Armed Robbery

Armed robbery seems to be on a tear in the front range of Colorado.

As seen in this Denver CBS4 news video the Subway 32 bandit has no compunction in pointing a gun at and robbing customers he finds in the stores. He will make a victim of anyone in his surroundings. He has robbed stores when children were just a few feet away.

An estimated 200,000 residents of Colorado now have concealed firearm permits and Colorado recognizes permits carried by non-residents from about 30 states. It seems inevitable that if Mr. 32 bandit isn’t caught soon he may encounter someone who isn’t willing to simply be a good witness and may refuse to be a victim. Someone may choose to fight back.

Most experts recommend not starting a gunfight with a criminal unless you have no choice. Even a criminal not intent on shooting anyone may start pulling the trigger when a citizen challenges them with a weapon. If so, now you’re in a gunfight, probably for the first time in your life.

If you lose there’s not much more to say. But if you win you have to face another challenge when the cops arrive. Are you going to talk to the police? You’ll probably want to. Most people want to talk to someone, especially authority figures, after surviving a life-threatening incident. You’ll want to explain everything to the nice officers who, thank God, have arrived to help you and everyone else involved. But should you?

Here is a great 27-minute video on talking to the police that everyone who has a concealed carry permit should watch. James Duane, a professor at Regent Law School and a former defense attorney, tells you why you should never agree to be interviewed by the police. The recommendation of professor Duane is simple: Never talk to the police, even if you are innocent of wrongdoing. After watching the video, please read on because while there certainly is an extreme danger to even an innocent citizen talking to the police, not talking to the police is not risk free either.

If you’ve finished this video, how can I ever convince you that there may be some instances where you can help yourself by talking to the police? OK, think about this. You’ve been in a gunfight and survived either because the criminal gave up and fled the scene or because he is now wounded or dead and no longer a threat. If the latter, how do you suppose that looks to the first responding cop on the scene? You have a gun you’ve just fired, there is a man on the ground who has been shot. You and the other witnesses know that the man on the ground in the bad guy and you are the good guy. How will that be made known to the cops?

The witnesses will tell the police what they saw, and the police will collect evidence such as the bad guy’s weapon, the mask he was wearing, etc. All that will tell the story, right? Yes, most of the time. But not all the time. Are you feeling lucky today? Will the witnesses remember months or years from now if the matter should ever become a matter for the courts? Will the cops handle the crime scene competently, collecting and inventorying all the evidence so it’s available to you or you attorney later? Will the police and the investigators correctly analyze the evidence? Months or years later witnesses who were frightened by a gun sometimes can’t remember ever seeing a gun. In the event of a trial, if the only evidence that the bad guy had a gun is your testimony, the results might not be good. A jury won’t understand why that gun is not in evidence, and why you are the only one who remembers seeing it.

Bottom line is we must agree with professor James Duane that talking to the police is fraught with danger. But we also must realize that the police and the investigators need to be informed on exactly what has happened. To rely exclusively on the witnesses and the evidence on the ground to tell the story is also risky. Their perception or memory may be impaired. Evidence can get lost or tampered with. You are the one who will suffer if mistakes are made or intentional malfeasance occurs. Is there anything you can do?

More in a future post.

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