DA: Store owner justified in shooting robbers - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

DA: Store owner justified in shooting robbers

By Christian Jennings - bio | email

BAINBRIDGE,  GA (WALB) – The District Attorney says a Bainbridge store owner who shot at a couple of robbers as they ran out of his store, was justified.

We showed you the dramatic surveillance video yesterday. Since then the Sheriff's office has gotten a few tips and a reward created to catch the robbers is growing. But the big question raised from the video is when is it OK to shoot someone?

So far this year, 330 people have obtained gun permits in Decatur County. That's almost twice as many as normal. With more business owners packing heat and robberies on a startling rise, many people are wondering when they can legally use those guns to protect themselves.

After two men held a gun to Thomas Knight's head, pointed the barrel at his daughter, then stole his money he fought back with gunfire.

"My daughter is what was on my mind. I didn't want anything to happen in the store so I got them outside so I could take care of business out there," said Knight, owner of Port One Liquors.

And that's what he did.

"I waited until I silhouetted them against that transformer over there. The 2nd shot he fell down."

That's where the robber dropped his gun but it's unclear as to whether Wright actually hit him.

"That night we checked all the area hospitals and are continuing to check and we haven't had any reports," said Sheriff Wiley Griffin.

But the fact that Wright shot at all when the robbers were already out of his store and running away, raises the question, was he in within his rights?

"It appears by all means that the clerk was justified by the use of deadly force," said Mulholland.

In the video we hear the robbers threaten him verbally and physically threaten him and his daughter with a weapon. District Attorney Joe Mulholland believes he did what a reasonable person would do.

"We're going to air on the side of the victims of the robbery. Title 16 of the Georgia code makes it clear that you have a right to protect your property, your person, and a third person," said Mulholland.

And it didn't take long to find someone else who defends Knight's actions too.

"Yes ma'am, I just wish he'd had more bullets," said The Junior Mall owner Don Griffin.

A bold statement, but proof that business owners in this town aren't willing to stand by and let crime take over.

Yesterday we told you about the Decatur County Citizens Against Crime, a group collecting reward money to try to end this dangerous string of robberies. That reward fund continues to grow. It's up to nearly $7,000 and they believe they'll easily reach $10,000. People are just eager to see an end to all of this.

If you have any information on the rash of robberies or want to contribute to the Reward fund call the Sheriff's Office at 229-248-3044.

Mail Reward Contributions to:

P.O. Box 877,  Bainbridge, GA

Unsolved Armed Robberies:

7-9-09 Quick Buys 97S

9-7-09 Climax Quick Buys #116

9-12-09 Junior Mall

10-3-09 Kangaroo

10-8-09 Winery

11-3-09 Family Dollar

11-5-09 Quick Buys - Whigham Dairy Rd

11-9-09 Zip Trip

11-21-09 Hardee's

12-5-09 Los Lomas

12-10-09 Port One Liquors

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