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Or something like that. Now most people, if robbed at gunpoint might call 911 and be done with it. Let John Law take it from there. But if you want to ask the question, “what do you get when you cross a retired Marine from Texas with a pistol-wielding punk?” you get this story from the Houston Chronicle, via . . .

A man who robbed a 72-year-old Texas business owner at gunpoint is dead after the owner, a former Marine, jumped in his car and chased after him, ramming him against a metal fence.

I’d quibble with one thing in that story. My ex’s son is a U.S. Marine. From him, I learned that there’s no such thing as a “former” Marine. Retired, okay. But once a Marine, always a Marine.

The details are pretty straightforward. An armed robber forces his way into a man’s office, puts a gun to his head and demands money, screaming “You’re dead!” He takes the contents of Kenneth Kobobel Sr.’s brother’s wallet, then Kobobel hands him a $20. Not satisfied, the gunman frisks Kobobel, and discovers a roll of bills totally $800.

NOW the robber is really angry.

“You lied to me! You’re dead!,” sez the bandit, before hitting the 72-year-old in the head with the gun (I believe the term would be “pistol-whipping”) and fleeing, but not before admonishing the victims to wait to call 911.

Kobobel calls 911, then runs outside and asks neighbors “Which way did he go?” Just then, his son pulls up in his car. The Senior Kobobel jumps in his own vehicle and gives chase.

Kobobel said he spotted the robber in a strip mall parking lot, and when the robber saw Kobobel coming he raised his gun and fired at least once. Kobobel rammed him with his car, then did so again when the man prepared to fire again.

Now before we devolve into the obvious post-mortem, armchair quarterbacking of this series of events, lemme make one or two things perfectly clear: God Bless Our Marines, both active duty and retired. If more people had the guts this Marine had, we’d have a lot less violent crime in America. I’d also like to point out that, in the heat of the moment, people do a lot of things they might not consider, sans that adrenalin rush. Oh, and I’m always happy to see a scumbag get what he deserves.

Having said that…

Let’s be realistic here. There are a number of problems with this case. First and foremost, Kobobel took an enormous risk, going after a violent, armed criminal, even armed with his car. I mean, a some-3,605 lb. (give-or-take) Lexus is one Hell of a blunt-force weapon, but facing down a guy with a gun is not necessarily your wisest move.

Secondly, I’m no lawyer, nor am I an expert on Castle Doctrine, but my understanding is that your rights to open a can o’ whup-ass on some punk pretty much end when they leave and your life is no longer in danger.

So while I doubt seriously that any Assistant D.A. who likes continued employment prospects or who might cherish the thought of a career in Texas politics would be stupid enough to press a case against him, Kobobel did take some Big Tex-sized chances going all Charles Bronson on this guy.

He’s probably better off that the guy took a shot at him, and he can likely justify raming him a second time (!) since the idiot went for his gun again, but sheesh – if it was me in the car, I think I might be looking at hard time for wasting the punk.

And then again, what if, in the heat of the moment and an adrenalin-fueled desire to get the guy, he found the wrong guy? I wasn’t there, and it may well be that Kobobel had the guy’s face, clothing, and such burned into his retina. But I’ve been in enough high-pressure situations before to tell you that your recall in such times can be anywhere between dead-on to D.O.A.

Then there’s the whole thing about “what if one of the victims had a concealed weapon and had the opportunity to use it?” Interesting question, but we’ll never know. Since no gun was mentioned, I doubt that Mr. Kobobel had a gun handy. He sounds like the kind of guy who would have used it without hesitation, had it been available and the opportunity presented itself.

Of course, Self-Defense 101 is to use whatever weapons you have at hand. I suppose that extends to a set of car keys, but I’m thinkin’ Mr. Kobobel is lucky he lives in the Lone Star State.

Kobobel got out of his car and looked around and didn’t see the man, asking residents of the nearby apartment complex if they’d seen him run by. They pointed to the robber lying nearby in the parking lot.

Kobobel, a former lawyer who lives in Spring, walked over and removed the gun from the man’s reach, and saw that he was seriously injured.

“I thought it was good that I caught this jerk who’d robbed me,” Kobobel said, “but what I didn’t like was that this man was laying there and his life was ebbing away. I’m a Christian, and I wouldn’t want to see anybody die.”

Police have yet to release the robber’s identity.

Kobobel, who owns the small strip mall on Little York that houses his business office, a church and driving school, said he’s “emotionally tore up” about the man’s death.

“I would have given him the $800 if he’d still be alive,” he said. “I didn’t want anybody to die on my account.”

The moral? Well, for the robber, like Eli Wallach’s character Tuco said to the One-Armed Man in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly said, “When you have to shoot, shoot. Don’t talk.”

For Mr. Kobobel, only a fool attorney has himself for a client. Get yourself a good one, until after you know the D.A.’s not gonna go after you. And stop talking. ASAP. Police haven’t cleared you yet, and they are looking into the story that there may have been more than one car involved in ramming the dead perp. Just because they say there are no charges pending, doesn’t mean they won’t light you up later.

Oh, and as far as we know, neither the Brady Bunch nor Mayor Bloomberg have called for the banning of assault vehicles.


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  1. “the robber saw Kobobel coming he raised his gun and fired at least once. “

    I (by the grace of God) am not a lawyer, but I think at that point, all “castle doctrine” bets are off: If someone is shooting at you, you stop the threat, either with a .45 or a 302.

    • the robber disengaged from the fight-threat over. now HE is defending himself from someone trying to run him over…you cannot use deadly force to stop a fleeing felon except in a very narrow set of cicumstances. this isnt one of them.

      • The way the article makes it sound he was just looking for the guy, until the robber shot at him. Then he ran him down. As a juror I think it’d be a reasonable assumption that if the guy shot once he’d probably shoot again, and attacking him with the car could be the fastest way to stop it.

      • Actually in Texas you can use deadly force to stop an armed fleeing felon after the committed a crime on you its part of the castle doctrine of our state. Following a felon to report on where they are fleeing too is not illegal nor is running them over when they fire on you for following them. People assume the victem followed to kill the felon when he never stated that was his purpose.

  2. If, as some states, Texas considers a vehicle a castle for the purpose of their castle doctrine statute, Mr. Kobobel may actually be protected from prosecution. After all, who says the victim must use a firearm to defend himself when attacked in his castle, why not hit the attacker with the castle, er, vehicle itself?

  3. The right to bear arms..
    A hundred years ago, hunting down people like that would have gotten you a medal. Now you spend half the article telling him how stupid he is and how he needs a good lawyer. Why is the point of bearing arms if you don’t use them?

    You said it yourself. If there were more people like that, crime wouldn’t exist. Not because people are inherently nice, but because mutally assured destruction is actually a really good deterrent. Didn’t work in WWI, but did in the cold war so it seems we just need a big enough threat.

    Also, you need less negative articles. It doesn’t do much for your image

    • I’m all for self-defense. I’m also for self-defense where, at the end of the day, not only do I win and live to tell about it, but I don’t suffer any ill-effects of using my weapons and skills to defend myself, my family, and my property. I applaude Mr. Kobobel for defending himself, but it would have been irresponsible (not to mention somewhat hypocritical) for me to ignore the obvious problems with the case, namely, that an aggressive D.A. could argue that he went way over the line.

      I’m also curious about your “negative articles” comment. In what context was this article negative? I think I provided an analysis of the events that was fairly even-handed. I was neither a cheerleader for vigilantism, nor was I screaming for Mr. Kobobel’s head on a pike. You want we should write only Happy Time Gun Articles? You’ve got the wrong blog, bub.

  4. Article to be amended: “Was the owner of a strip mall”…this is a definite STFU situation. He probably will not be prosecuted in TX but he will probably get his ass sued off.

    The Evil Man has the same Rights as the Good in this country until judged otherwise.

    Am i going to loose any sleep over kharma catching up with some d bag criminal?
    But it sounds like Kobobel was operating beyond his justifications… which is the point of the article….

  5. Texas law permits you to use deadly force to recover property if the property is indeed yours, that failure to use deadly force would be highly likely to expose you to serious death or injury, and that failure to act to recover the property would likely result in permanent loss of the property, and that there is no other way to recover the property.

    This is a rough outline of the statutes; perhaps a Texas lawyer could weigh in with more detailed info, or see

    Kobobel’s actions pass all these tests, especially considering the low likelihood of stolen cash ever being recovered.

    Note that castle law, in a car or otherwise, doesn’t enter into this.

    Mr Leibold’s assertion is probably incorrect: in general, the law does not permit a criminal to claim “self-defense” in the course of commiting a crime. Again, maybe a Texas lawyer could weigh in here? Anyone? Beuhler….

    • From Texas Penal Code: “PC §9.06. CIVIL REMEDIES UNAFFECTED. The fact that conduct is justified under this chapter does not abolish or impair any remedy for the conduct that is available in a civil suit.”
      Relevant Bit of Texas Penal Code 9.42 May use deadly force…
      “…(B) to prevent the other who is fleeing immediately after committing
      burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, or theft DURING THE NIGHTTIME
      from escaping with the property; and
      (3) he REASONABLY BELIEVES that:
      (A) the land or property cannot be protected or recovered by
      any other means; or
      (B) the use of force other than deadly force to protect or recover
      the land or property would expose the actor or another to a substantial
      risk of death or serious bodily injury.

      Most people would “Reasonably Believe” that if they have the suspect in sight, and the police are on their way, that the suspect is likely to be apprehended and the property recoverd by the Cops. If there is some reason to believe that the police will not respond promptly, (like if you are out in the boonies) then you can do what you need to do to recover your property… Only IF its NIGHTTIME…

      • The relevant part of the law includes the following:

        PC §9.42. DEADLY FORCE TO PROTECT PROPERTY. A person is justified in using deadly force against another to protect land or tangible, movable property:
        (1) if he would be justified in using force against the other under
        Section 9.41; and
        (2) when and to the degree he reasonably believes the deadly
        force is immediately necessary:
        (A) to prevent the other’s imminent commission of arson, burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, theft during the nighttime, or criminal mischief during the nighttime….

        As you can see, burglary, robbery, and aggravated robbery are “day or night” offenses, whereas theft and criminal mischief are “nighttime only” for purposes of self-defense. At least that’s what I recall from my three Texas CHL classes.

  6. I think that at 72, if someone threatens to kill me, and then pistol whips me(!) I will say the hell with it and run him down too. What are they going to do-give me a life sentence? Now remember, I know what a skull fracture does to you, and this yahoo hit him in the head with a steel weapon (at least part steel, even if it was a Glock-and what if it was a Hi Point?), so he also could be permanently injured. I think I would prepare a “mean old bastard defense.” I can’t help but wonder if back when this old boy was a youngster that this would have been considered A-OK for responding to violence committed during an armed robbery.

  7. The good thing we have one less criminal scumbag on the streets.This brave Marine did the right thing and he should get a medal. He’s also lucky he lives in the great state of Texas, because they don’t like criminals and our hero won’t face any charges. He’s also lucky he doesn’t live in the PEOPLES REPUBLIC OF KALIFORNIA, because those no good COMMIES would give him life for doing the right thing.

    • The great things about getting old are that a life sentence isn’t quite as long as it once was, there are no co-pays for the medical care in prison, and nobody in Washington is talking about cutting back on prisoners’ entitlement programs to balance the budget. So actually, old people are better off in prison than in a nursing home.

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