Pizza customer shoots other customer after “exchanging words,” cites “stand your ground” law

African countries have varying gun laws for guides who take guests out to see lions, elephants and other “big five” animals.

When I visited Botswana, the government did not want guides to carry guns because they believed it led them to take unnecessary risks in dangerous situations. I never experienced risky guide behavior in South Africa, where guides were required to carry guns, but perhaps I was lucky.

Looking at this new, and ridiculous, shooting at a pizza store in Florida, I can’t help but be reminded of the Botswana guide gun laws, warning that if we arm people, they might be tempted to do stupid things.

Do people carrying guns take unnecessary risks when they’re in situations like this? We’ve all been somewhere with an annoying customer or person who everyone wishes would go away. (Or in traffic, with an annoying driver in another car.)  Maybe the person in this case was a complete jerk and was bothering everyone, but should it have escalated so quickly into a gunfight?

Also, should “stand your ground” really be a justification for shooting some annoying guy at a pizza joint?

Tampa Bay Times:

concealed weapon

Concealed gun via Shutterstock.

Police said the incident unfolded about 4 p.m. inside the Little Caesars, 3463 Fourth St. N, after Randall White, 49, got mad about his service.

Another man in line, Michael Jock, 52, of St. Petersburg admonished White.

That “prompted them to exchange words and it became a shoving match,” said police spokesman Mike Puetz.

White raised a fist. Jock, a concealed-weapons permit holder, pulled out a .38 Taurus Ultralight Special Revolver.

He fired one round, hitting White in the lower torso. The men grappled and the gun fired again, hitting White in roughly the same spot, police said.

Perhaps the alleged shooter eventually did fear for his life, but again, did the gun give him the courage to ramp up the argument with the annoying customer? I’m struggling to see how the gun helped address this situation, and personally find it a flimsy excuse to reference the “stand your ground” law. From afar, it’s hard to differentiate this from someone wanting to be a tough guy, then getting in over his head.


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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  • stellaJester

    do you really think that a gun ban would stop a criminal? they don’t care if a gun ban was in place to begin with. Gun bans simply take away the ability to defend by law abiding citizens.

  • UncleBucky

    And the image of US SouthernIST people took a plunge, not only internationally, but in the better part of the Nation. I don’t go South of the Mason-Dixon “line” except to Miami to go somewhere else.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Terry-Fillow/577263865 Terry Fillow

    He did not stop the shooting, he only stopped the killer from leaving. He did not save anyone. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pearl_High_School_shooting

  • patb2009

    “He told officers he feared for his life. He mentioned that he thought White had an object in his hand, then backed off that when officers pressed him. Florida’s “stand your ground law” says people are not required to retreat before using deadly force.

    “We determined it did not reach a level where deadly force was required,” Puetz said.

    Police arrested Jock on charges of aggravated battery with a weapon and shooting within a building. He was released from jail on $20,000 bail.

    Jock told the Tampa Bay Times he was meeting with a lawyer today, but declined further comment.”

    Jock is going to have to retain an attorney, that’s 20 Grand, he gave a police statement, so he’s kind of locked in, and he’s likely to face a lawsuit. So is Pappa Johns and the landlord. By not banning guns from the premises, they were negligent.

  • patb2009

    Self defense usually requires force to be proportional. for two cranky 50 middleaged guys to
    punch either out would have been reasonable, but, shooting someone for wanting to smack you is likely to get you a stretch in jail

  • patb2009

    Louisiana lost a lot of business from asia after http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoshihiro_Hattori
    was shot.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    ‘Florida kills tourists’—that would be a good start.

  • Naja pallida

    Not to mention, that shooting could very easily have been worse, but the shooter was using a lever action 30-30 rifle. Considering that 7 people were shot, my guess is that particular model had a 7 round capacity and he didn’t stop to reload, he just tried to flee the scene. That is when he was stopped. If he had a semi-auto AR-style rifle, or a handgun with a large magazine, or anything that he could have quickly reloaded with, many more people could very easily have been shot. And again, Joel Myrick, the Asst. Principal was a trained Army Reservist. Not just some random jerk who happened to pass his 15 hour test to get a concealed carry permit.

  • Electroman

    The Principal stopped the shooter from escaping, which is a good thing. He didn’t stop the shooter from killing and injuring others – in fact, he didn’t stop the shooting at all. Of course, some people don’t want to admit that – but it’s the truth.

  • Litterbox

    So, no comments on the Pearl MS shooting that was stopped by another “ordinary joe” who held the killer at gunpoint until police arrived? I see you guys just covering your eyes and ears yelling “it didnt happen!, it didnt happen!”. Not even ONE person can say that it was a good thing the Asst. Principal armed himself and stopped it. I guess it would have been better for your political position had the killer continued his spree…. sad.

  • Moderator3

    Yes it was, but you might want to add /snark at the end, just in case.

  • cole3244

    you had better be careful, with talk like this your weekend pass might be pulled.

  • mml34

    I hope that my sarcasm was apparent.

  • Naja pallida

    So your firearms training as a deputy consisted of a 15 hour course, and 50 shots with a pistol, before you were allowed to go out into the field armed?

  • colleen2

    I assure you, I was quite sincere.

  • James D. Smith

    Most cops lose their senses, pee their pants and shoot bystanders or nothing. Taking a gun to the store is just asking for bad stuff to happen. Jim

  • James D. Smith

    I own guns, but I don’t take them shopping with me. That is the problem with most of the gun nuts. They are cowards, afraid to fight like a man. When I was growing up. if a problem came up we fought with our hands. I wasn’t allowed to go home unless the other guy looked worse off than me. That happened once, and I never let it happen again. I’m 60 yrs. old, and I don’t need a gun for protection, why do you cowards half my age need one? Maybe you better stay home and let your wife go get the pizza, crybaby.

  • mwestport

    Condemn? I would be happy if a reasonable armed person was there but situations like the ones described are unbelievably rare. Stop worrying about things that arn’t going to happen to most of the 300 million of us. We’re more likely to get cancer, fall into poverty’ or die in the car. Our gun laws are nuts. Irresponsible people can legally buy guns with great ease. We don’t even background check 40% of sales at the gun shows and private sales.

    I’m all for the 2 amendment but regulated . Background check everybody, Limit amount of guns a person can buy, get rid of high capacity, and make people renew every 2 years.If you want something high powered to shoot then the guns don’t leave the shooting range, and happy hunting with sports guns.

  • Dakotahgeo

    Litterbox– how appropo! Cheesch!!

  • Litterbox

    First and foremost, a little full disclosure, Im a Deputy with the same department as the officer in the article and know her well. Whether the suspect was shot by an off duty Deputy or someone with a concealed carry permit is completely irrelevant. The important thing is that another armed person stopped the problem, which is the entire point of others being armed when these things happen. You can discount this event all you want but nothing changes the fact that the shooter was stopped. If you just have to have another example of a “citizen” carrying a gun and stopping the problem, take a look at the Pearl MS school shooting which was stopped by the Asst. Principal who retrieved his .45 from his car and held the shooter at gunpoint until police arrived.

  • RepubAnon

    This reminds me of the scene in “Get Shorty” when the mob guy has his gun out when another crook flashes a gun in his waistband. The mob guy says “You must be one of those quick draw artists.” The other crook says something snide, and the mob guy uses the gun in his hand to shoot the guy with his gun in his waistband dead.

    If someone is “waving a gun around” when you try and draw your weapon – the other guy is probably going to get off the first shot. If the “evil intent” person is planning a mass killing, they’ll likely line everyone up against the wall and search them. They’ll take your weapon, and be even better armed.

    On the other hand, reasoning with the crazy guy is less likely to make the guy start shooting.

    Of course, a more likely scenario is that if you have a gun and the other person has a gun, things will escalate because you’ll both feel empowered. Harsh words turn to blows, blows turn to shots, people are injured and/or killed. Depending on the number of shots fired and the accuracy of the shooting, lots of people may be injured. Had neither of you been packing heat, a fist fight might have occurred – which the police would have broken up. Unlikely anyone would have died – if nobody was armed.

    Remember the police in New York City that confronted the armed guy who had just murdered his boss? Trained police shot and killed the bad guy – but lots of bullet fragments injured passers-by.

  • Litterbox

    Why not answer the question instead of ad hominem? You guys love to condemn those that have taken on the personal responsibility of providing for their own self defense, but I never hear what someone against that sort of thing would do in a situation like whats described. So, what would you do if you and your family were out at a restaurant and an armed man came in with intent to maybe shoot others (see the Luby’s massacre from 1991). Run? Call 911? What?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    you would

  • TheOriginalLiz

    I”d bet more money on you wetting yourself than I would on you “handling the situation”.

  • TheOriginalLiz

    But the gunnuts all play shoot-em-up video games and watch tv, so they must know how to handle themselves in a dangerous situation. It’s “Sarah Palin reasoning” at it’s finest.

  • FLL

    The Republicans are the very people who pushed this idiotic “stand your ground” law here in Florida. Before the 2012 election, Republicans had a “super majority” (two-thirds majority) in both houses of the Florida state legislature. In the 2012 election, thanks to the efforts of many dedicated people in Florida, the Republicans have lost their super majority in both houses of the Florida state legislature. In 2014, there is a good chance that, in addition to throwing Rick Scott out of office, Florida voters will further erode the Republican hold on the state legislature. It would REALLY be appreciated if commenters throughout the Internet would support our efforts in Florida to make the state legislature more sane.

    Let me put it this way. The “Florid-Duh” moniker is more suitable for people throughout the country who try to give the national Republican Party a helping hand in order to kiss up to their Tea Party relatives (who always throw their unacceptable liberal ass out of their house during the holiday season in any case). Happy holidays from Fort Lauderdale.

  • colleen2

    “What would you do?”

    Avoid being around guys like you.

  • http://fighttherightwingnuts.blogspot.com/ mike31c

    Flori-Duh, you make news again. Honestly, it’s the gun nuts and ignorant gun owners are the heart of the problem!

  • Naja pallida

    If you walk around always expecting trouble, you can’t be too surprised when you find it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/igor.darkman.94 Igor Darkman

    If only the other guy had been carrying pepperoni this could have been avoided.

  • nicho

    Yeah — that doesn’t really help his victims though.

  • nicho

    People who are armed in general have a 4.2 times greater chance of being shot than an unarmed person. For those in a self-defense situation, the chances of being shot are even higher.

  • AdmNaismith

    Even off-duty cop means more than random gun permit holder. Just because you have a carry permit doesn’t mean you know how to scope out a dangerous situation or how to handle yourself under duress.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001426939279 Carl Kerstann

    Yes if someone wandered into a pizza parlor with a weapon and “evil intent” I would be prepared, I always am. Are you? What would you do? What would you do if someone walked into a diner while you’re having lunch and started waving a gun around and making threats? Would try to reason with them? I’d rather face evil armed than unarmed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001426939279 Carl Kerstann

    http://marquettetribune.org/2012/02/14/news/concealed-carry-prevents-more-crime-than-it-creates-study-says/
    There are always going to be people that abuse their rights, that’s what the justice system is for. He can claim stand your ground, that doesn’t mean he’s correct. This guy will end up in prison where he belongs.

  • MyrddinWilt

    The stupid just keeps on piling up.

    If Romney had been elected he had promised to sign the bill that would allow anyone with a concealed carry permit in one state to carry in every other. Screw “states rights”, those only count when its not about inflicting bigotry.

    In wingnuttia states only have to recognize the federal government if its a wingnut policy. And you can bet that Scalia and his pet would both find excuses in ‘original intent’ to explain why.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joyce-Harmon/100000577167249 Joyce Harmon

    The off-duty cop was not just a random mall shopper; she was moonlighting as a security guard. This was her job, not just ‘armed chance bystander saves the day’. But it doesn’t sound as good to say the shooting was foiled by a security guard, so the gunnies emphasize the ‘off-duty cop’ part.

  • Naja pallida
  • mml34

    On a positive note, if a mentally deranged man with an assault rifle had wandered into the pizza parlor with evil intent, I’m sure that these citizen soldiers would have been ready to neutralize him or, in the words of representative louie gohmert, “take his head off.”

  • UncleBucky

    Aha, I just “got” your part 2. “Visit Florida and Lose Your Life to Stand Your Ground!”

    Brilliant. And repeat it over and over and over again!

  • UncleBucky

    Every whacky incident like this should be daylighted, spread like confetti and repeated OVER AND OVER AND OVER again!

  • Vejo

    One way to get them to reconsider these dangerous laws… Broadcast stories like these all over Europe and the Northeast to inform potential tourists that part of a Florida vacation involves the risk of taking a bullet while waiting for a slice of pizza…

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