Thursday, January 15, 2009

Another East Side Shooting

Another attempted robbery near an eastside drinking establishment. This time the intended victim was able to take action.
In the Wednesday incident, a man and woman had just left the Graveyard Tavern and returned to their car in the Ace Hardware parking lot across the street. They were sitting inside their car waiting for the vehicle to warm up when a man approached with a gun and demanded money, Atlanta police Sgt. Lisa Keyes said...“At that time, the male inside the vehicle pulled his own weapon and shot[the suspect five or six times,” Keyes said. The unidentified suspect died at the scene.


rptrcub said...

I don't like killing or burting another human being. I don't like weapons. But if necessary, I will use them to protect myself and my loved ones.

Amber Rhea said...

Five or six times? Hm.

Aerodad said...

Yeah, 5-6 times suggests someone needs a little more training. But I'm glad he's a fast draw (once someone already has a gun trained on you, it's usually time to cough up the wallet), and I hope other thugs on the street have the capacity to read the news. Should we be stapling copies of this story to lightpoles in our crime-ridden neighborhoods?

Sara said...

There's a little more detail to the story now at than what you have here.

"Inside the vehicle, the woman was adjusting the driver’s seat and mirrors when the man looked over his shoulder and saw a man standing at his passenger window, Willis said.

Believing the man was going to beg for money, the passenger rolled down his window a few inches, Willis said. But he had a strange feeling about the man, so he grabbed his gun from the glove box and put it on his lap, Willis said.

He asked the stranger what he wanted, and noticed the man was reaching for his waistband or pockets, the detective said. Instinctively, the passenger shoved open his door, knocking the suspected robber back a few feet, Willis said. The woman started screaming.

The man got out of the truck and the suspected robber raised a weapon at him, Willis said. “When he saw that, he just started shooting,” the detective said.

The man shot the suspected robber five or six times, in the stomach and chest, Willis said. The robber did not fire any shots."

Unknown said...

5 - 6 times in the chest in that situation is amazingly good marksmanship.

Sounds like his training is spot on to me.

Thugs on the street don't need to read the news, they network, btu your point is well made.

Seriously, they talk.

griftdrift said...

Doesn't change anything in my mind.

And that content was added after I published.

Stefan said...

Five or six times = good work

I only hope I could react as well in such a situation.

Amber Rhea said...

Thanks for pointing out the details, Sara. One never knows how one will react in such a situation but it seems to me like knocking the guy down with the door and speeding away would've been sufficient. Like you, I am disturbed in the apparent satisfaction people are taking in the death of another human being. And saying it's disturbing doesn't mean one doesn't care about crime or is okay w/ criminals. Just putting that out there in case anyone wants to trot out that strawman.

griftdrift said...

And if he got up and shot while you were driving away? We can play what ifs until the end of time. I don't advocate violence and I do not celebrate death. But if you use a gun to commit a crime, you get what you deserve.

Amber Rhea said...

AGain I am not saying attacking someone with a gun is okay. Feels silly that I would even need to clarify that, but I will.

It's not about playing what ifs but the way everyone just seems to accept it and think it's "good" that this person died. Maybe sometimes I just have too much empathy for my own good but I just cannot say "good" to a death and be done with it. Maybe I'll write a post later if I get some time. This is disturbing me and making me feel sick to my stomach.

AcridSheep said...

It is impossible to predict what a person will do in that kind of situation.

Which is exactly why people shouldn't carjack other people.

Imagine how the guy that shot the other guy feels. You think he's walking around right now delighted that he killed someone?

In any event, people aren't elated because someone died, they feel vindicated that someone stood up and refused to be a victim. I suspect most, if not all of the people who've made unsavory comments would probably feel something more akin to resigned relief than "euphoria" if you got them one on one anyway.

BTW, 6 hits is pretty freaking good in a high stress situation.

Anonymous said...

I think most people are saying good to there being one less criminal. I'd imagine allot of the comments are from people in East Atlanta and we've heard these car jacking, kidnapping, and mugging story's enough. I'd imagine if the caught him and gave him ten years in jail people would have said the same thing. GOOD!

Nobody is happy somebody is dead, just happy he won't be able to do this to me when I'm at the graveyard this weekend!

Sara said...

This story has really bothered me too. I never questioned when the original version of events came out that this was self-defense and that there was no real alternative that didn't carry a serious risk of the shooter being shot instead. I had a nagging discomfort that it could make people feel emboldened to take matters into their own hands more often in the future, because I can see how in other situations that could lead to unintended outcomes...but I didn't doubt that in this specific situation the decision to shoot the robber was justified. That was when the story was man comes up to car, pulls gun, says gimme all your money, and driver shoots him first instead. That situation is one where the deadly threat and the split second to react are fairly clear-cut.

But now that we have some new details, I find the story itself somewhat troubling. For one thing, the article no longer indicates that dead guy ever brandished a weapon demanding money or the car. It says he raised his gun only after being knocked back several feet by the passenger door and confronted in the parking lot by the other guy also holding a gun. (Remember, it had been sitting in his lap and must've been in his hand when he got out of the truck.) Just prior to the opening of the door the shooter thought he was fumbling with this pocket or waistband, but who really knows what actually happened? How easily are simple things like that misconstrued? Amadou Diallou comes to mind.

I do not dispute that anyone who points a gun at someone has made a threat of deadly force, and deadly force in self-defense is usually a legally justifiable response to a deadly threat. The specific GA legal standard requires a reasonable apprehension of imminent deadly harm, and the words "reasonable" and "imminent" are in there for a reason. Both must be shown for it to be self-defense. (The statute also exempts situations where the parties have been fighting or where the self-defender makes the first physical threat against the other.)

I think this situation implicates numerous ethical and legal questions. There's an important distinction between what is legally justifiable (as in prevents you from being convicted of homicide), what we'd ideally like to see people do in these situations in order to minimize accidents and unnecessary deaths, and what we should celebrate and hold up as a positive example to the community after it happens. This conversation needs to encompass all three of those things, and right now I don't think enough attention is being paid to all three.

There are really appalling comments by a lot of people at the AJC, Decatur Metro and elsewhere that sicken me. I do not celebrate the death of anyone, even a criminal. I also don't want to see our city become a shoot first, ask questions later sort of place. Down that slippery slope lies bad judgment calls like the guy in Texas who went out of his house and shot two men who were robbing his neighbor's home, because the police he'd called weren't arriving fast enough. Sure, those guys were committing a crime too, and may or may not have even been armed...but do we think that shooting was justifiable? Did they "deserve it"?

I would just like to see this story treated with more serious consideration than a lot of people have been wiling to give it. I know a lot of you are gun owners who are well-trained, responsible, intelligent, and believe that you would make the right decision if confronted in this fashion. But as Andisheh said over at Decatur Metro, the shooter was sickened by what he had done. And he should be, because taking of human life should always be a serious thing. I would hope that would not be a controversial statement, but I'm not seeing much seriousness in the discussions about this story.

I've struggled with whether to even say anything, since I anticipate I'm about to be jumped on by all you tough guys. But hey, there it is.

griftdrift said...

Of course he's not going to feel glee about this. The taking of a human life is pleasurable only to the sociopath. And the vast majority of gun owners understand this.

However, in this situaion, it appears this person felt threatened and took self defense and his belief at being threatened was justified because the other guy pulled a gun on him. Unless further evidence comes to light that contradicts this then I have no problem with the action and no problem with the outcome.

And the Texas incident in no way shape or form is comparable. Not in the least.

AcridSheep said...

I've struggled with whether to even say anything, since I anticipate I'm about to be jumped on by all you tough guys.

I don't have guns because I'm a tough guy. Quite the opposite.

Sara said...

I did not say the two stories were comparable, only that when I worry about the worst case scenario of people arming themselves and taking matters into their own hands, that story comes to mind. I hope you would agree that if things like that start happening in Atlanta, it would be a very bad development.

Really the only people who will know what actually happened in that parking lot last night and just how justified or not justified the shooting really was were the dead guy and the man who shot him. The details we have are murky, and come entirely from the shooter and the woman who was with him. Under those same details, I can envision both a situation where a robbery and murder was narrowly averted by a quick-acting gun owner, and a situation where a trigger happy guy presumed something innocuous was a physical threat, got out of the car holding a gun which caused the other guy to pull a gun of his own, and then he felt justified in pulling the trigger. The truth, I'm sure, is somewhere in the middel and we will never really know it.

I would not be the slightest bit surprised if the shooter is wondering in his gut today whether he did the right thing, whether he was really going to be robbed or physically harmed if he hadn't opened the car door and gotten out with a gun in his hand, and whether there was some better way out of the situation that didn't involve him taking a life. He will probably be troubled by this for a long time. It doesn't feel like a situation filled with certainty.

griftdrift said...

The one certainty is the other guy had a gun. Unless you can conceive the shooter planted it.

We have zero reason to doubt his version of the story. Zero.

And of course I would be horrified if situations like the Texas one happened in Atlanta and I bet you every gun owner here would agree. That guy was an idiot.

But that is not what happened here.

Sara said...

I don't think he planted it. I am not saying that I think the shooter is lying, either. I think it was an intense, fast, stressful situation and it's easy for someone attempting to recount all of that to get details wrong, or to have misunderstood something that happened in a split second.

I also think the fact the dead guy was armed does not automatically justify his being shot. Did he raise the weapon and create a reasonable apprehension of imminent death or grave bodily injury, that is the actual question.

griftdrift said...

According to the victim and the police...yes.

If you believe otherwise then you believe he should be charged.

Sara said...

I don't believe he should be charged because I don't think the DA could ever get a conviction here. The reasonable doubt is apparent.

This is not a situation of absolutes, I don't know why people want to treat it as such.

griftdrift said...

This isn't even reasonable doubt. The only evidence we have at this point is the shooting was justified.

Unknown said...

he shouldn't be "charged because I don't think the DA could ever get a conviction here"

Spoken like a true lawyer. I don't think he should be charged because the evidence supports that the shooting was justifiable self-defense.

Have I, once again, misunderstood your plainly worded statement?

I have a few questions, some of which answers may not be available at this time;

- what was an armed man doing walking up to strangers in Atlanta late at night?

- did he have a record of violence or arrests?

- Did he have a permit for his gun? Did the survivor?

- what circumstances constitute "certainty" to you? Video and audio of the entire encounter?

- what you have done in a similar situation?

Barring any further evidence, this appears to be a clear cut case of self-defense.

I am glad in that a person who tried to victimize another with deadly force is dead and the innocent people they intended to victimize are alive. Were this man not able to deal with this predator, he and his female companion may have wound up like John Henderson.

I feel sorry for teh survivor who now must endure a lifetime of turmoil becasue this predator forced him to defend himself and his companion.

Sara said...

Yeah, I'm a lawyer and therefore always lying and being duplicitous. How silly of me to believe I have the right to express an opinion and have it taken seriously! But then, I am just a dumb girl who doesn't like guns, so silly pretty much comes with the territory.


Anonymous said...

Right, here's the bit that makes me question this whole thing:

The man got out of the truck and the suspected robber raised a weapon at him, Willis said. “When he saw that, he just started shooting,” the detective said.

The points that make me question this situation are:

1/. There is no mention of a weapon being visible before this point.

2/. Given this, why did the man get out of the truck, holding his weapon?

3/. Given that he did get out of the truck, holding a weapon, it is entirely reasonable to suggest that the supposed robber was in fact acting in self-defence (since the supposed robber had not, according to this account, shown any explicit threat of violence towards to occupants of the truck prior to being struck by the truck's door)

Finally, the comment in the OP was "Good".

I want to question what was good about a man losing his life, given that, "the survivor ... now must endure a lifetime of turmoil".

Unknown said...

Sara - Lying and duplicity came from your mind, not mine. My point was that you, speaking as a lawyer, were apparently unconcerned about guilt and truth, but more about whether or not the DA could win. Your words, not mine. As I said, I may have misread.

I have also, repeatedly, stated that I read your blog because I appreciate your writing and opinion, so drop the thin skinned martyr act, it doesn’t suit you.

Snowdrop - regarding the "Good" in this... I see a few possible outcomes. Outcome 1 - Predator kills two innocent people and leaves with car and/or money. Dozens of people mourn the loss of the innocents and carry grief their entire lives. The city is further shocked and criminals emboldened by this act. Option 2 - Innocent man kills predator, thus protecting innocent woman and all future victims of predator while dramatically reducing the number of people carrying lifelong guilt and putting a little more Fear of God in the local criminal community. Option 3, Predator takes money and continues to terrify innocent people for an indefinite period until who knows how many people are killed or maimed by him.

I choose Option 2 as the clearly superior outcome and qualifying as “Good”.

Actually, I think it is more accurate to say that the Predator chose the option for himself.

Given recent events at The Standard it should read "Double Good". Until facts dictate otherwise, this is my opinion.

Jen said...

Just wanted to point out that the shooter was also drunk or at least, he perceived himself to be too drunk too drive.

"When they left the bar around 11:15 p.m., the man gave his date the keys to his Ford Ranger pickup truck so she could drive."

Amber Rhea said...

Sara, thank you for giving this the time and consideration it deserves. I feel too sick about to engage in this thread further. I tried to express what I mean in my blog post but I didn't do very well, mainly for lack of time but also bc I was constantly trying to anticipate the asinine responses that I would get. You said everything so well. I might try to write more on my blog later but the whole thing just makes me want to disengage from humanity.

AcridSheep said...

So you have to be sober to protect yourself?

Are you implying that drunk people responsible enough to hand over the keys to their partner should relinquish their right to defend themselves?

I guess we should start really looking with askance at the drunk woman who gets raped.

This argument goes nowhere with me. Besides, who knows if he was drunk. Based on the fact that he hit a dude six times with a handgun, in a dark parking lot, under duress, he wasn't too drunk.

Sara said...

I think she was bringing up the possibility of intoxication to the extent it impacts the "reasonable apprehension" of the shooter. I believe Jen has had occasion to argue the particulars of self-defense to a jury a time or two (unlike me), so I defer to her on whether this is what she meant but it was how I took the comment.

griftdrift said...

I do not celebrate death and I refuse to be lumped in with the trolls elsewhere who gleefully want to dance over a body. But I will not weep over this one either.

I say good because over the past several weeks we've had a string of confrontations where the bad guys won. In this case, the good guys won and until there is evidence to the contrary, I still say good.

Jen said...


"So you have to be sober to protect yourself?"

No, nor did I say that.

"Are you implying that drunk people responsible enough to hand over the keys to their partner should relinquish their right to defend themselves?"

No and I certainly didn't mean to imply that.

"I guess we should start really looking with askance at the drunk woman who gets raped."

Wow. Really? You think that's what I said?

"This argument goes nowhere with me."

Since that wasn't my argument, we're in good shape.

"Besides, who knows if he was drunk."

Excellent point. Which is why I also said, "or at least, he perceived himself to be too drunk too drive." But perhaps I should said, "perceived himself to be less safe to drive" since that's the true legal standard.

"Based on the fact that he hit a dude six times with a handgun, in a dark parking lot, under duress, he wasn't too drunk."

According to the article, Mr. Ford Ranger and Mr. Suspected Robber were only "a few feet" from one another when the former began shooting. Not to mention, Mr. Ford Ranger apparently had handled his gun enough times that he didn't have any recoil effect. Not too hard to shoot someone in the chest five times. Besides, I never said he was falling down sloppy drunk - he clearly was not.

My point, as Sara explained, is whether his intoxication impacted a) his deciding to roll down the window; b) his perception of the guy reaching into a "pocket or waistband"; c) deciding to open the door and knock the guy down; d) get out of the car; and, e) open fire.

In any event, I agree with GriftDrift, "The only evidence we have at this point is the shooting was justified."

Anonymous said...

You guys should go to the AJC and read the blog by the SISTER of the guy who shot the thug. Maybe then all the hand wringing and poor mouth s*** surrounding the death of this piece of trash will stop. I doubt it though. You are going to need to have a gun put in your face to really feel that violation. I don't speak for everyone but I know I speak for many here in EAV......WE ARE SICK OF IT!

Anonymous said...

BTW - good job John Wayne. Maybe I can walk to dinner from my house in a little safer environment now. I don't own a gun but I don't pass judgement anyone else in thier attempt to protect themselves either.

AcridSheep said...


Thanks for the clarifications. All of the things of mine you quote were questions, because I didn't want to assume anything about what you were or weren't saying/inferring.

Pumping six bullets into an unarmed paper target 6 feet away, in broad daylight, is not a gimme, never mind the conditions that "Mr. Ford Ranger" was in last night.

I used to be pretty anti-gun. I did my homework, and reversed my position after reading "More Guns, Less Crime." It's pretty hard to refute the evidence.

whatwhatsthescene said...

i don't understand these clowns who feel it necessary to attack the guy who was defending himself from an armed assilant intent on robbing him.

what is wrong with some people?

Pokerista said...

Nobody is attacking him. We can talk about whether someone made a good decision without attacking them.

Unknown said...

"Yeah, I'm a lawyer and therefore always lying and being duplicitous."

I have four attorneys (one a retired Fed judge) in my immediate family, including my father. I say this only because you seem to think I have a thing against attorneys. I don't, but I think they see things from different perspective sometimes.

For example, is it right (ie moral) to prosecute vs. can we win.