It's Not Self-Defense If You Chase Them Before Shooting

When you’re talking about self-defense scenarios and how to comport yourself, it’s virtually impossible to cover every possible situation. Instead, personal defense instructors give students tools that cover a wide range of possibilities. The idea is to put enough tools in the toolbox so that they know how to make good decisions.

Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to make those good decisions, and when you’re talking about firearms, poor decisions can be very, very bad.

A man from Springfield, who chased another man a quarter of a mile, was found guilty of second degree murder.

Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson announces that Jason Kumnick, 45, of Springfield, Missouri was convicted today by a Greene County Jury of Murder in the Second Degree, Armed Criminal Action, and Felon in Possession of a Firearm.

Jason Kumnick was found guilty of the murder of Ben Jester, which occurred on December 7, 2014. The evidence at trial established that the defendant chased the victim approximately a quarter of a mile and shot him in front of a house on North Main in Springfield. After the homicide, the defendant’s DNA was compared to blood that was left at the scene of the murder. That comparison showed that the DNA was consistent with the Defendant’s DNA. In a post-Miranda interview, Kumnick told a detective that he was not involved in Jester’s death and could not explain why his DNA might be at the crime scene. At trial, his attorneys argued that he shot and killed the victim in self defense. The jury deliberated approximately three hours before returning its verdict.

I’m going to offer something of a pro-tip. Pro-tip: If you chase them for a quarter of a mile, it’s not self-defense.

It doesn’t matter if he threatened to come back and kill you. It doesn’t matter if he said your shoes looked funny. Nothing matters, because the moment he leaves, the threat is over. If you pursue him and shoot him, it will never look like self-defense. If you chase after him, he turns and points a gun at you, guess who is acting in self-defense? It’s not you.

This is especially true if you’re a convicted felon who isn’t even allowed to legally own a firearm.

Look, I get being angry. I remember chasing someone trying to steal my bicycle (adult version) for a good block. Then I calmed down and stopped because I knew I was going way too far and that I would be the one with an all-expenses-paid trip to the Gray Bar Resort and Casino.

Instead, I called the police and let them know what happened, including my indiscretion.

They never caught the guy, though, which isn’t surprising, but the point here is that I can get why you would want to chase someone. It doesn’t matter how understandable the chase is. You’re an idiot by doing it, just like I was.

If you shoot them, though, any claims of self-defense are likely to go out the window. Now, that’s not to say there aren’t exceptions. For example, if someone’s trying to kidnap another, that changes things. While I’m not about to advise you to chase a kidnapper, I am saying I can see why you would chase and then act in self-defense at the end of the chase.

But in most cases, that’s not what we’re talking about, so don’t be an idiot. Not that I think most people need the warning, but it sounds like someone did.