MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) - Bebos market has become an attractive target for criminals. Surveillance cameras captured a man stealing money from the register January 2010. The following year, witnesses reported a man in a ski mask had kicked in the door as an employee was locking up for the night.
Tuesday night, the market was hit again, this time by a gunman demanding money from register. Something was different, however, about the most recent incident. It came from the email report from Mobile Police.
"A customer fired a shot at the suspect," Cpl. Chris Levy wrote.
Given the recent debate over gun control in Washington, the customers actions prompted questions about self-defense and guns in public places.
"In southwest Alabama and your more conservative gun carrying states, self defense is a relatively strong defense," attorney Dennis Knizley told Local 15 News Reporter Derrick Rose. He said self-defense cases are generally easy to defend.
"If you have a lawful right to be in whatever place it may be, public or private, you have no duty to retreat; you can use whatever force you feel necessary, it's got to be reasonable."
Knizley said the word reasonable is critical. Levy's report also noted the customer fired the shot "while the subject was running from the store."
"Once the threat of harm is gone, if it's no longer reasonable to use that deadly force, you can't do it," Knizley said.
The shot from the customer missed. Fortunately for that person, Levy said by phone, the bullet did not hit anyone. That reason, in part, is why the customer will not face any charges, he said.
Had the customer hit a bystander, Knizley said, a self-defense claim would have been harder to defend in court. "If you're using physical deadly force to defend yourself or another against the aggressor, it's one thing, but if the use of that deadly force is used improperly and harmed someone else, that's a totally different set of facts."
The gunman who robbed the store was described as 5'10'' 170-180 lbs, wearing a black hoodie pulled over his head and face, black pants and black shoes. No one has been identified as a suspect in robbery.
Anyone with information that can help solve the investigation is asked to call Mobile Police.