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Thread: Hypothetical: Stop Robber at Gunpoint?

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    Hypothetical: Stop Robber at Gunpoint?

    Hypothetical (sorry if this has been asked before):

    Someone's been sneaking into our office building and stealing laptops. I work late at night and I'm often armed. Let's say I catch the robber, draw on him and tell him to stay put. I call 9-1-1 and while I'm waiting for the cops, he tries to flee.

    What would you do? It's probably not legal (or morally right) to shoot at him. I thought about putting a round near him (but I'd be afraid of over-penetration) and if he knows I'm not going to shoot him, he's just going to run. Any suggestions?
    Last edited by DoomGoober; 08-28-2010 at 03:36 AM.

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    Regular Member TechnoWeenie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoomGoober View Post
    Hypothetical (sorry if this has been asked before):

    Someone's been sneaking into our office building and stealing laptops. I work late at night and I'm often armed. Let's say I catch the robber, draw on him and tell him to stay put. I call 9-1-1 and while I'm waiting for the cops, he tries to flee.

    What would you do? It's probably not legal (or morally right) to shoot at him. I thought about putting a round near him (but I'd be afraid of over-penetration) and if he knows I'm not going to shoot him, he's just going to run. Any suggestions?
    1. I bet you'll be fired, so prepare for that.

    If it's just laptops, and he's unarmed, you're best NOT pulling a gun.... Don't pull your gun unless you intend on using it.

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    If he is just stealing laptops and not posing a threat to life or limb, no, I wouldn't shoot. A life, even a thief's, is worth more than a laptop. I would call 911 and concentrate on getting a good description for the police, assuming he flees when he sees you.
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    Activist Member golddigger14s's Avatar
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    Don't Shoot

    No threat to life or limb of you or co-workers, NO SHOOT! (no warning shots either). Just try to remember all details, face, clothes, what he touched (for finger prints), ect and call 911. Shooting a coward in the back is bad form.
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    I agree with everyone else. If there is no threat to serious harm then it is a not shoot situation.

    On a side note your company should be buying this tracking software.

    http://www.absolute.com/en/products/.../features.aspx
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

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    Thats what less than leathal tools are for. OC Spray, Tazers and Zip Ties......

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    Regular Member Metalhead47's Avatar
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    DON'T SHOOT. OR DRAW.

    Legal? NO

    Moral? YES

    Loose your job? YOU BETCHA.


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    Cuz I say you are morally justified in shooting the basturd in the back as he runs off with your laptop. But I wouldn't reccomend doing it. He'd probably drop it then collapse & bleed on it, thereby ruining it anyway.
    It is very wise to not take a watermelon lightly.

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    Regular Member SargentMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metalhead47 View Post
    DON'T SHOOT. OR DRAW.

    Legal? NO

    Moral? YES

    Loose your job? YOU BETCHA.


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    Cuz I say you are morally justified in shooting the basturd in the back as he runs off with your laptop. But I wouldn't reccomend doing it. He'd probably drop it then collapse & bleed on it, thereby ruining it anyway.
    Use a good JHP that won't punch through. Shoot him in the back, he collapses forward and bleeds out inside himself. Minimal blood on your laptop. Besides, a little blood never hurt anything.

    All joking aside, you'd be better off carrying a camera around (already recording) than drawing down on the guy. And make sure you get video of him while you hit him with OC spray.

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    Regular Member sudden valley gunner's Avatar
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    It may be legal to shoot him too. But look at the answers in this thread, now think how are the Cops, jury, etc, will think.

    This mindset is something I think needs to change.
    Would I shoot no, but I think it is totally justifiable, don't be a crook and you won't get shot at.

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    Firstly, it's burglar, not robber.

    now think how are the Cops, jury, etc, will think.
    I think the cops would think "If I'm confronting a burglar in the middle of the night, I'm going to have my gun drawn too."

    It's a reasonable use of force, in my opinion. Confronting a known felon in the middle of the night? I will absolutely point my gun at him. Easy to demonstrate that it's reasonable: Every cop called to the stand will testify that he would do the same thing.

    Remember: reasonableness is the test when evaluating use of force.

    You would never go to court over pointing a gun at a burglar, at least not in Washington. It happens every once in a while; we read about it in the paper.

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    you know, the only reason some people are alive is because its illeagal to shoot them. With that in mind try to remember that things [objects] are not on the same level as life. you can replace things, not lives. Not a lesson you want to learn the hard way.
    Not that the thought hasn't crossed my mind.
    alternative measures......camera's are less expensive than laptops. put in a few and share what they record with your local PD.
    hire security.
    dogs.
    motion sensors..........................

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    Opt-Out Members BigDave's Avatar
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    As other have said, depending upon the company you may loose your job regardless if you lawful or not.

    If we are to assume your employer condoned such actions or not, one would be with in a legal right to draw your firearm to stop and detain the perpetrator, but would not be able to shoot unless they came after you, if they were running away then no, there would be no threat.

    RCW 9A.52.020
    Burglary in the first degree.

    (1) A person is guilty of burglary in the first degree if, with intent to commit a crime against a person or property therein, he or she enters or remains unlawfully in a building and if, in entering or while in the building or in immediate flight therefrom, the actor or another participant in the crime (a) is armed with a deadly weapon, or (b) assaults any person.

    (2) Burglary in the first degree is a class A felony.
    WPIC 60.01 Burglary—First Degree—Definition

    A person commits the crime of burglary in the first degree when he or she enters or remains unlawfully in a building with intent to commit a crime against a person or property therein, and if, in entering or while in the building or in immediate flight therefrom, that person or an accomplice in the crime [is armed with a deadly weapon][or][assaults any person.]
    WPIC 60.02 Burglary—First Degree—Elements

    To convict the defendant of the crime of burglary in the first degree, each of the following elements of the crime must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt:
    (1) That on or about __________ the defendant entered or remained unlawfully in a building;
    (2) That the entering or remaining was with intent to commit a crime against a person or property therein;
    (3) That in so entering or while in the building or in immediate flight from the building [the defendant][or][an accomplice in the crime charged][was armed with a deadly weapon][or][assaulted a person]; and
    (4) That any of these acts occurred in the State of Washington.
    If you find from the evidence that each of these elements has been proved beyond a reasonable doubt, then it will be your duty to return a verdict of guilty.
    On the other hand, if, after weighing all the evidence, you have a reasonable doubt as to any one of these elements, then it will be your duty to return a verdict of not guilty.
    The information provided is for your review not legal advice.
    Last edited by BigDave; 08-28-2010 at 03:06 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deanf View Post
    I think the cops would think "If I'm confronting a burglar in the middle of the night, I'm going to have my gun drawn too."

    It's a reasonable use of force, in my opinion. Confronting a known felon in the middle of the night? I will absolutely point my gun at him. Easy to demonstrate that it's reasonable: Every cop called to the stand will testify that he would do the same thing.

    Remember: reasonableness is the test when evaluating use of force.

    You would never go to court over pointing a gun at a burglar, at least not in Washington. It happens every once in a while; we read about it in the paper.
    Exactly.

    I drew my gun on someone attempting to steal property in April of this year, in the parking lot behind my office, while my boss (owner of the company) was 4-5 feet behind me.

    I did not get fired.
    I did not get arrested.
    I did have the detective congratulate me on 'informing' a criminal what they might encounter.
    I did not fire as the bad guy fled the scene.
    I wouldn't have done anything different, given the same situation again.

    The criminal got a brown stain in his pants and a damn good warning of what can happen if he chooses to stay in his line of work. I'm really failing to see the negative here...

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    Regular Member USMC1911's Avatar
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    If the perp is fleeing, IE running AWAY from you, why shoot him ? The threat is leaving, no one left to cause you harm. The only reason I arm myself is to protect My Life, and the lives of My Loved Ones. The use of deadly force, in my eyes, is crystal clear,
    1.
    Deadly force is generally defined as physical force which, under the circumstances in which it is used, is readily capable of causing death or serious physical injury. In order for deadly force to be justified there must be an immediate, otherwise unavoidable threat of death or grave bodily harm to yourself or other innocents. Deadly force is that force which could reasonably be expected to cause death or grave bodily harm.
    2.
    You may only use the amount of force that is reasonable and necessary in the situation.. This is judged by what a reasonable person would have done under the circumstances. In a self-defense situation, it is only when the aggressor uses or attempts to use deadly force that you have the right to respond with deadly force.
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    Thanks for all of the replies. I was just trying to reconcile drawing with almost no intent to shoot.

    From the replies, I guess drawing accomplishes a couple of things:
    1) It keeps the criminal from becoming violent (hopefully).
    2) It gives them a good scare.
    3) If the criminal is stupid, he'll stick around out of the FEAR that I might shoot.

    Thanks!

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    I think it's a horrible idea to draw with no intent to fire. There are way too many things that could go wrong. He could draw his own weapon, or possibly disarm you and use your weapon against you, he could attack out of fear and you could accidentally shoot yourself during the struggle, he could have an armed accomplice that you aren't aware of. The bottom line is you don't know who you're dealing with, what he's capable of, or if he's armed. Tell your employer to invest in some surveillance equipment, it's most likely a current or former employee doing the stealing anyway.
    Last edited by Luke; 08-29-2010 at 07:38 AM.

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    Regular Member ghosthunter's Avatar
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    Is it possible to draw without intent? I think everyone draws with intent, the decision to shoot comes with the bad guy's actions.
    Last edited by ghosthunter; 08-29-2010 at 12:37 PM.

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    I think it's a horrible idea to draw with no intent to fire. There are way too many things that could go wrong. He could draw his own weapon, or possibly disarm you and use your weapon against you, he could attack out of fear and you could accidentally shoot yourself during the struggle, he could have an armed accomplice that you aren't aware of. The bottom line is you don't know who you're dealing with, what he's capable of, or if he's armed. Tell your employer to invest in some surveillance equipment, it's most likely a current or former employee doing the stealing anyway.
    Right out of the Handgun Control Inc./Washington Cease Fire play book.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DoomGoober View Post
    Thanks for all of the replies. I was just trying to reconcile drawing with almost no intent to shoot.

    From the replies, I guess drawing accomplishes a couple of things:
    1) It keeps the criminal from becoming violent (hopefully).
    2) It gives them a good scare.
    3) If the criminal is stupid, he'll stick around out of the FEAR that I might shoot.

    Thanks!
    Do remember that if he is committing a felony (burglary, grand theft) you can command a citizen's arrest. If he doesn't bolt and show you his $hi++y drawers, tell him to lie on the ground face first, hands behind head, fingers twined together. Don't talk smack, but let him know you command the situation, and he'd better comply.
    Whatever you do, don't get close enough to be grabbed, and keep your situational awareness. You don't know he's alone. As said above, if the thief runs, let 'im. He won't be back. That's been proven in prison interviews amany. Keep yourself safe. Tempting as it may be to reduce the world's # of scumbags by one, it is NOT worth the grief that would follow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deanf View Post
    Right out of the Handgun Control Inc./Washington Cease Fire play book.
    +1. Yeah, if I see a situation going south, I'm definitely going to wait as long as I possibly can, maximizing the chance that I will actually have to USE deadly force, instead of getthing the draw on someone, surprising them, which would make them more likely to run away (or give up, but that's a LOT less likely). I'd rather draw without firing a shot, than to be forced to shoot because I waited to long to intervene before it got to that point.

    That's how it works in the REAL WORLD...

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    In some situations State law does allow you to use deadly force, even if there is no threat to life or limb.

    RCW 9A.16.050

    (2) In the actual resistance of an attempt to commit a felony upon the slayer, in his presence, or upon or in a dwelling, or other place of abode, in which he is.
    A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.- Thomas Jefferson March 4 1801

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    Regular Member sudden valley gunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deanf View Post
    Firstly, it's burglar, not robber.



    I think the cops would think "If I'm confronting a burglar in the middle of the night, I'm going to have my gun drawn too."

    It's a reasonable use of force, in my opinion. Confronting a known felon in the middle of the night? I will absolutely point my gun at him. Easy to demonstrate that it's reasonable: Every cop called to the stand will testify that he would do the same thing.

    Remember: reasonableness is the test when evaluating use of force.

    You would never go to court over pointing a gun at a burglar, at least not in Washington. It happens every once in a while; we read about it in the paper.
    I totally agree, and I have "drawn" brought my shotgun out when security in my association wouldn't leave my yard. I was told by the Sheriff and State Patrol I was within my rights. (not always the best legal advice, but the Security guys are the ones who ended up with the lecture, and I was left alone)

    What I was referring to is shooting someone in the back after fleeing. That might be where you have to think about what a jury might think. Although if I was on the jury I wouldn't convict, you break into someones place, you suffer the consequences.

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    Quote Originally Posted by golddigger14s View Post
    No threat to life or limb of you or co-workers, NO SHOOT! (no warning shots either). Just try to remember all details, face, clothes, what he touched (for finger prints), ect and call 911. Shooting a coward in the back is bad form.
    I often hear people saying not to use deadly force unless there's an immediate threat to life or limb of yourself, or someone else in your presence. Now, in my opinion, breaking and entering into property that is not yours is enough for me to feel that I am at immediate risk. I do not want to wait to see if the man is armed. I do not want to wait around and see if the guy tries to attack me. Waiting, even a split second, can cost you your life. If someone breaks onto my property with myself, my wife and daughter, then I feel he has every intention to do what he has to do from not getting himself caught or killed, and I am not going to stand there and say "Excuse me sir, do you mean us harm? Or do you just want some stuff?"

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    Opt-Out Members BigDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by END_THE_FED View Post
    In some situations State law does allow you to use deadly force, even if there is no threat to life or limb.

    RCW 9A.16.050

    (2) In the actual resistance of an attempt to commit a felony upon the slayer, in his presence, or upon or in a dwelling, or other place of abode, in which he is.
    Remember this is referring a felony upon the slayer not property!

    Again the issue of place of abode arises.
    The place of abode is with in or upon the place of your dwelling (house, hotel room, RV if you living in it) not your yard.
    The place of abode includes attached buildings, porch, or deck

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron1124 View Post
    I often hear people saying not to use deadly force unless there's an immediate threat to life or limb of yourself, or someone else in your presence.
    This is sound advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron1124 View Post
    Now, in my opinion, breaking and entering into property that is not yours is enough for me to feel that I am at immediate risk.
    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron1124 View Post
    If someone breaks onto my property with myself, my wife and daughter, then I feel he has every intention to do what he has to do from not getting himself caught or killed, and I am not going to stand there and say "Excuse me sir, do you mean us harm? Or do you just want some stuff?"
    Clarity on both of these statements are needed, when you state property are you talking about your abode ie house and attached structures? then yes this is a good statement if you are talking about an out building or on the property itself then this would not be a good statement.

    If someone was posing a immediate threat to life or limb and are on your property then by all means protect yourself, be able to articulate the threat which can be addressed with elements of Ability, Opportunity, and Jeopardy.
    • Being prepared is to prepare, this is our responsibility.
    • I am not your Mommy or Daddy and do not sugar coat it but I will tell you simply as how I see it, it is up to you on how you will or will not use it.
    • IANAL, all information I present is for your review, do your own homework.

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