Stand your ground: Phenix City jewelry store owner fires shots to defend against armed robbers

Updated: Aug. 15, 2019 at 11:53 PM EDT
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PHENIX CITY, Ala. (WTVM) - The search continues for two suspects who walked into a Phenix City jewelry store in broad daylight and tried to rob it at gunpoint.

Rusty Gorman, owner of Custom Jewelers pulled out his own gun to fight back and had every right to do so by the “stand your ground” law.

It was lunchtime Wednesday when two men came through the front door of Custom Jewelers wearing masks and with guns in hand.

Gorman spotted them right away and decided to take matters into his own hands.

Video was captured by surveillance cameras inside the store where you see Gorman come upon the robbers, shoot at them, and chase them out of the store.

The Russell County District Attorney’s Office said if you find yourself in harm’s way, where you’re fearing for your life, then it’s your right to use Alabama’s stand your ground law.

“If you are at a business and you saw men come in with masks on and they were armed then you would have the right to defend yourself and also others in the business,”said Justin Clark with the Russell County DA’s Office.

The two men ran from the scene on foot from the side door of the jewelry store leaving behind their car.

Phenix City police said they are not aware of the car being stolen.

Gorman said he’s grateful for the way Phenix City Police responded.

“They sent an investigator out this morning following some new leads he has and I really believe within the next few day,s they will have these guys in custody. I want to see them in jail. I don’t know what their intent was, but they come in with weapons and that puts my employees in danger,”said Gorman.

Clark said Alabama’s stand your ground law gives people the right to defend themselves in their own home. The law has been on the books for years but has been expanded in recent years.

“Other laws as we’ve gotten in more modern times have extended it to businesses in some states. They have extended it to vehicles and then you’ve gone as broad as you have with Alabama’s stand your ground laws,” said Clark.

Gorman isn’t sure what all the robbers were after when they entered his store, but said seeing himself and employees in a life threatening situation left him no choice but to take matters into his own hands.

“You know anytime someone puts a gun at you and comes in with a weapon, your life is in dange. So, therefore you have the right to defend yourself and that’s what we did yesterday,”said Gorman.

Phenix City police said they hope to have new information released by Friday. If you have any information about the suspects you are asked to contact Phenix City police.

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