Thursday, June 1, 2006

Jacksonville, Florida

From of June 1, 2006
Store owner shoots man he says was trying to rob him

The owner of an Avondale business said the man demanded money.

Doug Freeman had already called 911 to report a robbery in progress at his Jacksonville electronics store.

He had already sent several employees, his wife and 7-year-old daughter to another part of the Avondale business.

He had already watched from a surveillance set-up as the suspicious man kept roaming around, looking left, looking right, constantly fidgeting, but somehow never walking back out the front door as Freeman hoped.

So when Freeman opened fire at close range, five bullets from his .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun hitting the man, the store owner said he did it for one reason only.

"I just felt he left me no other choice," the 39-year-old owner of Marvin's Electronics said Wednesday, the shock from the noontime confrontation still fresh hours later.

The man demanded money, said he'd just gotten out of jail and looked "cracked out," Freeman said. In one hand, the man held what looked like a cell phone, the store owner recalled.

But when the man's other hand went up under his shirt and then down in his waistband to a bulge Freeman thought could be a gun, the store owner made up his mind.

He'd fire first.

"I shot him," Freeman said. Seconds later, police arrived.

"He fell out the door and he almost fell into an officer's arms," the store owner said.

Police didn't arrest Freeman, but also didn't say if the suspected robber had been armed. The man, identified as Vincent Hudson, 26, of nearby Post Street, was at Shands Jacksonville hospital late Wednesday for treatment of injuries police said were life-threatening. The investigation into the incident at the store at 933 Edgewood Ave. S. is continuing, police spokesman Ken Jefferson said.

Freeman said he was confident the shooting was justifiable. And he said it wasn't his first.

About 15 years ago, while working for a repo company, he defended his wife, Charlotte, from a knife-point attack during a job on Powers Avenue. He said he shot and killed the attacker but also wounded Charlotte, then his girlfriend.


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