A Sampling of Your Verdicts… (Part II)

June 10th, 2009  

A sampling of your verdicts in the case of the pharmacist, as covered in last Monday’s post, “How to Get Charged With Murder…

I saw the surveillance video and  I can’t imagine what was going through this guy’s head when he went back and shot that guy on the floor. Baring any other evidence, I’d have to convict this guy of murder.  The guy didn’t even approach the downed bad guy with caution the second time, so he clearly wasn’t an immediate threat. Remember that guy in the NY subway, the “vigilante”, who pumped a few more rounds into his downed assailants?

So, I guess we are even.  One bad guy who won’t be robbing anyone ever again, and one very stupid armed citizen. Unfortunately he tarnished us all.

Thanks again for the “training” video.  All who carry should see this.

Herb C.


Dr. Piazza,

Based on the video and information from the prosecutor, my opinion is that the Pharmacist is guilty of murder for the 5 shots he fired after the suspect was down.

Having been to your 4 day defensive handgun course, and having attended Front Sight’s great lectures on this subject, it is very easy to sit and watch a video and place judgment on something someone else did.

Nobody but the Pharmacist knows why he went back and fired 5 more rounds into the robber. That will be his burden to carry.

One of the items I took away from your course is to play any worse case scenario in your mind from beginning to past where the imminent treat is over including the calling of the authorities and asking for medic personnel to be send. This could have helped this Pharmacist if he had played this scenario over and over in his head, especially in his work place where he is every single day.

It is unfortunate that this man went from justifiable action to excessive force in a matter of a few seconds.

Dieter C.


Dr. Piazza

If I were a juror, my heart would look for every way to not render a not guilty decision, but it does not look good for this guy.   Reason, on the other hand dictates that we don’t need guys out there playing Dirty Harry and inadvertently adding support to the gun control lobby.  While I feel sorry for the guy and feel no remorse for the perp, nobody appointed the accused judge, jury and executioner prior to this incident .  I think… Guilty, but there will be at least one Juror who will hang it.  He will get off.  The civil suit will be another issue.

As for the other Perp with the gun… He too should be charged and found guilty!!!!!  Why no Felony Murder Charge????  That seems totally wrong.  But then, the guy was not dead from the first (justifiable/good) shot??  This is a tough one.

Please follow up on the outcome of this case.

Jim B


Dr. Piazza,

I find him Innocent.  I don’t like the fact that they keep referring to the bad guy as a “child.”  He surely would have been tried as an adult.  The gentleman operating the pharmacy did not choose to have his and his employees lives threatened that day, the perps did, and doing so, chose to die.

Jeremy J.


Dr. Piazza,

Defense should claim he shot the 2nd time to assure his employees the perp would not attack them… innocent!



Dr. Piazza,

Not guilty.  You may only be half as good during a shooting and you are definitely half as smart after an attack.  I think the pharmacist made a tactical mistake in not shooting the “Man” (not child as the DA repeatedly says”) before running after the other man with the gun, securing his pharmacy and employees from someone who could have revived (per the DA) and pulled a gun/knife/weapon from his backpack and continued the fight.

Hindsight under NO pressure is always 20/20.  Even though time lapsed the pharmacist was “continuing” the fight to completion where HE felt he, his employees and his business was now secure.  In his mind there was no time lapse and no “CHILD” involved.  No prejudicing of the people via the DA there… right.

Nick A.


Dr. Piazza,

I find him Not Guilty of Murder in the First Degree.

If he were being charged with 2nd Manslaughter, I’d have to rethink it.

Patrick B


Dr. Piazza,

Since we do not see the supposedly unconscious robber, and that’s what he was,instead of the child the DA keeps referring to, we don’t know if the robber actually made a move.

If I was on the jury ,the Pharmicist goes free. Not Guilty.

Angelo A.


Dr. Piazza,

Well, I do believe that he went over the line, but the real question you ask is the harder one, (you seem to always ask the harder questions, and they always make me think) what would I have done in this situation…

I hope I would not be so excited, that I would not be able to determine that a threat has ended.

Thank you for sharing.



I say innocent.

Here’s a twisted reason why. In the sad state of our legal system you will be in more trouble long term if the person whom you are defending yourself from survives than if he is killed. He wanted to make sure this was not the case. Unfortunately he for whatever reason was not able to ensure this with his first shots. If he had chased him down in the initial confrontation and shot him just as many times I don’t think there would be a problem… He was covering his tracks from future financial and legal trouble, but ended up with a murder charge. If the bad guy lives and is disabled the good guy ends up broke and in court for the rest of his life…



Dr. Piazza

That’s a tough one to call. I think its safe to say no one in the courtroom the judge, jury or anyone can say for sure what they would do under those circumstances. I think they need to look at the defendants background. Does he have a history that might be linked to the excessive force. Domestic violence etc.  If he is convicted it seems like it would be a double tragedy to me. But the law is the law. They may make an example of him also. I think guilty of eccesive force yes, murder no.

Dan K.


Dr. Piazza,

Not guilty. There is reasonable doubt about what really happened. The video is not conclusive. The victim may have “come to” and been a threat?

Many things may have happened, none of which are conclusive.

Video is not conclusive.

Interesting strory.

What happened to the first bandit? He was a serious threat with a pistol drawn.

Was that a backpak or a bullet proof vest on the second teen?

Randall R.


Dr. Piazza,


But if I were on the jury I would use jury nullification to set this guy free. Right or wrong this “16 year old boy” is a criminal that participated in robbery. A message needs to be sent that we will be victims no more and the end result is bad.

Ron M.


Dr. Piazza

First, many thanks for posting the video of the pharmacy shooting as it answers a whole lot of questions for me and many others.  I had heard the story and based on what I’d been told figured it was a bad shoot.

The bad guy (I won’t call him a “kid” as he was involved with the robbery attempt) took a round and if that had killed him, would have been a justifiable homicide, in my opinion.  However, the pharmacist’s action after that were bad, even chasing the other guy out the door.  He made plead “heat of the moment” but I think he’s toast.

I have a CCW (in CA, of all places!) and am very cognizant of my responsibilities and have no problem backing away from situations where lethal force might not be the best answer.  That being said, it’s still an excellent training opportunity to view the video and think “There, but for the grace of God, might I go.”

Don B


Dear Front Sight and Dr. Piazza,

First let me say thank you for the Monday blogs, I have been educated, inspired, and at times entertained by what you have said.

I believe that the use of deadly force should not be limited to only defense again immanent threats. I feel that I should have the right to use deadly force at any time when I feel threatened. While serving in Iraq, our Rules of Force stated that we could only return fire if we were fired upon. However my unit had it’s own Rules of Force, and that was to fire on armed personnel if we felt threatened.

I do understand the laws requiring PROOF that your opponent has the ability, opportunity, and intent to immediately inflict serious bodily injury to you or those around you. With out laws requiring proof, citizens would be free to kill anyone they want as long as they yelled “They’re coming right for us!” first.

With this in mind, I would still convict the pharmacist in your blog, guilty. First he fired on an unarmed opponent, who may or may not, from what I could see in the surveillance video, be part of the robbery. Second, after the opponent hit the ground, he should have been detained and searched for weapons, not shot again.

Thank your again for the thought provoking video, keep them coming Doc. And I look forward to making my first trek to Front Sight this October.

Jonathan J.


Dr. Piazza,

First, I would not have gone back to finish him off. The DA refers to this thug, which is party to an armed robbery, as a young child which will not help the DA’s case. I think this shooter may not have been thinking clearly when all this was going on. I would find the defendant INNOCENT. I only wish I could be on the jury.



Dr. Piazza,

I’m a retired court stenographer. Knowing the laws as I do…in Utah he would be guilty.



Dr. Piazza,

Innocent.  And if I were an actual jury member I would not have to explain to anyone my reason for voting for acquittal, so I will claim that right here also.

Long Live Lady Liberty!
Jim F.


Dr. Piazza

Guilty by the law, however, if I were on the jury: INNOCENT. I can imagine what that adrenaline can be like just having done shoot houses. It also sends a message to would-be burglars!! I would hope, given the same situation, I would not have continued shooting.

Alan K


Dear Dr. Piazza,

Thank you very much for an extremely informative and educational post re: the pharmacist vs. the two robbers.

Thinking back on your lecture on the topic of self defense, and hearing the DA’s comments about the law that pertained in the jurisdiction where the incident occurred, and in the absence of exculpatory evidence not shown in the videos, one would have to judge the Pharmacist guilty, in that his post-threat shootings occurred under no imminent threat, and more resembled an execution.

I would like to think that those of us who have benefited from your training, and who therefore would have made decisions about what to do well in advance of the threatening occurrence, would  not have made this error.

Very truly yours,

Bruce P.


Hi Ignatius,

Some things the pharmacist did that were stupid/dangerous/wrong (easily seen with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight):

1. He shot the guy who wasn’t holding a gun. I would have shot at the biggest threat first, which was the guy with the GUN!

2. He chased the guy with the gun after he left the store, apparently emptying his first revolver out on the street. Why? He walked back into the pharmacy with an empty weapon, one robber in unknown condition lying on the floor. Not to mention who knows who or what he could have shot at or hit by accident shooting outside the building, not smart. Secure your area – you don’t have to retreat, but advancing is rarely needed or smart – I would have stayed behind cover and defended my store, not chased the bad guy down the street.

3. You can’t really see everything from the video, but it certainly APPEARS as though the robber on the floor was not a threat and it appears as if he killed him in cold blood. This sort of occurance is tragic and just the sort of thing that will make gun opponents arguments stronger. Gun owners have to be better than that.



Dr. Piazza,

As far as the “letter of the law” goes, I’d say he is guilty.

But if I were on the jury, I don’t think I would vote that way.

Chet B.


Dear Dr. Piazza,

I live in the city where this incident happened. My opinion is he is justified in what he did. As seen in the tape time lapse footage, approximately only a minute has gone by from the first shot to the subsequent shots being fired. As you well know a survivors adrenalin is still pumping and you are still in survival mode. The perp may be down but you don’t know for sure if he is truly down or “playing dead” waiting for his chance to strike! I’m not going to wait and see. Mr. Ersland stated that the perp was still moving. And the M.E.’s report stated that the shots to the abdomen were what killed the perp. That report adds credibility to Mr. Erslands statement that the perp was still moving. In my mind as long as a threat is still moving, he has a possibility of using a concealed weapon against me,and I will shoot until he is no longer moving. Not being a medical professional, I can only assume that being in survival mode with adrenalin pumping puts a person in sort of a temporary insanity or clouded thinking position. I apologize for taking up so much space.  You provide a wonderful service and opportunity for us.

Thank you.
Richard R.

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