Moral Low Ground


Customer Shot at Little Caesar’s for Whining about Service; Gunman Cites “Stand Your Ground” Law

Michael Jock

Michael Jock

A customer in a Florida pizza shop who complained about slow service allegedly ended up getting shot by another customer with a concealed carry permit who cited the state’s controversial “stand your ground” law to justify his actions.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that the alleged incident occurred around 4 p.m. on Sunday at the Little Caesar’s pizzeria on Fourth Street North in St. Petersburg. Customer Randall White, 49, was growing tired of waiting for his thin-crust veggie pizza to be prepared. White complained about the slow service, much to the annoyance of customer Michael Jock, who was behind him in line.

Jock, 52, told White to quit whining. The latter allegedly took offense, “prompting them to exchange words, and it became a shoving match,” according to police spokesman Mike Puetz.

When White raised his fist, Jock allegedly pulled out a .38 Taurus Ultralight Special revolver and fired one round, which struck White in his lower torso. The two men struggled and Jock allegedly fired again, striking White in the same area.

There were at least two other customers in the restaurant at the time of the shooting.

After the incident, both men went outside to wait for police. When officers arrived, Jock allegedly cited Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” law, which states that a person may use deadly force if “he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm.” The law has been invoked in a pair of high-profile cases in which white men have shot and killed unarmed black teenagers in Florida; George Zimmerman, the defendant in the slaying of Trayvon Martin, and Michael Dunn, who allegedly shot and killed Jordan Davis over loud music, have both claimed their killings were justified under the statute.

Puetz said police have determined that the altercation between White and Jock “did not reach a level where deadly force was required.”

Jock was arrested and charged with aggravated battery with a weapon and shooting within a building. He was released on $20,000 bail.

White was treated for his gunshot wounds at Bayfront Medical Center and later released.

“There are arguments every day, but how many people pull out a gun?” he said in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times. “When you pull out a gun and shoot somebody, your life better be in danger. He was in my face and I pushed him. His life was not being threatened.”

“I got lucky,” he added. “To me, that ‘stand your ground’ rule… people are twisting it. He’s twisting it. I walked in to get my pizza and I got shot… I’m hoping the law prevails. We’ll see.”

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