A suspected bank robber was shot in the face by a former police officer who chased him in his car. The defendant was seen running from a St. Johns County bank and the former officer, who was in the drive-thru lane, started chasing him in his car, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. When the former officer caught up with the suspect, the two struggled in a parking lot, the newspaper reported. A witness said the bank robbery suspect reached for a gun and that’s when the former officer pulled his own gun and shot the suspected robber in the face, the newspaper reported. The suspected robber kept running to where he had parked his car and eventually surrendered to a St. Johns County police officer who had his gun drawn.
Police said they found a large amount of money in the suspect’s possession, along with a gun and a note demanding money that police are inferring was used during the robbery, the newspaper reported. Charges had not yet been filed, but the man is likely facing armed robbery charges, first-degree felonies that are punishable by up to life in prison. He would also likely face other charges, such as fleeing and eluding a police officer, but the armed robbery charge is by far the most serious. And what about the former police officer who shot the man in the face? He is unlikely to face any charges.
According to Florida law, if a person is in fear for his or her life, the person can respond with deadly force. In this St. Johns County Gun Crimes Case, the two appeared to be engaged in what amounted to a wrestling match when the robbery suspect is said to have reached for a gun. At that point, the other man made a decision his life was in danger and he pulled out his weapon and fired. It could be argued that the former officer should not have even attempted to capture the bank robbery suspect and that he put himself in that situation by following the suspect and trying to apprehend a man who had just robbed a bank. While police don’t recommend that anyone do such a thing, it’s unlikely they would recommend the person be charged with a crime that would likely come with a potential punishment of decades behind bars. Depending on the robbery suspect’s injuries, the former officer’s actions could open him up to a potential civil lawsuit down the road, but criminal charges are not likely in this St. Johns County Robbery Case.