San Antonio armed citizen shoots, kills two suspected robbers at ATM

San Antonio armed citizen shoots, kills two suspected robbers at ATM
(AP Photo/Al Behrman, File)

San Antonio police chief William McManus gave reporters a bit of an understatement on Friday, calling a self-defense shooting a “robbery that didn’t go well for the robbers.”

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That’s putting it mildly. According to police, both suspects were shot and killed by their intended victim; a man in his 20s who was in the process of getting money from an ATM when he was targeted.

The man saw the two suspects approaching him, one on foot and the other in a sedan.

He pulled out a handgun and shot both of them, killing them.

The chief declined to say what the suspects told the man in the moments leading up to the robbery. Asked whether weapons were found on the suspected robbers, McManus said, “We’re still looking at that.”

The chief said it appeared to be a “jugging” case, in which thieves target someone known to be withdrawing a large sum of money.

“It’s been a trend throughout the country right now,” the chief said. “We believe at this point — and this could change — that this is a jugging incident.”

While police continue to investigate, McManus says he’s not currently looking at charging the victim in this case, so it sounds like there’s much more to the story than two guys approaching an ATM and getting shot as a result.

I confess that is the first time I’ve heard the term “jugging.” In fact, for a few seconds I wondered why two jugglers would try to rob anyone, but apparently it’s a thing, at least in San Antonio. In fact, earlier this week the SAPD warned the public about a rise in this type of robbery.

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The latest crime trend referred to by law enforcement officials as “jugging” is when thieves follow victims out of a bank or store.

Just last month it happened at The Shops at La Cantera when a man was followed all the way home and robbed at gunpoint.

“Invincible is what people feel like,” said Chief Bobby Lane of the Converse Police Department.

investigators say being followed home and becoming a victim of a robbery is not what most people think could happen to them while shopping.

Sheridan Billy says, admittedly, she’s not one to look over her shoulder but does try to be vigilant of suspicious people.

“Just be aware of it, your surroundings, if you are by yourself going into your car,” said Sheridan Billy.

Converse Police says the suspects are methodical about following a victim from a bank or high-end business to their next location to rob them.

“These suspects waiting in a car and they are watching them and they follow them to some place where they feel comfortable and they commit a robbery,” said Chief Bobby Lane who adds, take time to look around while you are making a money transaction.

Situational awareness is a good thing, whether or not you’re actively carrying for self-defense. In this case it’s unclear whether the two suspects who were shot and killed had tailed the man on his way to the ATM or if they were simply waiting for an unsuspecting victim to show up, but either way they made a fatal mistake when they tried to rob an armed citizen who was willing and able to defend his life.

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We don’t get to choose whether or not we’re the victim of a violent criminal, but it is up to us how we’ll respond. Avoiding a dangerous situation in the first place is the best option, but that won’t always be possible. In this incident it sounds like the armed citizen was well within his rights to protect himself with lethal force, but we’ll keep an eye out for any new information on this defensive gun use that might come out over the weekend.

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