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On August 1st, 2017, in Victorville, California, a suspect attempted to rob the Star Market on 7th St. In the image above, the armed robbery suspect is “fleeing” the scene. A clerk pulled out his gun, and the suspect took off. The suspect was armed and brandishing a gun when the clerk accessed his defensive weapon .

Many will tell you that once an attacker starts to flee, they are not a deadly threat and cannot be legally engaged with gunfire. In cases where the attack is committed with hands and feet, or with a contact weapon, that may be true.

It doesn’t apply to an attacker armed with a firearm or other weapon that can reach out and apply deadly force from a distance. An attacker may appear to be fleeing. They may be seeking a tactical advantage. They may turn and fire at any moment.

Armed with a weapon that is deadly at a distance, they are still a deadly threat. In the video, the “fleeing” suspect fires a shot at the clerk in the next fraction of a second. The shot shatters the store window, and no one was hit.

The robbery suspect was clearly a threat before he started to flee. The video is an illustration of the danger of a “fleeing” attacker armed with a firearm.

Do not assume, just because an attacker is moving away from you, that the threat has ended. In this case, the threat continued until the attacker was out of sight.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included. Gun Watch

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  1. “Do not assume, just because an attacker is moving away from you, that the threat has ended. ”

    Good tactical advice, but you will lose in court if any bullet strikes aft of the vertical centerline of the left or right side of the body.

      • “Not with that video”

        1. The TTAG advisory was not confined to the one specific incident
        2. Depending of the presence of video is a losing game
        3. As for the video, let me ‘splain how a jury would view things
        a. the employee should have just let the robber go; nothing in the store is worth dying for
        b. the employee actually instigated the shootout; should have never had a gun; should have never used it. reasonable people would just be glad they didn’t get shot
        c. the robber only shot at the store employee because the employee was an imminent threat; robber had no real intention of using the gun for more than intimidation
        d. no one (store employee) should have the right to be detective, prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner; robber deserved full due process under the law, not vigilante justice.


        • Don’t give a shit. Tried by 12 than carried by six. A dude running away shooting at you can kill you. Period.

        • Being tried by 12 is only smart if you can control jury selection.

          Juries are not likely to be peopled with activist second amendment supporters, self-defense supporters, or gun owners.

          FWIW, received a jury notice once. For whatever reason, the questionnaire asked what types of reading most appealed to me. I responded, “NRA Rifleman” and “Guns and Ammo.” My form was taken to the judge (along with 200 others). Within ten minutes I was called aside and “excused”. Not even a gun use case.

        • I’m aware. But it beats being dead. Does it not? When someone’s trying to kill you your not gonna have time to sit there and think about the finer points voir dire.

        • “I’m aware. But it beats being dead. Does it not?”

          Been told a life sentence is worse than death.

          However, not shooting at a fleeing robber does not mean the only alternative is being killed, yourself. For instance, find cover, retreat to more cover or full escape, improve your position against the return of the robber.

          Just saying the offhand boast, 12 and 6, is not a plan. Merely an unfounded hope.

        • Sam, if you are seriously worried about your possible scenario, you are living in the wrong state. Nothing but concern trolling.

        • “Sam, if you are seriously worried about your possible scenario…”

          Not “concerned”, just pointing out where boastful bravado can backfire, in realistic conditions. If a gun owner is determined to shoot an attacker in the back because of rare instances of the attacker running, then turning to fire, the gun owner faces dire consequences. After reading so much legal material on defensive gun usage, it seems irresponsible to plan to shoot a retreating threat.

          Just saying.

        • Wow Sam… must be a pretty cool under pressure Dude if you can run all those scenarios through your head while the bad guy is popping off rounds at you!?

          Instead of all that, I’ll just concentrate on taking the bad guy out of the picture and worry about all the other “possible” stuff afterwards. Since I’ll most likely still be breathing, my first call will be to my self-defense insurance people and together we can handle the legalities. Something I probably wouldn’t have been able to do had I thought about everything else “but ending the bad guy before he ended me”. Just saying…

        • “Wow Sam… must be a pretty cool under pressure Dude if you can run all those scenarios through your head…”

          Scenarios have already run. Plan is formed: when the bad guy disengages, seek better cover/protection, prepare for re-attack, and call 911.

          There is always the possibility one shoots just as the bad guy turns, receiving the message between the shoulder blades. That’s risk enough. Shooting the bad guy from behind because he/she “may”, “might”, “could” turn around and continue shooting is going to be a tough sell to almost any jury.

        • “Bee told a life sentence is worse than death”

          Depends on the state your in. Honestly If you are afraid defending yourself why even carry? This mythical prosecutor that’s so prevalent on TTAG is going to pick apart everything that happened. That’s what prosecutors do. If that mere fact scares you more than death then just stop carrying and let those that can handle it do so.

        • Stop carrying because of legal risk? No. But carrying without serious consideration of the legal risk seems irresponsible. Not advocating turning your back on a fleeing attacker.

          If a gun owner has not thought through the implications of having to use a gun in a crowded parking lot (what’s behind the target?), that person is quite irresponsible. Same for finding the need for DGU in a theater or cafe.

          Why do you think commercial pilots practice emergency procedures? The think through expected and possible scenarios, and what to do about them. They don’t make it up on the spot. Gun owners who carry in public should be no less prudent.

        • “Scenarios have already run. Plan is formed: when the bad guy disengages, seek better cover/protection, prepare for re-attack, and call 911”.

          I’m sure that sounds really good in your head, unfortunately it’s a near certainty that it’s not going to go the way you’ve played it out in the old noggin in real life. Fortunately, I live in a State that understands that people don’t just stand still in a gun battle and that bullets aren’t necessarily going to end up in a tight little grouping in the middle of the bad guys chest. I’m definitely going to be getting off the X, but my concentration is going to be putting rounds in the bad guy first and foremost if he starts shooting at me. But by all means you continue to formulate those scenarios.

        • As noted long ago: “The plan is nothing; planning is everything.”

          If you have no plan, you are a loose cannon….literally. Being completely driven by adrenaline, emotion, and overblown image of oneself is not a formula for responsible public carry of firearms. But then, you do have a plan….keep shooting at fleeing bad guys until the threat is dead; because you can.

  2. It’s always California this shit happens I am told when Jesus comes back that commifornia will parish and all the sinners with it. : )

  3. If you feel that your life is in danger, you fire and continue to fire until the threat is eliminated. It’s better to be judged by 12, than carried by 6.

  4. Yep. As long as someone has a gun in their hands, they’re a threat. They could turn and shoot in less time than it takes to react or could just be running for better cover from which to shoot you. If they really wanted not to be a threat they could drop the piece.

    Now, the whole “can’t shoot someone who is fleeing” idea is unfortunately widespread. A trainee police officer I was speaking to once tried to argue with me that “you can’t shoot anyone in the back!” in a very misguided interpretation of Tennessee v. Garner. One wonders what he would do if he were behind a criminal who was shooting people in a different direction. Would he ask the bad guy to kindly turn around like it’s in a western movie? I don’t know.

    That said, there are some states which require you to move to safety if you can so so before using force. If the bad guy is fleeing, can you just duck and let him go? I would argue that turning your back- even figuratively- on such a person is a very high-risk activity and is not the safe option. That said, if you get into a shooting where you have to shoot someone in the back, lawyer up. And hope there’s video.

    • There is another YouTube video, I thought I saved the link, but can’t find it, where a store clerk complies with the robber’s every command, turns over the cash without argument, does NOT pull a gun, and as the thief leaves the store he turns and puts three rounds in the clerk center of mass, without provocation.

      I believe it would be wise in these situations to keep in mind that ANYONE who has sunk to the point of robbing liquor stores or Quickie Marts for a living is not playing with a full deck, or is operating by, under or for some sort of chemical enhancement.

      And my advice for EVERY business that faces these sorts of risks, and you know who you are, THROW AWAY THAT CRAPPY CCTV EQUIPMENT! HD security cameras and systems are cheap these days. My Smart phone takes better video than most of these security systems. Like a good fire extinguisher or a reliable pistol it is never a good idea to buy cheap when considering a potentially life-saving piece of equipment. And don’t think it might not be worth your life to be convicted of shooting the punk and then winding up in prison surrounded by his Homies.

  5. There is no national rule about using deadly force against a felon in the commission of a crime or the immediate flight therefrom. Know your state law, because that’s the law to which you may be called to answer.

    • Exactly Ralph! Here in North Carolina, we have armed self-defense laws that are definitely geared towards the good guy, rather than the bad guy. Other States…..not so much. I doubt that I’ll ever leave NC, but if I ever do it will be to a State that gives the advantage to the armed good guy. I don’t know how people who relish our 2nd Amendment and armed self-defense rights can live in States like Kommiefornia, NY, NJ, HI, etc. I know that I never could!

    • You can shoot someone here in Texas who is fleeing with stolen property or committed certain crimes, but the rules are somewhat detailed and complicated. It’s all in Chapter 9 of the Penal Code.

  6. Victorville has a nasty gang problem. The control freak DemoCruds continue to erase Freedom and Liberty in an attempt (or so they say) in order to stop crime. WTF?

  7. And the pearl-clutchers will argue that the clerk needlessly escalated the situation by pulling his own weapon, and the criminal, who didn’t want to hurt anyone, was simply fearing for his own life when he fired on the clerk while fleeing.

    Remember more guns always make things worse.

    • “And the pearl-clutchers will argue that the clerk needlessly escalated the situation by pulling his own weapon, and the criminal, who didn’t want to hurt anyone, was simply fearing for his own life when he fired on the clerk while fleeing.”

      Exchange “jurors” for “pearl-clutchers”.

  8. This is a fake video, there are no off roster unregistered guns in the hands of felonious armed robbers in Gavin Newsome’s worker paradise.

  9. If anyone points a gun at me, I will assume they want and intend to kill. So I will respond in kind. The system will judge me on a 5 second decision. That’s a price I am willing to pay for my life

  10. Victorville… about 35 miles north/west of where I USED TO LIVE. Operative words: Used to. The “gun laws” are only one tiny sliver of the problems in Southern California. The worst “gangs” are the cops and the “elected officials.” All of the gangs thrive because so few people are willing/able to defend themselves. Kudos to this clerk… I just wonder how long he will be in jail just for having a gun. Very few have that privilege.


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