A California employee was shot and killed by a robbery suspect, authorities said. The suspect will not be charged with murder.

A robber who shot and killed a gas station clerk in Northern California will not be charged with murder after the victim mistakenly chased and shot the gunman, prosecutors said Thursday.

Ronald Jackson Jr., 20, was initially charged with allegedly being involved with James Williams, 36, in a snowstorm in Antioch early Saturday, police said Wednesday. He was registered for armed robbery and homicide in connection with the murder at Folong Station.

Jackson and another man who was still looking for Thursday were fleeing the robbery when Williams chased them and opened fire, police said.Jackson was shot in the leg and returned fire, killing Williams, police and prosecutors Say.

Antioch detectives referred their findings to the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office, who “choose to charge Jackson with robbery, possession of stolen property and modified firearms,” ​​police said in a statement. But refused to charge him with murder.”

Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office in Martinez, California.
Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office in Martinez, California.Google Map

District Attorney Diana Becton remained silent on the matter until late Thursday, when her office issued a lengthy statement saying the decision not to press murder charges was based on “legal and factual decisions.” .

Deadly force is legally justified as an act of self-defense when life or property is threatened, but one cannot go after someone to retrieve property once the threat of harm subsides, Becton said.

“In the eyes of the law, Mr. Williams no longer acted in self-defense when he pursued Mr. Jackson and another suspect at gunpoint — and continued to pursue Mr. Jackson after he shot him,” she wrote road.

Jackson was charged with second-degree robbery, a special charge involving using a firearm and accepting stolen property worth more than $950 in the case — crimes that could land him up to 15 years in prison — but Not homicide.

The decision shocked girlfriend and colleague Annette Matamoroz, who was in the store when Williams was shot.

“I totally disagree with that,” a tearful Matamoros told NBC News on Thursday. “It’s murder. It’s not like murder; it’s murder. What could it be?”

Assistant Chief U.S. Attorney Simon O’Connell told reporters Friday that surveillance video showed Jackson and his accomplice fleeing the Chevron about 100 feet from Williams, who shot Jackson in the back of the leg.

“He attacked one of the men who was lying on the ground and proceeded to close the approximate distance between him and the two perpetrators of that robbery,” O’Connell said. “Mr Williams fired further into the hose men .”

Because Jackson was injured outside the Chevron, a legal expert said the suspect could have argued he was leaving the scene and had a legal right to protect himself.

“Self-defense is a time concept. So in other words, if this happened in a store, it would be one thing,” said Steven Clark, a San Jose criminal defense attorney and NBC Bay Area legal analyst.

“But when that person runs away, the notion that the clerk is reasonably afraid changes a lot. Now you commit a serious felony, what the robber did, but in that case you can’t execute that person. So the robber then gains the right of self-defense .”

Two Contra Costa County prosecutors met with reporters on Friday and strongly supported the office’s decision. They even suggested that Williams could be in legal jeopardy by opening fire outside the Chevron as the suspect fled.

Deputy Attorney Derek Butts said the charging robbers had “reached a clear distance” when Williams fired nine shots, one of which knocked Jackson down.

“I don’t want to jump to conclusions on that, but I think about how difficult it’s going to be to analyze, the case is going to be, the clerk could now be prosecuted for use of force,” Butz said.

“We’ve had situations where someone used force beyond what was reasonable in self-defense. In this case, because Mr. Williams’ use of force was unreasonable…perhaps based on the outcome of the shooting, he’s going to charge some responsible for the crime.”

The victim’s girlfriend, Matamoros, insisted Williams was not at fault and said he would be alive today “if they hadn’t come to the store”.

“They came with these intentions” — that is, to commit crimes, she said. “They’re not here to shop.”

While he agrees with Becton’s decision not to pursue murder charges, Clark understandably blames her for failing to explain her reasons quickly and forcefully to a concerned and confused public.

Becton didn’t issue a statement until around 5 p.m. PST Thursday, before sending two of her top deputies to meet with reporters at noon Friday to explain the charging decision.

“There’s a common narrative that when you’re the cause of the problem, like a robber, you have less right to self-defense than when you’re the victim, like a store clerk,” Clark said Thursday.

“There could be criticism here. ‘Why are we going to such lengths not to charge an armed robber with murdering an innocent clerk who was protecting his store?’ That seems to be against the law. It seems to defy logic. Prosecutors need to Carefully explain to the public the reasons for this decision.”

Becton said Williams’ death will play a key role in seeking the maximum possible punishment, although Jackson will not be prosecuted for the clerk’s killing.

“The reality of Mr. Williams’ tragic death will be an important factor in the prosecutor’s stance on demanding a higher penalty in sentencing for the accused,” Becton wrote.

Matamoroz worked for the same Chevron company, but she was not at work when Williams was with her before her death.

Matamoros was in the bathroom when Williams told her to stay put.

“He told me: ‘They’re trying to rob this place. Just say sir. Just stay in the bathroom,'” she said.

“He was a loving, caring, genuine guy. You don’t meet too many people like that in your life. He really cared. He cared about people he didn’t even know. He wanted to help everyone. He Wants everyone to be good all the time. If he can make it better, that’s what he’ll do.”

Matamoroz then broke into tears, her voice trailing off: “That’s why I want him here, because he’s going to make this better and I won’t feel that way.”

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