Aggravated robbery caught on video…what would you do?

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The attached video shows a local man getting absolutely pummeled inside Lucky’s Convenience store in Lufkin on August 5, 2017.

After reading several ignorant comments online about this attack, I thought it would be informative if we used this incident as a defensive lesson.

In this case of aggregated robbery the suspect was watching intently as the victim was obliviously going through his wallet while in line for the checkout. Now don’t take any of the following in the wrong way, I’m not blaming the victim at all.  The suspect is 100% to blame in this entire incident, however we are going to dissect it and see what we can do to safeguard ourselves from the same.

As clichéd as the phrase “situational awareness” has become in self-defense circles it would have definitely helped here.  If you see a questionable character staring you down while you have cash out, it might be a good idea to put some distance between you and he.

After the thug grabs the victim’s $35 in cash, the victim stood up for himself and blocked the thug’s exit, to which he was met with a series of strikes to the head.  Here is the problem I have with most of the online comments I saw with this video:  Every bubba seemed to say: “Well this is why I carry a gun, that guy would be full of holes”.  A firearm is a great defensive tool. And while deadly force is justifiable in preventing robbery do you really think a jury would find you innocent for shooting a man just because he snatched $35 from you?  The only time I see an opportunity to draw it before the attack happened.  After it started the victim was likely seeing stars and would have been at a great disadvantage to draw and fire.

Also, while a single punch is possible to cause great bodily harm, it could just be a single punch and not qualify as a serious injury.  Of course in this incident it would become much more than a single punch and I’d argue that a bystander shooting the attacker would be completely justified after witnessing the suspect relentlessly attacking the victim.  But as the victim you would be at a great disadvantage being pinned up against the wall absorbing punches and kicks.

Empty hand defensive training could have helped, but the suspect seemed intent and strong.  Still the best defensive tool is between your ears: identifying a threat early, avoiding it, choosing your battles, and knowing when to step out of the way might be the best way to keep safe.

Finally, if you witness an attack like this, step in and help.  If one of the clerks would have just grabbed a fire extinguisher and started spraying the thug or even threw it at him perhaps it would have saved the victim from a couple of kicks.  And for those times when there is a gray area of deadly force, less lethal tools such as a TASER are very handy.

It’s highly unfortunate what happened to Richard Archer in this case.  The suspect, Andrea Franks-Vanzandt, was apprehended within 10 minutes is being held on a $40,000 bond and hopefully justice will be served.

Dustin Ellermann

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