Robbery Stopped by Armed Citizen

Greensboro, North Carolina – One young man is dead after attempting to rob a business on Summit Ave on February 29th.

Greensboro Police Department reports dispatching officers to a call of an attempted robbery at around 11:00 a.m. When police arrived, they found 18-year-old Malik Harris suffering from 4-5 gunshot wounds.

Harris was taken to the hospital where he later died of his wounds. Meanwhile, investigators where speaking with witnesses to uncover the timeline of events.

In an interview with WFMY News 2, Adil Khawaja, one of the owners of the store Harris tried to rob, described what happened:

“There were three or four customers in the store. And the guy came in and put the gun on all the customers, made everyone come [behind the counter] at gunpoint,” said Khawaja.

While Harris was rounding up the customers, another female customer entered the business unaware of the ongoing robbery.

“He grabbed her by the neck, brought her back [behind the counter] at gunpoint,” Khawaja said.

While Harris was distracted trying to corral an additional victim, a different customer saw their opportunity to act and drew their own firearm.

Khawaja said the customer shot Harris 4 to 5 times. “It happened like in 45 seconds. Like 30 to 45 seconds,” he said.

Bullets damaged the store wall, and shattered glass, but Harris was the only one wounded in the shooting.

He was transported to hospital but died a short time later from complications of his injuries.

“I wish it could have ended up differently,” Khawaja told WFMY News 2. “Personally, I don’t want to see an 18-year-old kid die. He didn’t even start his life yet. That was just a very, very poor decision in a state like North Carolina, where everyone has guns.”

There are 2 things in particular to note about this story.

  1. Businesses like stores are great places for criminals to ambush their victims. This is referred to as a transitional space because there is no control over who enters or exits the building. This means criminals can rush in, commit their crime, then quickly escape. Try to remain aware whenever you approach the building and look for clues that something isn’t right, so you don’t become involved in a situation that would be better off avoided.
  2. If you are forced to draw your weapon in defense of your life, or the life of another, wait for your opportunity to do so like the armed citizen did in this situation. Drawing your pistol on a gunman who already has the drop on you is unwise unless you have no other choice.

If possible, it’s better to wait for the threat to become distracted the way Harris was before attempting to engage the threat from a holstered weapon. If you can perform the draw stealthily enough, this tactic may grant you enough time to make carefully placed shots to further ensure no bystanders are injured by your gunfire.

Read here for the Fighting from Cover DVD/Online training series for the latest tactics and techniques for self defense from advantageous positions.

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