We’ve talked about the dangers of “shooting to kill” vs. “shooting to stop the threat” here before. We had Attorney Andrew Branca, author of The Law of Self Defense, state his opinion on the matter last night.
Put simply, continuing to fire when the “bad guy” is attempting to retreat can transform you into the bad guy in the eyes of the law… and in the eyes of the jury.
There is some evidence that Michael Dunn just learned that lesson the hard way:
A Florida jury convicted a white, middle-aged man on Saturday of three counts of attempted murder for opening fire on a car of black teenagers during an argument over loud rap music, but could not reach a verdict on a murder charge for the killing of a 17-year-old in the car.
Michael Dunn, a 47-year-old software engineer, fired 10 rounds at a vehicle carrying four teens in a Jacksonville gas station parking lot in November 2012, killing black teen Jordan Davis.
According to the Reuters report, it may have been the final three shots Dunn fired that sealed his fate:
Earlier on Saturday, the judge said questions posed by the 12-member jury indicated they thought Dunn was initially justified in firing the first seven bullets to defend himself from Davis, but then went too far by continuing to pull the trigger as the fleeing teens drove off.
The judge speculated that jurors felt Dunn overstepped the limits of self-defense law by shooting a final volley of three bullets after he got out of his car, when the teens no longer represented any kind of threat.
“They may say justifiable use of deadly force was in play to (a) certain point and then it went away. There was no justification for those last set of shots,” the judge said.
You may only legally shoot to stop the threat. Anything beyond that, and you face going to prison for may years to come, as Micheal Dunn has now discovered the hard way. Those of you who insist on “shooting to kill” at all costs once the shooting starts because some non-attorney shared their incorrect “conventional wisdom” are going to be very popular on the prison dating scene.
Note: The media and their citizens control allies are attempting to make the same claims about “stand your ground” laws in this case as they did in the Zimmerman trial. That claim was patently false in both trials. Neither Zimmerman nor Dunn raised “stand your ground” defenses.