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“A man entered a Wells Fargo bank in Homewood, Ala. with something wrapped around his arm to give the impression that he was armed, and attempted to rob the bank,” reports. “In addition to threatening bank staff, the robber pointed his arm at others inside the bank and made them get into a corner. Bank customer Eric Dial responded to the robber’s threats by drawing a gun and firing at the thief, but missing. The robber attempted to flee but was met by police just as he left the bank.”

desantis-blue-logo-no-back-4-smallFor me, the critical factor is the crowding into the corner bit. In the same way that I would shoot if a robber started herding people into a back room, I would consider a massing of innocents a prelude to assassination. I would have shot then. Good guy Eric Dial said the perp was on his way out. According to Mr. Dial, that’s when the bad guy aimed his “gun” at him. Would you have opened fire before, at that point, or not at all?

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  1. The robber is threatening the victims with the use of deadly force. The victim had every right to use deadly force to counter the perceived threat. If the shot fired had properly connected, the people would have been saved the cost of both imprisoning and taking this piece of trash to trial.

  2. Stuff can be replaced and banks have insurance.

    We can’t bring the dead back to life, however.

    When a threat is presented to people in the bank, that’s when I would consider taking action to have an acceptable risk/reward ratio. (A robber may present a risk to a teller, but I probably wouldn’t know about that if the robber is discreet.)

    Hopefully I’ll never be in a situation where I find out what I’d do, of course.

    • ^ This. John L. gets it.

      A robber who presents little if any immediate threat to bank staff and patrons: wait and see what happens.

      A robber who is sweeping staff and patrons with his muzzle or fires a “do what I say” shot into the ceiling gets prompt ballistic response.

      • What!?

        Someone robbing a bank with a weapon (or threat of a weapon) is use of deadly force. I can’t imagine a situation in bank robbery where only bank employees would be threatened.

        Waiting until he’s pointing it directly at you outs you in a decidedly bad position.

        Better to take a shot when they are not expecting it. Only advantage you may get.

      • I am usually in agreement with uncommon_sense on most of his comments , but not today , not on this one . I say draw and pull here . This isn’t an issue of monetary loss by the bank but threat of assault with a deadly force . There was a time also when money , the property of the people who supported the bank , was actually in the bank , and not loaned to everyone IN THE WORLD . Then came the Savings and Loans and like ‘ It’s a Wonderful Life ‘ movie explained , the actual cash was loaned out to everyone in the community to aid commercial growth and prosperity , so there was a disconnect there between the customer and the assets inside and now , well , your money isn’t really your money anymore anyway , but your life is still your life and if someone ordered me to do anything at the threat of my life I will bet my life that my training and experience is better than theirs and I will answer their threat with violence .

  3. I use a very small town wells fargo, i know most of the tellers personally and am greeted on a first name basis, i would have placed a shot, or at minimum drawn and ordered his surrender without thought, he was apparently threatening lives weather or not he could have enforced anything, i would have had enough reason to believe that he meant harm to bring my own weapon into play.

  4. I would agree. Telling everyone to hit the deck is one thing but crowding people into a corner could easily be the prelude to a bloodbath.

    My decision to shoot/not shoot would be based on the specifics of the situation but I’d be angling to get into a position where I could take the highest probability shot with the lowest risk to the innocent people in the bank.

  5. Everybody is quick to shoot! Consequences be damned…..

    I would have held off (no weapon seen/nobody hurt) until he started his herding behavior. That is an ominous sign!

  6. This is a good question. As others have said ordering people into a corner sounds like a prelude to slaughter, and in that situation all bets should be off. But others have mentioned the regular get on the floor routine as passable which is understandable. After all its entirely feasible he gets insured money, and takes off. No harm to life done. But what happens if the police show up, and we throw a stand off, and a now desperate armed robber into the mix? It would be completely understandable regardless of how well it is going now if a good guy or gal was to take the shot when presented to them instead of hoping it ends well later.

    • The answer to this simple question is simple: At the moment the BG points an actual or claimed weapon at a human being he is fair game. If you hesitate to see if he has a gun, if the gun is loaded, if it’s a real gun, someone might easily die while you cogitate.

      Just as claiming you have a weapon = armed robbery regardless of any actual weapon, claming a weapon and pointing it at you = deadly threat perceived and responded to.

  7. When anyone demands something they are not entitled to, just say NO. Conflicts occur when there is an expectation to say YES, the solution is to remove that expectation.

  8. I wouldn’t hesitate to use deadly force to stop any violent felony in progress provided that the tactical and legal situations were favorable.

  9. My wife is a bank manager and has been privy to a robbery where a handgun was presented (this guy went on to rob and terrorize 7-8 more banks before being caught by inept cops). Knowing what I know now about those situations and how they play out as soon as that gun is pointed at an innocent civilian I am looking for the right time to clear leather. When the guy is distracted (and he will be) confront him. Words or otherwise. Ymmv but Ive been over a pretty detailed multi witness situation numerous times in my head and I know what I am doing.

    • Since I can’t know his plans, or what meds he’s taking (or not), or what the unicorn on his shoulder is whispering to him, I’m threatened.

      Somebody bold enough to attempt to rob a bank is not concerned with rules in general. Waiting till he’s pointing a weapon at you is playing by rules that dont exist.

      Assuming to know the mind of a social deviant is folly.

  10. Yep if an idiot robs a bank have at it. If he points a gun at customer’s it’s OK to shoot. You’d possibly get a cop commendation or a free calender from the bank…

  11. In California the rules are pretty clear cut. A completely provable fear for you life.

    If he was within 21 feet (as best as I could estimate) yep, id fire. If obviously further, Id have to wait till he fired…and hope he missed.

    • California has been slowly taking the right of self defense away for nearly 2 decades now.
      They are pretty close but not done yet. Another 5 years will do it I’ll bet.

  12. In my state, Arizona, one may legally use deadly force to prevent a forcible felony. Armed robbery counts (whether the weapon is real or not).

    Whether or not I would shoot depends on many factors, such as opportunity, angle and distance to the threat, and ability to make a clean clear shot. From a legal standpoint however, I would be completely in the clear to engage.

  13. Deadly force is authorized to protect life but not property. In many bank robberies, no weapon is ever displayed. The robber just slips a note demanding money to a teller. A robber who is calm and states, “I just want the money. I don’t want to hurt anyone.” is quite different from a robber who fires shots into the ceiling or pistol whips someone who doesn’t comply quickly enough. Herding people into a back room is a well known red flag.

    • “Deadly force is authorized to protect life but not property…”

      Depend upon state, maybe yes, maybe no. Morally, to each his own.

    • “A robber who is calm and states, “I just want the money. I don’t want to hurt anyone.””
      So you believe a violent (by intent) criminal’s word? What a fool!
      Even among the law abiding, verbal contracts aren’t worth the paper they are not written on.
      I would not believe anything a violent criminal says. talk is cheap and criminals lie.

  14. Seeing how the Good guy missed, this could all have ended very differently if the robber actually had had a gun. Just a thought.

    • Being armed isn’t a guarantee, it’s a better chance than not being armed.
      There is no way you can arm-chair quarterback this with any validity.
      When a person goes down the path of criminal violence, stopping them as soon as possible is the surest way to reduce the damage they might do. Period.

    • I don’t think and I think most of those here agree: he didn’t take on the perp over the money.
      Money and property are easily replaced and largely insured.
      Human lives are not replaceable.

      • The BG didn’t have a weapon (I’m not saying I care whether or not the BG was shot), I’m not convinced human lives were at risk.

        I’m OK with the BG getting ventilated, I’m just not sure I’ve spent the ammo.

  15. You mean to tell me that a law abiding black gun owner fired a shot in self defense and didn’t immediately get lit up by the Po-lice when they showed up? According to main stream media this cannot happen!

    • He also didn’t wound and kill innocents in the bank like they are all certain happens every time.
      There was no blood in the streets.

  16. Hell no, let ’em go. Read up on FBI bank robbery stats. Firearms or other deadly weapons are infrequently used, so commonly faked. I know, I know, “But I won’t be able to tell the difference!” Yes you will.

    Actual armed robbers tend to act in pairs or more, not alone, and they’re apt to be professionals, not smash and grab locals. Pros aren’t going to shoot except as an absolute last resort.

    Stats on deaths and injuries reveal that when they do occur, they happens primarily to the robbers themselves and happen away from the bank during the pursuit. Most bank robbers are caught.

    Every situation is different and there are no guarantees, so you’ll have to use your own judgment. In the case of a bank robbery, though, I’d take more of a hang back and take cover approach to it.

  17. Wait until the perp is not covering anybody with his gun. Then take the shot.

    Unless the perp is fleeing. Not for moral reasons, but to cover yourself in case it ever goes to court.


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