A concealed carry and self-defense instructor came to the aid of a convenience store clerk in Mandeville, Louisiana, as the clerk was being assaulted by an irate customer. The instructor then (unwisely) followed the irate customer outside to get this license plate number of the customer’s truck for authorities. When the customer followed the instructor back inside the store and went for the instructor’s gun, which was being open-carried, things went real bad, real fast.
According to Mandeville Police, the victim, later identified as Shawn Breland, 42, of Folsom, was inside the store and after buying something he began berating the clerk. The clerk ordered Breland to leave the store, and Breland came back inside several times.
Another man who was inside the store and carried a visible firearm in a holster also tried to de-escalate the situation and warned Breland to leave.
“The deceased left but returned throwing what appears to be potatoes chips at the clerk. The shooter then follows the deceased outside to get his vehicle license plate number for the police. When the deceased saw the shooter getting his plate info, he exited his vehicle and physically attacked the shooter,” said a statement from Mandeville Police.
The unidentified man then drew his gun after being attacked. The man then went inside the store, but Breland followed him inside and continued to attack him.
“The video shows the deceased, who his larger than the shooter, physically shoving and pulling the shooter back and forth. The video also shows the deceased attempting to grab for the firearm. The shooter order the deceased back and told him he would shoot him if he did not stop,” said a statement from police.
“The shooter retreated into a corner of the store while still being attacked. With nowhere left to retreat, the shooter fires one round striking the deceased. The deceased does not stop his attacks and the shooter fires two more rounds, striking the subject, who then falls to the ground,” the statement concluded.
One has to question the tactical wisdom of the instructor following Breland outside to get the licence plate number of the vehicle. Store security cameras are ubiquitous, and there was simply no need for the instructor to gather this information which had already been recorded. Beyond this poor decision, however, the instructor seems to have done everything in his power to avoid having to kill Breland.
Some people are just stupid and violent. Shawn Breland seemed to be that kind of person, at least in the final moments of his life. He assaulted a clerk, then assaulted a man with a gun repeatedly, even after being shot the first time.
Did open carrying deter an attack in this instance, as proponents of open carry claim it will?
Clearly, it did not.
In fact, most of the time we write about open carry related to crime, it is when an open carrier (or concealed carrier who is printing so bad he may as well be open carrying) is being assaulted by a criminal who wants to take his weapon. Take that for what it’s worth.
I think that given the details of the case as presented, it seems that Breland was worked up into a rage and would have attacked anyone, whether carrying concealed or open carrying, who had dare to copy down his license plate number. The fact that Breland pressed his assault instead of reexamining his life choices after being holed the first time suggests that there was simply no rationality left in his mind at that point and he was in a murderous rage.
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Folks, I’ll leave you with this bit of advice: it is not your job to apprehend criminals, or to further risk your life to gather additional intelligence to help apprehend criminals, which your friendly neighborhood law enforcement will tell you as they’ve told me in past training.
In this instance, the firearms instructor had already successfully deescalated the situation and had convinced Breland to leave the store. He should have stayed inside until Breland left and he was able to file a witness statement with officers who were already on the way. By going outside to get the license plate off Breland’s truck, he made an error in judgement that served to reignite and escalate the situation.
Do not pursue someone who has committed a criminal act, unless you have reason to believe that the person is an immediate threat to others.
This was clearly a legal self-defense shooting, but it probably could have been avoided if the instructor had simply stayed inside the store and waited for responding police.