When does self defense in an armed robbery become murder?

When does self defense in an armed robbery become murder?

This is a discussion on When does self defense in an armed robbery become murder? within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Hi guys, this is my first post. I have been reading the forums for a while and started concealed carrying 5 or 6 months ago. ...

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Thread: When does self defense in an armed robbery become murder?

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    New Member Array sqlb3rn's Avatar
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    When does self defense in an armed robbery become murder?

    Hi guys, this is my first post. I have been reading the forums for a while and started concealed carrying 5 or 6 months ago. I have been soaking up all the knowledge I can since then.

    One thing I have not found a good discussion or answer on is... when does a self defense shooting in an armed robbery go from self defense, to murder? If you are robbed at gun point, and give the bad guy your wallet, are you in trouble if you shoot him in the back as he turns around to leave?

    My gut instinct is yes. I am most interested in reference to Alabama laws, if it makes any difference. Would you be more likely to draw against the drop, shoot when he turns to leave, or let him go and make a police report?

    Thanks.

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    VIP Member Array OldVet's Avatar
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    Most likely. It depends a lot on state and case law. Bullets holes in th eback are always difficult to explain--if they can be. It's a position I'd rather not have to explain.
    Retired USAF E-8. Lighten up and enjoy life because:
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    Senior Member Array Sliderfusion's Avatar
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    I agree with OldVet, because the initial threat is over and the BG is leaving without any physical altercation. If shot in the back after the fact could be considered murder of some degree. BTW, welcome to the forum from Central Texas!
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    The basic and pretty much universal rule is if and when the fight/encounter stops (bad guy leaves or turns to run away) the incident is OVER. If you pursue (dumb) or shoot him in the back (worse than dumb) YOU become the agressor and He/She becomes the victim! You want to call the police/911/etc but the encounter is finished.
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    Shooting anybody in the back is going to be problematical. Even if they just robbed you at gunpoint.

    If he turns away to leave with your wallet and other valuables, then draw your weapon and tell him to stop. If he turns around with the gun in his hand that's a different story. At that point you could choose to shoot him and you are probably good to go. Imminent threat, life in danger, self defense and all that stuff.

    If he just takes off without turning around you have a decision to make. If it's me I am probably not going to shoot. I'm glad he's gone,I report the crime and hope for the best.

    If he has already pocketed, holstered or otherwise stowed his weapon, you simply "rob" your stuff back and take his gun to boot. If he is stupid enough to try to draw his weapon again, do what you think is right under the circumstances and own your decision.
    "Life is tough but it's really tough if you are stupid"

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    Senior Member Array LeftofMars's Avatar
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    Going along with OldVet as well. If they're leaving it would be really hard to call that self-defense. You might want to startle them so they turn around first! j/k

    BTW, Greetings and welcome to the forum.
    BenGoodLuck likes this.
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    Here we go with the can't-shoot-'em-ever-in-the-back nonsense. If they are armed and upright and have already threatened you with grievous bodily harm or death, they pose a legitimate lethal threat, right up until the time they don't.

    My legal opinion on this is worth exactly what you paid for it.

    Here is one I like to post when this question comes up. The guy who got shot in the back three times while running away went to the hospital, and then to jail, and then to prison. The guy who shot him in the back three times as he tried to run away was deemed to have been legally justified:

    "Preparation and mindset are everything. Allowing one's mouth to write checks that one's butt is unable or unwilling to cash is foolish."

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    Distinguished Member Array USM1976's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sliderfusion View Post
    I agree with OldVet, because the initial threat is over and the BG is leaving without any physical altercation. If shot in the back after the fact could be considered murder of some degree. BTW, welcome to the forum from Central Texas!


    Not so in Texas, sir…let me quote the Texas Penal Code.

    Texas Penal Code Section 9.42 Deadly Force to Protect Property:

    A person is justified in using deadly force against another to protect land or tangible, movable property:
    (1) if he would be justified in using force against the other under Section 9.41; and
    (2) when and to the degree he reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary:
    (A) to prevent the other's imminent commission of arson, burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, theft during the nighttime, or criminal mischief during the nighttime; or
    (B) to prevent the other who is fleeing immediately after committing burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, or theft during the nighttime from escaping with the property; and
    (3) he reasonably believes that:
    (A) the land or property cannot be protected or recovered by any other means; or
    (B) the use of force other than deadly force to protect or recover the land or property would expose the actor or another to a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury.
    "Truth is like a lion. You don't need to defend it. Let it loose. It will defend itself." St. Augustine

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    Quote Originally Posted by USM1976 View Post
    Not so in Texas, sir…let me quote the Texas Penal Code.

    Texas Penal Code Section 9.42 Deadly Force to Protect Property:

    A person is justified in using deadly force against another to protect land or tangible, movable property:
    (1) if he would be justified in using force against the other under Section 9.41; and
    (2) when and to the degree he reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary:
    (A) to prevent the other's imminent commission of arson, burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, theft during the nighttime, or criminal mischief during the nighttime; or
    (B) to prevent the other who is fleeing immediately after committing burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, or theft during the nighttime from escaping with the property; and
    (3) he reasonably believes that:
    (A) the land or property cannot be protected or recovered by any other means; or
    (B) the use of force other than deadly force to protect or recover the land or property would expose the actor or another to a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury.
    There you go, citing legalese mumbo-jumbo in the face of irrefutable internet expertise.
    "Preparation and mindset are everything. Allowing one's mouth to write checks that one's butt is unable or unwilling to cash is foolish."

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    BenGoodLuck and oneshot like this.
    When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.
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    VIP Member Array NC Bullseye's Avatar
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    Always remembering that an armed robbery is an extremely fluid situation and threat levels can change multiple times in a single second.

    You are operating on the razors edge until it's over and with those thoughts it'd be reasonable to draw if the robber turns his attention away from you being aware that this is when the extreme discipline factor starts.

    You may be pointing a firearm at their back but you should not shoot unless the threat level returns to a sufficient level that warrants deadly force. There is no law against holstering an unfired firearm if the threat recedes.

    A side note, your OODA loop will be free wheeling in these circumstances so best to run these through your mind now when the outcome is just a mark on a page. Don't forget to make sure you keep the very basic safety rules in your loop too like being sure of your target AND WHAT IS BEHIND IT.

    It'd be a shame to lose your "Atta Boy" of shooting the bad guy by pegging an innocent bystander behind the bad guy.
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    As always, it is going to depend on state law and the DA where it happens. That said, as long as he has a gun in his hand, he's a viable threat to your life. Hopefully you and your lawyer can get that across to the DA and jury if it goes to that point.

    Robbery a knife point is a bit different, in that if he has started to depart and is say 15-20' away, it would be extremely hard, if not impossible to convince a reasonable person you were in imminent danger.
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    Quote Originally Posted by archer51 View Post
    As always, it is going to depend on state law and the DA where it happens. That said, as long as he has a gun in his hand, he's a viable threat to your life. Hopefully you and your lawyer can get that across to the DA and jury if it goes to that point.

    Robbery a knife point is a bit different, in that if he has started to depart and is say 15-20' away, it would be extremely hard, if not impossible to convince a reasonable person you were in imminent danger.
    C'mon, we have all heard about the Tueller 21-foot rule.
    "Preparation and mindset are everything. Allowing one's mouth to write checks that one's butt is unable or unwilling to cash is foolish."

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    VIP Member Array Kennydale's Avatar
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    So if a person snatched your child and runs with back to you...you have a decent shot with a 75% of stopping BG but not hitting child....you wouldn't take it, because of hitting him in back?
    USM1976 likes this.
    "Liberal arguments against guns tend to presume the worst: that a yearning for gun ownership must in some way be rooted in the desire to hurt. But gun culture at its best is rooted in a desire to protect, and especially to protect the people we love"
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    Quote Originally Posted by NC Bullseye View Post
    Always remembering that an armed robbery is an extremely fluid situation and threat levels can change multiple times in a single second.

    You are operating on the razors edge until it's over and with those thoughts it'd be reasonable to draw if the robber turns his attention away from you being aware that this is when the extreme discipline factor starts.

    You may be pointing a firearm at their back but you should not shoot unless the threat level returns to a sufficient level that warrants deadly force. There is no law against holstering an unfired firearm if the threat recedes.

    A side note, your OODA loop will be free wheeling in these circumstances so best to run these through your mind now when the outcome is just a mark on a page. Don't forget to make sure you keep the very basic safety rules in your loop too like being sure of your target AND WHAT IS BEHIND IT.

    It'd be a shame to lose your "Atta Boy" of shooting the bad guy by pegging an innocent bystander behind the bad guy.
    That right there could easily get you killed.
    farsidefan1 and StormRhydr like this.
    "Preparation and mindset are everything. Allowing one's mouth to write checks that one's butt is unable or unwilling to cash is foolish."

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