Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Pharmacist Kills Robber


The Facts (or close to them): Two young black males enter a pharmacy (which has been robbed before) with masks and a gun. They point a gun at the two women at the front counter and demand all of the money and drugs.

Side Joke: At which point one of the women says, "Do you have a prescription sir?" - j/k I couldn't resist

At which point the two women, who are mother and daughter run to the back of the pharmacy into a safe room of sorts. The pharmacist then runs out with a gun of his own and the two start shooting at each other. The pharmacist is hit in the hand or arm, the unarmed robber is shot in the head, and the armed robber runs out of the store. The pharmacist, who is an old man with spinal cord problems tries unsuccessfully to chase the second robber down. The pharmacist notices a third man outside the pharmacy sitting in a car with what looks to be a shotgun. The pharmacist points the gun at him and he speeds away, but is later apprehended by the police after running into a light pole.

The pharmacist then goes back inside and looks at the first robber who has a head wound, but is still alive and trying to talk and get up. The pharmacist goes to the back to look for the two women, gets a second gun, walks back over to the first robber, and empties his clip into him at which point he dies. The pharmacist then calls the police.

The pharmacist is being brought up on first degree murder charges.

My Take: This is a tough one. It's really hard for me to condemn a man protecting himself, two other people, and his store from being robbed. But on the other hand, it does not appear the robber laying on the ground with a head wound was a threat and the pharmacist still made the decision to shoot and kill him. Not sure that it still falls in the realm of self-defense, it sounds more like an emotional reaction of rage. The guy's attorney is arguing that the entire incident (which was filmed on the store's security cameras) all happened within a span of 45 seconds. And that the pharmacist didn't know if the first robber had a gun on him, if he was going to get up and come after them again, or if he had more friends who were going to come back, but that basically his actions were still in self-defense, which I think is a good argument. Bottom line for me, if you choose to commit a crime then you risk losing your life and these criminals picked the wrong store to rob that day.

Should the guy have gotten a second gun and killed the robber laying on the ground? Probably not. Would I have done the same thing in his shoes? Possibly.

24 comments:

  1. Yeah...thats pretty tough. The guy was probably all jacked up on testosterone from being shot at and shooting that dude in the head. It's tough to send that guy to jail for the rest of his life for that. That being said, he did unload an entire clip into a guy laying on the ground. It's a fine line because citizens of this country are allowed to use guns for self defense, but are not trained for that kind of situation.

    I would have to see the tape, here what the pharmasist had to say, and take everything else in to account before I would make a judgement on the guy, which I'm sure is what will happen, so hopefully the right decision is made.

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  2. Did this happen in Texas? Oddly enough, I think it will inform the way I feel about this situation.

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  3. It seems like his actions were excessive then.

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  4. It's odd because there were two robbers, but only one gun. Somehow, it ends with only one pharmacist but with two guns...?
    The man the pharmacist shot was unarmed the entire time. He still had every right in the world to shoot him under the circumstances though but going back and executing a wounded unarmed person is extreme under any circumstances. Of course the adrenaline was flowing but that's hardly an excuse for making a decision like that, and even it were only 45 seconds later, it was still a decision.

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  5. Yeah I agree, very strange situation. In the interview I watched on TV, the guy said that he wasn't sure if the wounded guy had a gun or not. It would be a lot more understandable if it had all happened at the same time and he emptied a clip on the guy, but to walk back over to him and kill him point blank does sound more like murder rather than self defense.

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  6. Yes they deserved to die and I hope they burn in hell!

    Okay, so that was a quote from A Time to Kill but it does kind of sum up my stance here. I completely agree that this is a tricky situation and the pharmacist probably went too far but where do you draw the line when it is your life at stake? And not to mention when you are involved in an actual shootout where you are wounded. I am with Brett and would have to hear all the evidence but more than likely I am going to side with the pharmacist here.

    I think that it is obvious that people do not respect the penalty of the law but do respect the penalty of the gun (i.e. death). I think that every single time a situation like this happens and we, his peers, let the defendent off on self-defense then we are sending a message to criminals out there that we are standing up for ourselves and will back each other up even in controversial situations. Maybe that will actually deter them from committing a crime that might only put him in jail for 3-5 years. The threat of death is the only thing that is universally understood.

    By the way, don't ever go for the head when you are in a shootout. Three shots at center mass (the chest) - pop, pop, pop and make sure that guy is dead.

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  7. unless the robber had a piece of Metal under his shirt like Michael J. Fox in back to the future III.

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  8. While those are both very valid points, I would suggest just not f'ing with Batman or Marty McFly in the first place! I mean, your measly gun is nothing compared to a Utility Belt or a DeLorian. Plus, when you mess with Marty, you mess with Doc Brown and you know that bastard is crazy!

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  9. This sucks. If the pharmacist didn't have video cameras and would have killed both of the intruders inside the store, this story would never have made it out of Oklahoma. I am not for the out-right killing of anyone, but in a self defensive situation, gun or no gun you should be allowed to use whatever means are available to you.

    Leave no witness except yourself and your word is truth. Especially in a situation like this. The pharmacist should have gone to the range more and taken both guns with him in the first place and shot those robbers like "The Boondock Saints".

    He got shot while being a pharmacist, and could go to jail.

    That Sucks!!

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  10. Ya, he did himself in by having cameras in his store. Maybe it's different in Oklahoma, but it's more like the wild west here. Even a Houston cop will tell you, when you ask him if it's legal to shoot someone on your property, to make sure you drag the body inside before you call the cops.

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  11. Since when is it okay to deliberately kill someone whether they are a criminal or not?

    I totally understand and back up the pharmacist for the first part of his actions - definitely self-defense. However, the second part where he took the time and effort before even calling police to get another gun and unload an entire clip unto a wounded guy (that, by the way, no longer posed a great threat) is just ridiculous. Yes, he should go to jail for it.

    If the wounded robber definitely had a gun and was trying to use it, then he definitely still posed a threat and I would then believe the the pharmacist to be justified in his actions. But from the info provided here, I don't see that as the case. I believe the pharmacist had other options available to him, but he chose to deliberately kill the robber.

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  12. It sucks, but I am going to have to agree with Lindsay on this one. He crossed the line when he empied the clip on the guy. I am sure he was feeling rage and adreniline for getting shot, but still thats the line and he crossed it.

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  13. Lindsey - I totally agree with you in this situation on a micro level but I still think that it is the responsibility of his community to keep him out of jail on the macro level. Instead of us being afraid to go out at night in certain parts of town, the potential criminals need to be too scared of getting killed by a citizen to attempt committing his crime. Why do you think that nobody will testify in gang-infested neighborhoods? Everybody is too afraid of getting killed if they do. Let's turn the tables on them!

    Matt - Usually I appreciate your posts but your comment about dragging a body inside is just wrong, even in your Wild West Texas. If a Houston cop really did tell you this (which I highly doubt) then he is a terrible cop. You will go to jail 99% of the time if you do that. But hey, if you think you're right then try it and prove me wrong!

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  14. Those are valid points Lindsay, but why should the pharmacist make the assumption that the man no longer poses a threat. Whose to say that when he goes to call the police that the man doesn't get up, pull out a gun from his pants, and kill the pharmacist.

    I know it might seem to be a stretch, but there was a story a couple of years ago where a citizen with a concealed handgun shot a man who was robbing a store twice in the chest. He stopped firing because he assumed he had done his good deed for the day, but what he did not know was that the man was wearing a bullet proof vest, and moments later the thief killed the good Samaritan.

    I'm kind of with Justin on this. When a criminal goes onto private property with weapons with the intent to use them, I don't know if it's possible for them to be "murdered". You can not hold private citizens with no training or experience to the same guidelines that we hold peace officers. There is a big difference between reading a story and seeing a video clip than something like this actually happening to you.

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  15. This was a case of rage, there is no way I person would say clearly in their mind "hey, he might not be dead I better fire an extra 5 bullets to make sure." If he was truly worried me would have fired an additional single shot. The Pharmacist was clearly not thinking straight. I understand what you are saying Brett, but in this case the man was shot in the head...not the chest.

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  16. What if the good Samaritan had run up to the thief and put one between his eyes before the criminal had a chance to recover in my previous example? There is no doubt people would be discussing if he just murdered that guy...but we will never know because instead he assumed the man was down and got murdered himself. I believe that every benefit of the doubt should be given to the citizen that was not threatening the lives of innocent people.

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  17. Justin- I understand that overall the guy is a good guy and doesn't necessarily belong in jail with true criminals, but shouldn't he get punished for deliberately taking a guys life? I don't think he should get a life sentence or anything, but there has to be some sort of repercussion for his poor choice in actions. I also understand the message that it gives to criminals to put the guy away, but I think the greater subject is what it means to us in general as a society. If we give freedom to people who kill others with intent when it is not necessarily self-defense, then doesn't that send a worse message?

    Brett-very valid point - the pharmacist may not have known for certain if the guy did or did not pose a threat (although I believe a guy who was shot in the head is not much of a threat), but don't you think the pharmacist had other options: hiding, leaving the property, or perhaps shooting him once more in the leg to prevent him from pursuit, just to name a few... The pharmacist chose to unload an ENTIRE clip on the guy - that was unecessary, deliberate and quite literally overkill. He should subsequently be punished for it at some level.

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  18. Justin-Don't misunderstand me, I'm certainly not an advocate of dragging bodies into your house after you shoot them. My point is, if you live in Texas and that happens, your chances of getting away with it are much better. By the way, believe it or not, there are terrible cops.

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  19. I'm not trying to argue over what the guy's mindset was when this all happened, what I am saying is that the "innocent" party should be given every benefit of the doubt. If the video showed the man lying unconscious on the ground and the pharmacist laughed diabolically as he unloaded his clip into the guy's stomach, I think he should be charged with murder. But that is not what the story says or what you see in the video clip. Just because in this case it was the head and not the chest means nothing. Him and his partner already showed that they have no problem with firing their weapons at innocent people. They were attempting armed robbery. If that pharmacist believed the man was still a threat, then I believe his actions are justified.

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  20. Yeah I think I'm leaning towards Brett's view. We weren't there and it's kind of hard to tell what is happening in the security film clip. I saw this guy interviewed on the O'Reily Factor and he did not appear to be some vigilante racist redneck, he is just an old man with back problems. He was probably super scared when the whole thing happened and didn't know if the robber was going to get back up and attack him. Ultimately, this guy's first responsibility is to his own life and the lives of his employees. If he felt further threatened by the masked robber who tried to kill him and rob his store then I think he did the right thing by continuing to shoot him.

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  21. I think being we are all on the other side of the situation that it makes it easy to say what we think we would do. The emotion and situation alone are enough to overtake a person in a "fight or flight" moment. That robber may have had every intention on killing everyone once he got what he came for, so why not get a little trigger happy and make sure he's dead?

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  22. My only problem with all that Lindsay is that the pharmacist should have never been put into the position he was to have to make that choice. The thieves who made the concious decision to commit armed robbery at a pharmacy put this whole situation into motion. By pulling out a gun and pulling the trigger, the thieves created the situation where at least one life was going to be taken, regardless of the outcome. Obviously somebody could get shot and die but I also think that, after it is said and done, putting somebody in jail for any amount of time is taking some of their life away. And life is jail is the same as the death sentence - we just let nature decide when it happens.

    So my point to this is we as humans have given ourselves the right to decide the fate of a person's life. But we have created these judgemental positions and allowed a jury of our "peers" (that can be manipulated to either side of the case by the jury selection process) to decide our fate based on the "facts" presented to them by greaseball lawyers (no offense Casey). Like I said before, by starting a shootout, the thieves created the situation in which a life would be lost. The pharmacist took it upon himself to ensure that it was not going to be his or the mother/daughter co-workers. I'm still with Brett that you have no idea in that moment whether or not the second guy has a gun on him still. He is not trained to search somebody properly to find concealed weapons. I'm still with the pharmacist - blow him to hell and I will rally to keep you out of jail buddy!

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