Michigan CCW Holder Overreacts, Is Charged

Woman who shot at fleeing shoplifter is charged

Tatiana Duva-Rodriguez, 46, of Clarkston, Mich., is accused of shooting at the tires of a vehicle last week in the “misguided attempt to disable the vehicle to stop two reported shoplifters,” at a Home Depot in Auburn Hills, Mich., according to a news release from the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office and the Auburn Hills Police Department.

“If this is proven, I find it very disturbing that someone would take out their gun in a busy parking lot and shoot at the tires of a passing car,” Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper said in a statement. “Once fired, the bullet could have easily ricocheted or fragmented and injured or killed someone else. It would have been much more helpful for her to take out her cellphone and shoot pictures of the shoplifter’s license plate.”

Duva-Rodriguez, who is a concealed pistol license holder and cooperated with police, is expected to be arraigned in Rochester Hills, Mich., at a time the court will set later. The shooting happened in the store’s parking lot around 2 p.m. ET Oct. 6 when the store’s security guard was chasing a shoplifter who jumped into a Kia Rondo that another person was, police said.

Since no one was injured the charge is a misdemeanor for being reckless with a gun.  Sounds like better training in needed. A CCW holder has to know more than how to shoot a gun. They need to know the law that governs them and how and when they may resort to deadly force.

Tatiana Duva-Rodriguez, not being a police officer, had no duty to get involved in this incident. Since no one’s safety was being threatened it seems unwise on her part to have involved herself at all, much less to have over-reacted as she did. This is true even though this particular act of shoplifting did rise to felony status based on the total value of goods the thief was running away with. She’s lucky the bullet from her gun did not strike anyone or she would be in worse trouble.

The U.S. Supreme Court decided how and when a police officer is justified is shooting at a fleeing felon in Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1 (1985):

The use of deadly force to prevent the escape of all felony suspects, whatever the circumstances, is constitutionally unreasonable. It is not better that all felony suspects die than that they escape. Where the suspect poses no immediate threat to the officer and no threat to others, the harm resulting from failing to apprehend him does not justify the use of deadly force to do so. It is no doubt unfortunate when a suspect who is in sight escapes, but the fact that the police arrive a little late or are a little slower afoot does not always justify killing the suspect. A police officer may not seize an unarmed, nondangerous suspect by shooting him dead. The Tennessee statute is unconstitutional insofar as it authorizes the use of deadly force against such fleeing suspects.

It is not, however, unconstitutional on its face. Where the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a threat of serious physical harm, either to the officer or to others, it is not constitutionally unreasonable to prevent escape by using deadly force. Thus, if the suspect threatens the officer with a weapon or there is probable cause to believe that he has committed a crime involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical harm, deadly force may be used if necessary to prevent escape, and if, where [471 U.S. 1, 12]   feasible, some warning has been given. As applied in such circumstances, the Tennessee statute would pass constitutional muster.

It’s great that we can carry concealed guns for our personal protection, but if someone goes for the gun when nobody is facing an imminent threat of serious bodily injury or death it’s a black mark on the whole process.  The liberal anti-gunners love this sort of thing. They will hoot and holler until the cows come home. A gun is a tool of last resort after all else has failed. In this case of shoplifting neither the CCW holder nor anyone else was being threatened with anything other than theft of property.

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