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Hammer O'Justice
Hammer O'Justice, Criminal Lawyer
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Experience:  Almost 12 years of legal experience, primarily in criminal law
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The scenario is in a Virginia restaurant where I am having

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The scenario is in a Virginia restaurant where I am having dinner. I have a Virginia permit to carry a concealed weapon, and I have my firearm with me. A person enters and begins shooting customers without saying anything. I am seated in an area that has no exit except the main entry near the shooter.
Since I am in fear for my life, I use my firearm to "engage" the shooter to stop his threat to me, i.e., I shoot him. Before he dies, the shooter fires at me, but hits another customer near me, who is killed.
Is there a basis under state law to charge me with the customer's death?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Hammer O'Justice replied 6 years ago.

It is unlikely. If someone is acting in self-defense against the threat of imminent bodily harm and is unable to retreat safely, responsive force is usually found to be justified. If you had been the one to actually shoot the customer, they could potentially find something to charge you with due to negligence or recklessness. Since you are not the person who actually shot them and you were reacting in response to a specific threat, there is not really an appropriate charge. So here it would not seem that charges are justified and/or warranted.
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