AP Photo/Elaine Thompson
Perhaps one of the worst injustices in this country is the tendency of good people who use a gun to defend themselves to find themselves facing criminal charges. It happens far too often.
However, much of the time, law enforcement gets it right. If they don’t, the courts do, especially when there’s clear evidence of someone acting in self-defense, such as what happened to one Pennsylvania woman.
A 22-year-old woman who fired multiple shots inside a Pa. Walmart got a big legal break after authorities saw surveillance video of the shooting.
As WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh reports, a charge of attempted homicide against alleged shooter Rojaanai Alston, 22, of Penn Hills, Pa., have been withdrawn by the Allegheny County District Attorney.
That’s because the surveillance video from the North Versailles Walmart clearly shows two other women attacking Alston in the electronics area of the store.
Check out a clip of the video embedded in this tweet:
ONLY ON 4 – video of the shooting inside Walmart in North Versailles – and the planned attack on the shooter that triggered her opening fire. Was it self-defense? #WTAE at 6 pic.twitter.com/WGsV9QjLuZ
— Bob Mayo (@BMayo_WTAE) July 18, 2019
At Thursday’s hearing, Alston’s defense attorney argued passionately that Alston didn’t choose Walmart as the place she would have to defend herself with her legal 9 mm handgun – her attackers did.
“She didn’t pick this location, she didn’t pick this place and she didn’t pick the fight, and she did nothing wrong,” Ken Haber, her defense attorney, was quoted by WTAE as saying during Thursday’s preliminary hearing.
“She was cold-cocked in the head, not once, not twice, but at least three times, and then they attempted to drag her to the ground. And if she didn’t have a firearm on her to disperse her two assailants, I don’t know if my client would even be alive right now,” Haber said.
The video backs that claim up.
It’s clear that Alston was being attacked. It’s also clear that she had reason to be in fear of her life. If I’m facing multiple attackers who jump me out of the blue, I have no reason to think they’re going to stop anywhere short of me being dead. I’m going to react in a way to keep me and mine safe and sound. That’s my priority, and it always will be.
An attack like this one seems quite brutal from watching it, but I can only imagine how it was from Alston’s side. She did what she had to do to walk away from that encounter.
The fact that it ever got to a courtroom is an absolute tragedy. I’m glad Alston’s able to walk away from the aftermath of the incident as well.
I won’t weigh in on whether Alston handled everything correctly or not. I have my opinions, but this post isn’t about that. It’s about the fact that Alston did the best she could under the circumstances and, thankfully, will be free to enjoy the rest of her life. However, she’s also one of the more than two million Americans each year who uses a firearm to defend themselves. You know, those people anti-gunners claim don’t exist?
Well, Alston exists. She exists and is possibly alive today because she was armed.