Ex-Marine Who Killed Robber Gets Scorn, Praise
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
June 29, 2007
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.
Some are calling a former U.S. Marine a hero for shooting two men - killing one - during a botched robbery of a sandwich shop in Plantation, Fla. But others want to know how he could kill with impunity.
John Lovell had just finished dinner about 11:15 p.m. Wednesday when, Plantation police say, two men, armed with guns, rushed inside a Subway restaurant and demanded cash. After robbing the store, the men turned to Lovell. They wanted his money, police said.
But like his attackers, Lovell was armed.
The retired military man opened fire, shooting dead Donicio Arrindell, 22, of North Lauderdale, and critically injuring Fredrick Gadson, 21, of Fort Lauderdale.
Lovell, 71, of Plantation, has a valid concealed weapons permit and is not expected to be charged in the shooting, said police spokesman Det. Robert Rettig. Gadson, however, faces a myriad of felony charges that could include murder, he said. Under Florida law, anyone who commits a felony, such as armed robbery, resulting in a death can be held accountable for the capital offense.
"He feared for his life," Rettig said of Lovell. "And if he's in fear for his life, then he has a right to defend himself, even if it means severe bodily injury or death."
Florida law gives people the right of "self-defense without the duty to retreat." That means individuals can use deadly force virtually anywhere to prevent death or serious injury.
Lovell could not be reached for comment despite calls to his home and knocks on his front door.
His attorney, Wesley White, said he has known Lovell for 19 years and described him as a "quiet Clint Eastwood-type you don't want to mess with." He is a former Marine who was a member of the helicopter detail that transported Presidents Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, White said.
According to a police statement: Arrindell ordered Lovell to hand over his wallet. He intentionally dropped it on the floor and refused to pick it up, saying he was afraid.
That's when Arrindell ordered him into the women's restroom.
"The victim believed he would be executed and when he noticed [Arrindell] distracted ... reached behind his back, removed his loaded .45-caliber handgun from his holster and fired seven rounds," the statement said.
Arrindell was struck twice - once in the head and once in the stomach - and collapsed. Officers found him face down, wearing sunglasses and a bandanna with a gun near his left hand. Gadson was hit in the chest and ran from the store. Police dogs found him hiding in the hedges of a nearby bank.