In 2008, what started as a confrontation in a South Florida Chili’s restaurant ended with a shooting that left two 24-year-old men dead, after Gabriel Mobley went to his car and retrieve a gun. While the trial judge found that Mobley was not immune from prosecution using the state’s Stand Your Ground law, a 2-1 appeals court overturned that finding last week, holding that Mobley was justified in using deadly force.
If the ruling stands, Mobley will be immune from all criminal and civil charges, thanks to the Stand Your Ground law that gained notoriety after the shooting of Trayvon Martin.
The incident started, when two men approached Mobley’s female coworkers sitting at the restaurant bar. Mobley’s friend asked the men to leave, but Mobley later approached them to make peace and explain that there had been a misunderstanding. Later, Mobley became worried when he saw them staring with what he thought was a “mean, cold [look] on his face” and then later banging on the window while standing outside the restaurant. Mobley told his friend he thought they should leave the restaurant. At this point video surveillance footage shows that he went to his car, retrieved his gun, and returned to the front of the restaurant to smoke a cigarette. A few seconds later, one of the two men, Jason Jesus Gonzalez, approached and punched Mobley’s friend, although the details of the scenario are in dispute. Then his friend Rolando Carrazana approached. Mobley said he saw Carrazana reach under his shirt and believed he was pulling out a gun. He began firing shots, delivering critical injuries to both men, who later died. No guns or weapons were found on either man, although two knives were found on the ground nearby.
Mobley was later charged with second-degree murder, but requested a hearing under the Stand Your Ground law to argue that he was entitled to immunity. The trial judge found that he was not, in part because he had returned to his car to get a gun, and fired without issuing any warning that he had a gun or attempting to mitigate the situation first.
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