Surveillance VIDEO Shows Attack, Defensive Shooting, in Walmart

PA: Surveillance VIDEO Shows Attack, Defensive Shooting, in Walmart
PA: Surveillance VIDEO Shows Attack, Defensive Shooting, in Walmart

Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- On Friday, 5 July 2019, two young women attacked a third woman, Rojanai Alston, in a Walmart store in North Versailles, Pennsylvania.  It was about 9:30 p.m.  A an unknown man accompanying Alston intervened and tried to separate the two women attacking the victim from her.

Rojanai had a concealed carry permit, and a handgun, in her purse. As she is resisting the attackers, she manages to pull the pistol from the purse. The young man dives for cover, and the two attackers flee as she fires five shots. It is all shown in the video below.

Then Rojanai, in the heat of the moment, made what may be a significant legal error. She followed one of the attackers for a short distance. It appears one of the attackers is coming back. She fires two more shots. Those shots have landed her in trouble. They connected with her initial attacker. From pennlive.com:

“She was cold-cocked in the head, not once, not twice, but at least three times, and then they attempted to drag her to the ground. And if she didn't have a firearm on her to disperse her two assailants, I don't know if my client would even be alive right now,” Haber said.

Despite this, Alston was held for trial on a charge of aggravated assault, WTAE reports, adding:

Alston initially fired five shots. But seconds later, when the woman who threw the first punch comes back in Alston’s direction, Alston fired two more times, shooting that woman in a finger and an upper thigh. All of the women were interviewed by police.

The Allegheny County District Attorney has said the first five shots were justified, but the last two were not. Rojanai's attorney disagrees. Rojanai has been charged with aggravated assault.  This case will likely be decided by a jury trial. It will be expensive in time, money, and emotional stress.

This is an illustration of how difficult it is to exert calm judgment during and immediately after being attacked. We do not know exactly what was going through Rojanai's mind when she followed her attacker.  Video of that area is not very clear in the clip that has been released. Was her attacker coming back to renew the attack when she fired the last two shots? Was that a reasonable assumption on her part?

It is easy to say that Rojanai should not have followed her attacker. Those judgments are simple to make from the safety of a computer screen when we are not in an adrenaline-charged fight or flight mode.

The legal standard is, when the threat has stopped, the justification for deadly force no longer exists. Was the threat stopped when the two attackers fled? Was the threat re-initiated a few seconds later?

The attackers showed no weapons other than hands and feet that I could see in the video. The conventional wisdom is, once they started to flee, let them go. This case shows the wisdom of believing each bullet fired has a lawyer attached to it.

Whatever the jury decides, Rojanai will be paying the price, from large to extremely heavy.


About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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MB
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MB

A few conks on the head, she might have been a little dazed and not processing 100% . While this was not a text book self defense case, nobody is in the morgue, damage to building is her responsibility but I doubt that’s the real issue. The issue is does she retain her freedom. I would vote yes, but with a caveat that she is required to do community service and get some certified pistol training and pass a course.

mr98036
Member
mr98036

Everyone commenting seems to have missed the fact that she was hit in the head several times. in the video one attacker can be seen taking something from a shelf and hitting her with it. This would cause most people to have a problem being calm and rational.

mlhtd51
Member
mlhtd51

When your Attackers are within 20 ft of you, You are In Big Trouble. The first five shots were justified?? Maybe fired one Straight Up then Reassessed. A Finger and an Upper Thigh for Injuries after 7 Shots, I’m thinking we need a Lot Of Practice

Will
Member
Will

@TP,it’s obvious that this person has had zero training. She is nothing but a public hazard ! Like I said,it’s amazing that no innocent people in that store weren’t wounded or killed.

RoyD
Member
RoyD

The search I did shows that there are no “training” requirements to obtain a PA concealed carry permit. Which is just as well as most CC “training requirements” are little more than a joke. But, people need to be held accountable for every round they fire. Wal-Mart should sue her for damage incurred by her errant rounds. This is the primary reason I take just a little more time while shooting a USPSA match. I don’t want any rounds to hit a non-threat or miss the target altogether. That way I’ll more likely do the same, hopefully, in a “real”… Read more »

Will
Member
Will

@RoyD,great comment !

Mark-Z
Member
Mark-Z

Or can you say Great Attitude instead? You seem to have the right attitude about having an errant round anyway, I will leave it to others more knowledgeable about what else might be required.

Rattlerjake
Member
Rattlerjake

Why should Walmart sue HER? Maybe they should sue the four gorilla beatches that attacked her and caused her to react with gunfire! Besides, Walmart has insurance and the likely small damage done is far less than a few jars broken in an isle.

“Cleanup Isle 7!”

Rattlerjake
Member
Rattlerjake

So which innocent person was wounded or killed? Or maybe you just don’t know what a double negative is!

To react sanely in all situations is impossible! And in an instance where you are attacked by multiple assailants, sanity goes out the window. The average person responds with an instinctive fight or flight reaction. I thought she did pretty good for the situation. I’m sure an internet hero like you would have done everything perfectly, but “we’re” all not YOU!

Wild Bill
Member
Wild Bill

@51, You write, ” Maybe fired one Straight Up then Reassessed.” It is not a sentence so I don’t exactly know what you mean. Would it be wrong to conclude that you don’t like air traffic?

Will
Member
Will

Assuming she really had a CCW,the great news is that she won’t much longer. It’s really hard to believe that Pa would issue a CCW to her.

Ed
Member
Ed

Why is it hard to believe?

Will
Member
Will

Refer to video ! It’s self explanatory !

Rattlerjake
Member
Rattlerjake

Why don’t you go back to sucking up to your leftist buttbuddies? You seem to forget that self-defense is seldom a book perfect incident. Did she make mistakes, MAYBE! But there aren’t a lot of people who wouldn’t have reacted the same way she did. It’s easy for internet heroes to second guess what should or could have been done, but in the heat of the moment perfection goes out the window, especially when you’ve knocked “silly” several times.

Wild Bill
Member
Wild Bill

@Rattler, that knocked silly several times is a very pivotal fact.

Link
Member
Link

Pa is a must issue state, they do a background check first.
Must suck for you that a anti-gun shit like you does not like that.
Not everyone is a super tough guy Rambo like you are mr. Keyboard warrior.
All you post is divisive crap that has no support for the second amendment and gun ownership.

RoyD
Member
RoyD

Hey Link, how are Pete and Julie doing?

Poppy Wayne
Member
Poppy Wayne

The way it looked to me, she didn’t give chase but was making sure they were leaving, which apparently, one chose not to. Two against one is what I would consider a deadly assault even if they just brought hands & feet to the fight. I know, I MIGHT be able to fend off one attacker fist to fist but two is out of this old man’s price range, so guess what? If I were on the jury with that as the only hard evidence, I would have to go with self-defense, even for the two extra shots. She had… Read more »

Rattlerjake
Member
Rattlerjake

A sign of intelligence that comes from age, well said!

RoyD
Member
RoyD

My only problem with her actions is that she let a number of rounds fly through the store where anyone could have been hit. Other than that I have to go with that old saying, “Don’t start none, there won’t be none.”

Rattlerjake
Member
Rattlerjake

I’d be willing to bet you wouldn’t do any better in that same situation! You can say you would, but it’s nothing but talk. When you’ve actually been there then come back and tell us how it went.

It’s NOT her fault if someone else gets hit, it is the fault of the 4 gorilla beatches that attacked her. If they hadn’t attacked, there would have been no need for self-defense and possible collateral casualties.

pieslapper
Member
pieslapper

Were there crab legs involved?

Will
Member
Will

It’s a miracle that the fool didn’t cap some innocent bystanders.

option31
Member
option31

In the heat of the moment after being attacked I can see where you would not think and follow, legal error yes. However the story states one of the attackers was coming back. For what reason, to shoot or other attack her again? How would you know? Ifcyouvwere the attacker and was shot at and escaped would you go back? I would say the attacker was coming back to finish the job. This is a case where knowing your rights and duties as a jury member is critical. Our job and duty is to look at the facts and decide… Read more »

Ej harbet
Member
Ej harbet

I’d say not guilty of whatever they charge her with.
Shirts need ironing when they act a fool