The owner of a Lakeland Army-Navy store, who also happens to be a city commissioner, was charged with second degree murder by a grand jury. The story is that a man entered the store and tried to shoplift a hatchet. The owner attempted to stop the thief and grabbed his shirt in an attempt to prevent his escape, the thief raised the hatchet, and the store owner shot him once, killing him.
It seems to me that this is a waste of taxpayer money, but the general climate in this state lately is against armed self defense. The press headlined this case with: ” A Lakeland city commissioner fatally shot a customer during a dispute over a hatchet ” That is not the case. In attempting to steal a weapon (the hatchet), what the man did was commit armed robbery. Here is the statute:
(1) “Robbery” means the taking of money or other property which may be the subject of larceny from the person or custody of another, with intent to either permanently or temporarily deprive the person or the owner of the money or other property, when in the course of the taking there is the use of force, violence, assault, or putting in fear.
(2)(a) If in the course of committing the robbery the offender carried a firearm or other deadly weapon, then the robbery is a felony of the first degree, punishable by imprisonment for a term of years not exceeding life imprisonment or as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(b) If in the course of committing the robbery the offender carried a weapon, then the robbery is a felony of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
The owner can use reasonable force to prevent a robbery. A robbery is a forcible felony.
Forcible felony.—“Forcible felony” means treason; murder; manslaughter; sexual battery; carjacking; home-invasion robbery; robbery; burglary; arson; kidnapping; aggravated assault; aggravated battery; aggravated stalking; aircraft piracy; unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb; and any other felony which involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against any individual.
Since this was a forcible felony, the store owner can use deadly force.
776.012 (2) A person is justified in using or threatening to use deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. A person who uses or threatens to use deadly force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground if the person using or threatening to use the deadly force is not engaged in a criminal activity and is in a place where he or she has a right to be.
It seems to me like the store owner can make a pretty good case for the shooting. Remember, the standard for the shooter is “reasonable doubt.” There is plenty of that here, but it is going to take a lawyer and some serious money. I hope he has carry insurance. I know I do. Don’t you?