Shooting after Fleeing Waffle House Robbers Raises Questions

By David Codrea

It looks like not all “customers” are against Waffle House corporate's “No Guns” policy to “make everyone feel welcome.” Some even (allegedly) rely on it. (Photo: Coweta County Sheriff's Office)

USA – -( “A local waitress who fired her gun at three fleeing robbers is now out of a job,” The Newnan Times Herald reported Monday. “Heather ‘Shorty’ Burkinshaw-Stanley learned Friday by phone that she was terminated from her job at Waffle House a day after the restaurant was robbed.”

Several facts seem clear:

A trio of men reportedly threatened to shoot everyone in the building if their demand for cash was not met.

Despite a corporate ban on customers bringing personal firearms on its premises under the guise of “policies that make everyone feel welcome,” Waffle House locations have been prime targets for welcoming armed robbers – including “a surge in robberies at Newnan-area Waffle Houses.”

A simple web search shows the policy is anything but effective. That means the predators feel they can expect minimal resistance. And Waffle House management knows that, but still insists on employee and customer defenselessness.

As to the incident resulting in the waitress being fired, there are lessons here that all gun owners should have learned and that hopefully, will sink in with her.

“After they departed on foot, Stanley retrieved a gun from her own car in the parking lot and fired over the heads of the robbers,” the report elaborated.

“I wasn’t sure if they were coming back or not,” Stanley explained. “I was in fear for my life, my co-workers’ lives, and I did what I thought was right.”

Perhaps retrieving a gun in case the robbers returned was prudent. But firing a gun over the suspects' heads as they fled – a tactic I’ve not seen taught by any accredited trainer – certainly would make for a problematic legal defense. Not only does it violate Jeff Cooper’s Rule 4 of gun safety, a quick look at the Waffle House location shows it is in an area with other restaurants, hotels, businesses and well-traveled roads. As another story from over the weekend shows, what goes up must come down, and sometimes with injurious results.

There’s one other important lesson, and that’s after you’ve been involved in a shooting, shut up about it. Don’t try to justify yourself to the media and especially never talk to the police without benefit of counsel. Ms. Stanley had better hope her GoFundMe page, set up to offset her loss of income, doesn’t turn into a legal defense fund plea.

There’s also a final question, one some of us have been asking for some time: Why would anyone who believes in the right to keep and bear arms patronize Waffle House?

David Codrea in his natural habitat.

About David Codrea:

David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating / defending the RKBA and a long-time gun rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament.

In addition to being a field editor/columnist at GUNS Magazine and associate editor for Oath Keepers, he blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.

  • 21 thoughts on “Shooting after Fleeing Waffle House Robbers Raises Questions

    1. I don’t support anti gun companies with my money, but that is just me. I don’t subscribe to any papers and have cut the cord on tv so no money toward the networks. Waffle House is on that same list.

    2. Their policy is crap and the Waffle Houses in Little Rock AR have been easy targets for crooks. They have been going in and even taking the cash registers and this has happened in many of them

    3. Do not do business with those who refuse legal CCW. It is just that simple. They have the right to refuse you service and you in turn, have the right to not give them your business. Your safety and well being means much more than their corporate policy.

    4. The waitress was wrong to shoot over the perp’s heads – as already stated, in a built-up area, the bullet is likely to hit SOMEthing or SOMEone not involved in the robbery. Very bad judgement – almost as bad as Waffle House’s victim disarmament zone policy.

      I live in Texas, where the places I cannot legally carry a concealed weapon are either explicitly spelled out in the law (secure area of an airport, courtrooms, etc.) or must display conspicuous signage which meets the exact requirements spelled out in the Texas Penal Code. Other than things like airports and courtrooms when called for jury duty, I have not set foot in any business that prohibits concealed carry. No concealed carry for me means none of my hard-earned cash for them – and I have plenty of other choices available.

      1. Hank,

        Here in Oklahoma, also, certain “prohibited” areas (courtrooms, prisons, schools, etc) are specified in legislation… where even lawful gun owners are not to carry firearms at all… openly or concealed. I refuse to go to any of those places, under any circumstances.

        Unlike Texas, however, in this state signs at any other places are merely indications of owner preference, and those signs DO NOT carry weight of law. If a licensed concealed carrier is discovered on a property – especially despite a displayed “no guns” sign – the property owner (manager, etc) can simply ask the gun carrier to leave. A licensed gun carrier must indeed leave if asked to do so, or the property owner can call police and press trespassing (misdemeanor) charges… but no firearms-related charges (misdemeanor or felony) apply to such an incident [unless, of course, the carrier commits a separate act of violence].

        I carry (concealed only!) at all times, in all places. I pose no offensive threat of any kind, to any human being anywhere (and I never will)… I’m merely prepared to legally defend myself and my family against severe threats. So far, I have never had any kind of problem with property owners… although I certainly would quietly leave any premises I was asked to leave.

      2. You might want to E-mail your local state Rep and Senator to vote against the bill that was pre-filed by a SA Rep (Democrat, of course), to change the signage law to permit smaller signs that could be downloaded from the DPS website, with a “gun-busters” logo and some still unspecified wording.
        I think that anyplace that wants to limit my civil right to self-defense ought, at the very least, to be required to make the damn sign BIG, so it can be seen when I drive past. I don’t want to go park in a big parking lot somewhere and then discover after walking all the way in to the front door, that there is a little “letter or postcard sized” sign infringing my rights. I ought to be able to see it when I just drive past their front doors.

    5. You carry concealed for a reason, unless it’s a federal or state building that doesn’t permit carrying, screw the signs, I never read signs in th first place. Most are illegal and are not written up to state code.

    6. No doubt these 3 scum will go on and probably kill some innocent people. Employee should have dropped all 3 with LETHAL shots and she should be re-instated at her job. The threat of bodily harm was still in effect. The scum could have easily returned and killed people.

      1. As much as it might seem to be proper street justice and satisfy the anger and soul, shooting when you are not threatened NOW is not justified. If you pull the trigger you really need to do so terminate the threat, not after the threat has left.
        TV shows and movies NEVER get it right. TV news probably wants to keep up the “bad” shoots because at upper levels they want guns banned.

        Learn the law. Always carry. Be prepared to shoot center mass on all the perps in order of their immediate threat. Be sure to stop shooting when the threat is over. Before giving police any more than your name and address, get a lawyer. Don’t talk to the news media, they will misquote you and it will come back to bite you below the holster belt line.

    7. I do not go to any place that has restriction on my personal safety. I have a C.C.P. from the state which should allow me to carry my weapon every place I go. I have the right to protect myself, friends and family. This is an invite to all thieves to come and take what they want. I want to thank the lady for what she did and I still will not eat at a waffle garbage dump!!!

      1. @Sailboatbum, I like every thing that you wrote, except the word allow. From where does any state get the authority to allow or restrict us from carrying the weapons of our choice. A federal government, a state government, a county government, a city government, and even a corporation are merely creatures of statute. People created them, and now somehow they are our masters. That makes no sense.

    8. Well if my gun is not welcome at the Waffle House then neither am I !!
      Want be eating at any Waffle House EVER AGAIN

    9. I live near and have ate at the Waffle House that was robbed…I have chosen to not patronize Waffle House for several years. I made sure the management knew why. There response was that corporate makes the rules and stated “just don’t let your gun be seen” when you carry and it won’t be a problem….

      What Waffle House corporate does not get is that this very public policy is a neon beacon for criminals to come and feed on the customers.

    10. I agree with Mr. Codrea , to fire at the fleeing felons is a mistake. The first mistake though being HAVING to retrieve a weapon from her car was the biggest mistake. And not that I have not eaten at my local waffle house , I have but due to this anti gun rhetoric I will no longer eat there.

    11. It may be corporate policy that guns are not allowed, but it doesn’t hold water. The Waffle House where I live does not have a “no firearms” or “no weapons” sign on or near the door as required by state law. Thus, on the rare occasion I get a craving to eat grease-covered food on grease-covered plates with grease-covered utensils – I CARRY.

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