The Aftermath: Judge Doesn’t Waffle on Stand Your Ground

I always get beat on because I am not a big supporter of "Stand Your Ground " laws. (Not going to debate it here/now, but SYG encourages shootings that may not need to be).
This was a good shoot.
The victim was currently under attack and was told by the attacker he had a gun.
Under these conditions, I wouldn’t even consider this a SYG case.
The only mistake would have been following the attacker outside. Nothing ever good comes from doing that.

I would not have bothered to go outside. The police were called. By going outside to confront the perpetrator you increase your risk of harm. What if the perp did have a gun. Our poor victim could have ended up getting hurt or even worse and innocent bystander could have gotten hurt.

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Just because one “could” do something doesn’t mean one “should” do something, especially when it comes to lethal force. I’m glad for the veteran that it worked out for him. However, especially in todays political climate a use of deadly force is going to be examined very closely and not always rationally nor legally. The article doesn’t state if he shot to wound or just missed. Shooting to wound has no legal basis. Going outside to “inform” the police were coming could be seen as instigating. Should have used deadly force to stop the threat if appropriate Should have stayed and established a good defensible tactical position until the police arrived.

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1- I would not have gone out of the restaurant and initiated any further possible attack.
2- I would have asked for a pad and pen and told the staffer to call 911
3- I would have written the make, model of vehicle and tag. 31 of the current 50 U.S. states require front and rear tags.
4- Avoid at all costs any further contact. You never want to risk having to use your weapon unless you have to. Once you pull that trigger you may be taking a human life and your’s will change forever.
5- Nov 3, Alabama changed it’s gun laws where it is legal to carry in a house of worship and legal to discharge your weapon in defense of congregation members. Also, enhanced stand your ground to go beyond just trespassing or invasion.

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There are many of us, whether military or Law Enforcement Officers (both either active, disabled or retired) that react in similar ways in this circumstances.

They key elements are an active, assaultive, subject. He’s been asked to leave and does. The only threat to the vet is if he returns armed. Even then your situation is complicated. Back stop, number of people and proficiency are some of the issues that come to mind.

From a LEOs perspective, I agree with the attorney. Let the guy go and live to fight another day. The dismissal was luck in my opinion. As the liberals and their antigun lobby wind up, the results could have been different. Once he follows the subject out the door, he loses stand your ground protection.

I pray he’s ok and continues to be a safe, honest gun owner.

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I agree with many of these comments, but I think the first mistake the vet made was going outside to confront the man by telling him the police were on the way. He should have stayed inside, with plenty of witnesses and awaited arrival of the police. He knew, or should have known, that the attacker was willing to use violence, having done so already by knocking him down, and going outside to tell him the police were coming served no useful purpose other than to probably (and apparently it did) agitate this man even further. One missing link here is knowing what precipitated the attacker to knock the vet to the floor in the first place. Knowing that could be vital to a proper analysis. A second mistake, in my opinion, was not drawing his gun and taking cover when the man said he had a gun and appeared to reach into his truck. That might have saved his skull injury, or worse. The fact that the vet shot the attacker in the leg was either deliberate, in recognition that he was only entitled to use enough force reasonably necessary to repel the attacker and take himself out of danger, or just a fortuitous errant shot that probably saved him from a potential homicide charge. Under the circumstances stated, I don’t see the vet liable.

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Although I agree with many of the comments, one in particular is disturbing. Allowing yourself to be physically assaulted in lieu of defending yourself with your weapon is a bad idea. Anyone who suggests that, has most likely never been in a serious beat down. Otherwise, they would realize the potential short and long term effects can be serious. Broken bones that cripple you for life with arthritis, punctured lungs, ruptured spleen or kidneys, brain trauma, broken jaw, multiple surgeries to correct shattered face or joint. Worse, as happened to my brother just a few months ago, after complaining about service at a restaurant, he was attacked as he tried to deescalate an angry employee and leave the restaurant. The brain injury he suffered lead to weeks in ICU and his eventual death. I would never suggest a CC holder look for a fight or not try to deescalate. But as seen in this instance, allowing yourself to be physically attacked was deadly. Worse yet, the perpetrator fled and now 4 months later is still at large.

Next point, is this. Allowing someone to assault you and not trying to get sufficient information to have that person prosecuted would allow the attacker to just go down the road and do the same thing again, perhaps with a fatal ending, as is the case in my brothers death. The perpetrator had assaulted several people previously and no one ever bothered to follow up with charges. No one ever bother to take a picture or get a license plate before, just as happened in my brother’s death. So, was it wrong for the Veteran to go outside? Maybe. It depends on his motive. If just to tell the attacker the police were on the way, probably not a good idea. If perhaps, dual purpose, to see where the attacker was, or to get a license plate # etc., then in my opinion it was something he needed to do, to keep the attacker from doing this to someone else and leaving them dead or permanently disabled.

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Proof of claim? SYG mitigates prosecutorial punishment of innocent victims that were not able to safely retreat. There are still states that require you flee or try to flee, even from your own home, first. Not only is that an unsound self-defense tactic, you are now potentially in a place without cover or concealment. This was not a case of SYG, but self-defense. He did not stand his ground.

It seems everyone here is in agreement that it was unwise to go outside, and the result proves that to be true, too. That is one of the reasons we read and comment on these types of encounters, to learn and evaluate the situations, to “think through”, so that we hopefully will not make the same mistakes, if ever we get into a similar situation.

He did right by not fighting back and by having the police called. He should not have followed the attacker outside, nor should he have spoken to him before the police arrived. Once the man exited the building, it was up to the police to deal with him. Unfortunately, the attacker chose to make a deadly threat and then charge the veteran. Then he had no choice.

As a veteran with PTSD, I believe that to many people think of the term “PTSD” as being crazy. It is NOT! Until you have had some traumatic encounter which comes back to you often and affects your life, you have no idea what it really is. Persons who have been in violent storms, who have been shot, who have been in major auto accidents can experience this.

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Let’s address a few ideas that were expressed here in writing:

Eliminate the threat so they can’t come back to hurt you/sue you/retaliate.
Our goal as responsibly armed Americans is to stop the threat from continuing their attack. As soon as they have stopped attacking, we must stop our use of lethal force (that doesn’t mean put our gun away as the attacker may not be alone or may be faking an injury). Excessive use of force to eliminate/kill/neutralize the attacker/make sure they don’t shoot back can change your self-defense case into a murder case. And while dead people cannot sue you, their family certainly can in a lot of states.

Word choice is very important in what you post on social media as it can be used against you in court.

We want everyone to be able to protect themselves and their loved ones physically and legally. When the threat stops attacking, we need to stop using lethal force as the criteria for using lethal force in most states is an imminent, unavoidable threat of death or grave bodily harm to an innocent person.

If a threat ends because the attacker is leaving and you follow after and reengage in a fight, there is a good chance you can be considered the aggressor in many states.

Please remember, there are people here from all over the country and the laws vary widely from state to state. We advocate self-defense, not stuff-defense. Using lethal force to protect property may be legal in some states, but is it worth the possible legal aftermath (not to mention the emotional toll on yourself and your family) over a stolen TV or car?

We don’t know if someone breaking into our house late at night is there to hurt us, but if they’re already outside running away with our TV when we see them, is it worth engaging with them with lethal force? You could get the license plates, call the police, increase home security and deal with the insurance to replace the TV OR use deadly force to shoot the thief (possibly killing him), spend the better part of the next few days (weeks or possibly months) being investigated by the police with your attorney, your family may be traumatized and face backlash from your extended family/friends/community, your gun is confiscated for the duration of the investigation, you have to deal with the moral and emotional aftermath of shooting someone, and you still need to improve your home security and deal with the insurance company to replace the now broken TV.

You may have the right to use lethal force to defend property in certain states, but is it worth it?

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I agree with @Sheepdog556 100%. Trouble left the building and the “imminent threat” with it. The victim had already survived being pushed to the ground, He could have easily lost his life outside, if the suspect had actually retrieved a firearm. I would not have pursued trouble outside of the building. Just my 2 cents

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Welcome to our Community!

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Thank you. Really glad to be here!

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