CANDLER, NORTH CAROLINA — A few weeks ago, we covered an attempted grocery store robbery where the clerk defended himself successfully from a bad guy. The bad guy, 21-year-old Darwin Villatoro, didn’t make it out alive.
If you’re curious about the full backstory, you can read about it here.
Well, there’s that anxious moment after the defensive gun use is done. After the proverbial smoke clears and the police are there, now comes the natural fear that strangers with badges are going to diligently pick through the wreckage to figure out what transpired.
A law enforcement officer isn’t the bad guy. Officers are looking to ensure that the person who was shot and killed is given the due diligence that we would hope they would give if the defender was killed. Bullet casings are collected. Surveillance video, where applicable, is watched and analyzed. There’s a process. And officers then pass that information up to a district attorney who determines if the criteria of the event meets the standard for what the state considers justifiable homicide.
But for the man undergoing this investigation, it can be heart-wrenching. In addition to having to take a human life in order to preserve his own, he now has to hope that the men wandering through his life see the event as he did.
We’re happy to report, in this case, that the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office announced that no charges will be filed against the clerk.
Yes, it’s blatantly obvious to many gun owners that this man had to use deadly force to preserve his own life. We’re not the deciding authority in that matter. A district attorney, in many cases, makes the final determination on whether or not the shooting fell within the parameters of a legal use of deadly force against another person.
If testimony or evidence leads in a contrary direction, that district attorney may call for a more stringent investigation of the event. It’s not uncommon for completely legitimate uses of deadly force to be in the process of investigation for months. A few have even stretched into years. It’s a serious risk that gun owners accept when they pull the trigger.
What that means for everyday carriers of a handgun is that we must be diligent to ensure we’re in the right when we do pull that trigger. That means understanding when the use of deadly force is considered to be legally justifiable. If that’s a concept you may not want to jump into, you can consult with an attorney and quite a few gun ranges offer classes where they go into greater depth into this subject.
Your life is worth it and we always want to see the good guy get to go on with his life. Shooting another man and potentially taking his life can be traumatic enough as it is. Being caught up in the court system is an entirely new level of mental anguish. We would hope where one occurs, the other need not be any more brutal than it needs to be.