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Cafe Owner Doused With Gas, Fires Back at Robber

By Tanya Roth, Esq. on December 29, 2010 12:36 PM

The old year went out with a bang in a small town in Florida. At the Internet Cafe in Lake Mary, Fla., a would-be robber found himself out gunned in the fire-fight he began when he attempted to rob the owner of the cafe.

Hassan Malih, the cafe owner, found himself confronted by a man wielding gasoline, reports MSNBC. The robber sprayed the gas from a water bottle onto Malih, threatened him with a lighter and demanded money. What happened next may recall the famous scene in The Raiders of the Lost Ark where our hero, Indiana Jones, (Harrison Ford) is confronted by a sword wielding baddie who postures and threatens and waves his sword. With a weary look, Indy simply pulls out his pistol and shoots, ending the confrontation. As did Malih.

Upon being threatened with gasoline and a match, Malih pulled out a gun and fired at the robber. Hassan Malih was not sure how many times he fired or even if he hit the intruder, but it was enough to get the robber on the run, and without any money, according to MSNBC.

Malih was certainly brave to stand up to the threat, but unlike Indiana Jones, he is restrained by the realities of the law. The law allows individuals to defend themselves with the use of justified force. Under the law in general, one may use deadly force in self-defense, but only to fend off an attack of deadly force. In other words, don't bring a gun to a fist fight.

In this case, since the attacker apparently had the intent and the ability to light Malih on fire, the use of a gun may well have been justified self-defense. There are varying state laws that may require the attacked person to try and retreat before using deadly force, however some of those laws do not apply to your home or in some cases to your workplace, or even your car. Regardless, had Malih killed the robber, there no doubt would have been an investigation into whether or not it was justifiable homicide. But we'll leave that for a sequel.

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