In February of 2017, Ashad Russell, a concealed weapon and firearm license holder, made national news when he shot and killed Edward Strother, a man who was violently attacking a Lee County, Florida deputy and trying to take the deputy’s gun.
Did Mr. Russell have the right to do what he did under Florida law? What ultimately happened to Mr. Russell?
What the Law Says
Under Florida law, Mr. Russell was justified in his actions in defending the deputy. Florida statute allows a person to use or threaten to use deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself, or another, or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.
In Mr. Russell’s situation, the evidence, including cell phone videos of Mr. Russell’s entire encounter, supported that it was reasonable to believe that the deputy was in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm.
Furthermore, the attacker, Mr. Strother, was in the process of committing a forcible felony and refused to stop, even after Mr. Russell told him he would shoot him if he did not stop.
The state attorney’s office ultimately did not seek criminal charges against Mr. Russell, finding that his actions were justified under the law. Fortunately, Mr. Russell has not been sued civilly over this encounter.
Remember, you can be sued for anything. So, even though you know your actions were justified under the law, and even though you were cleared of all criminal charges, it does not bar people from filing civil suits against you.
If you have any questions regarding using or threatening to use deadly force to protect a third person, call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.