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When it comes to carrying for self-defense, good training, tactics, practice and the use of common sense go a long way to make a person harder to victimize and/or kill. Then there’s the case of the St. Paul, Minnesota good Samaritan with a carry permit who was shot and killed with his own gun after intervening in a liquor store shoplifting attempt.

It happened on December 27th when Kenneth Davis Jr. interceded to try to help the store stop a man trying to shoplift a bottle of vodka.

Davis brandished his gun after the shoplifter claimed to have a gun in his backpack. The shoplifter, Trinis Edwards, then left the store.

But minutes later, however, when Davis left the store, Edwards confronted him in the parking lot. The shoplifter sprayed Davis with pepper spray and then the two men scuffled.  Davis tried to produce his handgun from his jacket and failed.

Davis lost control of his handgun and it fell to the ground. Edwards came up with it and shot Davis to death.

KMSP has the story:

The suspect, identified on Monday as 49-year-old Trinis Derrell Edwards, is charged with murder for the deadly shooting at Big Discount Liquor on December 27.

Employees at the liquor store on Rice Street said Edwards had been in the store before when he was short of money. On the date in question, workers said Edwards had shown up and gotten into an argument with another customer, the victim, Kenneth Davis Jr.

Workers told police that Davis was protective of the store. Davis accused Edwards of concealing a bottle of vodka and took the bottle from him and demanded Edwards leave the store.

According to the charges, Edwards said he had a gun and started digging through his backpack. But, as it turned out, Davis was carrying a weapon himself, telling the victim that he had a “license” and “displayed” the weapon.

Police say surveillance video showed the two men move out to the parking lot where they started fighting. The charges state:

“Edwards and [Davis] eventually went to the sidewalk outside the store. Edwards appeared to threaten [Davis] with pepper spray, and the two men got into a heated exchange. Edwards grabbed [Davis’] shoulders. KD tried to remove his handgun from his jacket while wrestling with Edwards. [Davis’] handgun fell to the ground. When KD reached to retrieve the gun, Edwards pushed [Davis] away from the gun into the parking lot.”

With the gun on the ground. Edwards was able to pick it up and shoot Davis twice, the charges state.

A good skill set and good tactics, coupled with the judicious use of common sense will help keep you alive and well. Getting involved in an altercation over a bottle of booze — particularly one that belongs to someone else — is a needless risk.

Thinking that you’re carrying a magic talisman in your coat pocket and that you’ll rise to the occasion in a deadly force encounter instead of defaulting to your level of training is fool’s play.

The only silver lining here is that some folks may benefit from the hard lessons gleaned from Mr. Davis’ death. Not the least of which is that interjecting yourself and your firearm in non-life threatening situations is a recipe for disaster.

Also, parking lots are one of the three places you’re most likely to face victimization in your everyday life. Did Mr. Davis think that the shoplifter was just going to go away, no longer butthurt after Davis brandished his gun and told the sticky-fingered thief to leave?

I might have reluctantly drawn down on a shoplifter threatening to present a firearm as well. After all, I don’t want to find myself or my family members serving as a backstop for errant rounds from a bad guy. If that had happened, cops would have been called to take a report. After all, the first person to dial 9-1-1 is often presumed the victim.

At the same time, I don’t know any savvy CCW holders who would step into the role of unpaid armed store security just because it’s a righteous and noble thing to do. The CCW holder would be risking a lot, including liability and death and just to keep some knucklehead from stealing a bottle of Popov.

Sadly, Mr. Davis made a range of mistakes that fateful day and paid the ultimate price.  Let’s hope his death serves to save the lives of others who might find themselves in a similar situation.

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