Charlotte, North Carolina

From the Charlotte Observer of July 29, 2007

Forced to kill: 4 stories of survival

Every year in the United States, about 200 people kill someone in self-defense. It’s legal. It’s often necessary. But it can emotionally scar the people who do the killing.

From 2001 through 2006, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police investigated 25 homicides later ruled justified.

Generally, police warn the public not to fight robbers because, they say, criminals are more likely to hurt or kill anyone who challenges them. But sometimes people feel they have no choice.

At least four times this month, would-be crime victims in Charlotte fought back against people trying to rob them. Two suspects were killed, two injured.

The latest occurred Monday, police said, when a clerk killed a man trying to rob her northeast Charlotte store. Prosecutors haven’t decided whether to charge her. But “she is emotionally devastated by the decision that she was forced to make,” her lawyer said in a statement.

Four Charlotteans say they understand how she feels. All fatally shot someone while trying to protect themselves. None was charged. But all four say the killings altered their lives.

(Much More)

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