Oh, Florida Man, will you never learn?
A man was shot multiple times Saturday after allegedly attempting to break into an “elderly” couple’s home and vehicle, according to the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office.
The incident unfolded shortly before 11 p.m. when the couple’s dog started barking inside their Van Arsdale Street home, alerting them to the break in, said Sheriff’s Office Lt. Dwayne Kvalheim.
The husband, who is in his 70s or 80s, looked out a window and saw a man trying to break into his vehicle, officials said.
He grabbed a gun and confronted the suspect, Kvalheim said.
The homeowner asked the suspect what he was doing and then the suspect ran across the street, officials said.
The homeowner opened fire and shot the suspect several times, Kvalheim said, adding the injuries appeared non-life threatening.
So let’s quickly sum up the tactical and legal mistakes here.
- Didn’t immediately call law enforcement
- Left the relative safety of his home to address completely unknown threats
- Fired at a suspect that does not appear to have been armed
- Shot at said suspect while he was fleeing the scene
I’m sure we’ll get the usual response of “well, I live in Texas, and I can shoot at thieves on my property!” Who cares? This isn’t Texas.
This shooting happened in Florida, and in Florida and most of the other 48 states (if not all of them), shooting a fleeing petty thief testing to see if you left your car door unlocked as he runs away falls somewhere along the assault with a deadly weapon to attempted murder felony crime range, and is a far worse offense than what the criminal himself was doing in the eyes of the criminal justice system.
It’s entirely up to the prosecutor’s office to determine what they want to do in a circumstance like this.
In a reasonably free and pro-gun state such as Florida, the prosecutor will likely look at the totality of the circumstances (the shooter’s age, the thief’s prior record, the non-life threatening injuries, and what prosecuting a senior citizen defending his home will do to his career in Florida) and probably decline to press charges against the homeowner. In California, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and other slave states where citizens are actively discouraged from defending their lives by radical left-wing prosecutors who may view such a case as an opportunity to prove how tough they are on “vigilante justice,” grandpa is going to be prosecuted and convicted rather easily.
Even in pro-gun states like Florida, however, the decision to file a criminal case is only half the battle.
Even if a prosecutor declines to make a case out of this, an enterprising personal injury attorney is going to read this news article, wet his lips with anticipation, and smile as he starts looking to make contact with the injured criminal. The thief (well, his attorney) may very well end up owning the old man’s home and car if he obtains reasonably competent counsel and sues the senior citizen (and his insurance company) in court.
Expert witnesses will be called to explain that shooting the poor victim, a guy down on his luck who was just scrounging for pocket change in the ashtrays of unlocked cars to feed his starving mother/self/orphaned kittens, was morally wrong and against the law, and he will more than likely walk away with a pre-trial settlement costing the senior citizen tens of thousands of dollars (plus thousands in legal fees), or if the case goes to trial and the criminal wins (which he probably would with competent counsel), the old man and his wife are likely to end up owing hundreds of thousands of dollars, and may lose their home.
Is shooting an unarmed, fleeing man in the back really worth it?
Using a gun even in legitimate self-defense may cost you thousands in legal bills in both criminal and civil defense costs.
Our firearms are for self-defense when lives are on the line, folks. Keep in mind that every bullet fired at another human being is likely to carry a cost with it in terms of time, money, and personal anguish. Never fire a shot unless you absolutely must to save lives.