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Thread: Delaware OC Self-Defense

  1. #1
    State Researcher
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    Jul 2007
    Bear, Delaware, USA

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    Because I know some of us guys in the Delaware forums only read the Delaware forums...

    Police say liquor store worker shooting at robber was justified

    By ESTEBAN PARRA, The News Journal

    PostedFriday, February 15, 2008at9:06 pm

    Bernis Martin was just trying to protect himself.

    And as far as Wilmington police are concerned, him shooting a 15-year-old boy during a foiled Wednesday night robbery was justified.

    It is now, however, up to the Delaware Attorney General’s Office to make a legal decision on whether Martin was justified under state law in using deadly force when the boy shot at him outside his BGM Liquor Store in Wilmington. The boy reportedly shot at Martin first.

    Attorney General Beau Biden’s Office declined comment Friday.

    Widener University associate law professor, Lawrence Connell, said justified use of deadly force boils down to whether Martin’s belief he was in danger was reasonable.

    “He has to have an honest and actual belief that his life is in danger,” Connell said, adding that in this scenario it seems it might.

    According to Martin and police, the 53-year-old shop-keep was locking up his store at 11th and Lombard about 10 p.m. when a a gunman wearing a white-and-black bandanna on his face ordered him to “Give it up, old head.”

    Martin said he dropped his bag and plates and raised his hands. When the gunman demanded money, Martin said he reached into his pocket and forked over about $300.

    Martin went back into his store as the gunman started backing away.
    But when Martin looked out the doorway, he said the gunman yelled “what are you looking at” and fired his rifle.

    That’s when Martin said he reached for his Smith & Wesson M&P 9 mm pistol, which he holsters to his hip -- Delaware law allows people to carry an exposed weapon without a permit.

    After pulling the gun, Martin fired seven times.

    One of the shots wounded the gunman in the right thigh and sent his three alleged accomplices banging on doors crying for help, police said.

    Martin said he didn’t know at the time there was a total of four people and assumed Friday they were hiding in a nearby alleyway.

    City detectives later learned that the 15-year-old turned up at Crozer-Chester Medical Center in Upland, Pa., telling medics he was wounded in downtown Wilmington. Detectives went to the hospital, interviewed the teen and returned him to Wilmington.

    The teen, along with a 17-year-old boy, Christopher Whittaker, 20, and Cory Clark, 20, were charged with first-degree robbery, possession of a firearm during a felony, reckless endangering and conspiracy.

    Although some may argue Martin shouldn’t have fired as many shots, Connell said others can say that Martin may have reasonably believed the gunman was positioning himself to fire back.

    Martin said he fired into the residential street because it was empty that night.
    “If it wasn’t, this wouldn’t have happened,” he said about the robbery.

    While Wilmington Police Chief Michael Szczerba said he does not want to see business owners shooting shoplifters, he said his department “would never discourage anyone from defending themselves from ruthless criminals.”

    But he urged that if anyone elects to uses deadly force - including his officers - they must use extreme caution to prevent an innocent person from being injured.

    In this case, Szczerba said Martin “had no choice from what we can tell.”

    Martin, too, said a person should use other options before resorting to deadly force.

    “Nobody should have to go through that on either side,” he said. “If you do things the right way, you probably won’t experience that in life. It’s just unfortunate I had to.”

    For business owners, Martin encourages them to get bullet-proof plexiglass windows, cameras and other security items to deter robbers - deadly force should be the last option.

    “If they ask for money, comply with all their demands,” he said. “Everything is material. It can always be replaced. But life is more important.”


    Emphasis is mine, but I can't beleive they mentioned that!

  2. #2
    Regular Member
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    Jan 2008
    Avon Lake, Ohio, USA

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    Awesome, just awesome. I'm glad that an armed citizen fought back. We need more of these stories to prove to the public that we are not gangsters, but people concerned for our safety and rights.

  3. #3
    Regular Member
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    Nov 2006
    Hockessin, , USA

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    I was glad to see that on the front page of The News Journal. Here's what I had to say about it on my blog.

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