A Florida man is using the state’s “stand your ground” law as a defense after he shot a customer who was complaining about slow service at a St. Petersburg Little Caesars Pizza restaurant.
Randall White, 49, was in line waiting for his pizza on Sunday when he began complaining that he wasn’t being served fast enough. According to the Tampa Bay Times, 52-year-old Michael Jock was also in line and scolded White for whining.
The two began arguing and it eventually “became a shoving match,” police spokesperson Mike Puetz said.
After White allegedly raised his fist, Jock pulled out a .38 Taurus Ultralight Special Revolver and fired a shot into the man’s torso. A second shot also hit White in the torso. One round became lodged in the restaurant wall.
When police arrived, Jock told them that the shooting had been justified under Florida’s “stand your ground” law, which says that gun owners do not have a “duty to retreat.”
“He felt he was in his rights,” Puetz explained. “He brought it up specifically and cited it to the officer.”
Jock, who had a concealed-carry permit, told police that White had an object in his hand, but later abandoned that story under police questioning.
“We determined it did not reach a level where deadly force was required,” Puetz said.
Jock was arrested by St. Petersburg Police and charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and shooting at, within or into a building. He was released by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office after posting $20,000 bond.
White later told the Tampa Bay Times that he felt lucky just to be alive.
“There are arguments every day, but how many people pull out a gun?” he observed. “He was in my face and I pushed him. His life was not being threatened.”
White admitted that he had been agitated when he started complaining that his thin-crust vegetable pizza had taken more than the 10 minutes the restaurant promised.
“Twenty minutes later, I’m like, ‘Where’s my pizza?’” White recalled, adding that he still had a bullet fragment in his back but he “got lucky.”
“To me, that stand your ground rule … people are twisting it. He’s twisting it. I walked in to get a pizza and I got shot … I’m hoping the law prevails. We’ll see.”