I believe there is a misconception that bad stuff doesn’t really happen in “good” neighborhoods. In other words, some places are considered “safe” while others not so much. And if you’ll just stay in the good places and out of the bad ones everything will be ok. And when bad stuff does happen, it’s not hard for news people to find someone who will say that “this sort of thing never happens around here” or “we don’t expect stuff like this to happen here.”
Some call it the myth of the safe space.
Well, a restaurant full of people in Beverly Hills just got a lesson in safe space theory. About 2:00 PM, three suspects in hoodies walked up behind a man seated at an outdoor table. One of them grabbed the man from behind around his neck while another grabbed his arm and stole his watch off his wrist.
The victim was able to take the robber’s gun from him as he and his three friends fought back against the suspects. The victim fired several shots at the suspects as they were fleeing. A stray round hit one woman in the back of her calf, and another was trampled in the panic that followed the shots. Police were on the scene in about 90 seconds, but the robbers were long gone having run off with the victim’s watch estimated to be worth about $400,000.
Looks to me like a targeted attack rather than a random mugging.
Of course, we have to address the obvious first. Beverly Hills is a giant gun-free zone, and California has some of the toughest gun control laws in the country, but yet three twenty-something young men were able to pull off an armed robbery in broad daylight on a busy sidewalk. Even with a very impressive 90-second response time, police were not able to be there to stop the crime.
Next, going for a criminal’s gun is a risky move for sure, but this victim pulled it off without anyone getting hurt. That is until he started firing at the suspects as they were fleeing the scene. Are three now unarmed suspects fleeing the scene a deadly force threat to the victim? They certainly were when they were armed but once the victim took away their gun, is that window of imminent death or great bodily harm now closed? Especially considering the victim had three friends with him?
Now, what about those that were injured? One woman is shot by a round that the victim fired, and another is injured in the panic that followed. Will the victim be criminally or civilly liable for those injuries since it could be argued that he wasn’t justified in shooting at the suspects as they were fleeing? Could it be argued that he was attempting to save his watch (legally mere property even if it is worth $400,000) or even get revenge for the suspects stealing it or maybe trying to stop them in an attempt to recover it?
Please remember that it is never justified to use deadly force to defend property. Only to defend life.
What happens legally to this victim will be up to the local prosecutors and the two victims injured as a result of his actions. Hopefully, his watch was insured. Were the physical and legal risks he took worth it in trying to save a timepiece?
We all should do our best to make these decisions before we are faced with a violent attack, as there often isn’t time to think about the consequences of our actions in the middle of one.