Friday, June 17, 2016

Illegal Conceal Carrier Shoots at Car

The suspect's booking photo from LVMPD
Thursday night, Stephen Howard, 44, tried to apprehend a shoplifter and shot at the suspect's car. The Las Vegas Sun has the story. He was arrested on carrying a concealed firearm without a permit (NRS 202.350, a felony), unsafe discharge of a firearm (NRS 202.285), and traffic warrants. Bail is a combined $14,930.

There are several lapses in judgement here that are not surprising. Someone who would choose to carry illegal and commit a felony, rather openly carry, which is legal, clearly shouldn't be carrying a gun at all. This was highlighted by the fact that he compounded his mistake by shooting a car.

No circumstances have articulated why it was necessary for a private citizen to intervene with Target security to try to arrest a shoplifter. There was no apparent threat to life. This was not Mr. Howard's store. Unless you or a loved one were a victim, you probably shouldn't attempt to apprehend anyone who isn't an immediately threat to life or limb. Too much risk and liability.

Shooting at a car is a bad idea because it is too difficult to hit the target and if the suspect dies or looses control, a car without a driver is a very dangerous thing. Police are generally discouraged from shooting at suspects in moving cars. It's also illegal for citizens to shoot at a fleeing felon. Read the self-defense laws, please. You are not a cop just because you have a gun and you have no duty to get involve. You can't shoot a fleeing suspect and definitely shouldn't be in a position where they might run you over if you can help it.

This is why training and judgement is extremely important.

1 comment:

  1. Agreed.

    However, the "...definitely shouldn't be in a position where they might run you over..." statement...cops do so all the time and are ruled justified in using lethal force because of it. If you know of a case in which a private citizen also did so and was not justified using lethal force, let me know.