Self Defense In Dallas
Customers picking up pants and shirts pulled up beside a large bloodstain Monday in the parking lot of Joe's Cleaners. Asked to describe his lethal encounter with a robber a few hours earlier, owner Joseph Baggett apologized for saying little. "I've still got work in there I've got to finish," he said.
But in between filling out police reports, pressing clothes and answering phone calls, the 53-year-old retired Army warrant officer gave his account. A man smelling of alcohol came into his store in the 1500 block of John West Road in Far East Dallas and then just left, Mr. Baggett said. A few minutes later, he returned, this time barging in holding a gun.
"The money's over there; go get it," Mr. Baggett recalled saying as he backed away from the counter and motioned toward the register. His wife ducked around a corner. The robber ignored him. "Turn around; we're going to the back," he said. He grabbed Mr. Baggett by the wrist and held the gun to the back of his head. "Where's the lady at?"
As they were headed for the back of the store, Mr. Baggett's wife emerged from behind them. She was holding Mr. Baggett's 9 mm handgun. "Stop it or I'll shoot you," she told the robber.
Mr. Baggett said he felt the robber's pistol come off the back of his head, so he spun around and grabbed it. "I don't think he was expecting that." The pair struggled a moment until Mr. Baggett pushed the robber away. Mr. Baggett's wife handed him the 9 mm, and he fired three times. A bullet hit the robber in the face.
The man stumbled out the front door and fell in the parking lot, still holding his gun. Emergency workers tried to revive him, but he was soon dead. Police didn't identify the robber Monday, pending notification of his next of kin. They said Mr. Baggett appears to have acted in self-defense, but the facts, as is routine, will be given to a grand jury. It was evening before Mr. Baggett found a chance to drag a hose around to the front of his store. In shorts and a cutoff shirt, he washed down the bloodstain before closing up shop.
By Steve Thompson / The Dallas Morning News
Labels: Self Defense