Authorities in Virginia said no charges will be brought against a customer with a concealed carry permit who shot two armed suspects in a 7-Eleven robbery, leaving one gravely wounded and the other dead.
A spokesperson for Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney Colin Stolle told WAVY that the customer, whose name has not been released, will not be charged.
The man was in the 7-Eleven convenience store on South Newtown Road in Virginia Beach at about 2 a.m. July 25 when two armed men came in and demanded money, according to The Virginian-Pilot. A witness cited in the report said the man was standing in the back of the store when he fired at the suspects.
“Nobody’s gonna point a gun at me and get away with it,” the man said, according to a witness cited by The Virginian-Pilot.
Michael Moore III, 18, died from a gunshot wound, said Virginia Beach Police Public Affairs Officer Linda Khuehn.
Ronald Lee Brookins, 18, suffered a gunshot to the neck, The Virginian-Pilot reported, and appeared at his arraignment sitting in a wheelchair.
Khuehn said Brookins has been charged with two counts of Use of a Firearm in the Commission of a Felony, two counts of Conspiracy to Commit a Felony, Abduction and Wearing a Mask in Public.
She added that a third suspect, 19-year-old Deric Breon Simmons, was taken into custody outside the 7-Eleven. Simmons has been charged with two counts of Robbery and two counts of Use of a Firearm in the Commission of a Felony.
According to WTKR-TV, police said the same suspects may be linked to three other 7-Eleven robberies that took place overnight.
Brookins and Simmons were being held in the Virginia Beach Correctional Center without bond.
‘Concealed Carry Once Again Saved Lives’
A customer who was in the store on the day of the incident, Barrie Engel, launched a Facebook fundraiser for him, expressing appreciation for “the heroic actions of a legally carrying customer.”
“I was a witness to a robbery where two people were shot, one fatally,” Engel wrote. “Thanks to the heroic actions of a legally carrying customer, no innocent people were hurt. This HERO is now surly [sic] faced with numerous expenses (attorney fees, missed work, etc.) and I would like to ease the burden of these expenses after what he has selflessly done for me.”
WTKR-TV posted the story on Facebook, where it sparked numerous reactions.
“Glad SOMEBODY was there to save the lives if those innocent bystanders and employees. This person is a hero, in my opinion,” one person wrote.
“Concealed carry once again saved lives. I’m just glad the news is actually reporting on this. God bless the hero that saved the workers and customers’ lives,” someone else wrote.
“These sound like the same thugs that robbed the CVS, and they attacked my son, who was a customer at the time. Thanks to the brave customer who saved the day,” another commenter said.
“So glad there was an armed person there, should be given an award! If more armed and ready to defend, not nearly as many robberies,” one person wrote.
“Avid 2A supporter and kudos to the guy who stopped the would-be robbers but for me personally, I don’t think I’d take a life for someone robbing a store… that money is insured and can be replaced but again kudos to the citizen with the legal gun.”
“Typical FUDD statement,” someone replied. “Robbers were pointing a gun at an unarmed person, and you wouldn’t take them out? Are you a mind reader? Do you think these thugs have any regard for people’s lives?”
Homeowner Armed with AR-15 Kills 2 Home Invaders
The incident follows the case of a Florida homeowner who used an AR-15 to shoot and kill two alleged home intruders, one of whom was wearing a “Friday the 13th” horror movie mask.
The Ocala Star-Banner reported that a total of four suspects allegedly targeted the homeowner’s Marion County residence on Wednesday, July 10, initially seeking to gain entry by pretending to have car trouble and asking for help. The homeowner, identified by WCJB only as a war veteran, said he was unable to help and closed the door.
The suspects allegedly later broke into the home and immediately exchanged fire with the homeowner, who had armed himself with an AR-15 rifle. The gunfight left two suspects dead and the homeowner suffering from gunshot wounds.
Deputies cited by Click Orlando said that when investigators arrived on the scene, one of the alleged intruders, identified as 21-year-old Keith Jackson Jr., was dead. He was reportedly wearing a Jason Voorhees mask from the movie “Friday the 13th” and had a semiautomatic pistol with the slide locked back, suggesting an entirely spent magazine. WCJB identified the second deceased suspect as 22-year-old Nigel Doyle.
The homeowner is reportedly in stable condition in the intensive care unit.
The Ocala Star-Banner reported that investigators arrested the other two suspects, 19-year-old Robert John Hamilton, and 22-year-old Seth Adam Rodriguez, near the scene. Rodriguez was arrested on charges of murder and home invasion robbery with a firearm, it was reported. Hamilton faces charges of home invasion robbery with a firearm.
Hamilton and Rodriguez informed detectives that all four suspects went to the victim’s home with the intention of robbing him of marijuana and guns, WCJB reported.
They were being held at the Marion County Jail without bond.
The investigation continues.
The Moral Right to Self-Defense
David Kopel, an Adjunct Scholar at the Cato Institute and author of the book “The Morality of Self-Defense and Military Action: The Judeo-Christian Perspective,” recently wrote an op-ed for the Epoch Times on the moral right to self-defense.
In his article, Kopel argues that the right to bear arms should be protected. He cites Cicero, the great Roman lawyer, and orator of the first century B.C., in support of the case that self-defense against criminals is an application of the natural “instinct of self-preservation.” So “if our life be in danger from plots, or from open violence, or from the weapons of robbers or enemies, every means of securing our safety is honorable,” Kopel writes, citing Cicero.
Kopel also cites a study of defensive arms use, authored by professors Jongyeon Tark and Gary Kleck, who found that “[a] variety of mostly forceful tactics, including resistance with a gun, appeared to have the strongest effects in reducing the risk of injury.” Thus, “the best available evidence indicates that victim resistance to crimes is generally wise.” Further, “armed and other forceful resistance does not appear to increase the victim’s risk of injury.”
While acknowledging different perspectives on gun control, he argues that fundamentally, policies undercutting the right to bear arms are best construed as a human rights violation.
“The sanctity of the home against violent and unexpected invasion is a widely expressed fundamental human right all over the world,” Kopel writes. “Accordingly, the self-defense right and its auxiliary right to arms are at their apex in the home. Laws that impede home defense are especially egregious violations of human rights.”