Lawyer breaks down self-defense process following alleged robbery and violent attack in Houston

Lileana Pearson Image
Thursday, March 30, 2023
When is self-defense is justified? Lawyer says what victims should do
This week, two victims fought back against their attackers or robbers, claiming it was self-defense. ABC13 is told what happens after can make a big difference in determining if it was justified.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- In several cases this week, victims have fought back against their attackers or robbers in Houston.

We saw it first on Monday night when a veteran with a disability said a man tried to rob him at the METRO headquarters downtown.

"When he took off, I grabbed my pistol, turned the (wheelchair), and started shooting," Garland Cherry said.

Then on Tuesday, a food truck worker shot and killed a man she claims tried to shoot into the truck window.

"They opened this because the mom knows how to cook, and they're just trying to make an honest living," a fellow employee said.

Lawyer Matthew Sharp told ABC13 on Wednesday that being able to act in self-defense is vital.

"I mean, if someone is trying to hurt you or kill you, you don't have to accept that outcome for yourself," Sharp said.

RELATED: 5 self-defense tips every woman should know

But the self-defense has to be justified.

Sharp recommends that, once you have defended yourself, there are a few things you should do if you are safe and able to.

First, call the police. Second, if you're in a safe place, stay there.

"If you were truly in fear for your life and you have used deadly force or non-deadly force to defend yourself, I would advise you to call police," Sharp said.

Evidence will be collected, and the case will move through the legal system to ensure there was a good reason you used force against another person.

"Every self-defense case, there is a judgment call that has to be made, whether that's the DA, police, a jury. And if you run away and you hide, and you attempt to conceal what it is you have done, it looks less and less like you were acting in self-defense," Sharp continued.

A gun was used in both cases where victims claimed self-defense this week.

Sharp reminds people that in the state of Texas, you can carry a gun without a permit if you are over the age of 21 and are not convicted of a felony.

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SEE ALSO: 3 simple self-defense moves that could save your child's life