In the early morning hours of Friday, 9 February, 2018, an armed robber attempted to rob a Sunoco gas station in Tampa, Florida. The clerk had a firearm of his own. The clerk fired several shots, hitting the suspect in the leg. The suspect fled across the street. The clerk followed him and held him for police. Police came, took custody of the suspect, and determined that the suspect’s gun was a pellet gun.
The police lieutenant at the scene educated the reporter on the validity of defense from a perceived deadly threat. [Click here to watch the video.] From the reporter:
… pointing a pellet gun at that clerk, but the lieutenant here told us that really makes no difference in whether or not you are going to defend yourself
From Tampa Police Lieutenant Ricardo Ubina [below]:
“This is typical self defense kind of stuff. If someone is threatening you with a firearm, anybody, a spouse, or anybody, the general public, you have a right to defend yourself.”
While not in the video, reporters at the scene recorded this additional explanation and validation:
Investigators on scene told ABC Action News they believe the shooting is most likely justified, regardless of whether or not the gun was a pellet gun.
“Now the clerk knows when you have a gun shoved in your face you don’t know if it’s a pellet gun or a B.B. gun…” said Lieutenant Ricardo Ubinas with the Tampa Police Department. “It really doesn’t change the dynamics of the robbery. It’s still an armed robbery.”
Twenty years ago, police commentary commonly injected this bit into the narrative: we do not recommend that people act to defend themselves. Let the suspect have what they want and call the police.
Today, we see the police educating reporters on the finer points of self-defense law. I suspect they did this all along, only now is it being reported.
©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included. Gun Watch