Last month, Florida governor Rick Scott signed into law an expansion of the state's Stand Your Ground law to include warning shots. The new expansion was in response to the case of Marissa Alexander, a woman who was sentenced to twenty years after firing a warning shot because of this gap in the Stand Your Ground protection.
While anti-gun advocates spoke of "gunfights in the streets" and used old west imagery, the reality is that it took just 12 days for an armed citizen to stop a murder by firing a warning shot protected under the new law.
"Several witnesses stated that had Edwin Sullivan not intervened with a warning shot, they felt that Paul Royes would have killed Luke Sherrill," according to the police report.
Edwin Sullivan and his wife were watching television when they heard a car crash outside their home around 1a.m. The police report states that Edwin then "observed what appeared to be a shirtless black male, later identified as Luke Sherrill, running from a black male with dreads, later identified as Paul Royes,"
Sherrill was wielding a large military style black knife in his hands as he chased after Royes. Once Royes managed to get Sherrill cornered he began stabbing and slashing at him.
Worried for the stranger's life, Edwin ran into his house to grab his handgun, returned outside and fired a single warning shot. According to police both Sherrill and Royes immediately stopped and Edwin was able to hold Royes at gunpoint until authorities arrived.
Sherrill was rushed to the hospital while Royes was taken into custody on charges of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.
While warning shots are not usually an ideal solution (what goes up must come down), they did the job this time and stopped what likely would have been a murder. Kudos for Edwin for getting involved and defending a total stranger.
A very big congratulations to the Florida legislature for passing this bill and taking closing the gap in Stand Your Ground coverage that could have turned this armed citizen into a felon.
What do you guys think about the Florida "Threat of Deadly Force" law?