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(TX) Clerk shoots reported beer thief

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Drizzt, Sep 6, 2007.

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  1. Blackbeard

    Blackbeard Member

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    I'm not going to call bad shoot on this one, but it's close. We don't know all the facts. I think going after the guy was a bad idea. If he had had a weapon, it could have been the clerk's life for 18 beers.
     
  2. Rexster

    Rexster Member

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    At least one member of THR looks likes he needs to join an antigunner forum. If we do not carry a weapon when trying to stop a crime, then when do we carry weapons? Yes, we must be reasonable in our use of force, but to advocate leaving the weapon behind when pursuing a bad guy? I am not speaking about this incident in particular, but in a general sense. Regarding this incident, the way the Houston news media puts a spin on things, I don't take anything they say at face value.
     
  3. camslam

    camslam Member

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    AMEN, AMEN, AMEN....

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
    - Edmund Burke

    For everyone that is talking about this guys death over 18 cans of beer, just a few things to ponder. What if he was breaking into your house and all he wanted was 18 cans of beer or the $5.00 you paid for it? Would you sit be idle while he robbed you in your home? What if he came up to you on the street and tried to take $5.00 from you? Would you let him? I know these are hypotheticals, but at the heart of it is the philosophy you have towards the evils others perpetuate on society.

    I debate anti's all the time about this, a big argument we have is over conceal carry permits. They always say crimes where you would need a gun for protection rarely if ever happen. I always say to them, tell that to the person that was robbed, assaulted, raped, abused, carjacked, shot, knifed, or murdered today. It is easy to dismiss the evil perpetrated on others when it doesn't happen to us. But the question remains as Arfin posed. When do you finally take a stand and say enough is enough.

    With the judicial system the joke it is today, you better be ready to protect yourself, because judges and prosecutors aren't keeping these people behind bars. Whether or not the clerk did the right thing in following him out the door, we now have 1 less criminal to assault society. If anyone can tell me how that is a bad thing, I'm all ears!
     
  4. MudPuppy

    MudPuppy Member

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    I'm sorry, but if things are as described, I'm with the clerk.

    Otherwise, what's the line? A truck full of beers? Just beers. A million dollars? Just money. Too many crimes are committed because the dirtbags think the consequences are a reasonable risk.

    And I believe Texas law allows the use of lethal force if you are the immediate victim of theft and reasonably believe you'll not otherwise be able to recover property (apologies for the internet law opinion).

    I know others agree and that's cool, that's why we can all discuss our opinions. At the end of the day, both sides have to answer to what's legal.
     
  5. Flak_Jakett

    Flak_Jakett Member

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    Oh I seee. He was a beer thief!!! Your right we should shoot him, because if he steals beer, who knows what he'll do next. You'll see that if you do background checks on all murderer's and rapists, they all started with beer thefts. So anyone who steels beer is going to eventually rape or kill or rob a bank. I see your point. Killing for 5 bucks of merchandise IS justifiable. Following a fleeing criminal out to his car is always a good idea too. I'm sure that after steeling the beer and fleeing he was going for a weapon in his car to come BACK into the store and shoot the clerk. Yeah.

    Similar incidences to this have happened in my community. The precedent set here, is that if you chase a fleeing robber while armed it is considered escalation. He was shot in the chest, but he was in his car obviously fleeing.
     
  6. hamourkiller

    hamourkiller Member

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    He was in TEXAS and it is legal to use leathal force at night for such things. He chose to risk his life over beer and lost.
     
  7. Flak_Jakett

    Flak_Jakett Member

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    It is legal in Texas? If they didn't have that mandatory Grand Jury law I'd move there in a second. Oh, well... guess I'll have to keep my plans to move to Florida.
     
  8. LT1coupe

    LT1coupe Member

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    I have no problem with the clerk following the man out to gather more evidence, criminals should not be tolerated. If the clerk carried legally why would he not be armed when he did? If the guy made a threatening move, I have no problem with the clerk defending himself.
    The mentality that it was just a few beers does'n't fly, he stole, he needed to be caught. Did he deserve to be shot for stealing the beer? No, but for making a threatening gesture yes.
     
  9. camslam

    camslam Member

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    Flak: I'm just curious, I'm not trying to start an argument or anything like that. When you said -

    Obviously you were being sarcastic, but my question to you is, what is ok to defend? Should the clerk have just sat idle and watched the guy steal the beer and say nothing? So what next, does he just sit idle when anyone wants to steal anything? Does he just watch with a bored look and then call the police?

    I'm not saying anyone needs to do anything, but the clerk went outside to follow the guy, maybe to get a license plate number, maybe to confront the thief and tell him to leave the beer, maybe to go shoot the guy, who knows. What scares me most about our society is the amount of garbage we have gotten used to and what we now write off as acceptable losses.

    Just because it was only $5.00 of beer, why does that make a difference? Who knows what the guy would have done down the road, but every single FBI, law enforcement, or criminology study will show you that 99.98% of criminals don't just commit one single crime. They commit several and keep going until they are caught, killed, or deterred enough to stop.

    I won't say the clerks actions were the smartest, but it will be rare that I will condemn someone for standing up for what is right.
     
  10. Titan6

    Titan6 member

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    camslam- I'd advise you not to start quoting statistics that are not correct or do not exist.

    Most stores have a policy that if you spot a shoplifter you call the police and let them handle it. This is to limit their liability and prevent the employee from being hurt. If the BG gets away, he gets away. Better that than a $20 million dollar law suit. Some states allow stores to hire police officers to do their security work (Colorado comes to mind) but they still retain arrest powers.

    What I think is that most people lack the moral conviction to go the extra mile. Why not kill speeders and drunk drivers for example? These people are not only breaking the law they are endangering your life...
     
  11. Joe Demko

    Joe Demko Member

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    My question to you is, what is the cut-off point for where it isn't worth taking somebody's life?
     
  12. LT1coupe

    LT1coupe Member

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    I think some of you are missing the point, the man was NOT shot for stealing beer. He was shot for making a threatening move.
     
  13. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Member

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    Let's look at a similar case. Prayor v. State, 456 S.E.2d 664 (Ga. App. 1995):

    Prayor and his wife were in the kitchen washing dishes at about noon on October 24, 1992, when they looked through the kitchen window and saw the thief standing near Prayor's truck. They ran out of their house, and according to their testimony, the thief had gotten into the truck. Prayor shouted something, and the thief jumped out of the truck and started running. Prayor's wife had called “911” in the interim and Prayor briefly spoke with the dispatcher. Prayor testified that he decided he wanted to apprehend the thief for the police. He retrieved his .357 revolver that he kept in his house for protection, and got into his car to look for the thief. He spotted the victim emerging from a path that was often used as a cut through to a nearby school. The thief began to run away from the Prayor, and he testified he told the thief to “hold it.” Prayor also testified that he thought he saw something in the thief's hand, but he admitted on cross-examination that he did not mention this in his statement given to police shortly after the incident. The thief continued to flee, and proceeded to run up some steps at the school. According to Prayor, when the thief reached the top of the stairs, he made a quick turn back in his direction and Prayor, who was only partly out of his car, fired a warning shot without aiming the gun. The thief went down, and defendant came up to him and removed his belt and tied his arms behind his back. The police arrived, and discovered that the victim, who was still lying on the ground, had been shot. Prayor was then placed under arrest. Prayor also testified that he fired his gun partly to get the thief to stop and partly in self-defense.

    Prayor was convicted of aggravated assault (a felony). How different is that case from this one? I think the important point to take away from this is that any time you are firing at another human being, your life and freedom is on the line. It isn't a decision to make lightly because it will have serious consequences. I guarantee the clerk in this case is going to spend a lot more than the 18 cans of beer even in a best case scenario.

    You had better think again about that...

    Where there were no allegations of self-defense, defense of others, or defense of property in wrongful death action based on negligence, shield of justifiable homicide provided by Vernon's Ann.P.C. art. 1222 (repealed) inflicted for purpose of preventing theft at night did not exonerate defendant, who shot and killed decedent in attempt to fire warning shot after observing decedent stand over engine compartment of defendant's parked automobile, lift battery out of car, set it down in front of car and close hood. Howsley v. Gilliam, 517 S.W.2d 531 (Sup. 1975)

    Defendant was not justified in using deadly force by shooting victims with firearm to prevent theft of his car keys, wallet, and damage to his car; damage to defendant's car had already been committed when defendant left scene and then returned after arming himself, and there was no evidence that victim was attempting to flee or escape with defendant's wallet and keys. Heng v. State (App. 1 Dist. 2006) 2006 WL 66461, Unreported, petition for discretionary review refused.
     
  14. ArfinGreebly

    ArfinGreebly Moderator Emeritus

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    Defending The Beer

    The clerk isn't defending the beer.

    The clerk is defending the clerk.

    The clerk goes after the bad guy to get the beer back. Stealing beer is prohibited and directly harms the business. As an employee, it makes sense to attempt to recover the stolen merchandise.

    The guy threatens the clerk with violence.

    The clerk defends the clerk.

    Nobody's shooting anybody "over a case of beer."

    It seems there's an objection to the clerk's having the sand to go after the thief. Well, yes, there are many people -- probably even a majority of people -- who wouldn't do that, leaving the chasing of the thief up to those who "are trained for that sort of thing."

    All that does is give the thieves a pass.

    The thieves will only change their model when good people stand up to them.

    And in doing so, someone's going to get hurt. Thieves and robbers know this. They also know that good people have a real problem confronting evil, are scared to death to stand up to badness, and would rather let it be someone else's job.

    When good people stand up to bad people, the bad people will have to change their model.

    There is necessarily a certain amount of messiness involved in the corrective process. Some of that messiness will be dead people.

    And it's not about a case of beer.

    Got that?

    Not about a bloody case of beer.

    It's about interdicting the disruption of lawful business.

    It's about standing for decency and the right to be free of constant predation.

    Not beer.

    All the bad guy had to do to stay alive was PUT THE BEER DOWN AND LEAVE. But he didn't do that. He confronted and threatened.

    And the clerk stood his ground.
     
  15. camslam

    camslam Member

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    Titan:

    Just caught my statistic. I won't claim it is 100% correct :) and I'm not trying to pass it off as an actual statistic, but I think you get the point about it.

    I'm sure that many CORPORATE chain stores have the exact policy you are talking about. I don't think any of us want to open that can of worms by discussing the merits of such policies. Obviously there would be just as much fodder if we were talking about schister lawyers and the myriad of lawsuits that are filed throughout this country every day. Pathetic and off topic.

    What we are talking about is the philosophy of doing something versus not doing anything. Do you have any opinions on any of the questions I have proposed?

     
  16. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Member

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    I think in the end, it will depend a lot on the grand jury. The clerk has two basic defenses available to him.

    1) The theft at night defense we already discussed. This is an old Texas law and most of the supporting case law on it is equally old. The few times it has come up in recent years, courts have been reluctant to interpret it as broadly as our ancestors did, so it is risky to rely on this.

    2) The belief of the grand jury that the clerk had a reasonable fear of death or serious injury by whatever the thief did based on testimony and evidence. That is a lot of your life to put into the hands of other people and the clerk is extremely fortunate that the grand jury selection process is more restrictive than the jury selection process.

    At the end of the day, I wouldn't have pursued the guy. The reason I wouldn't have done it is because whatever societal disorder is engendered by not taking a stronger stand against the theft of beer seems like less of a problem than putting my life in the hands of a bunch of strangers who weren't there to see what I saw and heard.

    If this type of theft is truly the problem Arfin describes, then we need to change the laws first because as it stands right now, you run a real risk of going to jail for this type of shoot as the cases cited above show.
     
  17. camslam

    camslam Member

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    Bartholomew: I'm with you. That is the problem with our society today. It is almost to the point where you literally can't afford to do what is right.

    That is a sad, sad, commentary if you ask me.
     
  18. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Member

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    Well, to be fair, I have been reading hundreds of "self-defense" cases this weekend just to find the few examples I offered. My big problem was that in most cases our system gets it right. The person who shot was so obviously wrong that it didn't make a very good example for THR. Many of them were clearly outright murder where the shooter later tried to justify it by self-defense.

    I have to look fairly long and hard to find even potential examples of where people who were probably innocent or just guilty of choosing the wrong people to hang around and got caught up in a system that hears "it was self-defense" 1,000 times a day; but where 999 times it isn't true.

    But it does happen rarely and it can happen to you if you aren't careful. My posts are less about what is likely to happen and more about how you can maximize your odds of being on the right side.

    If I could narrow it down to several factors, it would probably look like this:

    1. Don't associate with criminals or bring them around your home.
    2. Use the recreational intoxicant of your choice in moderation and in a safe environment.
    3. Choose your friends wisely (see #1).
    4. Don't pursue people once the initial threat/incident has passed.

    If you took the 500+ cases claiming self-defense that I have been skimming and applied those four criteria, there would be about zero cases left.
     
  19. ArfinGreebly

    ArfinGreebly Moderator Emeritus

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    Makin' Sense

    Yup.

    Our clerk arguably didn't exercise the best judgement.

    One thing to stop the thief while he's still in the store.

    More like askin' for trouble chasin' him after he's left.

    Current law being what it is, I'd say don't chase him.
     
  20. hamourkiller

    hamourkiller Member

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    Batholomew, here in Texas you can and many people have been legaly shot for leaving with stolen property at night. I cant state name and time but several such incidents have happened in my life time in the Houston area.
    Gang members stealing hubcaps at an apartment building, young man gut shot several with a 22lr from his window. No biled by Johny Holmes who told reporters it is not against Texas law to shoot thieves at night.
    Man shot a repo man who was driving off in his car at night, 30-30 through the chest, no billed. It is well known you risk your life to flee with anothers property at night here in Texas.

    With the price of ammo, the thiefs estate should reimburse the clerk for the cost of the round it took to defend his life and property.
     
  21. Dorryn

    Dorryn Member

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    Here in Buffalo, we have at least 1 murder a month over a sum less than $20.

    Here on THR, some feel that minor thefts and crimes are acceptable and we ignore them because at what point does killing another human become justifiable?

    Interesting how these perspectives and reality correlate.
     
  22. Buttermilk

    Buttermilk Member

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    It's the" principle" !! I work security and must let a thief exit the store before I may act, as per the D.A. of my county. After that, it's a foot pursuit.

    If things are to be as one has written above, why do we have locks on our doors of our homes, autos, storage buildings, etc.?

    Just let the crooks have everything?? What kind of a gutless society are we becoming? What kind of a deterrent is there for thieves or any other criminal with that kind of thinking?

    Yes, when we check for "priors" on most shoplifters, there are several more violations of all different types. Most thefts are to fund drugs.

    With that kind of thinking, where does it stop?

    IT'S THE PRINCIPLE!!!
     
  23. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    In Utah, one may use deadly force to prevent a violent felony, serious bodily injury, or death.

    I've seen a couple of arguments here that don't hold up. This man was not killed because he was destroying anyone's livelihood. One man cannot be expected to pay with his life for the cumulative effect of crime against a business in a bad neighborhood.

    Some have said, "This is the same guy who WOULD break into your house or rob you at gunpoint." Last I checked, neither we as citizens, nor the government are allowed to KILL PEOPLE because of what they MIGHT do. Any of us MIGHT do anything. All this guy did was snag a case of beer. When he DOES kick in my door, or I see a gun in his hand, then the situation changes.

    Two VERY BAD things I see here. Anytime one uses deadly force, if his story states that he FOLLOWED the bad guy, he is in trouble. Or rather, if he followed the bad guy, there better be a compelling reason such as, "I followed him into a shopping mall where it looked like he was going to open fire on a bunch of people". Otherwise, if the BG is walking AWAY from you, the need to defend yourself no longer exists. It is time to call the police and hope for the best. You don't get to follow someone and kill them just because you are offended that your life WAS in danger a few seconds ago. If the threat is LEAVING, you have no justification to FOLLOW. This flies in the face of being able to tell a jury that you did everything possible to prevent this terrible incident.

    If he reached for "something" in his pocket, while he was taking a case of beer to his car, a reasonable person would assume he was reaching for his KEYS. NOT A GUN. Just because you WANT it to be a gun doesn't mean it is. As much as it might give you the willies, you better dang well KNOW it's a gun before you start shooting people. I am willing and able to defend against someone who is trying to shoot me. Not someone who I THINK MIGHT BE trying to shoot me.

    If any thief deserves to die, at what dollar value do you draw the line? I draw it a lot higher than $12.99. And it certainly won't be be that does the killing.
     
  24. usmcgrunt

    usmcgrunt Member

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    When is enough enough? People should be held accountable for their actions! What gave the thief the right to think it was OK to steal whether it was beer, money or something else of value?! Hard to say if the clerk did the right thing since we werent there! We all would have done something diffferent-Hindsight is 20/20! In this day and age in Houston I think the Grand Jury will vote in the clerk's favor, people in Houston are getting tired of these types of crime and they seem to be happening more often!

    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing!"

    Grunt Out!
     
  25. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    So, being held accountable for your actions means you should die over a case of beer?

    No, we weren't there, but we know the thief was unarmed.
     
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