Concealed Carry

U.S. Law Shield: Florida Good Samaritan Analysis: Licensed Carrier Saves Deputy

U.S. Law Shield video cover of two police officers wearing tactical gear

Earlier this week, a good samaritan possessing a CWFL came to the rescue of a Lee County Florida deputy. The deputy had pulled over a suspect. Before the deputy could exit his vehicle, the suspect exited his vehicle, ran to the deputy’s car, and dragged the officer from his cruiser. The suspect then started violently attacking the officer and trying to get his gun while punching him multiple times. This good samaritan saw what was going on and decided to intervene. He approached the fight, drew his firearm—which he legally possessed—and ordered the suspect to stop what he was doing multiple times. When the suspect didn’t, the good samaritan shot three times, resulting in the death of the suspect.

Was this good samaritan justified? Based on facts that I have viewed on the news and read on the internet, I believe so. Florida Statute 790.012 allows a person to use deadly force if he or she reasonably believes such force is needed to either prevent death or great bodily harm that is imminent to either himself or to another person, in this situation the officer.

Also under 790.012, a person is justified in using deadly force if he or she reasonably believes such force is needed to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. In this situation, the forcible felony would have been the attack on the law-enforcement officer.

So, based on the facts that I have reviewed, I believe under 790.012, the good samaritan was absolutely justified in his actions.

Do you agree with the lawyer’s assessment? What would you have done differently? Share your answers in the comment section.

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Comments (45)

  1. Really shawn Really I would think twice shooting some one to protect a officer I been laying my life down since I was 14 years(cant do it now at that age)I was a fire fighter30 and for 2 years a part time cop I seen what the police go threw dealing with some people my son in law is also a full time cop there out there protecting us and I would think twice taking a low life who is tried to hurt a cop or kill them screw the family they should have raised the kid better. what ever happen to respect for one another and or law enforcement? (yes there are some bad police) but soon or later they get caught also!!

  2. For those interested, there were more statutes than Law Shield mentioned that not only protected the Samaritan’s lawful right to shoot, but also obligated him to shoot as well:

    When the officer repeatedly yelled for the Samaritan to shoot the perpetrator, the following Florida statute obligated the Samaritan to do so:

    “901.18 Officer may summon assistance.—A peace officer making a lawful arrest may command the aid of persons she or he deems necessary to make the arrest. A person commanded to aid shall render assistance as directed by the officer. A person commanded to aid a peace officer shall have the same authority to arrest as that peace officer and shall not be civilly liable for any reasonable conduct in rendering assistance to that officer.”

    If the Samaritan had instead chosen not to follow the officer’s commands to shoot, the Samaritan could have been prosecuted under the following Florida statute:

    “843.06 Neglect or refusal to aid peace officers.—Whoever, being required in the name of the state by any officer of the Florida Highway Patrol, police officer, beverage enforcement agent, or watchman, neglects or refuses to assist him or her in the execution of his or her office in a criminal case, or in the preservation of the peace, or the apprehending or securing of any person for a breach of the peace, or in case of the rescue or escape of a person arrested upon civil process, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.”

    As always, glad I could clear this up for you folks.

  3. Taking a life is more than a notion. Did he consider the legal ramifications if his family sues or tries to retaliate? What if the officer was harassing him and he was actually protecting himself from a crooked cop? Who’s to say/prove he actually yelled for the victim to stop? What the hell is wrong with a warning shot?

    1. Warning shots are generally not legally allowed. Plus that shot will go somewhere and it may injure someone.

  4. If in this case a concealed carry permit use is not legal, then concealed carry permits are useless and will get you prison time. It is for instances exactly like this that we have concealed carry.

  5. Reading all of this is why I would have to think a second before shooting him. Yes in Texas I have an obligation, however it immediately puts me and my family in danger as a result not to mention the financial considerations. No one is going to protect me or mine including the Police Union from prosecution it is on me.

    With what was shown, yes I probably would have stopped the perp. Then I would have immediately put the gun down and called my attorney, no comments or anything other than complying with the requests of the LEO personnel until I had representation. That unfortunately is the world that we are living in today, I would have stopped it because I couldn’t have lived with myself otherwise, but it doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t be trying to ensure that I protect myself as well from the aftermath.

    Any bets whether the perp’s family tries to sue the citizen and that person is on their own against them?

  6. We Tax payer are paying too much to convict these punks I would not have said a thing to him one 45 LC in the right ear & out the left & help the officer to his feet, its the best way to get the job done & keeps the punk from being a repeat offender. GOD BLESS! Chaplain RJ

  7. So why not have a law for civilians and officers your first bullet should be a rubber bullet that way if there’s an accidental shoot fired or intentional your not shooting to kill however after that one shot then it’s real bullets I’m pretty sure that would stop a lot of ” they tried to kill me ” I’ve been shot with a rubber bullet from 30 ft I assure you you’ll quit being stupid real fast without a greater threat of loss of life ” yes a rubber bullet can still kill but it’s not as likely

    1. oh great. so now you want a law dictating how i must load my magazines? ever stop to think maybe the responsibility should be put on the lawbreaker to maybe, oh i don’t know….NOT BREAK THE LAW? or is that too simple an answer? too clear cut, too “black and white with no gray area nuance”? duh

  8. I don’t know if Florida has this law but to my understanding in Texas, it is in fact a CRIME NOT TO assist a peace officer in distress with whatever capabilities you possess.

  9. the situation described was intense at all levels. making the decision to provide aid for the cop was ABSOLUTELY CORRECT, but i am not sure most of us would jump into that fire. split second decisions often have ugly consequences, depending on the state. if and when my time comes, i hope i too can jump in & do the right thing. my biggest fear is how the court/legal system would treat me. right or wrong. we have a problem with too many anti gun legal people & politicians.

  10. Having been a conceal carry permit holder for over 20 years, I’ve never had to pull my weapon. This is an interesting case however because a police officer was being beaten and the offender had the upper hand in the situation. The citizen specifically ordered the offender, according to reports 3 times, to stop and if he didn’t he would be shot. The Deputy reportedly was yelling “Shoot him” as well. According to Florida law the permit holder has the legal right to defend the Deputy so in my mind, he most definitely did the right thing!! Also, had I come upon that scene and found a Deputy being beaten, I would have done the same thing. Given what’s happening to today’s law enforcement officers today, they need all the help they can get. I advise people to check the laws in their state as well on the ability to use deadly force. Most states allow people to use deadly force when someone’s life is in imminent danger.

  11. I agree completely. if you’re that close, use the handle and hit him in the head hard enough to knock him out. That way, if he gets up and charges you, you’re justified in shooting him.

    1. ” if you’re that close, use the handle and hit him in the head hard enough to knock him out”
      You watch too many movies. It takes skill and knowledge to know how to hit someone in the head and jar the brain right to knock them out. Also why would you risk disabling you weapon or getting close enough so that the bad guy can turn on you, disarm you, and turn your weapon on you. A gun is a weapon of last resort and should be used as one. If you are ready to pull out your gun for defense you better be ready to pull the trigger. If you want to try to knock him out use a bat instead.

  12. The original article above is referring to the wrong Florida Statute. FL statute 776 would be the correct place to find justification.

    1. Given I was the only one to cite anything regarding the officer’s past performance I will assume you were responding to my comment.

      You and a few others have made statements showing an unreasonable dwelling upon the additional information I provided as if I was somehow implying it had a bearing on the Samaritan’s right or choice to use force. But in actuality at no time had I ever given cause for any of you to draw such a preposterous conclusion. I even went so far as to clarify as much in my first paragraph through the use of a checklist. Anything thereafter was simply additional information that you chose to take out of context.

  13. There is no way I would pull a firearm the presence of a cop. Before he stopped the car, the cop called his dispatcher and ordered backup, and, undoubtedly, 5 or 6 other cops will show up, shortly. With handguns, shotguns or M4 clones drawn. Then shoot you deader than a squirrel run over by a semi-truck—because they can’t tell the good guy from bad guy.

    I am not going to help someone, or his buddies, who are likely to kill me and get away with it. I can just about guarantee the cop wouldn’t come to my aid.

    1. Your first sentence is common sense. As to the rest, no one knows how long it would take for back up to arrive. Apparently backup was not there when the Samaritan saved the officer from further harm and the officer was able to be a witness for the Samaritan.
      I am a retired officer and believe the Samaritan did the right thing. For the officer’s sake I am happy you weren’t the first one on the scene. He would probably be seriously injured or dead because of your failure to act.

    2. business. Because we are lucky enough to live in a great nation of law and order, most people don’t know how they would react in a violent stressful situation! It’s because we have a police force to keep peace. I’ve been mistreated by police several times in the past. However, only a brain dead moron can’t grasp the concept of needing a police force! Otherwise all of us would be realizing what it’s like to fight for your life on a daily basis!
      I still would have came to his aid. Or anyone else’s for that matter. I believe after recently passing all concealed carry classes that there is no question whatsoever that the Samaritan was legally justified! He was stopping great bodily harm or death to another, and stopping the commission of a forcible felony! PERIOD!
      I would add that I like to think that in this case knowing the perp was alone with no other criminal accomplices lurking, I would have ,as one person suggested, hit him with the butt of my gun or similar improvised weapon. Or just flat out tackled him and let the officer do the shooting! I don’t personally see myself shooting, or even drawing unless I could see absolutely no other options. But either way only a selfish coward and a dreg of society wouldn’t help!

    3. Fake Niceto Alcala Zamora y Torre, If what you wrote is indeed how you feel, then you obviously need a LOT more training and education as to how to conduct yourself after an incident and with the arrival of the responding LEOs. The only officer who was present was requesting for the CCW holder to shoot the assailant. I’m betting that the officer on the ground would not have reacted as you imply after receiving help.

    4. Your comments are ridiculous. If you are ever in trouble, get one of your buddies to help, be sure NOT to call 911.

  14. Living in Lee County, what has not been told is the facts! This criminal attempted to hit the Deputy with his car while investigating a traffic accident on I-75. After a short chase the criminal attacked the Deputy all the while trying to gain control of his service weapon. The picture was taken by the Good Samaritan before intervening. The criminal, who had an active arrest warrant for failure to appear on a battery charge, was warned by the Good Samaritan to stop, all the while the Sheriff Deputy was yelling, shoot him, shoot him, shoot him. Thank God for that Good Samaritan, and the State of Florida for leading the way with our Stand Your Ground Laws.

    1. Why carry if you aren’t willing to help? The “I’ll protect my self and my family… F##k everybody else!” Attitude is what has created the social situation that we are in today.
      If you can help and don’t you are a coward, and just as guilty as the person committing the crime.

    2. Just because you are carrying are you trained to use it? Any normal person is going to be scared to death to shoot. Not being a coward, but in this political climate I am a white guy. If the perp is a minority I stand to,lose everything. Cowardice or intelligence?

  15. In this particular case, the shooter had no choice other than shoot or leave the scene. To just shoot the attackers leg or knee would leave him open for lawsuits from the criminal. Living with the death is common for us Vietnam veterans. I would have put one to the back of the criminals head toward the base. Then put all of your attention on the officer. Use his radio to get help and an ambulance. Say nothing. If you are placed under arrest, keep your mouth shut and ask for a lawyer. It’s them you were helping, let them provide the lawyer, Have him get it on the news and in the press to create sympathy and local awareness to the situation. Never, ever think twice about wasting a scumbag! If you catch a child molester, empty your magazine in him. Keep your mouth shut and let the system provide the lawyer and other necessary help.

  16. It’s going to come down to what the “Samaritan” says afterward. If the Samaritan can articulate why it was necessary to use deadly force, then he should be “fine”. That doesn’t mean there won’t be charges. There could be. It will come down to his articulation of his actions and why he did what he did. If he more or less says anything to the fact that maybe he could have done something differently, he’ll be toast. However, if he articulates that based on the fact of how strong a fighter the assailant was, as was witnessed by the assailant beating on the officer, he (the Samaritan) was in fear of his life and so there was no other alternative that would have prevented him from being beaten as well; then he should be able to get out of any legal trouble that may come down the pike.

    Remember, DA’s are elected officials that must do what the people want to get re-elected. Just because what you did was justified, doesn’t mean that charges aren’t going to be brought up against you. It’s your ability to articulate why what you did was justified. After the incident, let the investigating officers know you are willing to cooperate in any manner necessary but only after your lawyer arrives and then shut the heck up.

  17. The good Samaritan had every reason to intervene. The person ( criminal aka=scumbag ) deserved it for trying to hurt and/or kill the officer.

    1. @ Robert M Digregorio

      If the Perception of the Perp is a “Scumbag” and “Deserves It”, that “IT’S” Open Season on “Everybody”. Because “Nobody” thinks alike, and “YOU” might be perceived as a “Scumbag” to Somebody Else.

  18. The “good Samaritan” took a life when his own was not under threat. Since I was not at the scene, and don’t know how adept a shot this good guy is/was, hat I say is just more dross in the wind…HOWEVER, could he not have shot the culprit in legs, instead. Blowing out a kneecap or smashing a tibia with a round has gotta be extremely painful…to me preferable to taking a life. Yes, yes, I know the guy is covered legally. BUT, what’s he going to think 3, 10, 30 years from now about what he had done?

    1. You have had lots of time to consider how you would have reacted, or, rather, how you would have someone else react in that situation.
      Now stop seeing the incident in slow-time.
      Run the incident in your head in REAL time, in seconds and fractions of a single second.
      A single decision. Law man. Not Law man. Who do I help?
      Bang! Bang! Bang!
      Before you can think, (your much more intelligent hind-brain has taken over).
      Your up-bringing, your sense of good/bad, right/wrong has conditioned your response.
      The bad guy lost.
      End of.
      And good shooting, too.

    2. Nope. It’s Hollywood hype and nonsense to say “shoot them in the leg.”

      It is never taught to law enforcement, never taught to military, never taught in civilian courses. Tthere is a reason. It is stupid, will never happen under stress, will cost the wrong person their life.

    3. In this event, I agree, he was justified. It is possible that he could have tried to drag the assailant off of the officer. BUT, if the assailant had managed to get the officers firearm, he then could have shot and killed both, the officer and the good samaritan.

    4. Then the suspect would have sued his ass off and if he did this assault on a officer once he will more than likely do it again so I would probably do the same thing if I were put in that position.

    5. Dear Second Guessing Red Fotog, In Florida shooting is only justified when deadly force is justified. Firing a “warning shot” or saying “I only meant to would him!” will get you jail time!

      Shooting to wound only has a high rate of success on TV and in the movies. If you are close enough to guarantee taking out a kneecap, you are close enough to have your gun kicked out of your hand!

    6. The bad guy is kicking the officer and you are (with 20/20 hindsight) advising shooting the bad bad guy in the leg? Sounds like 0/20 hindsight to me!

  19. Your article invites comments on its contents. The fact that a commenter had background on the deputy and the perp have no bearing on that invite. That said, I applaud the savior in this case, but he was extremely lucky that the people who framed Florida’s law added “the harm to another person” to the law, because most states only put in “personal bodily harm”. Consequently, he should be applauded for his actions. In another state, he might be arrested no matter the circumstances.

    1. @ jim,

      Hey, in my first paragraph I clearly participated within the confines of the invite. It was only thereafter in subsequent paragraphs that I offered up the optional additional information for those that might be interested. Even then, it wasn’t as though it were arbitrarily unrelated.

      Nevertheless, before proceeding I even went so far as to be courteous by offering folks like you a trigger-warning when I wrote – “Now for behind the scenes story”. It is unfortunate I caused you such pain, hardship and trauma by including this additional information, but you can’t say you weren’t warned. You knew where to stop reading based on my “trigger-warning” and yet you still chose to proceed. That was at your own peril, so get over it.

  20. Based on what I have read and under the assumption that the description and explanation of the violent offense is true and correct. Yes.

  21. I read with interest the other comments referencing the incident in question. It is my understanding that the only thing that is in question is what the good Samaritan saw and did he act in a prudent manner. Remember, he observed a uniformed law enforcement office under attack and in immediate danger of serious injury or death. Action was justified. R/Jim

  22. Lawfully armed Samaritan: Check
    Felony in progress: Check
    Verbal warnings issued: Check
    Justifiable homicide: Check
    Potential death averted: Check
    Law Shield analysis correct: Check

    Now for behind the scenes story: The victim had no business being a deputy. He had previously been reprimanded and placed on probation for allowing a suspect to escape his patrol car. He has also previously injured himself on the job and been placed on workers comp twice.

    So now comes this latest event in which after a high-speed chase, this deputy still allows a subject enough time to exit their vehicle and charge up to his patrol car and throw a beating on him. To top it all off, this deputy was originally hired as a corrections officer and later “promoted” to a deputy sheriff. Need I say more?

    So now after another avoidable injury (the beating) this deputy will file yet another workers comp claim and go on more convalescence leave. Hopefully he will be placed on probation again for allowing a high-speed chase to end in his own beating. Maybe this time they will demote him back down to a corrections officer, but that is unlikely since he allows criminals to escape. I think it’s time to show him the door.

    Now on to the perpetrator – sadly this individual had recently become mentally ill and may have been showing early signs of schizophrenic delusions or confusion with Alzheimer’s. Prior to this he never had a record and was himself a 22 year veteran as a correctional officer. Last year he was charged for hitting a security guard while being seen as a patient in a hospital, and it’s been downhill for him ever since.

    Indeed this is a strange world we live in.

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