A Nurse with a Gun

Monday, January 19, 2009

In Defense of Others

Ocoee, Florida: On January 5, 2008, as a Kangaroo convenience store clerk was working the night shift, three criminals entered the store intent on robbery. One of the clerk's longtime customers noticed the suspicious activity and left the store to dial 911. Hearing the woman's screams, he rushed back into the store. "Hearing a lady scream to where it sounds like bloody murder, to where I thought she was going to be killed, I decided to help the lady. I've known her for years. She's a friend of mine, and I wanted to go in and help," said the 26 year old young man.

Realizing the woman's life was in immediate jeopardy, the customer identified only as "Chris" had retrieved his 40 caliber handgun from his truck outside the store. As Chris reentered the store, he saw one of the robbers behind the counter brutally beating the female clerk over the head with a beer bottle.

With his cell phone held to his ear, the armed customer fired two shots over the counter, killing Freddie Carson, a career criminal. "911! Yes, there's been a robbery," shouted Chris as he shot the assailant and began to scan the store for his accomplices.

"I just shot him, I just shot him. You're OK. Where's the other one?" asked Chris as he looked outside the convenience store. The other two robbers escaped into the night.

"Yes you need paramedics. A man just broke in. I shot him. I have a gun," Chris told the 911 dispatcher. "He was beating her over the counter and I shot him. I came in and I shot him. You need paramedics. Oh my God, I can’t believe I just shot somebody."

"When I first walked in and he stood up, I thought my life was going to be in danger. I did not know if he had a gun in his waistband, if he was beating her with a gun, if he had a knife. Not only that, he was beating her with a beer bottle. She had a huge knot on the back of her head," Chris later recounts. The clerk was treated at a local hospital and released. Chris was questioned by police and released. The handgun used by Chris was taken into evidence. It was not the only handgun owned by Chris. He retains possession of his other firearms while waiting to determine if he will go before a grand jury. The two criminals who escaped are still at large. Chris, the man who prevented a vicious robbery and quite possibly saved the woman's life has does not have a Florida concealed weapons permit. He does not consider himself a hero. "I feel very shaken. I feel very glad that I was here, that I could help my friend," he says.

See Chris' interview here and another interview here.

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Blogger Phillip said...

Nice thing about Florida. We have a version of the "Castle Doctrine" that is a "Stand your ground" defense. Essentially, you're allowed to defend yourself anywhere you have a legal right to be, and you have no requirement to retreat.

Chris did the right thing in saying he was in fear for his life. Here, that means he's not only justified in defending himself and others, but he's also got immunity from this person's family trying to sue him in civil court.

Know the laws where you live, it's important.

9:38 PM  
Anonymous Samuel said...

I feel horrible that "Chris" had to shoot that guy. He more then likely will have nightmares for life.
But if it wasn't for him that clerk might be dead.
CCW is a huge responsibility - one that Chris took serious and saved a life.
You (I) always ask yourself if you could pull your weapon to save a life(s) by taking anothers.

After hearing that Clerk scream like she was being killed in that security video, I think I would do everything I could to stop her pain/death.

I hope Chris can find peace in knowning the decision he made to have a weapon in defense of himself and others, saved a life.

That takes a lot of courage to step up in the defense of another.
So many others would stand back and be a witness (possibly to a murder).

You did the right thing Chris.

9:49 PM  
Blogger Riposte3 said...

One more off the streets, permanently, and two more who might think twice before trying again.

I hope Chris copes well with what happened that night. He did the right thing.

I also hope that he gets his gun back, and without having to jump through a bunch of hoops to do so.

9:57 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

On the occasion where I defended my own life with a handgun, the police took it into evidence to be used if I had been charged with a crime (I wasn't). It took forever to get back, because of the slow movement of the justice system in my jurisdiction. Luckily I had other firearms I could use on a contingency basis.

I would advise any CCW holder to have a duplicate of their primary carry weapon for just this circumstance.

10:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know why they equip those stores with security cameras that produce video akin to 1905 movie quality footage when even a $20 web camera would have a better picture. How are you going to identify a criminal with this?

1:24 AM  
Blogger Divemedic said...

I live here in Orlando. This has gotten quite a bit of coverage. Your report has a few facts wrong:

1 The shooter did not have a CCW. Original reports said he did, but it turns out that when he said he had a "permit to own a pistol" and then showed press the "permit," it turns out it was a receipt from Shoot Straight- the store where he bought the gun.

2 the local press is tearing him up because he had a possession charge from years ago on his record. They ignored the charges of the BG, who had a very long record of violent felonies.

The press has been slamming the guy.

5:13 AM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Thanks for the additional information Divemedic. If you have any links, pass them on........

5:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The kid had better lawyer up and shut up.

5:50 AM  
Anonymous skidmark said...

Adrenalin dump in action. How's all that practice of what to say working for the rest of you folks? Also a great example of how shock will screw up your ability to function - "Kangaroo!" is possibly not the best description of where the incident took place.

He manages decent trigger discipline but is still waving the muzzle all over the place. I don't think he was searching for the other BGs as much as he was trying to burn off adrenalin.

12-14 hours later he is talking to the press and showing TV cameras where he kept his pistol and how he got it from the truck -- instead of having a lawyer reading some prepared statement. My read is that although he seems outwardly calm he is still feeling the effects of shock, and that it will come back to bite him.

I'm going to have a conversation with some close freiends about what we need to do for each other if any of us ever get in a situation like that. One point will be getting a lawyer involved. Yes, this will go against the grain of not speaking to anyone but your lawyer, but I'm going to bet I'd call one of these folks before I fished out that business card I've got tucked away.

stay safe.


8:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

xavier, I would be interested to know whether one really does have nightmares on a daily basis after dispatching a criminal. At least I would like to know what the 'coping' statistics are.

8:12 AM  
Blogger B.S. philosopher said...

I think that he is OK. Florida law allows for you to carry a weapon in your vehicle without a CCW as long as it is "securely encased" (snapped in a holster) or in a closed container such as a glovebox.

POSSESSION IN PRIVATE CONVEYANCE.--Notwithstanding subsection (2), it is lawful and is not a violation of s. 790.01 for a person 18 years of age or older to possess a concealed firearm or other weapon for self-defense or other lawful purpose within the interior of a private conveyance, without a license, if the firearm or other weapon is securely encased or is otherwise not readily accessible for immediate use.


This subsection shall be liberally construed in favor of the lawful use, ownership, and possession of firearms and other weapons, including lawful self-defense as provided in s. 776.012

8:24 AM  
Blogger The Saj said...

First off, I am glad that a criminal was stopped and a woman's life and well being protected.

Two, I think this is a great example for education for all CCW holders. We are often told by instructors and read in books how such is a situation you never want to be in.

How the taking of another's life is a horrendous toll to the psyche and soul. And I am glad that the video did not end at the shooting but including the defender's grief filled wails about having had to shoot another man.

While that other man deserved to be stopped. The defender did NOT deserve to have to take another man's life and forever bear those scars on his soul.

But praise God he did and that the woman was not raped, murdered, etc.

10:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone who could beat a defenseless woman deserves to be shot.
The media, it seems would rather the criminals kill us, than for us to defend ourselves

10:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That doesn't seem like the spirit of cooperation that Barack was taking about.

Shame on that boy.

11:46 AM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Regarding nightmares anon, they are extremely common in PST.

Like any near death experience, when you survive a gunfight, the reality of one's mortality is slammed in your face. You don't have nightmares because you killed someone. You have nightmares because somebody almost killed YOU.

3:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Samuel and Anon 8:12
Saying that Chris (and by implication, all self defense shooters) will "more than likely have nightmares for the rest of his life" is probably a gross overstatement.
PTSD can have many symptoms, having nightmares is only one. However, ANY emotionally traumatic event can cause PTSD, not just self defense shootings.
Part of carrying any weapon for self defense is DECIDING TO BE EMOTIONAL PREPARED. Sadly, many aren't, which is exactly why so many instructors over emphasize PTSD.
You got a weapon? Good.
Know how to use it? Better.
Know what to do when your primary fails? You are ahead of the pack.

But here is where most fall behind:
Comfortable with idea of trading a bad guy's life for your own? You should be.
Role played some hard scenarios? Utterly necessary.
In good enough physical shape to control the adrenaline dump enough to fight off the tunnel vision,time compression, and audio exclusion? If you have planned to win, then yes.

Barring any other contributing factors, emotional preparation for the reality of self defense will go a long way towards preventing PTSD symptoms, especially in the long term. PTSD is NOT a guaranteed outcome for every survivor.

4:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to judge too much, but from what I see, it's a scared kid who did the right thing, but had never thought about the possibility of actually using his firearm, and never thought about tactics. The kid appears to have a lack of self-control that permeates his life. I'm not judging his soul. I'm just saying what I think I see in those brief few moments. I know those kinds of people in real life. I see how they act in every day life, and I can easily see them reacting this way in an adrenaline-fueled situation. Is it any surprise that very few people rise up and fight against an animal like Cho?

You do what you train to do. Some people act with reason. Some people react with emotion. This man appears to have done the latter.

The kid did all right. Seems to be a decent, upright sort. But he probably could use a little training, coupled with more introspection and thoughtfulness in his daily life. One last thing for this lad: control your mouth and that muzzle, brother!

7:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To bad for Chris, no permit will trump the day, one determined prosecutor can destroy this man the legal expeses will bankrupt him in any case. Do whats right and accept the consequences.

5:56 AM  

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