It happens in a lot of movies. The good guy, confronted with a bad guy, pulls his gun. So far, no problem.
Next, the bad guy flees. The good guy, not wanting to let the evildoer escape, fires at the criminal, desperate to take them down for whatever reason.
We see it play out in countless movies and television shows. In those shows, almost nothing ever comes of it.
In real life, for an armed citizen, this is what is likely to happen if you do that.
Mark D. Gray, 44, of 140 Summer St., is charged with two counts of reckless conduct and criminal threatening, all Class B felonies.
Portsmouth police say a teenage girl who lives at 140 Summer St. invited the teenage boy to a gathering via social media on Aug. 18. Due to a miscommunication, the boy was unaware the party was at a different location, not the girl’s home, according to police.
When the boy arrived at 140 Summer St., police said, he found the door unlocked and entered the home, waking the residents. The teenage boy then fled from the home and entered his vehicle, which was parked on Summer Street. The residents exited the home and encountered the boy, police said, and shots were fired in the direction of the vehicle “as it fled from the area,” police said.
Bullet holes were seen in the boy’s truck.
Gray lives at home with a former police commissioner, who claimed the vehicle was speeding toward them, not away.
The attorney for the teen argues that the physical evidence alone will prove his client’s story to be truthful. Of course, right now, it’s a “he said, she said” kind of thing.
However, I’ve also encountered a lot of people who think it’s justified to shoot someone who is running away from an alleged crime. I’ve had that conversation more than once.
Let me be clear. I don’t know of a single instance where an armed citizen can discharge a firearm at someone running away. The threat is over, and so is your justification for using lethal force. If that’s what Gray did, then he deserves what’s coming.
Folks, I get where people are coming from. If someone enters your home illegally, it’s a personal affront in a way few will understand. You feel vulnerable, violated. I’ve been the victim of a break-in before, I get it. That feeling is something I don’t ever want to experience again.
But if you confront a home invader and they’re out the door and taking off, it’s over. They’re gone. Call the police and file a report. Try to get as many details as possible, including any possible information on a getaway vehicle. Let them take over.
Pulling a gun and firing at someone running away won’t do you a lot of good. Oh, some departments might not prosecute you if no one gets hurt, but do you want to take that chance? I sure as hell don’t.
Just because the guys on TV do it all the time doesn’t mean you can. Television world is a different animal and often has no bearing on reality.
Now, before I finish, I want to make one thing perfectly clear. I’m not a police officer, so I’m not saying anything about what police officers should and shouldn’t do. There are times they might be taught to fire at a fleeing suspect. I don’t know. I know it’s happened in the past, but I’m not talking about police officers. Since I don’t have their training, I’m not going to pontificate on what they should or shouldn’t do.
I’m talking about armed citizens here. If you’re one of those, do. Not. Shoot. At. Fleeing. Suspects.
Unless, of course, you like the idea of going to jail. In that case, carry on.