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About a year ago, a man in Houston made an extremely dumb decision: to pull out a realistic looking but fake gun and rob people eating at a local taco restaurant. He didn’t know that one of the diners had a pistol, and the moment he turned his back to threaten other diners, he got a severe case of sudden onset lead poisoning.

But, contrary to the advice of most instructors, the man kept shooting. And shooting. You can see the full video on Rumble here. This led to the usual “activists” and nonsense peddlers who wanted to make this a racial issue, claim it was “overkill”, try to bring up the feelings of the family members, etc.

The case was eventually submitted to a grand jury, who called for no charges against the man. So, the controversy over the number of shots and shooting after the robber was down, won’t be used against him in a trial, as there will be no criminal charges or a trial.

People Carrying Still Need To Be Careful

While things worked out in this case, there’s still a cautionary tale here.

I’m not at all saying that the man should have been charged, but the chances of going to trial and getting convicted definitely went up for him the longer he shot. Few would dispute that the initial shots were fully justified, and given all of the evidence that the grand jury considered, there must have been good justification for those final shots. It’s not entirely clear in the video, but the man could have been reaching for the gun or doing something else that made him a continuing deadly threat.

That having been said, if you carry for self-defense, don’t take the good outcome here as an invitation to fire extra rounds. Every case is different, and the totality of the circumstances in every case has to be considered. If circumstances differ for a future incident you might be involved in, even if the difference is very small, things could turn out very different for you.

For example, here’s a case that definitely went too far:

In 2009, two teenage criminals tried to hold up a pharmacy, but found to their horror that the pharmacist was armed. One of the pellets from the pharmacist’s Taurus Judge pistol struck one of the robbers in the head, knocking him unconscious but not killing him. The pharmacist ran down the street, shooting at the other robber and almost hitting some bystanders with his shotshell-loaded Judge.

When the other robber got away, he went back inside, stepped over the unconscious robber, and got another gun out. Then, he shot the robber six more times, killing him while he obviously presented no further threat. For this, pharmacist Jerome Ersland got life in prison, with no possibility of parole until he’s 98 years old.

But, not all cases are this clear cut. There’s big gray area between cases that are obvious self-defense and cases where someone clearly goes too far. You should definitely do whatever you need to do to defend against evil, but you also don’t want to live in that gray zone, where tiny details and guesswork can mean the difference between freedom and life behind bars.

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65 COMMENTS

  1. Quannel X will never protest the death of a white or a Latino, no matter how wrong, or horrific. In fact, he will protest if the black killer is prosecuted. Zero credibility there.

    We discussed that shooting here on TTAG didn’t we? I can’t support or defend the man for all those shots – but I can’t justify prosecuting him either. The video isn’t all that clear, maybe the bad guy was moving in a way that looked like he was reaching for the gun. That’s all it takes – a perception that the bad guy still poses a threat.

    Is that perception reasonable? Hell, none of us knows, since we weren’t there. Monday morning quarterbacks have no concept of the fog of war.

    • Quannel X will always make excuses and look the other way, when crimes are committed by a certain social level of black criminals.

    • Agree, the last shot or two was sketchy. The best argument I could come up with was that he was in the heat of it, fighting for his life, and all of the shots were part of a single, justified reaction to a life threatening situation. But I’ll admit it’s a stretch.

    • “I can’t support or defend the man for all those shots”

      Well, you could, but you won’t, because you’d rather kiss the law’s ass.

      The guy was an armed robber. Putting him down permanently was completely justified, morally. The fact that the law disagrees is an indictment of the law, not the shooter.

  2. Good. I was waiting for this one to drop for a long time. Houston is a blue s hole city and the armpit of Texas. I figured this guy was going to have a difficult court battle. They kept letting this criminal out on bail to prey one other victims. But now there is one fewer felon thanks to this hero.

  3. They always claim racial issue because the white killed the black but never mention the racial issue of the black committing crimes against the white that got him killed.
    Regardless of scumbags color he needed killin and charges shoulda not considered much sooner but the law was mad cause he didn’t stand around and wait to have his rights violated or be tricked into saying the wrong thing by the police.
    The Pharmacist Ersland is a prime example of what not to do and say after a shooting. Counsel, law men and the general public begged him to quit talking even afterwards and he still to this day will not hush. We even tried to petition him out and he blew that up talking. You wanna use him as an example then learn what the real story is and use it to educate folks to hush.

    • It isn’t set up for comments. Remember pre-Trump era when almost all sites had a comment section?

      • They don’t want our opinions. Or you can go to Camwhamland at Bearing Arms and pay for the privilege of getting moderated and deleted. At least here you can get those “services” for free

        • I bet they don’t want to $pend the extra time to moderate comments. That’s too bad. You can often learn things from the comment section. However, the Utube comment section isn’t that great anymore. It seems more like a worship the Utuber section.

      • Calmate vatos. Dan’s new gig is still a baby. They’ll have a comments section soon enough.

        • “They’ll have a comments section soon enough.”

          Dan’s earned my trust, if they want an e-mail to comment, (as long as they don’t post it) they can have it…

  4. I can’t be the only one who sees the Mexican restaurant video and thinks that not only was it justified, it’s inevitable. When all the blue cities have suspended for all intents and purposes the arrests, prosecutions and jailing of violent criminals, the result is the population is going to feel they need to take policing into their own hands. It’s a new world since 2020, Middle America is fully “try that in a small town” mindset. If the democrats set loose their rioters and the cops are ordered to give them room to destroy again, mark my words we’ll see a hundred Rittenhouse cases and some that will cross the line.

    • Not the the shooting wasn’t self defense, the point is the crim should never have been there, he had a rap sheet 2 miles long he should have been in prison

      • He brought a toy gun to a gunfight and his armed robbery. Not the sharpest felon at the taco stand.

      • “if he didn’t remind me of costner i might watch one.”

        Costner was actually a pleasant surprise giving Whitney Huston’s eulogy at her funeral, it’s worth a watch :

  5. Remember when they went after Toni McBride (LAPD & competitive shooter) for putting too many bullets into a meth head with a box cutter? It took about 2.5 years to clear her.

    • No tears for bacon. When a real human gets nipped for murder during self defense I’ll care.

      • How is seeing all cops as pigs any different from seeing all [insert ethnicity or characteristic] as bad people simply because they’re [insert ethnicity or characteristic]? Shouldn’t we be looking at these things on an individual basis?

        • there are more cop haters here than raysisses. both standpoints are idiotic but i don’t really get the analogy.
          i’m a character bigot.

        • Perfect people must choose between their knee jerk Bigotry and the Second Amendment. After all Gun Control is Rooted in Racism meaning there is ZERO room for both.

        • It is perfectly valid to dislike, or even hate, someone due to the CHOICES that they make. Nobody is press ganged or born into the police uniform. They all choose to be cops. People don’t choose their race or gender, despite what people with emotional/mental damage may claim. So it is not analogous to compare raycysts with ACAB types. Hating the uniform is valid and separate from hating the individual wearing it due to their genetic makeup.

  6. Dude got lucky in TX, he could have been doing time with the OK pharmacist or with Bubba in any other state

    • Harris County is blue, the guy got lucky for being in that county. People think Texas is a blood red state. It’s not. Almost every significant urban area is a leftist shithole. The Harris County DA is a F-ing tyrant – yet the Democrats there are trying to run her out of town because she isn’t Gestapo enough. If this had been in a West Texas town, it probably wouldn’t have gone to a grand jury. I say probably because that last shot was questionable. Concealed carriers aren’t executioners, but I don’t know what was in that guy’s mind at the time, I don’t know what the grand jury heard.

      • It’s kind of the other way around, he’s lucky it’s in Harris County. Harris County has a system where individual jurors meet regularly to determine who gets indicted, not just the district attorney. It’s a good system that helps limit a rouge prosecutor.

  7. It’s very simple. When the threat stops, your right to use deadly physical force ends.

    If the taqueria robber was unconscious on the ground when the victim shot him those last times, then it was wrong. If he was conscious and yelling threats while reaching for a gun, then it was justified. The video isn’t clear enough to tell us what the situation was.

    Though on first look it sure looks like a coup de grace shot to me.

    • Could always employ the police loophole of 3, 4, 5, 12 officers all magdumping into the suspect. Hard to tell when the threat ended or who fired the final shots in those cases.

      So use the buddy system in DGU’s.

    • We can’t expect everyday folks to be Delta Force Operators. People are scared when faced with a deadly threat, and it’s not reasonable to ask them to be calm and smart when their lives (and the lives of everyone around them) are one the line and they have to make split second decisions. That an average person can recognize when the threat is over, in the moment, and immediately stop the lethal response is ideal, but it’s just not grounded in reality. Give people a big benefit of the doubt in those moments.

  8. Watched this video many times. IMHO, legally, that last shot is hard to justify. All that said, also IMHO, once you bring a gun to a crime which then justifies the first defensive shot, all bets are off. Regardless of the circumstances thereafter, the good guys should get a complete pass. IF the first shot is righteous, then all of them are. To judge from afar the extremely stressful actions of a self defense shooting is just plain wrong. And if that were the law, the bad guys might be just rethinking their decision making paradigm.

    • If I’m on the jury I’m going to allow the victim to do all kind of “wrong” things when the criminal imposed on him an un-asked for adrenaline dump. In my world the perp has forgone the luxury to receive only “correct” responses to their criminal act. That’s the hazards of the lifestyle that the perp has chosen.

      Plus, I’m gonna keep my judicial philosophy to myself when queried at jury selection time.

  9. Case in Miami – shop owner killed a frequent burglar with a booby trap. Grand jury declined, prosecutor tried again. Then again. At that point (3 juries declined to indict) the DA announced he was giving up. No more breaking in, either, for a while. Then the shop owner (a Cuban refugee iirc) went on talk radio explaining how to build a booby trap – the DA told him he could call for a grand jury as many times as he wanted to, and demanded a retraction.

    Shop owner complied, promised publicly he would not build anymore traps – and the breaking in immediately went right back to twice a week…

    The above occurred in the 70s. This stuff is not new.

    Don’t be surprised to see this incident go before another grand jury, Assuming Texas law allows that to happen.

    • Not unless some new evidence was found, which, seeing how this whole thing is on video, is unlikley.

      • That is assuming the prosecutor is deciding only based on the law and facts rather than politics. I don’t know anything about this prosecutor, but the assumption doesn’t seem safe in general these days.

        • This is Harris County, it’s not up to just the prosecutor. See my comment on their system above.

    • Agreed. And of course there is the threat of civil action. As the old saying goes, the only way to truly win a gunfight is to avoid it.

  10. I think it was cold blooded honestly. That said, I’m not surprised that he beat the GJ because in our times we are into not prosecuting anyone for anything. He’s just playing by the rules that were laid out regrettably. Would I go that far? Hell no. Do I understand why he did? Probably. Do I think he could still face civil actions and retaliation from the relatives or friends otherwise? Highly likely.

    • Andrew,
      I’m unclear how you could possibly think a forced defensive gun use is cold blooded. The instant you are forced to pull your weapon, rational thinking is not in control of your actions. Someone threatened your life and you responded. It wasn’t premeditated. Your body is reacting to this systemic shock by producing massive amounts of adrenalin because it is operating in survival mode. Now I might be willing to take the initial shots and then reassess if I was the only one in danger, but I can assure you, if someone I loved was also in danger, that’s going to be unlikely. I will make absolutely 100% damn sure you’re no longer a threat. Sure it’s easy to Monday morning quarterback, but try experiencing it for real and then come back here and tell us how it went. No amount of training will truly prepare you for the emotional trauma of an unforeseen, instantaneous, potentially life ending event. IMHO…

  11. I’ve never understood the idea that a particular number of shots could be excessive and, therefore, criminal when the first shot wasn’t. The standard, pretty much everywhere, is that introducing a firearm to an encounter elevates it to deadly force, often even if the firearm is not discharged. Given that, if you fire a shot, you have engaged in deadly force – as far as the law is concerned, you have employed a means to kill, what difference does it make how many shots you fire? You can’t kill a dead man again. Is there such a thing as “deadlier” force? I don’t think so. In this case, it seems that everyone got it right. Good guy took out the perp who, as far as anyone knew, had a gun, grand jury ignored the number of shots and regarded the shooting as justified and everyone who is supposed to go home safe did.

    I know that most of the anti-gun types are woefully uninformed but, I can’t help but think that this is where some of their animus toward “high-capacity” magazines comes from. They don’t understand what a firearm is and does, how ammunition works and what the nature of deadly force is both legally and functionally so, they assume that more bullets equals more evil. I’ve had conversations with non-gun people over the years (some anti, some just uninformed) who recoil at the notion that I have thousands of rounds of ammunition in my home. When I explain (or try to) what a thousand rounds of a particular munition means relative to multiple firearms with the same chambering, practice at the range, hunting, general preparedness and so forth, some get it but some act like I am an international arms dealer. Gun guys, on the other hand, think I am a bit short of ammo.

    • I wholeheartedly agree. Unfortunately legislators don’t do their actual job and examine all of the unintended consequences before enacting laws. So it is left to the judiciary to “seek” real justice and oft that don’t happen neither. I’ve talked with a number of psychology professionals and they all agree, the mind isn’t in charge in situations like this. The law judges our actions from a distant and sober reference frame. But that is not what is happening to you during the event. Survival mode kicks in and millennia of inherited DNA goes active. But as you say, the left doesn’t care about that at all and the conservatives can’t be bothered to actually do their job. Nobody seems to care if good, honest, never hurt a fly people have their lives ruined for simply being in the wrong place and having generations of natural selection kick in.

    • It isn’t any particular number of shots. It’s a question of whether the perp still poses a threat. If he goes down, is no longer moving, no longer holds a weapon, then the threat has been neutralized. You stop shooting. Where confusion comes in, is whether that particular perp had stopped moving. Did he still hold his weapon? Was he reaching for the weapon?

      While we may or may not care too much about precise details, as the defensive gun user, you must be prepared to explain your actions to a judge and a jury. “The bad guy fell to the floor, and dropped his weapon in doing so, but he rolled over with his hand extended toward the weapon, and I thought he was going to shoot at me some more. So, I continued my actions to neutralize that threat. I stopped shooting as soon as I was sure that he wasn’t reaching for his weapon any longer.”

      • you must be prepared to explain your actions
        Though, in our current judiciary framework, that may be true, I believe that “you” are unqualified to do so after such action. “You” weren’t the one making the decisions. “You” were merely the tool, the instrument, of what your internal survival instincts drove “you” to do. Just like the stories of people who suddenly summon the strength to lift a car off someone they love. In that moment your actions are not under your control and as such how can we hold you accountable for them?

      • If he goes down, is no longer moving, no longer holds a weapon, then the threat has been neutralized.

        Please don’t think I’m picking on you but this needs to be addressed too.
        I HIGHLY recommend you don’t use any single one of these events, to deem the threat neutralized. Nobody has ever played dead. Nobody has ever had another weapon. /sarc

        From the movie Congo:
        There are many levels of dead, one’s not actually dead, until they’re dead.

      • Sheet, man, I’ve seen dozens of movies where the perp comes back alive and tries to kill the good guy.

  12. One thing to keep in mind: Texas is somewhat unique in that state law DOES allow for the use of deadly force to protect property.

    Most, if not nearly all other states do not. I could not find another in a quick look.

    That might have gotten the Grand Jury a little farther down the road toward the “no bill” than they would under another state’s law.

    It’s difficult to see the shots closer to the end, at least I could not tell when in the sequence the last shot was taken. He did continue to approach the suspect on the floor, while pointing his gun at him, but it was not easy to see if he fired all the way to the end of that approach.

  13. My wife has been told over the years, by multiple cops, in multiple states, that if she has to use her gun to defend herself this is what she should say:
    I felt my life was in danger and the next thing I heard was click, click, click…

  14. What the vid linked above isn’t showing is the shooter going back, after moving the skel’s gun out of reach, and donating one more justice pill to the back of his head. By that point it was pretty much just abuse of a corpse, but shooter was extremely lucky to get off.

  15. You need Not continue firing after the moment of danger has passed! Its over kill and a waste of expensive ammo!

  16. In most jurisdictions, the law states that the use of lethal force is justified until the the threat no longer exists. That is a very subjective interpretation depending upon each individual incident and the circumstances involved. Just because a perp has been shot and is down, does not make him ‘safe’. If he is still holding a weapon and is still able to use that weapon, he can still be a danger. Current police training emphasizes to shoot until the threat no longer exists. That could be only one round or multiple rounds. That decision rests solely upon the officer(s) judgment at the time of the shooting. The Houston and Oklahoma videos go beyond the perps no longer being a threat. But, that’s why we have a legal system to sort out those things by a jury of their peers. Always be familiar with your local and state laws covering self-defense. CYA!

  17. “When the other robber got away, he went back inside, stepped over the unconscious robber, and got another gun out. Then, he shot the robber six more times, killing him while he obviously presented no further threat. For this, pharmacist Jerome Ersland got life in prison, with no possibility of parole until he’s 98 years old.”

    That’s a tragedy. You should never get charged for taking out the trash.

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