Wee hours are the last hours for Waffle House robber
A 26-year old Texas resident is on life support after his robbery scheme turned south last Thursday.
When Antoine Cooper chose to target customers and the cash register at an area Waffle House, wielding an AK-47, he apparently didn’t bargain on one customer being armed. For gun carriers, the incident is a hearty helping of food for thought.
Inside the restaurant, Cooper got away with robbing several customers and the business itself. When he left the building, a concealed carrier followed and called out to the AK wielder. As he turned, he pointed the AK at Mr. Carrier who reportedly opened fire with his handgun, striking Cooper. The gun carrier is said to be unhurt.
The reason given by the shooter in this instance was that he feared for the safety of his wife, who was reportedly in the parking lot, headed into the restaurant. It doesn’t appear that any charges will be filed against the gun carrier.
Examining the factors justifying use of deadly force, we find the following, along with a factor that may surprise some.
- Ability: The robber had apparent ability to cause death or grievous bodily harm, in the form of a semi-automatic rifle. Even if the rifle were unloaded, in swinging range it represents a threat when wielded as such.
- Opportunity: In spades, ya’ll. Ever been in the close quarters of a Waffle House? The dependably accurate range of an AK, assuming the robber knows how to use sights, is around 300 yards. Across the parking lot or inside the restaurant, it was there.
- Immediate jeopardy: Somebody call Alex Trebek. Other than being shielded behind an oven or refrigerator, there isn’t much solid cover inside or outside a Waffle House that a 7.62 x .39 round will respect. It is entirely possible that escape wasn’t an option for the people inside.
HOWEVER, the robber had already grabbed the goods and was on his way out. Mr. Carrier made a guess that Cooper, having just helped himself to the belongings of everyone in the business, may decide to rob one more person. Based on the behavior he’d just witnessed, a reasonable person would come to the same conclusion.
So yes, this use of deadly force was justified and perhaps necessary for the safety of Mrs. Gun Carrier.
Is it ever okay to shoot someone in the back?
To be clear, he was NOT shot in the back. But for the sake of discussion, what if he had been? Is it ever a good idea? Civilized folks, in general, have a cultural aversion to the thought of shooting someone in the back—it’s not fair play, in our minds. Nor is it okay in the eyes of the written laws of the land to shoot someone when fleeing a crime scene. The intent for harm is over at that point. The big decider in this situation is the placement of his wife. This case is an example of where it may have been justified and wise to protect the safety of an innocent person, but the details are not all that clear at this point.
Is it okay to pursue and exact deadly force upon a perp as they leave a crime scene?
Generally, no, unless, as in this case, another violent victimization was likely imminent. Don’t get the impression that the law will always look favorably upon you for pursuing and attacking someone after a crime is committed.
The big What if….
This act of defense worked out in favor of the gun-carrying citizen. In other cases, well-intentioned armed citizens, acting in defense of another, have been shot and killed. In the Waffle House incident, the bad guy wielded a much more powerful weapon that is more likely to be deadly with just one shot as compared to a handgun. Mr. Carrier did his chosen job well, but, had the robber opened fire, the incident may have had a very different outcome.
Are you prepared to be permanently disabled or die as a result of defending yourself or a family member? What about defending a co-worker? How about a complete stranger? Responsible carriers should carefully ponder these decisions, which could be faced at any time in a public place, and know the answer in advance of an incident. Please let us know what you think in the comments below.