Store Employee Charged After Shooting Burglar

Store Employee Charged After Shooting Burglar

This is a discussion on Store Employee Charged After Shooting Burglar within the In the News: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly forums, part of the The Back Porch category; At about 5:00 AM on Sunday morning, a group of three broke into a closed store and began stealing cash and merchandise. An employee, who ...

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    VIP Member Array jmf552's Avatar
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    Store Employee Charged After Shooting Burglar

    At about 5:00 AM on Sunday morning, a group of three broke into a closed store and began stealing cash and merchandise. An employee, who was in a backroom at the time, picked up a gun, entered the main area of the store and shot one of the suspects, who had non-life threatening wounds. The store employee was charged with Malicious Wounding, Reckless Handling of a Firearm and Violation of a Protective Order.

    This is a strange one. Some things I think were odd:
    • The store was closed and it would have still been dark out. So the employee was probably doing stock work or something like that when they broke in. If I put myself in that position, I could see being in reasonable fear of grave bodily harm.
    • The cops charged the defender, but they are still deciding whether or not to charge the burglar.
    • I don't get the Violation of a Protective Order charge. In VA, you are prohibited from possessing a firearm if you have a protective order regarding an intimate partner or close family member, but the charge should be Illegal Possession of a Firearm, not violation of the order itself.

    There probably is more to this story. I should mention this happened in Arlington, VA, which is very liberal and anti-gun.

    https://www.arlnow.com/2020/03/29/po...ould-be-thief/
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    Strange, I can think of anything from an over-zealous DA to a drug deal or merchandise deal (stock worker selling goods to his buddies)going bad.

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    VIP Member Array jmf552's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Osprey View Post
    Strange, I can think of anything from an over-zealous DA to a drug deal or merchandise deal (stock worker selling goods to his buddies)going bad.
    The DA is ultra-liberal and anti-gun. She is not enforcing marijuana laws and is big on "restorative justice," which focuses on the "rehabilitation of offenders through reconciliation with victims and the community at large."
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    The wounded suspect was a juvenile male; he suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries.
    And I bet he was just starting to turn his life around.

    The story is missing the reaction from the outraged mama.
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    Not enough details to allow a complete analysis, but with the facts presented I think that any halfway competent defense attorney can handle the young man's legal issues in this case. A single employee inside a closed business confronted by multiple intruders in the process of committing a felony; shouldn't be difficult to convince a juror or two there was a reasonable fear of imminent serious injury or death justifying self-defense. As far as the protective order charge, assuming the store employee was subject to such an order the obvious defense is "the lesser of two evils" (forced to defend himself in the face of overwhelming odds, taking up a firearm is certainly a lesser evil than suffering assault and likely serious injury or death).

    The real question at this point is whether or not the young man can adequately fund his defense to get the case before a jury, or will he grab a plea bargain to avoid the possibility of serious prison time? Hopefully, Virginia 2A supporters will step up to assist with a legal defense fund, perhaps a well-qualified attorney instead of a public defender.
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    Quote Originally Posted by retired badge 1 View Post
    Not enough details to allow a complete analysis, but with the facts presented I think that any halfway competent defense attorney can handle the young man's legal issues in this case. A single employee inside a closed business confronted by multiple intruders in the process of committing a felony; shouldn't be difficult to convince a juror or two there was a reasonable fear of imminent serious injury or death justifying self-defense. As far as the protective order charge, assuming the store employee was subject to such an order the obvious defense is "the lesser of two evils" (forced to defend himself in the face of overwhelming odds, taking up a firearm is certainly a lesser evil than suffering assault and likely serious injury or death).

    The real question at this point is whether or not the young man can adequately fund his defense to get the case before a jury, or will he grab a plea bargain to avoid the possibility of serious prison time? Hopefully, Virginia 2A supporters will step up to assist with a legal defense fund, perhaps a well-qualified attorney instead of a public defender.
    That would be something on the order of a "prudent person" law, would it not? I guess the question is, does Virginia have a prudent person law in their firearms code? @jmf552 any insight?

    For reference, here is Nebraska's, which is pretty plain.

    28-1202.
    Carrying concealed weapon; penalty; affirmative defense.
    (1)(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, any person who carries a weapon or weapons concealed on or about his or her person, such as a handgun, a knife, brass or iron knuckles, or any other deadly weapon, commits the offense of carrying a concealed weapon.

    (b) It is an affirmative defense that the defendant was engaged in any lawful business, calling, or employment at the time he or she was carrying any weapon or weapons and the circumstances in which such person was placed at the time were such as to justify a prudent person in carrying the weapon or weapons for the defense of his or her person, property, or family.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Henry9008 View Post
    That would be something on the order of a "prudent person" law, would it not? I guess the question is, does Virginia have a prudent person law in their firearms code? @jmf552 any insight?

    For reference, here is Nebraska's, which is pretty plain.

    28-1202.
    Carrying concealed weapon; penalty; affirmative defense.
    (1)(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, any person who carries a weapon or weapons concealed on or about his or her person, such as a handgun, a knife, brass or iron knuckles, or any other deadly weapon, commits the offense of carrying a concealed weapon.

    (b) It is an affirmative defense that the defendant was engaged in any lawful business, calling, or employment at the time he or she was carrying any weapon or weapons and the circumstances in which such person was placed at the time were such as to justify a prudent person in carrying the weapon or weapons for the defense of his or her person, property, or family.
    Certainly something a defense lawyer should research, and possibly argue in court. I was referring more to convincing one or more jurors that what the young man did was reasonable under the circumstances with which he was forced to deal by the criminal actions of others (or if not reasonable, then not criminally unreasonable).

    Lots of laws. Lots of legal theories. Lots of potential arguments for or against any act. My main point was to get the case in front of a jury, which requires months of legal preparation and thousands of dollars in costs, rather than caving in to a plea deal because the young man can't properly fund a good defense effort. Even if a sweet-sounding deal is offered (no felony conviction, no prison time, etc), a guilty plea remains a guilty plea, and there can be no appeal even if the bad guys later brag that they knew the kid was there and planned on cutting his throat before leaving.

    Assuming that the prosecutor in this case is pursuing an anti-gun agenda, she remains a prosecutor who wants to enhance her professional reputation with a strong record of convictions, and a plea bargain counts as a conviction.
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    Quote Originally Posted by retired badge 1 View Post
    Certainly something a defense lawyer should research, and possibly argue in court. I was referring more to convincing one or more jurors that what the young man did was reasonable under the circumstances with which he was forced to deal by the criminal actions of others (or if not reasonable, then not criminally unreasonable).

    Lots of laws. Lots of legal theories. Lots of potential arguments for or against any act. My main point was to get the case in front of a jury, which requires months of legal preparation and thousands of dollars in costs, rather than caving in to a plea deal because the young man can't properly fund a good defense effort. Even if a sweet-sounding deal is offered (no felony conviction, no prison time, etc), a guilty plea remains a guilty plea, and there can be no appeal even if the bad guys later brag that they knew the kid was there and planned on cutting his throat before leaving.

    Assuming that the prosecutor in this case is pursuing an anti-gun agenda, she remains a prosecutor who wants to enhance her professional reputation with a strong record of convictions, and a plea bargain counts as a conviction.
    Gotcha.

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    VIP Member Array jmf552's Avatar
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    @Henry9008 : VA law just says if you have such a protective order against you, you cannot possess a gun, period. A gray area might be that it might not have been his gun, it might have been the store owner's and he just grabbed it out of the office. If so, is that "possession?" I don't know. But then he was not charged with illegally carrying or possessing a gun, he was charged with violating a protective order. I would think for that to be true, the person who took out the protective order would have to be present. And then being charged with the other two crimes would likely negate an affirmative defense.
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    the charge should be Illegal Possession of a Firearm, not violation of the order itself.
    speaking generally, there can certainly be many reasons to choose one charge over the other. You do not know his background or whether or not he may have had other protective order violations. I am not suggesting that he does, just say'n. Sentencing can sometime be enhanced for protective order violation and domestic violence ( depending on the local laws. If a person has previous VOPO, at some point it can become a felony ( depending on the jurisdiction)

    on the flip side.. some charges involving a firearm might not qualify for certain programs or diversion. I know nothing of VA or their laws but perhaps VOPO was a lesser of the two charges in the long run. They may have actually be trying to cut him some slack... who knows. I am simply speculating
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmf552 View Post
    @Henry9008 : VA law just says if you have such a protective order against you, you cannot possess a gun, period. A gray area might be that it might not have been his gun, it might have been the store owner's and he just grabbed it out of the office. If so, is that "possession?" I don't know. But then he was not charged with illegally carrying or possessing a gun, he was charged with violating a protective order. I would think for that to be true, the person who took out the protective order would have to be present. And then being charged with the other two crimes would likely negate an affirmative defense.
    Maybe one of the burglars was his Boyfriend! And had domestic problems in their past!
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    The employee then retreated, before going back into the store and firing another shot, police said
    .

    This too may have played into the initial options considered. Story says more charges are anticipated. As with all similar incidents, what is not known is probably more critical to making a well informed opinion than what is known.
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    Quote Originally Posted by retired badge 1 View Post
    Not enough details to allow a complete analysis, but with the facts presented I think that any halfway competent defense attorney can handle the young man's legal issues in this case. A single employee inside a closed business confronted by multiple intruders in the process of committing a felony; shouldn't be difficult to convince a juror or two there was a reasonable fear of imminent serious injury or death justifying self-defense. As far as the protective order charge, assuming the store employee was subject to such an order the obvious defense is "the lesser of two evils" (forced to defend himself in the face of overwhelming odds, taking up a firearm is certainly a lesser evil than suffering assault and likely serious injury or death).

    The real question at this point is whether or not the young man can adequately fund his defense to get the case before a jury, or will he grab a plea bargain to avoid the possibility of serious prison time? Hopefully, Virginia 2A supporters will step up to assist with a legal defense fund, perhaps a well-qualified attorney instead of a public defender.
    Not sure I agree with you. If the article is correct the owner opened the door and fired. Then retreated and fired again. Unless something is missing where was the threat to him? Granted, being scared to death, which he probably was, may take it one step closer to feeling threatened but I see no evidence the burglars did anything to cause him to feel threatened and as far as we know they could have been trying to flee when the owner shot. Some speculation here for sure but just because there is a gun does not mean the gun owner did the right thing. And OP, this was in the article: police said. “Additional charges related to the breaking and entering are anticipated at a later date.” But as mentioned, very liberal area and an area responsible for our state governor.
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    Consider this against the fact that many communist, er, Democrat governors are releasing criminals, including murderers, to protect them from the foul-tasting beer virus. It fits in the new Democratic tyranny.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShenandoahValley View Post
    Not sure I agree with you. If the article is correct the owner opened the door and fired. Then retreated and fired again. Unless something is missing where was the threat to him? Granted, being scared to death, which he probably was, may take it one step closer to feeling threatened but I see no evidence the burglars did anything to cause him to feel threatened and as far as we know they could have been trying to flee when the owner shot. Some speculation here for sure but just because there is a gun does not mean the gun owner did the right thing. And OP, this was in the article: police said. “Additional charges related to the breaking and entering are anticipated at a later date.” But as mentioned, very liberal area and an area responsible for our state governor.
    I did not state that I agreed with the employee's actions, nor did I state that what happened was in any way proper. What I stated was that a competent defense attorney could mount an effective defense in a court of law with a jury as the finders of fact. By extension, I suggested that a good defense effort could be of benefit to the cause of preserving 2A rights in the face of politically motivated prosecutors.

    I was not asking anyone to agree with me, only commenting that the young man involved deserves the best legal representation possible and the benefit of a trial, goals that may not be possible for someone working in a retail store without some assistance.

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