After shooting of St. Charles robbery suspect, lawyer speaks on when self-defense is legally allowed

Published: Jul. 18, 2022 at 10:31 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ST. CHARLES, Mo. (KMOV) - It was a crime spree of opportunity. Gas stations sitting near empty, off I-70, before sunrise Saturday.

“You don’t see stuff like this around St. Charles that often, especially a guy going on a spree like that, three different places,” Jeff Beckmann said.

In the early hours of Saturday morning, 26-year-old Lance Bush allegedly went to three different gas stations, robbing each of them and holding knives to clerks’ throats. Bush’s last stop was the QuikTrip on First Capitol Drive, where witnesses said he dragged the clerk and held a knife to her throat. Seconds later, a witness confronted Bush, shooting and killing him.

News 4 asked a criminal defense attorney how Missouri law can protect those who act in self-defense. He said once you get into a courtroom, you’re faced with objectivity and subjectivity. However, when you’re acting to protect others and yourself, he said most Missouri law is in your favor.

“There are certain situations where the use of deadly force is justifiable,” Matei Stroescu said.

Stroescu, a local criminal defense attorney, said this could have been that type of situation. With Missouri being a Stand Your Ground Law state, Stroescu said there are different ways self-defense appliies to different scenarios and it’s all fact-specific.

“If the individual is in their dwelling, in their vehicle, or in a residence. Then, there’s just normal self-defense, which applies where a person is lawfully to be. Then, there’s the idea of defense of others,” Stroescu said.

If defending others, Stroescu said, a person’s use of force could be justified. However, calling 911 the attorney said, is always your best option.

“Police are trained to deal with these situations, they have the expertise, they have the resources. I view this self-defense thing as a last resort. I think that’s how it should be viewed. It’s a question of whether or not you’re going to take a life,” Stroescu explained.

News 4 asked the St. Charles County Prosecutor’s office if they’re considering charges against the man who killed the robbery suspect. They told us they’re still waiting on reports from police. St. Charles police told us they’re still investigating this case and it could be a week until it’s finished.