Antione Devone Cooper, 26, entered the Waffle House on North Beckley Avenue around 2:30 a.m. on July 7, armed with a loaded AK-47. After Cooper robbed every patron in the restaurant and all of the cash in the register, he attempted to flee to the parking lot.
One of the customers, who was robbed by Cooper and whose name has not been released by Desoto Police, was carrying a licensed and legally concealed hand gun. He allowed himself to be robbed by Copper without attempting to draw his weapon.
The man said his wife was about to arrive at the Waffle House to meet him for a meal, and he feared she and Cooper may come in contact. Allegedly fearing for his wife’s safety, the man pursued Cooper to the parking lot. The man then yelled at Cooper to get his attention, at which point the man claims Cooper raised his AK-47. The customer opened fire and Cooper was shot several times. No others were injured.
Police and emergency personnel arrived on the scene, and Cooper was taken to a local hospital, where he has remained on life support. He has been charged with aggravated attempted robbery, which is a first-degree felony. Assuming Cooper lives—and is convicted—he faces up to 99 years in prison.
No charges were immediately filed against the customer who was carrying his concealed carry license. The state of Texas allows a broad spectrum of situations in which a citizen can use deadly force if they believe their lives or the lives of others around them are in danger. It is extremely unlikely the customer will face any charges.
This scenario raises many questions about gun use in America. Was the customer justified in following the man to the parking lot to allegedly attempt to protect his wife? It has never been publicly stipulated whether or not the customer actually had a wife, or if she was on her way to the Waffle House. Did the man, in fact, provoke an altercation with Cooper—one where violence could have been preventable? Would Cooper have gone on to rob others that night if he had been able to leave, and would he have been more aggressive the next time? What if Cooper was spotted by police and an altercation ensued? He was carrying an extremely dangerous weapon. But what if Cooper was satisfied with his take for the night and was going to go home and watch reruns of The Golden Girls? One must consider all possible scenarios.
I suspect there will be a few people who would give Cooper the benefit of the doubt, and more would likely believe he should have been shot. Yet Cooper did not discharge his AK-47, which could have wiped out every person in seconds. Did the customer act above the law? Should he have waited for police to arrive?
An interesting aspect of Texas Penal Code Title 2 is that an individual is under no obligation to retreat from a violent situation. However, the customer did not, in fact, retreat—he pursued. The law also stipulates in Sec. 9.31.(2) that one may not “provoke the person against whom the force was used.” Did the customer in fact “provoke” Cooper by pursuing him to the parking lot?
Was the customer a hero, or was he an opportunistic vigilante?
This article (Armed Customer Takes Down Man Who Tried to Rob Entire Restaurant at Gunpoint) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Lou Colagiovanni and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. Image credit: Nicholas Eckhart. If you spot a typo, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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