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Thread: Suffolk shop owner won't face charges

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    Suffolk shop owner won't face charges for killing burglar

    By Kristin Davis
    The Virginian-Pilot
    © July 17, 2009
    SUFFOLK

    A store owner who shot a burglar four times last month will not face criminal charges because he believed his life was in danger, the commonwealth’s attorney has decided.

    The burglar, Ernest Roop, 38, created “a very dangerous situation” when he broke into the J&L Food Mart in Whaleyville dressed in camouflage and carrying a crowbar and a hunting knife, prosecutor Phil Ferguson wrote in a statement released Thursday.

    Roop did not have a gun and did not appear to be holding the knife or the crowbar when he was shot, he said.

    The store owner, James H. Durden Jr., had a blood alcohol concentration of about 0.10 when police arrived – high enough to be charged with driving under the influence had he been operating a vehicle. Ferguson called that issue “irrelevant to this case.”

    Durden was responding to an emergency situation, the prosecutor said, and “one could not argue he was at fault.”

    According to the account in Ferguson’s letter:

    An alarm alerted Durden and his wife at their home less than 100 yards from the store about 4 a.m. June 21. Durden’s wife said she was going to investigate, and Durden decided to go with her, first retrieving his .45-caliber handgun. On the way out, he told his daughter to call the police.

    The couple saw a broken window at the east side of the store. Through a south window, Durden spotted Roop at the cash register.

    The burglar turned toward Durden with what the store owner thought was a gun. Durden fired three times toward Roop, ducked down, looked up and was “face to face with Roop at the Southside window as Roop had run around the counter and toward the glass” where Durden stood.

    Durden fired one more shot.

    Police found Roop on the floor under that window.

    Ferguson wrote that Durden cooperated with police and the commonwealth’s attorney’s office and that evidence supported his story.

    “Under Virginia law, a person may use deadly force when he reasonably fears under the circumstances as they appear to him that he is in danger of being killed or that he is in danger of great bodily harm.”

    A Suffolk jury, Ferguson concluded, would not convict Durden.

    Durden may have mistaken Roop’s heavy, gray gloves for a gun, he said, although it is impossible to know. Video surveillance at the store recorded only part of the incident and was poor. Of approximately three cameras in the store, only one was working, the prosecutor said.

    “It would almost tell you nothing. … You could see the person was deceased, you could see him reaching into the cash register,” but that was only in one far corner, he said.

    Durden did not return a telephone message Thursday.

    Roop had a criminal record, including a felony burglary conviction in 2003 that earned him jail time and was revoked twice, according to online court records. His family said he had struggled with drug addiction for years but was never violent.

    Roop’s father, Scott Roop, learned of the decision when a reporter contacted him Thursday afternoon.

    He said he understands the right to defend oneself and one’s property.

    “But I don’t know that property is worth deadly force.

    “Someone was apparently intoxicated, he was handling a firearm. To me he used very excessive force.”

    Anne Coughlin, a law professor at the University of Virginia, said the fact that Durden had been drinking “would raise some additional alarms. You would worry that perhaps the store owner wasn’t thinking clearly, wasn’t able to evaluate the situation in a reasonable manner.”

    Still, she said, “you wouldn’t want to deny him the right to defend himself. “He wasn’t out drinking looking for trouble. He was behaving in a perfectly law-abiding way and this emergency arose and it was necessary for him to respond to it.”

    Scott Roop said he wishes a jury or a judge could have made that call.

    “I guess I’m just a little disappointed in our city. They chose to feel it wasn’t worthy of investigating further.”

    Kristin Davis, (757) 222-5555, kristin.davis@pilotonline.com

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    Regular Member compmanio365's Avatar
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    Love the comments from the burglar's father. Let me guess, the kid was just getting his life turned around, and why couldn't he talk to him? Typical BS.....

    Kudos to the local government for recognizing that alcohol or not, a good shoot is a good shoot. Don't want to get shot? Don't go breaking into people's property. Simple as that. Alcohol had nothing to do with it.

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    It is amazing that with all of the "Free" stuff being handed out by the Gov't that anyone needs to steal anymore. I guess that the perp had not yet been "stimulated".

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    Interesting case.There is a significant lack ofclarity on whether Roopwas actually armed when he was shot. If he was, thenit's hats off for him. Done deal. Crispy critter. No bubbles, no troubles. Sayonara. Don't call us...

    But if he wasn't armed,then that's a different kettle of fishes.

    Certainly, we know that Durden is not going to be charged with any criminal violation for shooting and killing Roop.


    Yet, this case once again proves the wisdom, validity and accuracy of the much heralded HankT's Postulate of Civilian Self-Defense (HPCSD).

    Here it is for any who may somehow have not been made aware of it, even though it has diffused widely throughout this land:


    It is a bad strategy to shoot an unarmed person.


    This postulate has never been refuted in all the years of its existence. It is an amazinglyand universally applicable construction. The instant case of the inebriated James H.Durden Jr. isbutthe most recentexemplar of HPCSD.

    HPCSD ALWAYS applies.

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    Regular Member compmanio365's Avatar
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    Hmm, funny, even if the burglar was not armed, he is still not being charged. Guess it was a good shoot either way. If you don't want to get shot, don't break into people's property. Unarmed or not.

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    Regular Member riverrat10k's Avatar
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    Too bad about the drug addicted thief. Don't start nothin', won't be nothin'.

    Thank goodness the store owner will not be charged.
    Remember Peter Nap and Skidmark. Do them proud. Be active. Be well informed. ALL rights matter.

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    Regular Member buster81's Avatar
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    HankT wrote:
    Interesting case.There is a significant lack ofclarity on whether Roopwas actually armed when he was shot. If he was, thenit's hats off for him. Done deal. Crispy critter. No bubbles, no troubles. Sayonara. Don't call us...

    But if he wasn't armed,then that's a different kettle of fishes.

    Certainly, we know that Durden is not going to be charged with any criminal violation for shooting and killing Roop.


    Yet, this case once again proves the wisdom, validity and accuracy of the much heralded HankT's Postulate of Civilian Self-Defense (HPCSD).

    Here it is for any who may somehow have not been made aware of it, even though it has diffused widely throughout this land:


    It is a bad strategy to shoot an unarmed person.


    This postulate has never been refuted in all the years of its existence. It is an amazinglyand universally applicable construction. The instant case of the inebriated James H.Durden Jr. isbutthe most recentexemplar of HPCSD.

    HPCSD ALWAYS applies.
    I'm not disagreeing with you. Does it apply when the BGhas overpowered you (suppose he is much larger than you) and is about to choke you outwith his bare hands?

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    riverrat10k wrote:
    Too bad about the drug addicted thief. Don't start nothin', won't be nothin'.

    Thank goodness the store owner will not be charged.
    I guess you guys didn't read the beginning where it said the bad guy entered the store with a CROWBAR and a HUNTING KNIFE.
    Every town I ever was in with a HUNTING KNIFE I got hassled by the cops....see RAMBO the first movie....

    The store owner had been drinking. So what. He was at home.
    He did NOT ask the BG to come over and break into his store.

    But that is what happened. His store intruder alarm went off. He and his wife went to investigate. He saw the bad guy at the cash register. They faced off. GG thot BG had a gun. He fired. A moment later they were 6 or 10 or less feet apart and GG was scared. He fired one more time. BG expired shortly after that. BG had a felony record and was not a saint. He made a bad choice that night. Now he is dead. So sad too bad. TS for BG.

    I am glad for GG that DA called it JH.
    As so many of us have read here and elsewhere the DA might have made the BG the 'victim' and the GG the suspect. Putting the GG away for 20+ and the 'victim' suing the pants off the good guys family when all he was doing was defending his family or his property.

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    "It is a bad strategy to shoot an unarmed person".

    Sorry, I disagree. I have EARNED my 67 years on this earth and am NOT bound to give my life to ANY person, armed or not.




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    TheMrMitch wrote:
    "It is a bad strategy to shoot an unarmed person".

    Sorry, I disagree. I have EARNED my 67 years on this earth and am NOT bound to give my life to ANY person, armed or not.


    Let's remember thatthe much heralded HankT's Postulate of Civilian Self-Defense (HPCSD) applies universally (in U.S.). It has continuously been foundrelevant to all situations and to shooters of all ages, from their wet-behind-the-ears teens to their golden years.



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    TheMrMitch wrote:
    "It is a bad strategy to shoot an unarmed person".

    Sorry, I disagree. I have EARNED my 67 years on this earth and am NOT bound to give my life to ANY person, armed or not.


    AGREED. A 200+ man who's fist is about the size of my head can kill me just as easily as a gun or other blunt object. If your intent on hurting me or my family in any way shape or form, I will shoot to KILL every time. I am not going to wait till you have me pinned to the ground or have beaten my wife and kids senseless before i shoot. Those who wait to be hit first either with a bullet or other object before shooting are fools. Because that next round or fist may be all it takes before your out of the fight and your family is left defenseless. Shoot first figure out the mans aggressive actions later.
    -I come in peace, I didn't bring artillery. But I am pleading with you with tears in my eyes: If you screw with me, I'll kill you all.
    -Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.
    Marine General James Mattis,

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    HankT wrote:
    TheMrMitch wrote:
    "It is a bad strategy to shoot an unarmed person".

    Sorry, I disagree. I have EARNED my 67 years on this earth and am NOT bound to give my life to ANY person, armed or not.


    Let's remember thatthe much heralded HankT's Postulate of Civilian Self-Defense (HPCSD) applies universally (in U.S.). It has continuously been foundrelevant to all situations and to shooters of all ages, from their wet-behind-the-ears teens to their golden years.




    God put that bad guy in that mans store, because it was the bad guys time to go and this was gods chosen method of delivering the world of one more piece of problematic scumbag !! You can argue fate all you want, but it's already in the history books and ain't up for a second vote..hats off to the store owner, I hope he was relaxed enough to go home and achieve.015 B.A.C.


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    zack991 wrote:
    SNIP A 200+ man who's fist is about the size of my head can kill me just as easily as a gun or other blunt object. If your intent on hurting me or my family in any way shape or form, I will shoot to KILL every time. I am not going to wait till you have me pinned to the ground or have beaten my wife and kids senseless before i shoot. Those who wait to be hit first either with a bullet or other object before shooting are fools. Because that next round or fist may be all it takes before your out of the fight and your family is left defenseless. Shoot first figure out the mans aggressive actions later.
    Just using your quote as a jumping-off point, Zack.

    Below is a link toa briefingon justified lethal force. Of course, individual state laws may vary, for example some have Castle Doctrine,duty to retreat, and legal to defend property,where others do not.

    http://www.useofforce.us/3aojp/


    I'll make you an offer: I will argue and fight for all of your rights, if you will do the same for me. That is the only way freedom can work. We have to respect all rights, all the time--and strive to win the rights of the other guy as much as for ourselves.

    If I am equal to another, how can I legitimately govern him without his express individual consent?

    There is no human being on earth I hate so much I would actually vote to inflict government upon him.

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    State Researcher HankT's Avatar
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    zack991 wrote:
    ... Shoot first figure out the mans aggressive actions later.
    Hmmm, "shoot first," eh?

    I remember that phrase from somewhere.....

    Wasn't that what....oh, never mind. :?

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    Regular Member Hendu024's Avatar
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    HankT wrote:
    Interesting case.There is a significant lack ofclarity on whether Roopwas actually armed when he was shot. If he was, thenit's hats off for him. Done deal. Crispy critter. No bubbles, no troubles. Sayonara. Don't call us...

    But if he wasn't armed,then that's a different kettle of fishes.

    Certainly, we know that Durden is not going to be charged with any criminal violation for shooting and killing Roop.


    Yet, this case once again proves the wisdom, validity and accuracy of the much heralded HankT's Postulate of Civilian Self-Defense (HPCSD).

    Here it is for any who may somehow have not been made aware of it, even though it has diffused widely throughout this land:


    It is a bad strategy to shoot an unarmed person.


    This postulate has never been refuted in all the years of its existence. It is an amazinglyand universally applicable construction. The instant case of the inebriated James H.Durden Jr. isbutthe most recentexemplar of HPCSD.

    HPCSD ALWAYS applies.
    With a head as big as yours HankT, I wouldn''t go causing trouble if I was you, you're far too easy of a target. Did you come up with that all by yourself? If you did, I have a cookie for you.

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    Regular Member The Wolfhound's Avatar
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    In a small way I agree with HankT. There will always be much more explaining to do if the perp you waste is unarmed. If he is found to be armed, your life is much easier.
    Appleseed, Virginia State Coordinator
    Are you a Rifleman yet?
    http://appleseedinfo.org

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    for god sake, read people, ESPECIALLY hankytee. He was armed. He approached. He got shot for his stupidity. end of story. OR if your hankytee, you want theguy shooting you first, hopefully in the leg or something i'm sure, and then you can pull your gun and shoot back....



    come on folks, its common sense. which i know aint so common these days, but please, lets try.

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