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Legal obligation to order "cease and desist" before stopping the threat?

2265 Views 21 Replies 19 Participants Last post by  mcclearypl
i realize that different states have differnet laws but in general if you witness a felony in progress are you under a legal/moral (but mainly legal) obligation to give the bad guy a chance to cease and desist before stopping the threat? most of the time i find these examples somewhat silly due to endless variables, but im going to throw a basic example out anyway. you witness a robbery at gunpoint and fearing for your life or the life of others you decide to react. must you yell "freeze" (or something similar) and give the badguy a chance to lower his weapon before plugging the guy in the back?
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NaturalSelection said:
Must you yell "freeze" (or something similar) and give the badguy a chance to lower his weapon before plugging the guy in the back?
Morally and ethically, I say, B.S., "Always Cheat, Always Win."

Legally? boy what a sticky wicket.:image035:
Suggest you contact the attorney general of your state.

Do not pay too much attention to what you hear on the net.
I am legally barren!!

I would tho just say - play it as you see it - in as much as, legalities aside - you will if the occasion arises have barely seconds to decide what is (in your own opinion) the right thing to do. The aftermath will be another matter entirely, ranging from all hell breaking loose to being #1 local hero.

And all stations in between :wink:

I find it harder and harder to prosthelatize on ''situations'' as time goes on - regarding any remotely hard and fast rules - other than maybe, keep your mouth shut after an event, until Mr Attorney is available!
Good question; I've been thinking about that a lot lately myself.

My initial instinct is self-preservation: why give the BG a chance to turn & shoot at me? Especially since I've got 5 .38 bullets and he might have 15 .45's. We as "civilians" don't have the same obligations - or the same force & authority - as a police officer. A BG who MIGHT freeze or drop the gun at the command of an LEO may not think twice at shooting at an armed civilian.

"Action beats reaction." Once you speak, you lose the element of surprise. Now YOU are the one who is forced to react once the BG makes his next move.

Also, any bystanders are actually in more danger in a shootout than they would be in a controlled one-sided shoot.

My feeling is, the BG already made his choice when he pulled a gun on the clerk.

My "cease and desist" would be translated as "Drop it or Die" or something cute like that, yelled in my best Marine Corps Sergeant voice from behind the sights of my carry weapon of choice.

Sounds kinda tough guyish, but not meant to. My point is whatever, if anything I say to a BG with a gun will be said from behind mine.
hmm sticky situation. If you yell anything you had better be ready to shoot immediatly, cause that guy is probably going to turn around in surprise. Question is though, will he turn around in surprise, hesitate,then drop the gun when he see yours or just keep going from turning around right to shooting in one fluid motion.
My opinion is if he starts to turn around instead of immediatly dropping the gun, his [email protected]% is mine, and i think legally you should be ok. (By that i mean you might stay out of jail, but if he lives, have fun being sued alot.)
Macattack has a key point. The BG who is DOA at the scene of a Felony they started cannot tell the Police or their bleeding heart attorney their side of the reason they were doing what they were doing.
LibertyGal said:
the BG already made his choice when he pulled a gun on the clerk.
well said.......this is my thinking too. i dont see any reason to give the BG the upperhand by giving him the power to decide what happens next. i am however, curious to what others think.
a leo friend of mine said if he cant testify in court all the better for you then its just you and the evidince and evidance dosnt try to sway a jurry with sob stories
It s a personal choice, but unless I have good cover and a tactical advantage over a felony in progress I may just stay out of it altogether if possible.
While it would be great to help stop crime, my first responsibilty is to my 2 kids I am a single parent to.
Good question......

I would say pragmatically, if you lived somewhere that the typical liberal prosecutor tends to turn criminals into victims (and for that matter, victims into criminals), you are going to be indicted and prosecuted.......regardless of what the law states.

Back to the question, while I am not a lawyer and cannot give you a legal answer; this question keeps ringing in my head.......

Why give a violent BG in the act of a violent criminal act, a tactical advantage to hurt someone?
NaturalSelection said:
i realize that different states have differnet give the badguy a chance to lower his weapon before plugging the guy in the back?
I dont think it would be a good idea to just {plug the guy in the back] with out any warning.The wrong jury may not like that to 02
Unless I saw and heard every part of the conversation between the two I'd stay out of it, Because "what if" the guy with the gun was actually the one being robbed and was protecting himself. You shoot him and would be robber flees and your left holding the bag.:ahhhhh: oops
I agree with PatrioticRick. At what point did you witness the felony or the "robbery?" Are sure you know who the BG really is? Remember you are carrying primarily for self defense. He who plays the role of a cop does so at his own peril. Better to call LE if you have a cellphone or have access to a phone and describe what you witnessed. Make sure you have enough information to describe the individuals. Also, in case you drew your gun and the cops arrive at the scene, you could be mistaken for the BG and blow you up..ooops!
Yes, Mr. Prosecutor, I did yell "Stop". No, sir, I can't recall just how much time elapsed between when I yelled & when I shot. It was pretty quick.

Sir, I'm not responsible for the fact that nobody heard me yell. There was lots of noise and activity. When I yelled, I thought the BG started to turn toward me with his gun (knife/ball bat, etc.) - I guess I was just a little faster pulling the trigger than him turning... so the bullet hit him in the back.
Whatever You Do....Don't Yell: "Cease & Desist!!!"

'cause the limited vocabulary modern day scumbag bad guy will not have any idea AT ALL what you want him to do. :rofl:
i certainly understand minding your own business....but i couldnt imagine walking away from somebody in trouble.
In Florida, from what I understand so far, if someone's life is in peril or of being hurt then you can intercede. But if it is just a robbery or such then it is time to look REAL HARD at things that can help the LEOs catch the BG. Tag? Height? Clothing? etc...

But I'm still new at this and learning more every day. Heck, I can only put in my 1c, not experienced enough yet to put in a whole 2c....
This scenario has played out twice here in my town during the past two or three years. In the first, a man was in a drivthru lane of a local burger joint when he wittnessed another male pull a pistol on a woman demanding her purse, the male fired and killed the perp. He was not arrested nor were legal or civil charges filed. In the second another male wittnessed a woman being attacked and having her clothes ripped of, he fired and again the perp died, no charges civil nor criminal filed. Fortunately, in Oregon this is usually the case provided it was a "good" shoot. In both of the above, there were lots of bystanders to provide statements in support, in the second case the man shot turned out to be the womans ex and was having mental "issues" at the time. Of course, local newspapers made a big deal out of this and made out both "shooters" to be bad guys but in the end justice prevailed! Personally, they both did the right thing!
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