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What's Up Sheepdogs? Ryan here with Tampa Carry.
What would you do if someone attempted to kidnap your three year son? As a parent imagining one of my children being abducted sends chills down my spin. However for Cassandra this was a real life story of survival.
Cassandra is a single mother of a beautiful three year old boy, MJ. For the past week Cassadra and MJ were on vacation in Orlando. Cassandre was inside of her hotel room packing up with the front door open.
Suddenly MJ said “Mom who’s that?” When Cassandra turned around she noticed a man standing in the doorway. “Do you have a lighter?” the man asked “No, Get out of my doorway!” Cassandra said in her protective motherly voice. The man stepped inside of the room. “Wow your son is really beautiful and his skin is amazing” the man said as he bent over and picked up MJ.
Cassandra launched into momma bear mode and slapped the man's hands away from MJ. For several minutes this strange man and Cassandra violently fought inside of the hotel room. Unfortunately the man was able to gain the upper hand over Cassandra and pinned her to the bed.
“Run MJ. He's trying to steal you!” Cassandra screamed as the man was violently attacking her. Mj immediately ran out of the room. The man hit Cassandra one more time and ran after Mj. When Cassandra exited her room she could see Mj’s head stick out from a wall he was hiding behind. Cassandra rushed to get to her son before the attacker. The man wouldn’t stop his violent attack so Cassandra continued to fight down the hallway.
Several other hotel guests saw what was happening and decided to turn their backs to this desperate mother. Cassandra told me during her concealed carry permit course in Tampa that the man was making it seem like he was the father. I'm not sure if these eye witnesses wanted to avoid the confrontation or if they truly believed this was a domestic situation. But they decided to walk away while a young women was desperately screaming for help.
What is Cassandra legally allowed to do in this situation according to Florida Concealed Carry Law? Let’s ask ourselves the big questions.
The Big Questions
How Could this Situation Have Been Avoided?
This entire situation could’ve been avoided if Cassandra would have had the front door to her hotel room shut and locked. As I’ve mentioned thousands of times before the wolves are looking for easy prey. When the wolf identified that the hotel room door was open and Cassandra‘s back was to the door he saw an easy target. We have to avoid putting ourselves in situations like this if we truly want to keep ourselves in our family member safe.
What Self Defense Options Could have been Used?
I definitely think Cassandra was well within her rights to use physical force to attempt to stop the man from kidnapping MJ. However would this situation meet the requirements of the Florida Castle doctrine law?
Does this Scenario Fall Under the Castle Doctrine?
Florida Statutes 776.013 (4) A person who unlawfully and by force enters or attempts to enter a person's dwelling, residence or occupied vehicle is presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an unlawful act involving force or violence.
Was the attacker entering or attempting to enter a dwelling? Yes the attacker entered Cassandra’s dwelling.Here is the statutory definition for the term dwelling.
Florida Statute 776.013(5)(a) Dwelling means a building or conveyance of any kind, including any attached porch, whether the building or conveyance is temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, which has a roof over it, including a tent, and is designed to be occupied by people lodging therein at night.
Is the attacker entering or attempting to enter unlawfully? Yes this man does not have a legal right to be inside of Cassandra‘s hotel room therefore this would be an unlawful entry.
Is the attacker entering or attempting to enter by force? No the attacker did not enter by force. In order for the attacker to have entered the The hotel room door would have to be shut.
Due to the fact that this strange man did not enter Cassandra‘s hotel room by force Cassandra would not have a legal right to use or threaten the use of deadly force under the Florida Castle doctrine law. However this situation could meet the requirements for using deadly force under the justified use of force Statute.
Does this Scenario Fall Under the Justified Use of Force Statute?
Florida Statutes 776.012 (2) A person is justified in using or threatening to use deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. A person who uses or threatens to use deadly force in accordance with this subsection does not have a duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground if the person using or threatening to use the deadly force is not engaged in a criminal activity and is in a place where he or she has a right to be.
Do you have a responsible belief of imminent death? It depends when the man first entered the room and attacked I would say Cassandra does not have a reasonable belief of imminent death. However It is possible that Cassandra was in fear for her life. Please remember that just because Cassandra may have a reasonable belief of imminent death it doesn’t mean that this opinion would be shared by the jury.
Do you have a responsible belief of the imminent commission of a forcible felony?
Florida Statutes 776.08 Forcible felony.—“Forcible felony” means treason; murder; manslaughter; sexual battery; carjacking; home-invasion robbery; robbery; burglary; arson; kidnapping; aggravated assault; aggravated battery; aggravated stalking; aircraft piracy; unlawful throwing, placing, or discharging of a destructive device or bomb; and any other felony which involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against any individual.
In my opinion the only forcible felony that could apply would be kidnapping. Here is the statutory definition for kidnapping.
Kidnapping F.S. 787.01 (1)(a) means forcibly, secretly or by threat confining, abducting or imprisoning another person against her or his will and without lawful authority, with intent to: 1. Hold for ransom or reward or as a shield or hostage. 2. Commit or facilitate commission of any felony. 3. Inflict bodily harm upon or to terrorize the victim or another person. 4. Interfere with the performance of any governmental or political function.
Is the use of deadly force necessary? If this situation truly is an attempted kidnapping then I would believe that the use or threatened use of deadly force would be necessary.
Are you in a place where you have a right to be? Yes Cassandra at a hotel as a guest and she had a legal right to be there.
Are you engaged in criminal activity? It does not appear that Cassandra was engaged in criminal activity.
Where is the Line in the Sand?
Cassandra originally shared the story with me during the live fire portion of her concealed carry permit course. One of the questions that I always ask when students have wild and crazy stories like this is “if you would’ve had a firearm what would you have done?”
“I would’ve shot him“ Cassandra said “Ok, at what point would you have shot him” I asked “As soon as he stepped into my hotel room” she responded boldly.
Unfortunately Cassandra is a perfect example of someone who does not understand when a person is allowed to use deadly force. If Cassandra would’ve shot this man simply for stepping into her hotel room I believe she will go to prison. But that doesn’t mean the use of a firearm is completely void in the situation.
For me at the line in the sand would be if the attacker actually grabbed one of my children and attempted to take them I would have zero hesitation in using deadly force.
What Would You Do?
If you were staying at a hotel and somebody attempted to kidnap your child what would you do? Do you carry her firearm 100% of the time you are legally allowed to including when you’re on a family vacation? Do your children know exactly what to do if someone ever attempts to abduct them? This is not a conversation that any of us enjoy having with our children but it is an important one so I encourage you to talk to your kids today about this important topic.
The Rest of The Story
While holding her baby and attempting to fight off a violent attacker, Cassandra did something that she felt was the only option to keep her baby safe.
She threw her 3 year old son over the balcony on the second floor of her hotel. I could only imagine the fear that was inside of Cassandra as she made this decision and frankly kids are more durable than we think. Once when my daughter Paisley was three or four months old I dropped her on her head and she bounced.
Thankfully MJ was ok and the kidnapper was arrested. This story has a happy ending but I think Cassandra learned a valuable lesson that violent evil things can happen extremely fast and you will either be ready or you will be a victim. Cassandra got her Florida concealed carry permit so that if something like this ever happens again she has the ability to keep her self and her family safe.
That's all I have for today. So until next time keep training and stay safe...Talk to you soon,
Ryan G. Thomas
P.S. You’re one step away from getting your Florida concealed carry permit….FAST & EASY…
And for a limited time you can watch the concealed carry course online for free... Click here to get started...
Ryan G. Thomas
Ryan believes a trained and aware citizen is the best way to minimize crime, victims and senseless acts of violence. Ryan is a veteran of the United States Air Force and a father of three beautiful children. Ryan and his wife Tiffany met while doing inner city ministry for Operation Explosion in Tampa 12 years ago. He is passionate about God, his family, and his community. Ryan has a passion for the 2nd amendment and believes all Americans should have the right and ability to protect themselves and their families.