Investigators on the scene of Monday’s night shooting at the Twin Oak Apartments say it appears justifiable but ultimately 18 members of a grand jury will decide.
“After all the facts are gathered and we understand all the circumstances in which the shooting occurred, we will present that to the District Attorney’s office,” said Mobile Police Chief James Barber.
District Attorney Ashley Rich says she is not obligated to present the case to a grand jury.
“We make a decision based on the circumstances whether it’s presented to a grand jury or not,” she said. “This case will certainly be presented to a grand jury.”
Barber says it’s not certain whether the robbery victim was authorized to carry the pistol used to kill the robber, but says that has no bearing on his use of deadly force.
“The conceal/carry permit only has to do with carrying the pistol on your person,” Barber said. “Once deadly force is authorized, means is actually mute.”
Barber says the City has about a half dozen cases of justifiable homicide a year. He adds that cases like the shooting at Twin Oaks Apartments can have impact on the number of armed robberies.
“I think it does have a deterrent effect when people understand that some citizens are armed and can lawfully possess a weapon and use it under certain circumstances.”
“We certainly don’t want to promote vigilante justice, but you are allowed to defend yourself,” she said.
Rich adds, however, that people need to think long and hard about carrying a weapon, and using it if threatened.
“If you find yourself in a situation like this, and you felt that you had to use deadly force to defend yourself, you’ve killed someone, whether it’s justified or not, and that’s something you’ll have to live with the rest of your life.”
Barber says it could take several weeks before the case is presented to the District Attorney. Rich says it could take up to two weeks from that point to get the case presented to a grand jury.