"Armed customer thwarts grocery robbery"

From the Indianapolis Star today.

Armed customer thwarts grocery robbery - Indianapolis Star

By Vic Ryckaert
January 2, 2008

A 51-year-old man stopped a masked man from robbing a Southside grocery store and held him at gunpoint until police arrived.

Charlie Merrell was in checkout line at Bucks IGA Supermarket, 3015 S. Meridian St., when a masked man jumped a nearby counter and held a gun on a store employee at 5:17 p.m. Monday, according to a police report made public today.

While the suspect was demanding cash from the workers, the police report states that Merrell pulled his own handgun, pointed it at the robber and ordered him to put down his weapon.

When the suspect hesitated, Merrell racked the slide on his gun to load a round in the chamber, Officer Jason Bockting wrote in the report.

The suspect placed his gun and a bag of cash on the counter, dropping some of the money, police said. The suspect removed his mask and lay on the floor. Merrell held the suspect at gunpoint until officers arrived and took him away in handcuffs.

Merrell had a valid permit to carry the handgun, police said. . Police recovered an unloaded .380-caliber handgun from the suspect and $779 in cash, according to the report. Dwain Smith, 19, was arrested on initial charges of robbery, criminal confinement, pointing a firearm, battery and carrying a handgun without a license. . . .

Thanks very much to Darren Cooper and Scott Davis for sending me this link.

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Blogger WheelCipher said...

This is good news, but I am wondering what risk factors the permit holder and the other person(s) in the store were exposed to when the permit holder didn’t shoot. In many classes I’ve taken, the general rule is that you do not draw your weapon unless you are ready to shoot. You only draw down when you feel your life or the life of another person is in immediate danger. This news story seems to have shown that the criteria was met. Then you start shooting in order to stop the actions of the perp.

As long as that perp is alive (even if someone is holding him/her at gunpoint) the threat still exists until the police get there. Someone holding a gun on a live person creates a more hostile and fragile environment when the police roll up. If the permit holder had just shot the perp and walked away from the threat, it would have presented a safer environment for everyone involved. (Not just right then, but perhaps in the future as well.)

Scott Davis

1/02/2008 4:00 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear Scott:

Thanks for the note. To me the amazing thing is how rarely permit holders have to actually fire a weapon to stop an attack. If you go through the defensive gun uses involving permit holders on my website or elsewhere, only a very small fraction actually involve the permit holder firing the gun. I haven't gone through the numbers recently, but you can't even be talking about 15 percent of the cases.

1/02/2008 4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to put it this way, but there's a kind of stupid in Mr. Merrell's actions that tell me he should not carry a firearm.

When the suspect hesitated, Merrell racked the slide on his gun to load a round in the chamber,

Don't make me explain why that's stupid.


1/02/2008 4:42 PM  
Anonymous tkdkerry said...

Peet - Perhaps Mr. Merrell is capable of learning a more appropriate manner of carrying. After all, he was certainly on the right path by having acquired a permit and arming himself, plus he showed the willingness to act when necessary and appropriate. I bet his tactical error has taught him something.

Scott - The perp had a weapon trained on someone. That's not immediate danger? And it's better to just cap the guy's ass than to hold him for the police? No wonder some folks think we're just "shoot first" crazies.

1/03/2008 12:47 PM  
Blogger The Duck said...

Anytime the confrontation ends without anybody getting hurt is a good confrontation

1/03/2008 3:50 PM  
Anonymous Safety said...

Here's an example of another guy with a carry permit that doesn't know how to handle a gun safely:


Google easily finds other examples of unsafe gun handling in public by legal gun owners:


1/04/2008 2:23 PM  

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