Michigan Man Uses Gun to Fend Off Attackers at Convenience Store

AP Photo/Bobby Caina Calvan, File

A Pontiac, Michigan man drew a gun and opened fire after he was attacked by his ex-girlfriend and her new beau while waiting to pay at a convenience store on Tuesday night, leaving one suspect dead and the other seriously wounded. 


The Oakland County Sheriff's Department says the man was assaulted by the pair at the convenience store around 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday, and waited around for responding officers after he shot his two attackers

The sheriff’s office said witnesses reported the 21-year-old man was at the store counter to purchase items when he was assaulted from behind by Bragg and his girlfriend. The three then fell to the ground, with Bragg and his girlfriend on top of the 21-year-old, striking him. 

The 21-year-old drew a handgun and fired a single shot. He then attempted to pay for his merchandise and waited for deputies, the sheriff’s office said.

The case will be presented to the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office for review.

According to WXYZ-TV, the pair continued punching the victim after they fell to the ground, which is when he drew his gun and fired the single shot. 

That round traveled through Bragg and hit the man's ex-girlfriend as well. Bragg was pronounced dead at the scene, while the woman who was injured was listed in serious condition at last report. 

The Detroit News  reports that the victim was arrested at the convenience store by sheriff's deputies, while other outlets are reporting that the victim was "detained at the scene", but don't mention an actual arrest. 


Based on these reports, as long as the 21-year old could legally own and carry his pistol I don't think criminal charges are warranted. First, he wasn't the initial aggressor. He was just waiting to pay for his purchases when he was assaulted. He was in a place where he had every right to be when he was attacked. Given that he was pinned underneath his two assailants, retreat doesn't sound like a realistic possibility, but Michigan's Stand Your Ground law means he didn't have to try to retreat to safety before defending himself with his handgun. 

Michigan law requires that, in order to lawfully use deadly force in self-defense, the individual must "honestly and reasonably" believe that the "use of deadly force is necessary to prevent the imminent death of or imminent great bodily harm to himself or herself or to another individual." If you were suddenly jumped from behind, pushed to the ground, and assaulted by multiple individuals, would you think your life was in danger? I know I would. 

Now, if he didn't have a carry license he could be facing jail time, even if he did lawfully act in self-defense. Under Michigan law, possession of a firearm without a license is a misdemeanor offense punishable by fines or up to one year in jail. The Oakland County Sheriff's Department's initial statement didn't mention whether or not the victim had an active CPL, only that he was "detained at the scene" when talking to officers. 


Assuming he possessed the gun lawfully, I'd say the victim was pretty clearly justified in using deadly force to fend off the surprise assault. The bigger question is what the Oakland County prosecutor thinks of his actions. We'll be keeping a close watch for any developments in this case going forward, but if the incident has been accurately reported by local media I would be shocked if formal charges are filed. 

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