Author Topic: something from over my way  (Read 1926 times)

Offline RJ HEDLEY

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something from over my way
« on: August 13, 2004, 01:30:33 AM »
Published Thursday, August 12, 2004
Store Clerk: `I Did Something I Had to Do'
She says she has no guilt about shooting the would-be robber.

 
Judy Foster of Mister Money U.S.A. says she always imagined what she would do if she was robbed. But she says she never pictured what unfolded Tuesday, when she shot a would-be robber who later died. DAVID MILLS/The Ledger

By Lauren Glenn
The Ledger

HAINES CITY -- Judy Foster had long kept the revolver within reach and had pictured in her mind what would happen if she was ever being robbed.

She would reach for the gun, point it and not back down.

She just hadn't planned on the whole scenario unfolding Tuesday.

Foster had anticipated a day behind the counter of Mister Money U.S.A., working on a crossword puzzle in her free time, barely thinking about the .38-caliber revolver under the cash register of the check-cashing store.

But at 11 a.m. her routine day was interrupted by two hooded men who ran through the door waving guns.

They couldn't have known that Foster, 62, was a former reserve police officer from Fort Collins, Colo., with firearms training.

Maybe they would have shot her, maybe they wouldn't have, Foster said.

But at that moment, Foster said, she thought she was going to die.

"I'm going to be robbed again," she thought.

Two years ago, Foster said, two men attempted to rob the Mister Money U.S.A. store, which Foster and her husband, Bob, own together. That time she pulled out the gun, and although she did not fire, the two men ran.

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Offline RJ HEDLEY

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Re: something from over my way
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2004, 01:31:46 AM »
Continued

 
This time, when the two men came running through the door, their weapons aimed at her, she reached for the gun.

And at the same moment when one of the two men yelled, "You're gonna give it up!" Foster remembers taking three shots, one of which struck would-be robber Thomas Porter Wiley, 24, of Haines City, knocking him to the floor.

After Foster shot him, she said, Wiley jumped up, and he and his accomplice ran from the store and around the corner. Haines City police have identified the accomplice as Zachery Bernard Geddis, 25, of Lake Alfred.

"I saw them run around there," Foster said, indicating the store's plate glass windows and the busy street corner of Fourth Street and Hinson Avenue in Haines City, where the business is located.

"The rest was history," she said.

What Foster did not know, and would not find out until Wednesday, was that the two men ran to a getaway car, which police say was driven by Taurean Jammal Brown, 22, of Davenport.

She did not know until late Tuesday afternoon that Wiley, who had been arrested last year for an armed robbery committed in Osceola County, was discovered less than an hour later in the parking lot of Redwood Apartments in Lake Alfred.

He had died in the same Chevrolet the trio had used to escape, somewhere between Lake Alfred and Haines City.

Police arrested Geddis late Tuesday afternoon at his Lake Alfred home. His first court appearance was Wednesday afternoon when his bail was set at $300,000.

Late Wednesday, Geddis remained in the Polk County Jail and Brown was still at-large.

Foster said that while the situation is regrettable, she does not feel any guilt for opening fire.

"When they came in here with guns, they had an intent," Foster said. "They should have known the consequences. You can't expect someone not to defend their life."

Tuesday night, when she returned home from the Haines City Police Department, Foster said, she did not cry and did not really feel afraid.

She drank two glasses of wine, laid down and went to sleep.

Wednesday morning, she said, she woke up and went about her day as she normally would -- waiting on customers and occasionally working on a crossword puzzle.

The difference was the bevy of admirers and reporters who came and went once the store opened.

"We've had so many well-wishers," Foster said.

Maybe, she said, it's because in some way, her actions Tuesday have provided an example to the community of the importance of being prepared to defend yourself.

But, she said, she doesn't really understand why so many reporters have been contacting her, wanting to tell her story.

"I don't understand it," she said. "I did something I had to do at the moment."

When her husband received a phone call from police, telling him what had happened, his first thought, he said, was, "Oh my God."

Although Bob Foster was in Lakeland, where he had taken his wife's car to be serviced, he was back in Haines City in 30 minutes, Foster said.

"She reacted the only way she could because she was in fear for her life," he said.

This is the second time this year that a robbery victim has turned a gun on a robber.

On June 29, an employee at a Lakeland photo studio shot and wounded an armed robber and a bystander. A Polk County grand jury decided not to charge the employee.

Administrative Assistant State Attorney Chip Thullbery said it has not yet been decided whether to pursue charges against Foster.

"We will review the shooting once police have concluded their investigation," Thullbery said.

Polk County Sheriff's Office Col. Grady Judd said he does not expect any charges to be recommended against Foster.

Lt. Fred Daniell of the Haines City Police Department said the same.

"She had a legal right to protect herself," Judd said.

However, he said, her method of protection is not what he would recommend for everybody.

"Any time that you confront men armed with guns, you're taking a significant personal risk of a shootout and/or death," Judd said. "She took that risk, and they chose not to return fire. So she's alive and well today."

But, Judd said, that is not always the case.

"In my 32 years of experience, I have found that when the other party brandishes a firearm as well, usually there is a shooting, and usually both people end up shot or dead," he said.

"It's risky business to try to pull a gun on someone who already has a gun on you," he said.

In most robbery situations, Daniell said, police would advise just handing over the money, without resistance.

But Foster did not think that was an option for her.

"You go over and over again in your mind what to do but, you don't know until the scenario hits," Foster said. "When you see a gun pointed at you, you think, `I'm going to die.' Saving the money was secondary."

Lauren Glenn can be reached at lauren.glenn@theledger.com or 863-401-6967.

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Offline flyandscuba

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Re: something from over my way
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2004, 05:53:18 AM »
Good for her!  Keep us posted on the DA's actions -- I'd make a contribution to a defense fund for her.
I'm not a gun expert -- but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night...


Offline 9mil.mouse

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Re: something from over my way
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2004, 02:00:21 PM »
Man! She drew on two already drawn guns.  :o  I think she was lucky not to get shot, but good for her. Glad she's all right and only the robber got hurt. Hope the one that's at large gets caught. Can't help wondering if I'd be as calm the next day as she was, I doubt it.

Offline RJ HEDLEY

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Re: something from over my way
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2004, 03:15:46 PM »
The two she when up against were not what you would call Warriors.  They were descendents  of slaves.   :D
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Offline BillinPittsburgh

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Re: something from over my way
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2004, 04:24:50 PM »
Good for her!

Re:  the advice to just comply:  Awhile back in Pittsburgh, a man was robbed in a parking garage 2 blocks from my office.  He complied, and was shot and killed for doing so.
Gentleness can only be expected from the strong.  Ancient Chinese proverb.