January 4, 2010

One Shot or Two? Gun-Toting Barista Scares Off Teenage Robber

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (AP) — A teen trying to rob an espresso stand in northern Idaho met his match in a gun-toting barista.

Police say the 17-year-old confronted Sunshine Espresso owner Michelle Cornelson with a gun on December 30, demanding all her money.

Cornelson has been hunting since she was a girl and says she remained calm as a customer pulled up to the other side of her kiosk in Coeur d'Alene (kohr duh-LAYN'), distracting the teen.

Cornelson quickly whipped out her 9mm Kel-Tec pistol, which was a Christmas present from her husband. That scared off the teen so Cornelson could call police.

A sheriff's deputy was nearby after picking up a beverage at the stand and caught the suspect. The teen was later taken to a juvenile detention center.

Comments (29)

Let's call the Brady Center and ask for their input in this matter....

Posted by: MICHAEL H | January 11, 2010 7:22 PM    Report this comment

Gav - I'm afraid to ask what inspires your co-worker's "little head" if he thinks your views on crime, violence, and guns are somehow related to your penis!!! You obviously aren't referring to Tiger....

Posted by: PVB | January 8, 2010 1:18 PM    Report this comment

Please be advised that some of these comments have been made with a dash of humor. Who gives a flying F$%@ what the antigun crowd thinks, grow a pair and quit judging me for throwing in a little humor. Every situation is different in armed confrontations, no judging the barista, she accomplished the first rule of a gun fight; have a gun. Kudo's to her, however I would have been happier if she would have elimated him from endangering someone else's life again.

Posted by: Robert J | January 8, 2010 12:44 PM    Report this comment

I feel that my comments about the 8 shots ensuring no re-offense seems to have kicked off a tirade on this case. That comment was SUPPOSED to be made re the officer involved shooting of the car jack/robbery. I feel the barista acted correctly.

Posted by: TERRY B | January 8, 2010 12:22 PM    Report this comment

RackEmPunk: EXACTLY! Dead on target.

Who gives a rip what the antigun crowd thinks? It's not like they'll listen to reasoned, rational discourse and change their minds. Their thinking is emotional, not logical. During a discussion about crime, violence, and guns, co-worker recently accused me of thinking with my penis. I informed him that my thinking with my penis would better my chances for survival more than would his thinking with his vagina. He had no facts to back his statements, so he resorted to emotional psychobabble. So we can make all the statements we want here filled with cold, hard, rational reality, and it won't "hurt our cause" at all, because the anti-gunners will always be the anti-gunners. You cannot reason someone OUT of a position that they didn't reason themselves INTO.

Gaviota

Posted by: Lee W | January 8, 2010 11:54 AM    Report this comment

The motherly side shown through, shoot the bastard. He was probably going to kill her if she had given him all the money. She was blessed to have God on her side that day.

Posted by: Ralph De La Huerta | January 8, 2010 11:49 AM    Report this comment

The motherly side shown through, shoot the bastard. He was probably going to kill her if she had given him all the money. She was blessed to have God on her side that day.

Posted by: Ralph De La Huerta | January 8, 2010 11:49 AM    Report this comment

"...you guys write in and say you would have filled him full of lead and holes is really what the antigun crowd loves to hear and see written."

How about The Bad Guys, a.k.a. "the criminal element." Do you think that THEY ever read any of these comments?

Posted by: RackEmPunk | January 8, 2010 11:34 AM    Report this comment

listening to all you guys write in and say you would have filled him full of lead and holes is really what the antigun crowd loves to hear and see written. i for one believe the young lady showed restraint. yes she was probably justified in using force but as everyone knows sometimes just the show of a weapon is enough to stop further agression. please be careful what is written because the antigun crowd is reading all this stuff too.

Posted by: pa-cman | January 8, 2010 10:55 AM    Report this comment

Jeff W, the lead makes the body sink better.

Posted by: Robert J | January 8, 2010 10:55 AM    Report this comment

Although deadly force may be used against an attacker under the Castle Doctrine in Texas, if the illegal activity occurs in your home, vehicle, place of business or anywhere else you have the legal right to be, the basic justification for the use of deadly force is that you were in fear of your life. If a perp is outside your place of business (in the parking lot), running away, and shot in the back, the "fear of life" arguement becomes less convincing.

That being said, a convenience store owner was "no billed" by a grand jury after he chased a robber, who had stolen a six pack of beer, into the parking lot at night (makes a difference in Texas) and shot him in his car as he tried to drive away. That, I think, was a stretch.

Posted by: Jim in Houston | January 7, 2010 10:30 PM    Report this comment

Too much lead in a body increases weight and makes it more difficut to drag off. An excessive amount of holes in a body will require more time be spent cleaning up.
Couldn't resist the Leftist Humor...

Posted by: JWallace | January 7, 2010 8:20 PM    Report this comment

From the arrestee's perspective, anyone who's had any training at all is taught to expect to be arrested, and to cooperate with the first responder to the extent of pointing out the perpetrator(s), escape route, witnesses, evidence, and make the statements: "I was attacked," and "I was in fear for my life" and "I'll make a full statement after I've talked with my lawyer." We all know, and honest cops admit, that even after an arrestee has requested a lawyer and explicitly refused to answer questions, cops will still ask for information, and bad cops will even threaten arrestees if information is not immediately forthcoming.

So, don't take it personally if we trained concealed carry permittees don't talk to cops after an incident. It's not that we hate cops, it's just that we know that the cops are not investigating us because they like us and want to be our friends.

Gaviota

Posted by: Lee W | January 7, 2010 4:39 PM    Report this comment

"...Mr. "empty the clip in him", I would have taken you to jail also..."

I mean you no disrespect whatever, JayinLA, so take what I'm about to say in that regard. I understand that when a LEO arrives at a crime scene, he has very limited information, usually just a few comments from his dispatcher, so his first efforts are always directed at controlling the scene. That means arresting anyone who is suspected of being an actor in the event. Doesn't mean he thinks they're guilty of anything, just means he's making sure that no person of interest tries to escape or harm anyone. After the scene is under control, then the investigator begins asking questions of the actors and witnesses in an attempt to discover what happened. All of this information goes into his report, which he then delivers with the suspects to the cop shop, and that's it. He's done.

Gaviota

Posted by: Lee W | January 7, 2010 4:29 PM    Report this comment

I haven't been under Clint's tutelage, but I've been hard pressed to come up with an argument against any of his writings. As you said t-scope, double tap is a technique, and not altogether bad. Emptying the magazine is a technique also. Technique alone isn't the only concern. In the case of the Philly cop, I doubt he fired 8 shots out of Dirty Harry's Automag. On the other hand, if you are using a .380 or .38 Special, emptying the magazine may be necessary to end the threat. Personally, I think Clint is right - when they stop moving.

Also - there was only one threat in either situation. Multiple perps may also impact if you need to empty or double tap.

I agree wholeheartedly that the information is too sketchy to armchair.

Posted by: PVB | January 7, 2010 4:00 PM    Report this comment

In the CCW classes in my state students are taught to shoot only if someone's life is in imminent danger, and then to keep shooting until the perpetrator stops the attack. There is little, or no, discussion about the number of bullets fired.

Posted by: mookien | January 7, 2010 3:59 PM    Report this comment

Early in my handgun training I and many others were taught the "double tap" technique. A couple of years later when I went to Thunder Ranch for the Defensive Pistol course, Clint Smith taught us to keep shooting until the threat was neutralized. It made a lot more sense. I think the literature will show that some victims lost their lives because they stopped shooting after the "double tap", allowing the perp to prevail. But I cannot relate this to the sketchy anecdotal news article. Will not Monday morning quarterback.

Posted by: telescope60 | January 7, 2010 3:25 PM    Report this comment

I guess only LEO's are allowed to empty their clip. The rest of us are suppose to shoot once, wait, shoot again, wait, etc... Talk about your armchair quarterbacking LEO.

Posted by: Robert J | January 7, 2010 2:31 PM    Report this comment

JayinLA - I believe we are safe in assuming that we do not have enough facts from the news brief to "armchair" DA who could or could not have been prosecuted or protected if this or that happened. We also don't know her - the victim's - state of mind. Did she freeze mentally as some suggested, or did she make a split second decision not to take a shot for reasons unbeknown to us? Also, if you were LEO in LA as your "call sign" suggests; remember, she was in a totally different jurisdiction in Idaho. Emptying the clip may have been defensible, though again - we don't have all the facts to do more than banter back and forth.

As an LEO, when you did firearms training, how were you taught to know when to stop shooting?

Posted by: PVB | January 7, 2010 2:06 PM    Report this comment

"armchair quarterbacks".... what about concern for "a cuatomer pulled up on the other side and distracted him" scaring him away "rather than risk getting her and the customer shot...
I was a LEOfor 17 years ............ Mr. "empty the clip in him", I would have taken you to jail also. (any of you quarterbacks know why?)This "tuff gun" crap in public forums is exactly what the leftys feed on.

Posted by: JayInLA | January 7, 2010 1:22 PM    Report this comment

Good Quote!

Posted by: Robert J | January 7, 2010 12:48 PM    Report this comment

QUOTE: "Son… if you ever have to use that thing, make sure the judge only gets to hear one version of what happened."

Posted by: RackEmPunk | January 7, 2010 11:25 AM    Report this comment

Eight shots makes sure the perp will not re-offend. And I'm betting that a fresh mag was in the weapon before the echoes stopped in case of an armed accomplice.

Posted by: TERRY B | January 7, 2010 11:03 AM    Report this comment

So here we have an "armed" citizen who lawfully protected herself from curmudgeonly pond scum. Like Gav said, we don't really know what we'd do until we're in the situation. Yesterday we saw a local incident that went the other way. Local news (aka corporate hyperbole) reported a shooting where a robber was killed after jumping into a car and demanding money at gunpoint.

Obviously, facts were incomplete, but we learned that the incident occurred at about 3:00 AM in an industrial section, the actor had many prior arrests, was shot eight times, and had an accomplice waiting in a car around the corner. The shooter was an off duty police officer, and was pistol whipped before he drew. The accomplice claimed he knew absolutely nothing of the robber's intent and was told to wait in the car with the engine running. Allegedly, the "co-perp" is the one who flagged down a passing police car "because he heard gunfire."

The real tragedy here was that the first 50 bloggers to respond all thought the situation was "fishy." Not because a perp with a record leaves his "innocent" buddy in a car to stay warm while he goes a-robbing; rather: "What was the cop doing there at that hour?" "Why did he shoot him 8 times?" "Why did the poor, innocent friend have to be the one that flagged down police?"

It was probably two hours after the story broke before anyone with a sense of logic began making counterpoints to the "cop must've done wrong" bloggers.

Posted by: PVB | January 7, 2010 10:47 AM    Report this comment

She could have froze also resulting in a mexican stand-off at which point he realized she was not going to shoot and bolted. Me, holes in the back, front, bottom of the feet even and I'd worry about the law afterwards in which case boys and girls we have learned that you don't make a statement until you have a lawyer. These incidents can/will shake up a person and your initial statement might not be the one you want going to the grand jury. Protect yourself even if you feel 100% justified in a shooting.

Posted by: Robert J | January 7, 2010 9:26 AM    Report this comment

You're right, of course, Robert. Armchair quarterbacking like mine isn't worth a damn, because when the scat hits the ventilator, split seconds count. If he had seen her gun before she got it pointed at him, squealed like a little girl and bolted, she couldn't have justified shooting him in the back.

I'm just wondering what a video of the incident would have shown.

Gaviota

Posted by: Lee W | January 6, 2010 5:22 PM    Report this comment

I'm with Gaviota, no hesitation, I would have emptied the clip on him. However, I understand if she didn't fire because as soon as she drew he turned and ran which would have ended up filling his backside full of holes, which I do not have a problem with. I have heard that bullet holes in the back are more difficult to explain and justify.

Posted by: Robert J | January 6, 2010 8:31 AM    Report this comment

Well, it worked out OK as long as they keep the little Goblin in Juvey for a few years. They'll probably let him out by his 18th birthday so he can try his luck again.

Posted by: Sharps | January 5, 2010 9:48 PM    Report this comment

"...the 17-year-old confronted Sunshine Espresso owner Michelle Cornelson with a gun...quickly whipped out her 9mm Kel-Tec pistol...scared off the teen..."

I realize it's too easy to armchair quarterback these stories, but this doesn't add up. She stayed calm, waited until he was distracted, and drew her own gun on him... and then what? She just stood there and waited until he made the next move, like a Mexican standoff? Why didn't she shoot him the instant her sights came on target? Was she counting upon his good nature to restrain him from shooting both her and the new customer?

Killing armed robbers is a justified chlorine-in-the-gene-pool situation. Besides, the bigger the blood trail, the quicker the cops can find the body.

It doesn't sound like she was really prepared to use her power. If she had been truly mentally ready, she'd have bought the gun herself instead of waiting on her husband, gotten training, and the little goblin would now be the most surprised demon-bait in Hell.

It clearly goes to show that just because you have a gun, it doesn't mean you're armed.

Gaviota

Posted by: Lee W | January 4, 2010 10:13 PM    Report this comment

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