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Shot For Doing What?

March 09, 20245 min read

Look, when you gotta go, you gotta go.

How many times did you find yourself desperately having to pee, but without an official bathroom readily available? What did you do?

You stopped the car, found a tree, ducked into an alley, looked for a discreet spot in a bush or behind a dumpster, and let it rip. Am I right?

You may have been yelled at by a grandma from a window or had a stray dog sniff your leg while you relieve yourself. But getting shot at?

Well, that’s what happened to Garrett Hughes in Monroe County, Florida. He was drinking at a bar in a strip mall. He then left, took off his shirt, and made his way into the alley behind the mall.

He picked a quiet spot and began to urinate against the wall.

Unbeknownst to Garrett, the mall owner saw him stagger out of the bar and followed him. When he saw what he was doing, he confronted Garrett and told him to go somewhere else.

When Garrett, who appeared to be drunk, didn’t comply, the mall owner reached for his concealed firearm and raised his arm, aiming at Garrett.

A confrontation took place and Garrett was shot in the stomach and collapsed.

garrett hughes monroe county shooting victim

He didn’t make it. He was 21 years old.

The mall owner called 911 and said he shot someone. He’s claiming self-defense and stand your ground and is currently held without bail on a charge of second-degree murder.

You can’t make this stuff up often enough.

Do you think the mall owner acted in self-defense?

Was his use of deadly force justified and reasonable? Do you think this qualifies as a stand your ground case?

Let’s break this down. Florida concealed carry law states that we may use or threaten to use deadly force in self-defense if one of the three conditions are present.

Number one: The reasonable belief of imminent death.

Imminent death means you will die within seconds if you don’t use deadly force to defend yourself.

Number two: The reasonable belief of great bodily harm.

Great bodily harm doesn’t mean a black eye, scratches, or a broken rib. These are not “great” nor deadly. Great in this context refers to broken limbs, a fractured skull, or injuries that may potentially lead to permanent disability or death.

And number three: To stop a forcible felony in progress.

Not every felony is a forcible felony. There is a specific list of felonies that fall into this category. If you want to know which ones, you can watch my video on forcible felonies.

If you use deadly force to stop the commission of one of these felonies, make sure you know what these felonies are before you use deadly force.

Keep in mind that these actions don’t have to be perpetrated only against you in order for you to legally use deadly force. If you reasonably believe any of the three criteria above are perpetrated on another person around you, you may use deadly force in the same capacity.

However, you better be 100 percent sure you know what’s going on before you presume to save the day, or you could end up making things worse for all involved and find yourself in a heap of legal trouble.

So, based on the limited information we have, does this scenario qualify for the mall owner?

In my opinion, not in a million years.

Garrett was unarmed. He was minding his own business. Literally. He posed no threat of imminent death or great bodily harm.

And last I heard, urinating against a building is not a forcible felony.

So, in my opinion, this is not a case of self-defense.

How about stand your ground?

The stand your ground law requires that the use of force in self-defense, deadly or otherwise, must be justified and reasonable, and we must be in a place that we have a right to be and not committing a crime.

Does this scenario qualify?

We are already of the opinion that the use of force by the mall owner wasn’t justified or reasonable. But was the mall owner in a place he had a right to be? Yes, he owns the mall.

Was he committing a crime? On the surface, it might not appear at first.

However, since he appears to be the aggressor harassing and threatening Garrett without provocation, he is, in my opinion, committing a crime.

A crime that ended up in the death of an innocent.

Furthermore, he exited the same bar and was carrying his firearm inside the bar. That in itself is illegal.

Therefore, his claim of a stand, your ground defense is now in void, In my opinion. It is now up to a jury to decide.

The mall owner had a Florida concealed carry permit. The Florida concealed carry course covers the self-defense and stand your ground statutes among other things. But like most people who get the Florida Concealed Carry Permit, he didn’t think it important enough to regularly review these laws and study the real-life application.

If found guilty, he’ll have plenty of time to review the laws.

Unfortunately, if he ever makes it out, he’ll no longer have the right to own and carry a firearm. At least, not in Florida. Being a gun owner comes with great responsibility. Carrying a firearm in public multiplies it exponentially.

Carrying a firearm does not make us invincible. It’s not supposed to inflate our ego. It’s supposed to keep it in check.

We are not free to get annoyed at everything and everyone the same way we used to when we didn’t carry a gun. We cannot react to every situation the same way.

In fact, we ought to walk away and avoid confrontation at all costs.

So, let’s keep it simple. Unless we, or someone around us, are facing imminent death, great bodily harm, or a forcible felony in progress, we ought to remove ourselves from a bad situation best we can, and get back to our loved ones, safe and sound.

Train hard, often, and safely, and I’ll see you at the range.

self defensestand your groundfloridaflorida concealed carry lawflorida concealed carry permitfirearms trainingfirearmsgunsgarrett hughes
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Joe Yagar

Joe Yagar is a NRA Certified Instructor in the Bradenton-Sarasota area.

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