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FRUITLAND, FL (WJTX/CNN) – Newly released surveillance video shows what happened when a man tried to rob a convenience store in Fruitland, Florida.
It started as armed robbery and ended in a deadly struggle between a customer and the robber.
“This isn’t exactly stand your ground, but this is what stand your ground was written for,” lawyer Randy Reep said.
Written for an incident like this – a customer stepping in to save a clerk’s life from an armed robber. 37-year-old Anthony Shebester was at the counter buying cigarettes when a man came in with his face covered and jumped over the counter with a box cutter. Shebester thought fast, pulled out a pocket knife and went over to help the 61-year-old convenience store clerk. The two tussled and Shebester stabbed the robber in the chest. Minutes later, the robber died.
“This is kind of the opposite of what you see in the Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin cases and those sort of things where you have a video of the ability of somebody to show a reasonable fear of eminent death or great bodily harm,” Reep said.
Reep used to be a prosecutor, and he says it’s perfectly legal to use deadly force to defend another’s life.
“It’s interesting because if you’re wrong, you’re responsible for all the things you would be responsible for if it wasn’t reasonable that you used deadly force,” Reep said.
Shebester’s dad says they appreciate the outpouring of community support, but his son is having a hard time sleeping at night and does not want to be called a “hero.”
“He said ‘how can I be a hero when somebody died?’,” Shebester’s father said.
The robber was 42-year-old Jeff Lohman, whose mom showed up at Shebester’s home and hugged him.
“She said I just want to come over and I want to congratulate you that you saved that store clerk’s life, that my son would’ve possibly killed him because he needed his drug money and he has been on drugs,” Shebester’s father said.
Lohman’s mom was afraid something like this was going to happen. And although she loved her troubled son, knows Shebester did what he had to.
When Reep was asked if he thought there was any chance that this man could be charged with murder, he answered, “No, certainly not correctly. That is self-defense or the defense of another, clear, almost law school textbook of the circumstances where you’re allowed to do that and he did it appropriately.”