Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Roy Bedard is a karate champion and reserve police officer who calls himself a "use of force expert." Bedard, who runs a security consulting company in Tallahassee called RRB Systems International, said most business owners "tend to carry weapons responsibly." But he believes more should be done to educate gun owners on when � not just how � to use their weapons. "Deadly force isn't something you plan for," Bedard said. "Suddenly you're there and the question is, 'Do I shoot or don't I shoot?' There is no greater decision a person will make than to take another person's life." A pair of recent incidents in Lee County involving guns have raised that issue.

* On May 29, off-duty security guard Donald Biggs pulled his pistol and began firing shots in the parking lot of a Fort Myers Publix store to try to stop a fleeing shoplifting suspect. No one was hurt by the gunfire.

* On June 3, a clerk at Weaver's Corner Pharmacy in North Fort Myers pulled a pistol and shot an armed, masked man who was trying to rob the pharmacy of prescription drugs. Convicted felon James Dan Maroney, 36, was arrested Thursday and has been charged with attempted armed robbery.

Don Coate, who owns Coate-of-Arms firearms store in North Fort Myers, believes the pharmacy worker should be congratulated. "God bless him," Coate said. "Amen. More power to him. He was a store owner who was defending his property and himself. I'm happy for that guy." But Coate said he's not so sure about the actions of Biggs, who tried to shoot out the tires of a truck being driven erratically by suspected shoplifter Matthew Depalma.

Bobby Blanchard of Fort Myers witnessed the incident. "I don't think he needed to be shooting that gun off in that parking lot," said Blanchard, who had just come out of the store when Biggs began shoot. "To me, that's considered a petty theft," Blanchard said. "A petty theft does not require when somebody is getting away to shoot at their tires. It was just scary, the whole thing."

Biggs said he fired his 9 mm handgun at the suspect's tires after the man hit a parked car, ran over a store employee's foot and was turning in circles with another employee hanging out of the vehicle. The state attorney's office is reviewing both incidents to see if any crimes were committed by the shooters, who each had concealed weapons permits.


According to the Florida Department of Corrections, violent crimes involving guns have been on the decline in the state for years � dropping from 44,885 in 1992 to 26,346 in 2002, the latest year for which statistics are available. But many business owners still keep weapons at the ready.

At the D & D convenience store off Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Dunbar, store manager Tom Goodrich sometimes has a pistol on hand. But owner Imad Awad, 40, believes he does more to ward off crime by having a top-notch security system and extra people minding the store. "The counter is only two steps from the door," Awad said. "If a person's going to come and rob the store, they're going to walk in with a gun in their hand. Whether I have a gun or 20 guns in here you can't do anything with it."

Corporations such as 7-Eleven and Pizza Hut forbid their clerks and delivery drivers to carry weapons. According to 7-Eleven spokeswoman Margaret Chabris, the company has cut its holdup rate by 68 percent since 1976 simply by keeping most of the money in "time-delay" safes that dispense cash slowly. "Robbers steal for cash," said a 7-Eleven study on the issue. "If stores reduce their cash availability and publicize it, they can deter robberies."

More here

Detroit burglar cops it: "A suspected burglar was shot and killed by a Romulus homeowner early Friday morning. Investigators say a 35-year old man, allegedly armed with a 9 millimeter automatic handgun, was trying to break into a home on Oakbrook Street, south of Metro Airport when he was shot. Police say the homeowner is cooperating with the investigation. Prosecutors will determine if he'll face charges. Investigators are also trying to find out if a second suspect was involved".

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