Should He Have Shot this Homeless Man?

Should He Have Shot this Homeless Man?

Should He Have Shot this Homeless Man?

A close friend of mine is a police officer who recently took a second job as a security guard to earn extra money. He works for a large department store and last week was his very first day on the job. After his first shift he called me and said, “you’re never going to believe what happened to me tonight.”

Well, he proceeded to tell me that there are a lot of homeless people in the area he works. He said one of his security guard duties is to clear the homeless people off the benches in and around the store, which to me sounds like a full time job in itself.

He said that while he was attempting to clear one of the homeless people off of a bench, the guy pulled a knife on him. Before he could finish his story I interrupted him and asked, “did you draw your gun and how close did you come to shooting the guy?”

A drunken homeless man…

My friend said the guy was very drunk and slowly pulled out the knife and that he simply slapped it out of his hands and then called the police. He then told me that he didn’t feel his life was in danger at the time and he didn’t feel deadly force was necessary, which was why he hadn’t drawn his gun and used it.

In short, my friend gave the perfect answer to why he hadn’t shot the man. In a large majority of instances, if someone pulls a knife on you then using deadly force is justified. However, the key factor is that you have to believe your life is in immediate danger or that the person threatening you could cause seriously bodily injury.

Luckily…

My friend is well trained and understands the law. But imagine if he didn’t.  Imagine if he had drawn his gun and shot and killed the homeless man. A few hours later, police would be watching the security surveillance tapes and they would see a drunken homeless man who slowly took out a knife and probably appeared to be no serious threat. My friend could have gone to jail for a “bad” shooting.

Of course, a good lawyer could have probably gotten him off because the homeless guy did have a knife, but my friend would have had to live with the guilt for the rest of his life knowing that he had killed someone who he knew he shouldn’t have.

The bottom line is, every single shooting and deadly force incident is different and only you will know if you feel your life is in immediate danger. Also, if you’re walking around with a gun and you’re still not clear on your state’s deadly force laws, please look them up today. You and I know that carrying a gun is a big responsibility and knowing the deadly force laws is a major part of that.

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  • lclobo98

    I’ll say that he did the right thing.

  • Donaldo

    No. He should NOT have shot the homeless man, but invited him into his home, knife and all, as a guest for a meal and a nice visit for a few days or weeks. Yes, I know, sounds dumb, but I am studying to be a liberal so I can teach college.

  • bob16066

    The situation was resolved satisfactorily so I won’t second guess the guard. He said the drunk wasn’t a threat. He was there. I wasn’t!

    If I had to shoot every drunk who threatened me or pulled a knife on me I’d hafta carry more ammunition! It’s rarely necessary.

    I’ve always found that if the guy’s so drunk he can barely stand up it doesn’t take much effort to knock him down. I’ll save my ammunition for when it is necessary!

    .

    • RayMarotta

      An intelligent and well thought out comment. You, sir set an excellent example
      for all who carry a weapon…

  • James Harrison

    The last thing any responsible person that carries concealed would want to do is use deadly force, even when it is justified. I am glad that the situation was resolved without harm to either party. I have been in several life-threatening situations and am extremely grateful that deadly force was not a part of the equation in their resolution.

  • Your
    friend did what we all would hope we would do if faced with similar situation. Just
    because we as free Americans can carry firearms, having the foresight and judgment
    as to when we need to; is the burden
    we all carry when we do.

  • Tionico

    Interesting how so many of these homeless guys who are “so needy” are so drunkso much of the time. Hah, Seattle even spent a few millions buying and rehabbing a huge apartment buyilding just to house drunken otherwise homeless men. I guess I’m just not “liberal” enough, I think that’s stupid. But this guy, so drunk, was obviously not a threat to anyone but himself. Disarming him like he did was the right thing to do. I’ve seen a number of homeless guys who would have been a serious threat, even without the knife. Hope I never am accosted by one of them……….

  • Eduardo

    I’ve been carrying weapons for decades. Never shot anybody. Never drew a weapon on anybody. I have never even MOVED MY HAND towards the weapon in any kind of confrontation..yet. I attribute that mostly to my ability to stay calm…and even keep a sense of humor. The one time I could have shot a man (he was brandishing a broken beer bottle at me), I talked him into sitting down and having a conversation. A few minutes later he was crying and apologizing. I guess I’m just not a killer at heart. –Eduardo

    • eddieshoots

      Eduardo, I believe you are expressing history of a thoughtful man.I admire the ability to stay calm. As you pointed out, it can often completely defuse a confrontation. I carry, and every day I carry I pray that I will not be forced to use it on another human. Focusing on the problem and not our ego has to go a LONG way to help us avoid turning an ugly situation into a lethal one. Way to go man! You inspire me.

    • RangeMedic

      In my line of work that is sometimes the only way I get out alive at times.

  • I was an Officer w/ Fredericksburg, VA, first week on the job a drug addict came at me with a knife …I picked up a stick off the ground and smacked him upside the head with it, hard.
    I met the guy a few years later…he said he never pulled a knife again…getting smacked with a stick HURT!
    ( I was a 5’6″ 130# female, the guy was over 6′ …stick was an “equalizer”)
    my boss howled…

  • Gee, did you hear about the Native American Wood Carver from Seattle and the officer who took him out with multiple gun shots, and he wasn’t even within attack distance. It was blatant murder. Maybe your friend should come out to Seattle at teach the officers a thing or two.

    • I read a lot of stories where COPS end up shooting/killing someone where they really had no need to do it or even draw their gun. Sometimes I think most of us CC’ers have more balls and intelligence than a lot of cops do.
      Course, they dont get into serious trouble as easily as we do when they shoot someone.

  • Chris-Do-Algarve

    As it happened your friend made a best effort to dis-arm the homeless man and as effective ? Beyond that had the man kept his knife, what then? I would ring the police while keeping the man contained. Unfortunately this would not be easy and could have resulted in your friend being directly attacked. That would box him in with no choice but to defend himself. Better to be judged by twelve than carried by six. Note that a recerestored nt case in the UK has

  • sissyboy

    He should have killed the drunk to teach other drunks not to screw around with people carrying guns. Killing a person teaches them a lesson they don’t forget. Anyway, it’s GODS job to sort out who lives and who dies. Why carry a gun if you are afraid to blow someone away.Sissys should carry hankerchiefs to cry in , not guns.

    • Honestly its your sort that give our sort a bad name with antigun nuts.
      I seriously hope you are just being a sarcastic @@@.

      • tjcrowley65

        Amen to that wm tipton we’ve got enough troubles as it is.

  • nypd24423

    You must always be ready to explain your actions and articulate why you
    need to do so. As far as persons armed with knives or almost any object they
    can travel pretty fast and also can lunge a significant distant. People have
    feigned intoxication many times too.

  • I had a tweeker with a knife in my face. The only reason I didn’t shoot him is 1. I am a trained martial artist. 2. He was holding it ‘West Side Story’ style and I could have broken his arm quicker than shooting him.

  • Ive had 3 instances where the law said I could use lethal force where I chose not to.
    I dont think having a gun means I have to fire. It simply means if it comes to it I have that option if justified.

  • TexasRedNeck

    What about the cop down in Houston, Tx. that shot and killed a double amputee in a wheelchair that had a ball point pen, it happened last week. That was nothing but murder.

    • What if that ballpoint had been infected with HIV? How fast was the guy swinging it? Could he even tell it was a pen? I would not expect the officer to take any personal risk for a guy who was clearly a waste of oxygen.

  • RangeMedic

    I know the common rule is 21 feet with a knife but you are right, if you don’t feel the danger yet don’t pull yet. But at the same time I probably would have pulled put my gun in the ready six and gave orders but that is just me.

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