Deadly Force: Everybody Dies!

Deadly Force: Everyone Dies!
Deadly Force: Everyone Dies!
Photo credit: Sun Sentinel – Doug Phillips

A deadly force incident on June 7th, 2019, in Davie, Florida, at Flamingo Road and SW 8th Steet, a road we drive every day, two men, Keith Byrne, and Andre Sinclair, met for the first time.  Neither lived through the encounter.  

According to the police, Keith Byrne, a Marine Corps veteran and air conditioner mechanic, cut off a blue BMW.   Mr. Byrne pulled over to apologize to the driver of the BMW.  A passenger in the BMW, traveling with his girlfriend and daughter, Andre Sinclair, got out of the BMW brandishing a pistol.  

Sinclair approached Byrne and shot Bryne in the chest.  Mr. Bryne was still in his work truck.  Bryne returned fire and shot Sinclair multiple times.  Mr. Bryne died at the scene, Sinclair died two days later.  

If you have not noticed, we live in a dangerous society.  Despite the decades-long drop in violent crime, the world is still a dangerous place.  

Deadly Force: Be smart about self-defense

The real questions:

As a former Miami-Dade Police Officer, I get asked all the time, “Can I shoot someone if _________?  You can fill in the blank.  The scenarios are endless.  
My response is always the same. I always ask the same two questions. Could you shoot someone to protect your own life?  Do you want to be involved in the shooting of another human being?

When seriously pondering the question, a surprising number of people admit that they could not take a life to protect their own.  Even more surprising, to me anyway, is people never think what it would be like to be involved in a shooting, probably because they have no experience to base it on.  

As a police officer, I have used deadly force and have had deadly force used against me.  I have been on the scene of both police and civilian shootings.  Believe me, if you can avoid it, do not ever get involved in a shooting.  

Florida has some great self-defense laws, and fortunately, we recognize the right of self-defense.  The Castle Doctrine and Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law are great shields to protect the right of self-defense.  

Deadly Force: You do not want to be involved in a shooting.

It is always my opinion that it would be best to avoid any involvement in a shooting whatsoever, if at all possible.  The amount of scrutiny and criticism you will face, both from the police and others, is overwhelming.  Not to mention having to live with taking another human life.  That is not to say that if you have no other choice but to defend yourself, you should not, you absolutely should, even if you have to use deadly force.  

So the answer to the “Can I” question is either no, or yes with the caveat of “do you really want to be involved in a shooting?”

Another question I get all the time is, “what gun should I get?”  To which I always ask, “How good are your running shoes?”  The best civilian defensive strategy is to get away as fast as possible.  In my opinion, getting away from a potentially deadly encounter is always the primary objective.  Using deadly force in self-defense should always be the last resort.  

A better practice is to avoid such encounters altogether.

I make it a practice not to approach people I do not know.  I avoid being walked up on or run up on by always being aware of my surroundings and being mindful of escape routes.  Most importantly, I do not get involved in other people’s problems or their stupidity.  If two drunk idiots want to fight, I will let them fight.  At this point in my life, I am no longer a police officer, I am not required to act in such circumstances, and I prefer to leave that to the active professionals.  

The right of self-defense is a God-given right, exercise it wisely.  Always talk to an attorney before making any statement to the police.  

If you are involved in a self-defense situation or have questions about self-defense and the use of deadly force, please feel free call our office and speak directly with me.  

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