CHL holder fired shot that killed store clerk - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

CHL holder fired shot that killed store clerk

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Houston Police confirm it was a customer with a concealed handgun license who accidentally shot and killed a store clerk.  The CHL holder was trying to protect Tyrza Smith, 26, from armed robbers, but something went terribly wrong and she was killed.  
It happened on May 17 at the Family Dollar located at 6951 Bellfort in southeast Houston.   
Police say Dwight Richardson, 20, and another man who hasn't been arrested are accused of bursting into the store, locking the front door and holding a gun to the clerk's head.  
"They come in, they got guns out and they're threatening people in there.  The CHL holder had every right to defend himself and that clerk," said Fox 26 legal analyst Chris Tritico.
The customer tried to leave but noticed the door was locked.
He pulled out his weapon and got in a gunfight with the robbers.  Smith was caught in the crossfire, and ballistics tests show the CHL holder killed her.
Should the customer have pulled his weapon, especially since most robbers are happy just getting the cash?
It's a split second decision all legal gun holders pray they'll never face.  
Kyle Dekay learned in his CHL class to turn and run unless there's an immediate threat to life.
"If at all possible, if there's a small opening, get out of there.  Hightail it.  The last thing you should ever do is go and draw for your weapon," he said.
Gun dealer Jim Pruett can't say for sure what he would have done.
"It's a tough one, and every situation demands a different reaction," Pruett said.  
Each year there are thousands of cases of gun owners successfully defending themselves.  Tritico says it will likely be up to a grand jury to decide whether the CHL holder was justified in shooting his gun.  
"That's what we have to look at.  What was this person thinking?  What was he feeling?  What were the circumstances at the time he pulled his weapon out?"
The CHL holder could still be sued in civil court even if the deadly force is found to be justified.

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