VICTORIA, VIRGINIA — A convenience store clerk will not be charged after fatally shooting an armed robbery suspect in June, and it took three months to come to that conclusion.
Early reports tell us part of the story as to what happened that day. NBC12.com tells us;
The store owner of Little B’s convenience store says the man who was killed — 34-year-old Milton T. Gaither of Dinwiddie — was trying to rob his store around 9 p.m.
Police said Monday that Gaither was wearing a mask, displayed a handgun and demanded money from the cash register. As Gaither fled the store, shots were fired.
Gaither ran across the parking lot and collapsed on 6th Street. He died at the scene.
Upon further digging, more details of the story were found, and we can (just a little bit) see why there was some deliberation over any possible charges.
The clerk gave him the money from the register, then Gaither demanded the change. He appeared to step away, but then came back and demanded the money from the lottery register. After getting that in the bag, Gaither walked away toward the front door, but then came back again and demanded Newport cigarettes. After grabbing those, he left out the front door.
The clerk said he feared that the robber might return once again, so he grabbed a .380 handgun at the register and went to the front door, hoping to see which way the robber went so he could tell the police. He had also told his cousin with whom he had been on the phone before the robbery to call 911.
When he pushed open the front door, he was shocked to see the robber still in the parking lot about 15 to 20 feet away, picking up money he had dropped. The clerk shot upward into the air as a warning shot which is clearly seen in the video. The clerk said the defendant looked back at him and pointed the gun over his shoulder and fired at him. The clerk said he then fired back about four or five times as Gaither ran away.
Gaither ran across the rest of the parking lot, across Main Street, and down to Sixth Street in front of the Nazarene Church where he fell to the ground.
When faced with a threat, especially an armed one, we want to make sure that the threat is gone. Right? The debatable part of the story here is the clerk’s decision to open the front door to see where the robber was. This is a dangerous move for the clerk, as the robber could be just outside the door. And he was.
Then, shooting the gun into the air as a warning –to an armed and clearly a DGAF individual– is a bold move in anyone’s book. To no one’s surprise, the thug shot at the clerk. In turn, we have a deceased thug.
It’s self-defense for sure, and I would never fault the clerk for firing the shot as he did. The question, though, is how far should you go when faced with that type of threat?
It can be debated for centuries and we’ll never have a consensus but in my eyes, the clerk left himself vulnerable as soon as he opened the door, and who is to say that he couldn’t have taken that thug’s bullet to the head? It could have happened, but luckily it didn’t.
What say you? Would you have gone outside to see where the armed suspect was, or would you stay inside with your gun and call police? Chime in below.