Having to defend yourself at a gas station late at night almost sounds like a cliche, but there’s a reason that perception exists. Convenience stores are popular targets with criminals and since most have gas pumps, they’re what most people think of when they hear the term “gas station.” Armed robberies aren’t usually carried out in the daylight.
Unfortunately, some self-defense shootings aren’t obviously self-defense shootings, so good guys get arrested and charged.
That’s a fate one Georgia man was recently spared after he acted in self-defense at a Dekalb County gas station.
The gunman said he was parked at a gas pump when a black Toyota Camry pulled up next to him. Three men, including the victim, got out of the Camry.
The shooter called [the victim Brian] Jackson-Swinney over to his purple Dodge Charger, where he was selling cologne. The Camry’s other occupants were headed toward the gas station’s convenience store when Jackson-Swinney called them back. He returned to the Camry and had a brief conversation with the duo before walking back to the Charger.
That’s when the gunman noticed a gun tucked in Jackson-Swinney’s pants, according to the incident report.
The shooter told police that Jackson-Swinney “appeared to be very nervous while talking to” him. “He felt as if something was wrong, so he put his gun by his side.”
At some point, Jackson-Swinney reached inside the Charger and grabbed the shooter’s gun, police said in the report. After a struggle, Jackson-Swinney was shot once in the head.
The shooter then had to return fire as some of Jackson-Swinney’s friends opened fire. To me, this suggests that they weren’t visiting the station because they really wanted some Doritos. Instead, it looks to me like they were looking to carry out a robbery.
Or, they were gang members or some other flavor of criminal.
Jackson-Swinney’s friends took off and since the article states that they “have not been found,” I’m going to guess that they haven’t reached out to police. Just a hunch.
Frankly, while I hate it for Jackson-Swinney’s family, especially this close to Christmas, I can’t really feel bad about this one. The shooter clearly had a right to act in self-defense. The fact that the deceased friends haven’t bothered to contact the police and share their side of the story suggests the shooter is telling the truth as well.
While no one really wants to have to use their gun in self-defense, it’s not always our call. In fact, it’s almost never the good guy’s decision. For this man, the choice was to shoot or be disarmed and potentially shot himself. That’s the very epitome of a no-brainer. You pull the trigger and deal with any fallout afterward.
I’m just glad that Georgia is a Stand Your Ground state that recognizes the right to defend yourself as absolute and that this individual isn’t being charged. He was free to go back to his family.
However, in the future, he would do well to remember that after calling the police, he should also call an attorney and politely decline to answer questions until that attorney is present. While it worked out OK this time around, it might not always shake out that way.