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Opening Arguments

Do we have a shooting solution?

OK, Second Amendment fans, was this a justified arrest or a justified shooting?

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) — The owner of a South Texas convenience store has been arrested for murder after shooting a man attempting to steal beer from his shop.

Rodney James Duve was being held Sunday in the Nueces County jail with bond set at $35,000. Corpus Christi police say a 39-year-old man came into his store Saturday evening and took a 12-pack of beer before attempting to flee.

The 52-year-old Duve was arrested at the store. The robbery suspect, who has not been identified, was taken to a hospital where he died.

On the one hand, death seems a little harsh for the crime of shoplifting. But if a store owner isn't allowed to shoot a thief, how does holding a gun on him until police arrive work exactly? At the point where the robber is leaving the store, the imminent threat isn't there for the owner, so he can't use that as a justification.

I think I'd feel a little stronger about this if it were a homeowner instead of a business owner. If someone comes uninvited into my house, I presume violence on his part is a real possibility and will act accordingly.


Larry Morris
Mon, 09/30/2013 - 10:17am

It's accepted in Texas that you can meet deadly force with deadly force to protect youself or your loved ones or to stop an attempted rape or murder.  Failing that, the water is as muddy down here as it is anywhere else, it's hard to justify shooting someone over a 12-pack of beer.  You are correct in that it is much clearer in the law when you stumble upon someone in your home - in that case it's usually shoot first and ask questions later ...

Rebecca Mallory
Mon, 09/30/2013 - 6:15pm

Texas penal code grants authority for the use of deadly force to prevent someone "who is fleeing immediately after committing burglary, robbery, aggrevated robbery, or theft during nightime from escaping with property."

God bless Texas!


Jim Neill
Wed, 10/02/2013 - 10:16pm

And the rest of the statute Rebecca quotes (Texas Penal Code - Section 9.42. Deadly Force to Protect Property), to put her cite in context:

(3) he(the shooter) reasonably believes that: (A) the land or property cannot be protected or recovered by any other means; or

(B) the use of force other than deadly force to protect or recoverthe land or property would expose the actor or another to a substantialrisk of death or serious bodily injury.

In other words, you CAN use deadly force to protect property, but only as a last resort.