Image courtesy Bucks County District Attorney.
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Against unarmed adversaries, a defender can resort to deadly force if a disparity of force exists.  And a young auto mechanic with a concealed carry license did just that in Bucks County, PA days ago.  The prosecutor there just cleared him of wrongdoing, citing the number of attackers, their size, and other disparity issues.

It all began when Liam Hughes, 21, an Army reservist for three and a half years with a concealed carry license left a bar in Southampton, PA with a friend.  A group of much larger men men near his car attacked him following some sort of confrontation.  Following a vicious assault, the 5′ 6″ and 140 pounds Hughes managed to get his car door open and access a handgun near this center console.

He warned his attackers that he now had a gun but the attack continues.  At that point Hughes began shooting.  Two of them took fatal gunshot wounds.  A third was struck in the arm.  The prosecutor believes the third man may have been trying to de-escalate the situation and declined to charge anyone for that wound.

Image courtesy Bucks County District Attorney.

A fourth attacker, who was shown landing punches on Hughes, will face criminal charges despite not soaking up any rounds.

The Bucks County Prosecutor released an in-depth report on the incident in announcing that Liam Hughes will face no charges.

The 21-year-old man who shot and killed two men who were attacking him in the parking lot of the Steam Pub in Upper Southampton Township was justified in using deadly force, District Attorney Matt Weintraub announced on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2022.

Liam Hughes and a friend were returning to Hughes’ car on the night of Oct. 7, 2022, after leaving the Steam Pub, 606 Second Street Pike, Southampton PA 18966, when a group of men gathered near his car confronted and attacked him, Weintraub explained.

Three men pummeled Hughes during the attack, punching and striking him in the face and head and knocking him to the ground where they continued the assault. Hughes attempted to get into his vehicle but was being actively pulled out by one of the attackers.

Hughes had to reach behind with his right arm while being attacked and was able to get his hand on his weapon that was between the driver’s seat and the center console. He warned the assailants that he had a weapon and told them to stop. The men continued the attack, and Hughes opened fire, killing two of his assailants and injuring a third man.

Immediately after the shooting, Hughes called 911, telling dispatchers he shot at a group of men who attacked him in the parking lot of the Steam Pub. Bucks County 911 received numerous other calls reporting the shooting.

Upper Southampton Township Police Department and EMS arrived at the scene and found two deceased males in the Steam Pub parking lot. Those men were later identified as Steven Panebianco, 30, of Bensalem, and Raymond Farrell, 28, of Philadelphia.

While on scene, police received information that a third man – Richard Bowman, 24, of Philadelphia – sustained a gunshot wound and was treated at a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

After calling 911, Hughes remained on the scene until police arrived and cooperated fully with the investigation, including giving a video and audio recorded interview, allowing police to review his cellphone, and consenting to gunshot residue testing, photographing, having his clothing collected, providing a blood sample, and releasing his medical records.

The medical records showed that Hughes’ injuries included acute post-traumatic headache, a concussion, left ear contusion, a split lip, bloody nose, and bruises and scrapes to his left inner ear, forehead, head, and scalp. Doctors found dried blood in his left ear canal upon examination. He also suffered blurry vision, sensitivity to light and nausea.

There’s more, including a power point presentation at the link.

 

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85 COMMENTS

    • MLee,

      You failed to mention the other punk in this case–the District Attorney–who clearly wishes that the righteous defender would NOT have used a firearm for self-defense. And that means the District Attorney wishes that the righteous defender would have used nothing more than his hands and feet to defend himself from THREE attackers who collectively outweighed him by several hundred pounds.

      I am outraged that Prosecutors expect righteous defenders to engage in non-consensual hand-to-hand combat. A single good punch or kick can easily cause a fatal injury. (A single blow can cause direct injury leading to death or indirect injury causing the person to fall and then sustain a fatal injury in the fall.)

      Prosecutors would never allow an attacker to force non-consensual Russian roulette with a revolver on a defender, even if the revolver somehow had a cylinder with 100 chambers. And they should not require non-consensual “Russian roulette” (of sorts with hand-to-hand combat where a single strike can directly or indirectly cause death) before a defender can use a firearm to defend him/herself.

      The standard should be exceedingly simple. You don’t want someone to apply deadly force to you? Then stop advancing on someone to beat on them if they tell you stop advancing on them. And if you continue to advance on that victim after your intended victim tells you to stop, then it should not be a crime if the victim applies deadly force.

      • What are you talking about?

        The DA reached the right conclusion, which takes guts in royal blue PA. OTOH, Mr. Hughes is lucky he didn’t show a Black person in Philly. Larry Krasner would have charged him with two counts of capital murder and two of agg battery.

      • I totally agree with your comment. In my view disparity of ability is a completely valid defense to whatever happens to the aggressor.

  1. I’m struggling with what appears to be a nationwide pandemic of stupid. Who does not know that we are the most armed nation on earth? Who does not know that people get shot daily in this country?

    And yet people still phuck with strangers. Incredible. The 2 survivors here and any other survivors of justified shootings of this type should be neutered so that they cannot spread the stupid.

    • jwm, nothing you don’t know, but: it’s drugs, some booze, even more stupider ‘friends’ and very much having mixed martial arts playing on da tee-vee as they sit there in front of it practicing eye death jabs and nostril holds on each other with kill whitey rap blasting eternally in the background. Then they all do a few curls and presses followed by a few more bowls and a line or two and then out they go into society to make their mommas proud. I’ve watched this play out even where I live with a friend’s son, including an attempt at armed robbery, and know it played out much the same with another. Both sets of parents are stand up, hard working people and were helpless to stop it without literally chaining them to a post. As kids, both whom I knew very well, they were great; respectful, sharp, happy. Then they went to high school and met people. My town has 10K people if and is surrounded by lakes and forest with the nearest ‘city’ (200K) over 2hrs away. We have exactly two black families and a single handful of asians and the injuns (good people but with similar issues) pretty much keep to themselves. It’s like watching dogs turn feral after hooking up with other dogs. Neither of those boys, now in their twenties and with criminal records and only occasional employment, can hardly look me in the eye after the years we knew each other. They know very well they fucked up but one meeting with their parents and the knives and blame come out and straight back they go.

    • The growth of stupidity has been caused by all the Child-Proof / Child-Protection regulations being foisted upon us for the last 66 years. In the old days, stupid yoots were killed off early by doing stupid things they were told to not do, but as new regs came along, they have been protected from their stupidity. Now, everyone is subject to being collateral damage to big person stupidity and the gene pool has been horribly skewed.

    • People at bars have been dumb/brave as fuck due to intoxication since bars and booze were first invented.

      It’s also not uncommon for people to believe that whatever they think is “logical” is actually the law, particularly with regard to firearms. Huge numbers of people believe that carrying a gun in a bar is absolutely illegal. IRL, it depends on the state.

      In Colorado, not only can you carry in a bar, you can legally drink too provided you don’t become legally intoxicated.

  2. Listen to the DA in the video. He is not real fond of his decision to not prosecute Hughes. More sympathetic for the thugs.

    • He visited the criminal thugs family to bay how sorry he was about the deaths of their thugs. No mention of saying to the victim forced to shoot, I’m sorry this happened to you.

      • The one guy who was charged with throwing punches at Liam was only charged with that, in Florida, he could have been charged with homicide since a fatality took place during the commission of a felony.

        A felony the gutless piece-of-shit Bucks County DA refused to charge him with.

        Listening to that DA was sickening. .40 was right, the cops were on the side of the gang out drinking looking for a fight… 🙁

    • I watched the video. That DA is a Class A a$$hole of the highest order.

      He clearly thinks that the defender should have just taken the beating and likely died from it–rather than shoot and kill two of his attackers. Douchebag.

      And the DA is only charging the surviving attacker with simple (misdemeanor) assault. When you land several punches on someone’s head and contribute to them sustaining a concussion, that is at least aggravated assault–and I would argue attempted murder given that at least THREE of the obvious attackers collectively outweighed the defender by several hundred pounds.

      • In Florida, if someone dies while a crime is taking place, even a misdemeanor, punch-boy would be on the hook for mandatory manslaughter…

      • Wrongful death is civil, so anyone can charge all they want.

        The facts are on Liam’s side, especially with the video evidence…

        • Geoff PR,

          Some states do not allow civil suits if the defender acted in righteous self-defense and did not violate any laws.

      • “…three “wrongful death suits” going no where fast.”

        Wrong.

        They can instantly win the case if he doesn’t show up in court to refute it. And that costs the good guy money…

        • The arm-shot guy will be spending the shooter’s money for years to come, or the lawyers will.

          Unless PA has FL-style civil immunity for self defense, which I doubt…

          Civil immunity being linked to a finding of justifiable violence is the most important part of the SYG package, IMO.

          That said, if the wounded guy gets classed as an innocent bystander or “good Samaritan”, the shooter would be liable even in FL.

  3. 2 out of 4 ain’t great but it ain’t bad. Once again…I could care less if the victim of a beating had a concealed carry permit.

    • Two killed one wounded, justified in all three and no charges. 8 shots fired, some contact shots with stipling in chest area which means one guy was literally right on top of him beating him when he was shot.

  4. My only thing is Hughes shouldn’t have warned them he had a weapon. As soon as you get it shoot them. They don’t deserve a warning.

    • Announcement of a firearm warning has nothing to do with whether they deserve or don’t deserve, rather it has everything to do with an attempt to deescalate the situation and keeping one out of trouble for not trying to defuse. Seems here that neither the verbal warning nor the presentation of the weapon was a help, but Mr Hughes did the right things and is now not facing any criminal charges.

      • No warning or attempt to diffuse is required for a non-law enforcement citizen in an imminent “fear for your life” situation. He would not have been in trouble for not warning or diffusing.

        It would have been different had the guys signaled their attack from a distance then maybe he could have warned. But he didn’t have the gun on him, it was in his car so a warning would have been useless without being able to back it up if they still continued.

        Its somewhat common for a concealed carrier to warn by brandishing/showing with a verbal warning, and the bad guy runs off so attack stopped before it begins. But that was not the case here as the attack was sudden swift and violent and he did not have his gun on him anyway so even if he could have warned prior attack he would not have been able to back it up and as they showed a warning would probably not have worked anyway in this case as they were intent upon inflicting harm.

        However, in some cases it may help your defense if you tried to give a warning and I guess that sort of helped him here even though it was not required but given the situation it certainly was not required. In cases where its so sudden and/or imminent its not feasible to give a warning and wait to see if it worked. The expectation from a warning is that the attacker will stop their actions. In this case it did not work.

        But no, as a normal citizen you are not required to give a warning or diffuse for an imminent “fear for your life” attack like this (or prior actually, but there may be a requirement to avoid if possible depending on the situation and that may be considered as there should have been a warning or deescalation in some cases). But its a myth that it is required in all situations and certainly not required in imminent a “fear for your life” attack.

        Police on the other hand – In 1985, the SCOTUS ruled that an officer should give a warning where feasible before using deadly force.

        • Mr Booger, I did not mean to imply that a warning was mandatory, but I did imply that it is prudent to do so if possible under the circumstances. In the event that I did not, then there it is. As for me, I suppose I am paranoid in that my trust in enforcement and D As has lapsed the last several years. Plus, I do not want to supply them with any ammunition relative to charges. Doing these extra things is based upon one’s desire and time in which do do so.

        • “…I did not mean to imply that a warning was mandatory, but I did imply that it is prudent to do so if possible under the circumstances.”

          As good (in general) Florida is, law of self-defense wise, a warning shot down here is something you need to avoid if at all possible.

          There was a case a number of years back down here where a completely-justified warning shot was fired and it got the woman a state prison sentence. A domestic violence incident, if memory serves…

        • @Hush

          Of course.

          I was just pointing it out because there are people who still believe the myth that a warning or deescallation is required. Its the third time in the last few days its been mentioned in article comments here with some saying its required.

          But, it wasn’t always a myth. There was a time many years ago when a few states required a warning and some states had a weird ambiguity in their laws that implied a warning was to be given and would prosecute defenders if they didn’t even though the law did not require it.

          There were all sorts of crazy things in the law back then. When I got my first permit (before constitutional carry started) you were required to wound when feasible, it wasn’t written that way specifically but it was strongly implied and if you shot someone among the first questions was “why didn’t you wound them”
          . So during the “training” for a permit you shot two targets, one you could hit anywhere and the other was hits only where the instructor said and they were supposed to represent ‘wounding’. One day a state senator was doing some sort of campaign thing and the HW patrol was extolling the virtue of its firearms permitting and took the senator to a range to demonstrate and part of that was the ‘wounding’ qualification. The senator said “thats nuts”, and in the next legislative season the law was repealed and that started the ball rolling for what eventually became years later constitutional carry in the state.

  5. A tragedy for all the families involved with this senseless attack. You just can’t fix stupid. It looks like this is not the first time that Steven Panebianco made some terrible choices. It also appears like his face was rearranged in a possible previous encounter with the wrong person.

    • “You just can’t fix stupid. ”

      Looks to me like the good guy permanently ‘fixed’ two that will never again go out drinking looking for a fight… 🙂

  6. Here’s a thought I had… since all mass shootings are fake are concealed carry holders that stop them just shooting federal agents or how does that work?

    • “since all mass shootings are fake”

      You’re a very special kind of stupid, aren’t you, son?

    • For posting something that incredibly stupid, you have got to be a special kind of bored. The fuck is wrong with you? Go do something nice for someone you weirdo.

  7. What really happened, DA narrative, facts and video show: Justified, limited, self defense DGU, 8 shots fired.

    The left/liberal/woke narrative: Crazed gunman mass shooting, empties clips, reloads, and goes hunting for more victims (by the way, this is a narrative type that was being spun by the left/liberal/woke in some places prior to this announcement by the DA. The DA even says in the press conference that it did not happen.)

    • What’s not mentioned is the criminal histories of the assailants and yes they have felony raps….🤔

      Mr. Hughes may have some problems with the Army Reserve given his admission of drug useage and the positive blood test.

        • I do not believe that anyone mentioned whether or not the attackers were using crystal methamphetamine. The defender was not using meth.

          The video press-release did indicate that the defender had ingested a cannabis ingredient/derivative of some sort on the previous day or something like that. The video also indicated that the defender was not in any way impaired or under the influence of anything.

  8. @ Mark N wherever you are: according to you (and your poorly understood Saskatchewan ‘summary’) Canada Granny would now be serving twenty to life in the tollbooth for two intentional homicides and an attempted. Do you honestly believe that’s the deal up here? C’mon man…

  9. “The real heroes in this story are of course our beloved boys in blue, who dutifully filled out the paperwork with a 73% degree of accuracy”–John Boch.

    • Let’s look at the double standard that exists between ordinary citizens who use deadly force to defend their lives and that of police officers…
      An ordinary citizen that uses clearly justifiable deadly force will be immediately handcuffed and arrested, until the situation is sorted out. He will most likely be detained in a holding cell at the police station or be jailed until the prosecutor makes a decision whether to prosecute. Questioning by police will most certainly be forceful and immediate, with police interrogators purposely trying to trip up the citizen by attempting to elicit contradictory statements which is standard police interrogation tactics.
      A police officer in an identical situation will NOT be handcuffed or arrested. The police officer will be afforded a union attorney and will have 72 hours in which to get his story straight. In addition, a police-friendly prosecutor will most likely not prefer charges, as they are on the same team. Most likely an extended taxpayer-paid vacation (administrative leave) will result.
      Not so for the ordinary citizen.
      Double standard?
      You bet…
      Let’s not forget that police officers have “immunity” which shields them from consequences for their actions…not so for ordinary citizens,
      Whatever happened to “equal justice under law?”

  10. small guys seem to get picked on more then a guy that’s 6’4 and full of muscles.
    He just smiled and handed me a vegemite sandwich.

  11. Why do the big bruisers always want to kick the little guy around? Do they get points for stomping the defenseless and near defenseless? Now, if you stomp on someone twice your size you might get bragging rights. But, the little guy?

    • It is the nature of Nature, an artifact of natural selection.

      Big bucks like stomping little bucks. Nobody wants to lose…

  12. you should see the dumb family and friends posting on the YouTubes.

    aww but they was such good boys.

    except when they couldn’t learn to keep their hands off other people’s property. their fragile egos couldn’t take being told to rightfully eff off.

    now they have no egos to worry about cause them egos dead.

  13. I’m guessing a little better situational awareness and he could’ve possibly avoided this altogether however he did likely eliminate a problem for other members of the public in the future by shooting these predator vermin. No sympathy for them at all. I hope they died an agonizing death lasting several minutes or more and that this victim got to tell them “Looks like you fucked around and found out, didn’t you”.

    On another note, too bad that drunk driving dipshit Paul Pelosi didn’t have a firearm in his house when the Hammer Psycho broke in and attacked him.

      • and of course the site is not known to be ‘newsworthy’ and has been known to post false information.

        But its interesting, because Paul Pelosi has been known in the past to be a little tipsy at the ‘wrong’ places at the wrong hours. But maybe someone did follow him home and use the opportunity of him being drunk again.

        But also it would be fun for a bit to have some fun with this, if its true or not just to dig at Pelosi. But the Pelosi defenders are going to make it seem true by trying to discredit it.

      • Elon’s tweets are the opposite of reliable. Remember how he had to go to court and somehow spend his way into a not-guilty verdict on defamation because he couldn’t keep his tweets shut and called someone a pedo because the guy revealed that Elon had no clue what he was talking about with regard to rescuing trapped children in a flooded cave?

        I hope he reduces censorship, but the other half of reducing censorship is hoping that people don’t fall for obvious bs stories.

        • “the other half of reducing censorship is hoping that people don’t fall for obvious bs stories”

          You mean like Hunter’s laptop is Russian disinformation BS type stories? Twitter pushed that BS story while actively censoring the true story. Censorship is bad because the censors have ulterior motives, especially when they’re working for the deep state. Let adults decide who to trust. The feds still run the rest of Big Tech.

  14. Baaaaaaawhahaaaaaa search for their names on Facebook and then click on posts to see all the whiny tributes to these scum written by people who knew them. Why, they were practically little angels according to most.

    They got what they deserved. Good riddance, and let this he a lesson to all who think it’s cool to attack people for shits and giggles.

    • yeah the family and friends will deny until the cows come home, even with the video evidence of their family/friends being the instigating trash they were before they rightfully met their maker.

      funny how the dead trash were so good” but the photos the cops used to identify to the public were previous booking photos.

  15. Just from the pictures I’m not shocked that it was a group attack.

    Homeboy #2 looks like he’s pretty experienced at catching left crosses/hooks with his nose which, so far as I know, is not considered a good boxing technique.

    Maybe the mortician can straighten that shit out for him so he doesn’t attend his own funeral looking like a witch that flew into a wall.

  16. Shouldn’t the guys that survived be charged with some sort of murder for being involved in a crime where others died?

    • Yep.

      But! The DA said “de-escalate”. So probably not.

      That also signals a lawsuit by the wounded guy. IMO, Mr DA does not like gun-carriers.

    • PA’s ‘felony murder’ statute is more narrow than most but, assuming one calls this ‘aggravated assault’ it should still fall under the manslaughter statute \ third degree murder.

      Prosecutors have discretion, however… and felony murder statutes have a lot of criticism.

  17. It should be noted that they beat him pretty thoroughly before he shot them.

    I wonder what the prosecutor would have done if he managed to prevent his beating by killing two of the attackers.

    • FedUp,

      I wonder what the prosecutor would have done if he managed to prevent his beating by killing two of the attackers.

      It is absolutely obvious in the video that this piece-of-$hit Prosecutor laments the fact that the righteous defender used a firearm — A FIREARM I TELL YOU! — to defend himself and was much more concerned about the three violent attackers than the defender.

      My best guess is that Mr. Piece-of-$hit Prosecutor would have charged the righteous defender with some violent felony had the defender opened fire before his internal ear bleed and concussion.

  18. WHEW WHAT AN ARTICLE , GLAD HE MADE OUT OK ..
    JUST ONE REASON TO HAVE INSURANCE LIKE USCCA OR WHATEVER IN CASE GO TO COURT .

  19. If only the third assailant had been shot and died. Hat trick and lovely end. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

      • I would not bet much money on his epiphany.
        Birds of a feather……
        I would guess he will point at the little guy and say he instigated the event.

  20. If you carry you absolutely need insurance and also to make sure you are never an instigator or co-combatant.

    When the problem in the parking lot initially presented itself he should’ve at a minimum gone back inside and gotten management out there involved and/or gotten the police to come—and then gotten in his car and gotten the hell out of there. You’ve got to be smarter than the criminal trash looking to start something. That said, he did what he had to do. Hat tip.

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