight it out. Instead, they released him, probably with a handshake and a thank you.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-cops-concealed-carry-permit-holder-shoots-at-armed-robbery-suspect-20140728,0,2605611.story

    So, c’mon Tyler. Revise your piece.

    He isn’t an irresponsible gun owner. He’s a good man, risking his own health and safety to help protect a police officer he didn’t even know.

    He deserves praise, not castigation.

    John

  15. y’all are full of it , who ever said they agree are crazy . when the police showed up they are in control & the old fart needed to stand down . what if his two missed shots would have hit the cop or a innocent bystander , would y’all be singing his graces ? the guy was fleeing how could you set up an ambush if your running away ? the only thing he did right was keeping other from going in .

  16. Let me get this straight. First, the man was fleeing. Second. the guy who chased him was NOT a police officer. OK. If the guy was fleeing, how did the guy see a gun, if the bad guy was turned AWAY from him? I teach my students in Oklahoma, to shoot to stop the threat. If this guy was running away, he did not constitute a threat any longer. It was NOT his duty, to protect himself, his loved ones, or a friend at that point. Leave the job to the police, unless the guy turned on the good? guy. This was wrong on several levels, and could have ended badly.

    • I’m telling you right now, a police officer using the articulation that the private citizen used would have been justified in using deadly force in that situation, based on the facts presented here. Just because someone is running away does not mean they are not a threat to anyone. He can shoot the next cop that comes around the corner ahead of him, he could take a hostage, he could turn around and open fire once he reaches cover in five seconds. If he wanted to stop being a valid target by no longer being a threat he needed to drop the gun.

      Ever since Tennessee v. Garner shooting someone (who is not escaping custody) is not a valid form of detention. In other words you can’t shoot someone just for fleeing in order to arrest them. But you can still shoot if there is a threat to yourself or others, which places the same onus on private citizens as police officers if they choose to get involved. If someone has committed a violent felony (robbery) and is armed, they are a threat in public.

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