Officials said Thursday that the man accused of killing a California gas station clerk during a “failed” robbery will not be charged with murder because the victim opened fire on the suspect even though his life was not in danger.
Fox San Francisco said that James Williams, age 36, was killed in a gunfight with Ronald Jackson Jr., age 20, at a Chevron in Antioch early on Saturday morning.
The Antioch Police Department said that just after 2 a.m., an employee of a gas station called to say that someone had been shot at the Extra Mile Mini-Mart. When the police arrived, they found a man inside the store who had been shot in the head.
“Officers at the scene were able to figure out that the victim was a service station clerk who was held up at gunpoint in what seems to be a botched robbery,” according to a police statement.
Williams was working inside the store when he was approached by two suspects. One of them, Jackson, was later identified as having a gun. Then Williams took out his own gun.
It is said that Jackson ran out of the store while dropping cigar boxes and was shot. The news report said that Williams kept shooting at Jackson while he was on the ground, but Jackson allegedly shot back and killed Williams.
Annette Matamoros, Williams’ girlfriend and co-worker who was in the store when he was killed, said, “He didn’t deserve this.” He was such a good guy and a family man.
Authorities said that Jackson wasn’t charged with murder because the killing could be seen as self-defense under the law. The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office said that Williams kept following Jackson even though there was no longer a threat of physical harm or injury.
“In the eyes of the law, Mr. Williams’ actions stopped being self-defense when he went after Mr. Jackson and the other suspect with a gun and continued to go after Mr. Jackson even after he shot him,” Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton said in a news release.
“The legal difference is clear: if your property or life is in danger, you have the right to use deadly force in self-defense,” she said. “However, once the threat of harm has passed, a victim of a property crime cannot use lethal force to recover stolen property.”
Antioch investigators sent their findings to the District Attorney’s Office, which “opted to charge Jackson with robbery, possession of stolen property, and a firearm enhancement, but declined to charge him with murder,” police said.
The Antioch Police Department said, “The members of the department send their condolences to Mr. Williams’ family and friends.”
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