Thief Brings Knife To Gun Fight, But Should Shots Have Been Fired?

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS — A concealed carrier happened upon a man who had just broken into a vehicle and was trying to steal some items that he wanted for himself. Instead of getting a job and paying for things like a respectable citizen, this man decided to be a thief instead.

His little adventure was quickly halted by an armed citizen who noticed what was happening.

The tense episode unfolded at 5:34 a.m., when Boston police were called to the area of West Sixth and F for a person breaking into a vehicle, said Sergeant Detective John Boyle, a department spokesman. While the officers were en route, Boyle said, another call came in for shots fired.

Boyle said a witness at the scene told police that he heard the sound of glass breaking and then saw a man removing a computer case from a parked vehicle. That witness came outside and chased the suspect, who fled on foot.

During the chase, the suspect apparently turned around and brandished a knife. The armed citizen’s reaction was to fire a single shot. No one was hit by the shot, but it was enough to send the knife-wielding man running even faster.

Police seized the man’s gun while an investigation is ongoing.

The real story here is one that we see on a relatively regular basis; The use of deadly force when it’s not warranted.

Here’s the first argument: The bad guy brandished a knife. That’s all well and good, but remember that our armed citizen was giving chase. If you have a gun for self-defense and give chase to a suspect, we’re assuming that you’re ready to use that gun. The trouble is, the person giving chase may have no idea as to whether or not the person they are chasing is armed. That leads to a tricky situation for sure.

If you’re ever up against a person with a knife, distance is your friend. The best course of action, however, is to never give chase. Make as best a mental note of information that will be useful to police, such as a description of the suspect.

In this case, the bad guy got away and the good guy may now be under scrutiny for firing his gun while chasing after a suspect. As much as we want to stop the bad guy, sometimes it’s just not our place, especially if a foot-chase has begun.

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