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3000fps
04-19-2012, 09:57
Good afternoon Mr. Ayoob!

I just got done reading my local newspaper and browsing through the "crime watch" section. One incident in particular stood out enough to make me wonder how I would have reacted given the situation.

A local grocery store had a man come in and purchase a bottle of alcohol. The man paid for the item, and when the cashier opened the register to give him his change, he asked for all the money in the register.

He flashed a black item and pointed it in his pocket at the cashier. He made off with the cash, but was caught. Turns out his "weapon" was actually a water bottle wrapped in a black dress sock.


Are you aware of any cases where a criminal was shot in self-defense, and it turned out they were brandishing a "faux" weapon? i.e airsoft gun etc. Was there a problem articulating the issue of self defense because of a lack of weapon or fake weapon?

Also, what is the best avenue of approach if someone attempts to rob you, whilst their hand is in their pocket with the impression they have a knife or a gun?

I can't imagine being able to articulate to responding LEO that someone tried to carjack you and you shot the man because your kids were inside the car, despite the fact he had his finger in his pocket pointing like a gun. Turns out there is no weapon.


Anyway, sorry for the lengthy question. I am grateful for you taking your time to answer our questions and be such a great resource!

Mas Ayoob
04-19-2012, 17:57
Bad guys with air pistols or realistic toy guns or Airsofts who point them at good guys and get shot, are normally adjudicated as justifiable homicides. It's for the same reason that an armed robber using one of those things would still be charged (and usually convicted) of armed robbery: he had deliberately used the tool to create a reasonable fear of being killed in the mind of his intended victim.

Bear in mind, you won't know it was only a finger in the pocket or a realistic toy gun in his hand until after you've put him on the ground. If it is real, and is pointed at you, giving him the money may be your best bet: outdrawing a drawn gun can be done, but it's not a tactic on which to bet your life or the lives of your family unless you're certain you and they will be murdered otherwise. Each situation will be unique and must be taken on its own merits.

best,
Mas