Skip to comments.Armed diner shoots robbery suspect outside St. Petersburg Applebee's
Posted on 08/09/2011 6:23:31 AM PDT by Iron Munro
Raven Smith doesn't usually take a gun to Applebee's.
But something made him reconsider Sunday night as he held his .380 caliber weapon in his hand, about to leave it behind as he stepped out of his car to have dinner with his girlfriend, Ashley Tanner.
In a split second, he found himself firing the weapon at a masked stranger who rushed up behind Tanner with what looked like a gun.
"Get down, get down!" Smith yelled to Tanner. She ducked and he fired four shots at the stranger from less than 6 feet away, over the head of his crouched girlfriend.
The would-be robber was Anthony Lawrence Hauser, 17, of 3760 38th Ave. N, police said. He survived and was taken to a local hospital with four gunshot wounds.
Police charged Hauser with attempted armed robbery. Smith, 34, has a concealed weapons permit and will not face any charges. Police said he acted in self-defense.
"I've only had practice doing casual shooting, as a hobby," Smith said Monday. "It's completely different using it in a situation like this."
Smith and Tanner, 27, moved to St. Petersburg two weeks ago from Lake City. An airline mechanic, Smith moved around while working for Delta but decided to settle in St. Petersburg, where he was raised, and brought his girlfriend of six months.
About 10 p.m. Sunday, the couple drove to Applebee's at 4700 Fourth St. N. The restaurant was full so they parked in a dark area north of the building.
As the two got out, Smith pulled his gun from a pocket, considering whether to take it with him. He decided to keep it. In that instant he noticed a dark figure rushing toward Tanner and immediately felt "something wasn't right."
The figure, who was wearing a ski mask, moved as though he planned to grab Tanner's purse and maybe point the gun at her head, Smith said. Facing Tanner, with the would-be robber behind her, he instinctively raised his handgun and told Tanner to hit the ground.
"I saw orange flashes over my head," Tanner said. "And then my ears were ringing."
Smith recalled shooting the robber four times. He fell to the ground, then yelled to Smith: "Don't shoot me anymore!"
The robber pulled off the mask and told Smith his gun was fake. It was later discovered to be a fully loaded and operational .25 caliber automatic.
It all happened so quickly Tanner didn't have time to think but is happy Smith was prepared.
"I don't know what would have happened if he hadn't had the gun," Tanner said. "He's my hero."
After the shooting, Smith flagged down a passing police officer. Hauser was taken to Bayfront Medical Center, police said.
Smith and Tanner were questioned at the scene and at the police station, Smith said. They got home after dawn, then woke up to reporters knocking on their door.
They never got around to eating.
This was the second incident of the weekend in which a would-be robber was shot in St. Petersburg.
Almedin Muratovic, 25, ended up at Bayfront Medical Center with serious injuries Friday night after he tried to rob a woman at an ATM, police said.
Anthony Hall of St. Petersburg was sitting in his car with his 5-year-old child near the Regions Bank ATM at 8250 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N when he saw Muratovic approach his girlfriend with a handgun, police said. He ran over and fought Muratovic for the gun, police said.
During the struggle, the weapon fired, hitting Muratovic, police said. Hall and his girlfriend were unharmed. Muratovic faces attempted robbery charges.
Other local business owners took notice of the shootings.
Michael Chan, owner of Hiro's Tokyo Steakhouse & Sushi Bar at 5250 Fourth St. N, learned about the Applebee's incident Sunday night after his wife passed by and saw police cars surrounding the restaurant.
Like Applebee's, Hiro's keeps late hours.
"We always keep an eye out for customers," Chan said. The parking lot is well-lit and security cameras surround the building, he said.
But Chan said there's only so much a restaurateur can do. He said his employees know to leave the building in groups at night after closing. But the key ultimately is just to try to be aware of your surroundings and take reasonable safety precautions.
"You never know," he said.
Never bring a .25 to a .380 fight.
Nice that he had four hits, too bad he wasn’t carrying a caliber that started with .4
Good news for a change.
How very Christian of you.
At least a .38+p.
Same to you.
Four shots and still alive.....damn....that’s what makes me uneasy about them 9mm shorts.....That’s why I put DRTs in mine....
I was about a mile away in St. Pete that Sunday evening, eating at another restaurant and carrying of course. Never needed to pull it, but always have it. If I recall that is only a few blocks away from the MLK named street in St. Pete.
“What’s Fonzie Like?”
“He survived and was taken to a local hospital with four gunshot wounds.”
I hereby sentence the victim to some range time.
Must remember crooks have no honor - they'll lie as easily as they steal... the good guy was lucky the crook didn't shoot him with the 'fake' gun.
Go stir up trouble on DU troll...
You do have issues. I’ll pray for you.
Quite so. Massad Ayoob has a great book, even though it's a little old now, called "Stressfire". He goes into detail about the psychological and physiological effects of stress in real-world shooting situations. Those effects are serious and often underestimated. He offers some practical techniques to better stress-proof yourself, if it ever does indeed happen.
A reading comprehension course might help.
"I hereby sentence the victim to some range time."
Or to get one of these:
Thanks for the new tagline.
Y’know what would be a great training aid? A drug, oral or injected, that helped the body simulate the stress it feels under that situation. A person could take it, practice shooting, and practice self control techniques to get his shooting to par under combat type stress.
Might have to practice with AirSoft at first, though. Too much of a chance that you might shoot yourself or a trainer...
Hmmm. Even practicing writing with a pencil and paper under that sort of stress might help you develop control.