Florida’s “stand your ground” law gives wide latitude to those who defend themselves using deadly force when they believe that they are in imminent danger. But it is not a license to kill.
It is entirely possible to find yourself arrested on weapons charges (or worse) after attempting to “stand your ground.”
That’s what one Florida man discovered after he was arrested for manslaughter when he shot a man who shoved him during an altercation outside of a convenience store in Clearwater back in July.
The shooter, 48, and his victim, a 28-year-old father, got into a confrontation after the older man challenged the victim’s girlfriend’s use of a handicapped parking space while the victim was inside of the store.
Their conflict escalated and was captured on the store’s surveillance tape. At one point, the victim appeared to shove the shooter. He responded by opening fire with his .40-caliber Glock, fatally wounding the victim.
The autopsy revealed that the bullet’s trajectory was upward. This indicates that the victim was turning from the shooter and backing away when the gun was fired. The bullet entered the victim’s chest below his left nipple. It tore through both the heart and lungs before lodging in the armpit.
The shooter was arrested in August for manslaughter. The state attorney for Pinellas County told a media outlet why he elected not to pursue murder charges.
“I went through it all and made the legal decision that that is the charge that we could prove,” he said. He made the decision after reviewing surveillance footage and interviewing witnesses.
If you find yourself brought up on charges after a “stand your ground” confrontation, you will need to learn all that you can about the law in order to mount a credible defense to the charges.