Virginia Store Clerk Escapes Prosecution After Shooting Fleeing Thug in the Back

The Little B Convenience Store. (Photo: Google Maps)

A clerk at a convenience store in Virginia will not be prosecuted for shooting and killing a man who had robbed the store at gunpoint, a grand jury decided this week.

After viewing multiple angles of surveillance video and hearing eyewitness testimony, the grand jury determined that the clerk acted in self-defense when he shot and killed Milton Terrell Gaithers, 35, at the Little B Convenience Store last June.

Video footage shows Gaithers enter the store wearing a black hoodie and a black mask, according to a report from the Southside Messenger. Gaithers struck the clerk in the face with the muzzle of his gun and demanded that the clerk empty the cash register.

Gaithers began to leave after the clerk surrendered the register’s cash and change, but returned to get the money from the lottery register. After stuffing the lottery cash in his bag Gaithers began to leave again, but walked back to the counter a second time to demand a packet of Newport cigarettes.

Gaithers’ repeated returns likely provided partial justification for the clerk’s self-defense case. The clerk testified that after Gaithers finally left the store, he grabbed a .380 handgun and walked to the door because he feared the would-be robber would come back to the counter.

When the clerk saw Gaithers still standing in the parking lot, he fired a warning shot into the air, which was captured on the surveillance footage. Gaithers shot at the clerk over his shoulder, and the clerk returned fire with 4-5 rounds at Gaithers’ fleeing back.

One of the bullets struck Gaithers, and he died shortly thereafter.

Officials told the Messenger that Gaithers had known affiliation with the “Fifth Ward Gang” out of Petersburg according to State Agent Dawn Leslie, and had an extensive criminal record of six felonies, including Drug Distribution Near School Property, Burglary, Grand Larceny, Auto Larceny, Probation Violations, and misdemeanor assaults.  He served a three-and-a-half-year prison sentence in 2004 and a year-and-a-half in 2015, as well as briefer jail sentences in between.

Two details from this incident stand out from a self-defense perspective.

First, the Southside Messenger reports that after suffering a fatal gunshot wound Gaithers was still able to run across the rest of the parking lot, across Main Street, and down to Sixth Street until he collapsed in front of the Nazarene Church of Victoria.

Google Maps indicates a distance of approximately 250 ft. between the store and the church, highlighting once again the importance of situational awareness even after a perpetrator has been shot.

Second, the autopsy revealed that Gaithers was struck twice in the back with a .380 caliber bullet, but only one of the shots actually penetrated the skin. The other shot landed on his buttocks and the round fell off his body when police turned him over.

About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over two years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Waco.

{ 15 comments… add one }
  • LG July 27, 2018, 9:49 am

    ” … struck twice in the back with a .380 caliber bullet, but only one of the shots actually penetrated the skin. ” I think I shall retire my PPKS/380. If only I could find a decent piece in 30 Tok. Penetration guaranteed, perhaps a little overboard in a crowd

  • Phil September 24, 2017, 11:28 am

    The clerk should have stopped saying “Thank you, Come AGAIN.”

  • Dave September 24, 2017, 7:11 am

    It’s likely that the shot that hit the perp in the butt hit his wallet or something metal in his pocket. Because there is no way a .380 round would just bounce off flesh covered with a single layer of fabric, when an identical round fired from the same weapon inflicted a fatal wound. There is no mention of the distance between the clerk and the perp, when the shots were fired, but even at 25 yards a .380 will easily penetrate a 2×4, if using BALL ammo. Moral of the story — practice shot placement, and avoid hollowpoints in small caliber weapons. Any caliber can be fatal if the round is well placed.

  • gsf1200 September 23, 2017, 11:07 pm

    If the 380 is a woefully inadequate round for self defense, why is the perp dead, and the clerk alive?

  • bjg September 22, 2017, 8:01 pm

    Surprised the Defense didn’t say he was on his way to Church when the Store owner shot him.

  • Mike Watkins September 22, 2017, 6:10 pm

    Win for the clerk, who is fortunate to live and work in a place where liberal courts and judges did not try to hang him for defending himself. Fortunate as well that his mighty .380 got the job done.

    Win for the perp too–he got his much-deserved Darwin Award.

    And of course it’s a TRIPLE WIN, as this saved the taxpayers a bundle in future costs.

    Sympathy for the perp or his family? Not so much.

  • Sly September 22, 2017, 3:13 pm

    When doing crime, death is often near, did not his creator tell him he would die today. I will not allow a man with a gun in his hand to take what i work for. I will take his life and tell the Judge the same thing. I been carrying for 25 years i have never had to pull my gun, but i have had a lot of pratice

  • Vic vapor September 22, 2017, 12:54 pm

    very vey lucky store clerk.
    Score another one for the 380.

  • Mark September 22, 2017, 12:41 pm

    Sounds like the clerk got EXTREMELY lucky with the fatal shot that “pierced the skin.” I can only assume that the round that “landed” on the perp’s butt had to pass through tougher fabric. Whatever the case, this only confirms that the .380 is a woefully inadequate round for self defense.

  • David September 22, 2017, 12:40 pm

    Nice shooting………… less in the world…..

  • Ed September 22, 2017, 11:36 am

    use at least a 9mm,
    ran almost 250 ft, thats more than enough to return for the 4th time to do more harm..
    no more tax payers money for the care of the a-hole

  • Infidel762x51 September 22, 2017, 8:05 am

    The scumbag was still armed so he was still a threat both to the clerk and anyone he may have encountered during his attempted escape. Now if he dad dropped his weapon while fleeing that would be a different story.

  • Ed September 22, 2017, 7:34 am

    As long as a criminal is carrying a gun in his/her hand during an established crime, the threat is ongoing no matter if their back is to you or not. I am so tired of criminals getting the benefit of the doubt, even to the point of being able to sue.

  • Russ September 18, 2017, 1:58 pm

    I have to clean up my comment I guess. Didn’t use a single curse word or a word that was not politically correct the first time. I am glad the victim of the robbery wasn’t badly hurt and is not being prosecuted. I am glad the robbery suspect is dead. How pathetic.

  • Russ September 18, 2017, 1:50 pm

    This happening more often to this type of savage scum will make these scumbag stick up men think twice before commiting an armed robbery. If it doesn’t then it’s natural selection at work. Glad the victim of the robbery won’t be prosecuted, and the scumbag is feeding the worms. No more EBT, obama phone, or section 8 housing for him ever again. Win, win situation.

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