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Discussion Starter #1
In the state of Florida it states one can use deadly force to protect the life of a third party. My question is lets say hypothetically that you have a friend who is female who is in an abusive relationship for example. Now one night you can't get said person on the phone and you by their place to check on them,upon arriving as you walk up the house you hear screaming and things breaking.

So the front door is cracked open and as you go in you see your friend (the female) on the floor with her boyfriend kneeling over her his arms above his head and a large kitchen knife in his hands. The thing is his back is to you,do you shout for him to drop the knife and hope he complies without stabbing her or do you shoot him to stop him? Under these hypothetical circumstances in FL would this be a justified shooting?

I ask as I got into an interesting debate today with a guy who said if ever shot someone in the back you would fry. He said nothing about shooting someone in the back could be called self defense or defense of another. Let me say I am a firm believer in the theory that I'm liable for every bullet that leaves my gun,and this is why I pose this question to my fellow DC members to get your thoughts on this.
 

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I read of an officer who did just as you described: he came upon a man with a raised knife over a female in the kitchen floor.

The officer fired without delay, and saved the female's life.
So the front door is cracked open and as you go in you see your friend (the female) on the floor with her boyfriend kneeling over her his arms above his head and a large kitchen knife in his hands.
If I've gone so far as to enter her house, and get involved in a domestic situation... the point you describe is not a time to be talking or giving commands to obey. I hope I'm never in such a situation, but I believe it would be reasonable to fear for her life.

The legalities may depend on the particular state, but I believe that would be a time for shooting and not talking, as long as one is prepared to deal with the legal aftermath.

Any delay may cost your friend's life.

OTOH, she may testify against you for hurting/killing the guy, even if he was trying to bash her brains out. It happens all the time, where a female will attack the one who rescues her from a beating.

Oh why did I click on this thread? :twak:

It is good to consider scenarios ahead of time, but for many situations, they may be best handled by avoidance. A friend is a friend, sure, but sometimes adults just need to deal with their own choices.

If I have a female friend who's involved with some loser, she's made her choice, and I won't be trapsing all over town trying to save her from her own decisions.

We all make decisions, and we are then responsible for our decisions and the aftermaths.
 

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You are not required to give warnings, also known as second chances, to would be murderers.

That being said, this is a very complicated situation. What if she had just tried to stab him, he flipped her onto the floor and disarmed her? Scene would look just about the same.

I'm for giving the warning.

Even if you shoot him in the back, he may still stab her. The best outcome here is that he goes to jail, your friend is safe and you go home with your gun in your holster and no appointment to see a DA or grand jury. Best odds for getting this outcome is a very sharp warning, but you must be prepared to shoot immediately not only for her safety but for yours.
 

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I read of an officer who did just as you described: he came upon a man with a raised knife over a female in the kitchen floor.

The officer fired without delay, and saved the female's life.
If I've gone so far as to enter her house, and get involved in a domestic situation... the point you describe is not a time to be talking or giving commands to obey. I hope I'm never in such a situation, but I believe it would be reasonable to fear for her life.

The legalities may depend on the particular state, but I believe that would be a time for shooting and not talking, as long as one is prepared to deal with the legal aftermath.

Any delay may cost your friend's life.

OTOH, she may testify against you for hurting/killing the guy, even if he was trying to bash her brains out. It happens all the time, where a female will attack the one who rescues her from a beating.

Oh why did I click on this thread? :twak:

It is good to consider scenarios ahead of time, but for many situations, they may be best handled by avoidance. A friend is a friend, sure, but sometimes adults just need to deal with their own choices.

If I have a female friend who's involved with some loser, she's made her choice, and I won't be trapsing all over town trying to save her from her own decisions.

We all make decisions, and we are then responsible for our decisions and the aftermaths.
+1

In your scenario neither your friend or her abusive boyfriend know you are coming and you have let yourself in uninvited, even though the door was ajar. That and the fact that the friend could recant her story and make up a totally different version of the story would cause me some concern. Going into that situation at all plus going alone is a dangerous situation.

One of the first questions you would be asked is, ''If you thought your friend was in trouble then why didn't you call 911?''

It may be a stretch but it could also be argued by an over zealous DA that you and your friend conspired the whole incident to eliminate the boyfriend. JMO But then again maybe I've been watching to much TV lately.:gah:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
grady and Karter you both raise a very good point that I hadn't considered. This is a hypothetical case of course but I figure it never hurts to be mentally prepared beforehand either.
 

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I learned a long time ago not to fight other peoples battles. Unless the female in the story is my sister or something very close to it then I'm not going over to her home. It is hard to say; but if she likes the looser she probably will not leave him and the cycle of violence will just keep going. If she really wants to leave him she will and then things will be different. If it was my sister, daughter, granddaughter or mother on the floor with a knife wheeling jerk bent over her I would shoot the looser in a heart beat and face what every comes my way from the law.
 

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Better know who you are saving. In Va.the good guy saw a guy beating a woman on the side of the road.The good guy got out of his car and went to help the woman. The man and woman turned on the GG and pushed him into the path of an on coming car which killed him. Some people are weird.
 

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So the front door is cracked open and as you go in you see your friend (the female) on the floor with her boyfriend kneeling over her his arms above his head and a large kitchen knife in his hands. The thing is his back is to you,do you shout for him to drop the knife and hope he complies without stabbing her or do you shoot him to stop him? Under these hypothetical circumstances in FL would this be a justified shooting?
Justifiable? Yes. What state I might be in would be immaterial. Take that any way you'd like.
 

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Definately justifiable... In my mind anyway. Not to sure what the law says here in Maine, but I'd rather go to prison with a smile on my face than living the rest of my life knowing I could have done something...
 

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Depending on where you are it is justifiable. It is here in Texas.

One thing I will say is that if you have a friend who is in a relationship that is abusive, and she isn't smart enought to leave the relationship, well you need to get a new friend.

Yes this is cold, but I have no tolerance of anyone who has not got the the sense to leave a relationship that is dangerous or bad for themselves or their children. If they are not smart enough to realize the risk, and leave, well then they shouldn't expect the be saved at the last minute.
 

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If the situation is actually as you perceive it, then you would be justified in shooting. That doesn't gaurantee you won't be prosecuted or sued. It also doesn't mean that everyone (DA, LEOs, victim, decedant's family, etc.) will see the situation the exact same way that you did.

In such a situation, I would prefer to yell something, anything. Anything to give me a chance to get a better grip on the situation.

But if the BG is spouse or a boyfriend that she is living with, I will do everything possible to not get involved. Opening fire in a domestic situation is just asking for a lawsuit.
 

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Had a similar discussion this weekend. Here is my take. If I am justified in shooting someone I do not care where I need to shoot them. Nowhere in NC state law does it state I have to shoot them in the front or I cannot shoot them in the back. Justified is justified. Whether it is front, back, side, leg, knife, bat, car, gun is irrelevant to me.

Now with a 3rd party you better be completely sure of the situation. If she has lost her right to defend herself then you have no legal right to defend her, at least in NC. In your situation the stabbing may have to start before the bullets fly, just to cover myself and my family. At that point there are far fewer questions about what is happening.
 

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First of all, I would probably avoid 'third party' disputes like the plague. That said, the situation you have presented requires action to end the potential 'felony murder'...in FL, you'd probably be OK.:22a::ziplip:
 

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Cop Shoots Home Owner

Dial 911 give them your location, fight in progress, women screaming.
Then, approach the house if you must.

ALWAYS when possible get you some back up on the way FIRST.

Think you're getting the drop on them, ha, not always, and they may get the drop on you.

Before you arrived the situation formed and you were not involved so it isn't your fight. You find it happening and now make the decision to get involved, you better do it right from there on out.

Yelling commands to drop the weapon might help stop the situation, but who knows. IT CERTAINLY COULDN'T HURT. At that point you don't know the situation (has he already stabbed her before or is this just a threating pose?). Did she attempt to kill him before you arrived and he is defending himself?

You put yourself into a situation and now can only take what action is necessary to stop the threat and no more.

In court, "I was thinking he was going to stab her," won't cut the mustard in a shooting I think. "He was stabbing her," and she exhibits the wounds (dead or alive), "and I shot him until he stopped." Is a much better defense.

You're not responsible for the situation except for what happens after you arrive and if she dies because you decided not to insert youreslf, her death is not your fault.

Eitherway they will be dealt with, "In the heat of passion," you on the otherhand, were/should have been on a level minded thought out plan to stop the threat in making the decision to come to the aid of someone you thought was in harms way.

Now, suppose they were just horsing around or the knife was made of rubber....

OH BOY............................







........or this, not the same situation but similiar in many ways. He didn't know "Who's Who."
From the thread, Bad L.E.O.'s a link: Simple Justice: The Look From The Rear
 

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In court, "I was thinking he was going to stab her," won't cut the mustard in a shooting I think. "He was stabbing her," and she exhibits the wounds (dead or alive), "and I shot him until he stopped." Is a much better defense.
No, you do not need a threat to materialize before you are justified in using deadly force. But as you, I and others point out, we don't know based on actions leading to this point that we didn't witness who is really the BG here. I think that's the biggest problem in this situation.

If you shout and he won't drop the knife or starts to attack with it then you have identified your BG.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I have to say if this were a real situation(the friend in a bad situation) I'd avoid it like the plague for sure. I make it a personal habit to NEVER get involved in dispute that aren't mine,I've read/heard about to many good Samaritans getting maimed or killed for trying to help out someone.
 

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No, you do not need a threat to materialize before you are justified in using deadly force.
:scratchchin: So you can shoot and kill someone because you think he has a gun, and that you were afraid he would take it out and use it on you?
 

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Speaking strictly from a legal perspective, the shooting would be justified in states that allow defense of a third party. The only danger I see here is that shooting him might cause him to fall on top of her, plunging the knife into her.
 

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:scratchchin: So you can shoot and kill someone because you think he has a gun, and that you were afraid he would take it out and use it on you?
The words "reasonably believe" leave a wide grey area for interpretation depending on the group of people you're trying to convince.

The question is, what makes you think he has a gun and is about to use it?

If an individual is threatening "I'm going to kill you" or "I'm going to shoot you" and then reaches behind him toward his 5 o'clock that might be considered by some (including myself) as the point where an individual could reasonably believe the aggressor is about to use DPF against him at take defensive action (including DPF) to stop what he perceives as an attack.

On the other hand some bleeding heart liberal might argue that not until you actually SEE the gun is it reasonable to believe that DPF was about to be used against you.
 
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