A sad series of events unfolded today in Arlington, Texas.
T.J. Antell’s heart was in the right place. Unfortunately, he made some decisions that were not the best, and his family will never be the same.
From our local Fox News affiliate station:
Man trying to stop gunman shot dead at Arlington Walgreens
“Police said the shooter, Ricci Bradden, came into the store at the corner of New York Avenue and Green Oaks Boulevard just before noon. He confronted a female employee and shot her in the leg.”
“An armed customer, T.J. Antell, tried to stop the shooter from leaving the store’s parking lot in his car. Antell, a Good Samaritan, pointed his firearm at the vehicle when Bradden got out of the car and shot Antell.”
““Very terrifying for people that had to watch and see, especially the Good Samaritan being shot and killed just trying to help out trying to keep the suspect from leaving,” said Arlington Police Lt. Chris Cook.”
The local CBS radio affiliate KRLD radio reported:
- Mr. Antell witnessed the initial altercation in the parking lot.
- The female victim broke away from the shooter and ran into the store.
- Mr. Antell returned to his vehicle to retrieve his gun before trying to stop the shooter from leaving the scene.
- Mr. Antell’s wife was in his vehicle and saw everything as it happened.
As a family man and a CHL holder, I have to disagree with Mr. Antell’s choices today.
I am not a lawyer and I don’t watch lawyer shows on TV. I was TCLEOSE certified as a Peace Officer in the State of Texas in 1990, and have been a CHL holder for close to 20 years.
Please take my observations of this event, not as a personal criticism of Mr. Antell. I’m hoping the rest of us can learn something valuable from this event that may save lives in the future.
- As a CHL holder, I have no LEGAL obligation to get involved in any dangerous situation. Notice I didn’t say MORAL. I said LEGAL. I cannot be charged with a crime for not getting involved in a violent situation.
- As a CHL holder, my use of force is limited by the level of threat or force being used against myself or another person.
Stepping through the events of the day:
- The male suspect was in an altercation with a female employee of the store when he drew a gun and shot the woman in the leg.
- From a CHL holder’s perspective this is when deadly force became justified under Chapter 9 of the Texas Penal Code. If you want to split hairs, the justification appeared as soon as the gun was drawn and pointed or the suspect threatened to kill the woman. From the perspective of an uninvolved third-party in a busy parking lot, shouting or the gunshot would probably be the first sign that something bad was going on.
- The female victim broke away and fled back into the store, and the suspect was trying to leave the scene
- Antell’s LEGAL justification for using his gun was over as soon as the suspect stopped being aggressive, unless Mr. Antell had reason to believe the suspect was going to immediately try to hurt someone else.
- Had the suspect tried to follow the woman into the store the threat would still exist, and Mr. Antell’s actions would have been LEGALLY justified under Chapter 9 of the Texas Penal Code.
- By choosing to take action to prevent the suspect from leaving, Mr. Antell endangered his wife.
- Had the shooter been insane or desperate, the wife could easily have become an additional fatality as a result of Mr. Antell’s actions.
- By trying to hold an armed suspect at gunpoint, Mr. Antell put himself at the mercy of the gunman.
- Reaction time in human beings is between ¼ and ¾ of a second in most cases. By the time the suspect’s gun started to move in Mr. Antell’s direction, he was already behind the curve with no way to catch up.
What should have happened?
Mr. Antell should have taken steps to protect his wife, and been a good witness by getting the license plates numbers and a description of the vehicle and direction of travel to the police. This was not an active shooter situation where multiple lives were at risk. The shooter was trying to leave, and should have been left to the police.
I understand my opinion will not be popular with the low drag operator crowd, and I don’t care. I’m very broken up about this poor widow and her kids who won’t have their father. I hate reading about cases where someone tries to do the right thing, and gets hurt because they made some critical errors in judgement.
Please accept my apologies for the Monday Morning Quarterbacking. I’m just trying to make some good come out of your tragedy.
God Rest Ye T.J. Antell