2 Stories, 1 Perp; Or, When Your Assailant Is Somehow The Victim

24 September 2015, Louisville, Kentucky

Today we have a tale of a Good Guy With a Gun told from two different perspectives by two different local news outlets.

WAVE3.com and WDRB.com both reported that a man was shot in a Liquor World liquor store in Louisville, KY.

WAVE3 reported

A man died after he was shot several times inside of a liquor store in the Bon Air neighborhood, according to Louisville Metro Police.

The shooting was reported at the Liquor World, located in the 2200 block of Goldsmith Lane, around 10:50 p.m. Friday.

LMPD spokeswoman Alicia Smiley said the clerk and the victim were the only two people inside of the business at the time of the shooting.

The victim, whose name has not been released, was taken to University of Louisville Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Police are questioning the clerk, but Smiley said no charges are expected to be filed

The LMPD Homicide Unit [is] investigating the case.

Presumably from the same press briefing on this incident, WDRB.com had this to say:

Louisville Metro Police say a person was shot and killed after allegedly trying to rob a liquor store.

The shooting happened just before 11 p.m. Friday at Liquor World on Goldsmith Lane near Bardstown Road.

Police spokesperson Alicia Smiley says that 6th Division, Homicide and Robbery units responded to the scene.

An early investigation reveals a man in [his] 30’s or 40’s tried to rob Liquor World.

Police say that he showed his weapon to an employee, who then pulled out a gun and shot the suspect.

The alleged robber was taken to University Hospital and later died.

The liquor store employee was not hurt.

No one else was in the liquor store at the time of the shooting.

The investigation is still underway.

If you have taken any of our courses (other than NRA Basic Courses) you received training on how to deal with the media and the difference between these two stories is the reason why. In the aftermath of any traumatic, violent event, you will be Monday Morning Quarterbacked by everyone…

…and the media are the people who get first crack at setting the public perception of how the incident played out. These two news reports are a prime example of how different they can be.

In the WAVE3 version of the story, you have a man suffering multiple gunshot wounds in a liquor store where only the deceased, labeled as the “victim”, and the clerk were present in the store at the time of the “shooting”, that no charges are being filed, and that Louisville Metro Police (LMPD) Homicide is on the case.

As far as we know, from the details of this first story, “something” happened which caused someone to shoot an apparently innocent man. Only if you read between the lines does it become somewhat clear that the “victim” may have been engaged in some kind of nefarious activity.

However, when you go to the WDRB version of events reported by the police, a clearer picture becomes available. WDRB puts the robbery in the first line. The assailant “victim” had a gun, and used it to assault a liquor store clerk during an attempted robbery. The ACTUAL victim, the clerk, responded to a violent, lethal threat with appropriate force of their own and prevailed unharmed. The robber paid for his crime with his life. WDRB reinforces these points by stating that both Homicide AND Robbery units responded to the incident.

Today’s lesson? Just because you’ve won the gunfight, doesn’t mean that your troubles are over. in addition to needing YEARS of therapy to get past the taking of a life, regardless of justification, this unnamed clerk is going to be both vilified and praised in the coming days. There is a strong trend in the news media to ensure that they capture the humanity of the violent assailant by showing his loving family, his children, and how he was turning his life around after his struggle with drugs/alcohol/etc… That he didn’t deserve to die over some worthless money.

Some of this may even be true. Most certainly nobody deserves to die over money. But a robbery or home invasion is NEVER quite that simple. When someone makes a conscious decision to point a firearm at someone, they are making a death threat. Period.

They may not actually intend to shoot anyone. Heck, the gun might not even be loaded. But that’s irrelevant to the fact that in that moment there is a firearm of some kind pointed at you. Unless the gun is so small, and the lighting conditions are just right that you can see down the barrel or into the cylinder, you do not have time to check if the gun is loaded.

In a violent event, such as a robbery, you barely have time to think and you do not know the actual intentions of the individual pointing the gun in your face. Are they just doing a show of force to gain your compliance? Will they pull the trigger through negligence or because you’re not moving fast enough? Are they intent on killing you to eliminate witnesses? You don’t know.

As You Are Your Own First Responder, if you opt to resist, then Speed, Surprise, and Violence of Action are your friend. Our Good Guy With A Gun in this report was able to access their weapon and put multiple rounds on target under extreme stress.

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