Defensive gun uses are on the rise. This time, in the pizza delivery world.
Pizza delivery is dangerous work. But a Connecticut delivery driver is alive today thanks to his quick, determined action when an order turned out to be a ruse for armed robbery.
The 43-year old driver, whom we’ll call Dave, arrived at the delivery location at 2:30 AM last Wednesday morning. No one was present to receive the food, so he called the number from which the order was placed. Responding to that call, up close and personal, was 23-year old wannabe thug Shawn Pauls.
When Dave requested $37 owed for the order, Pauls brandished a handgun and demanded Dave’s wallet. Unarmed Dave replied saying he didn’t have one with him, but the robber got up close and personal and searched his pockets anyway. Pauls also demanded food, and Dave handed him a bag containing soft drinks. Throughout the interaction, Pauls reportedly gave many verbal threats about shooting Dave. In the process, Pauls commanded Dave to open the glove compartment of the car.
Feigning compliance, Dave opened the car door and managed to appear as if he were reaching for the cash the robber desired. He used the moment to position himself for a counterattack in which he eventually wrestled the gun from Pauls’ grip and fired in his direction. Pauls fled, but his minor injuries took him to a local hospital where he was arrested. A confession followed, along with robbery and weapon-related charges. Dave will not be charged.
This case meets the legal justification of deadly force. Pauls had 1) the means—a firearm; 2) the intent, indicated by verbal threat and brandishing of said weapon, and 3) the opportunity, being extremely close, to kill or gravely harm the pizza man.
Dave’s reaction of feigning compliance long enough to get the upper hand was extraordinarily brave, but probably his best bet as an escape attempt may have inspired Pauls to shoot. We don’t have pictures of Dave to armchair quarterback any physical disparity issues, but suffice to say a 43-year old taking on someone 20 years his junior is, at face value, risky. Here is a case where life experience and instincts may have meant as much as the physical aspects of the encounter.
A friend who once worked delivering pizzas said she would’ve felt safer working nights at a convenience store. Working alone at night, without a panic button or security camera, carrying cash, and being a regular witness to illegal activity, all while working for an employer that prohibited the carry of a firearm or even pepper spray, was a taller order than any she delivered.
Dave escaped his encounter through a combination of action and luck. Had he used a gun of his own to defend himself, his employer would likely have fired him immediately. It’s a sad state of affairs when most businesses value helplessness, as enforced by employment policy, more than their employees’ right and ability to protect themselves. As noted firearms instructor John Farnam recently wrote, insurance policies place a cash value on employees’ lives, simplifying the business of an employee dying at the hands of a criminal or terrorist. Meanwhile, those on the wrong side of the law are free to wreak as much expense and destruction as their enterprises can muster. Would you have done anything differently? Let us know in the comments below.