Pregnant victim may have drawn weapon first
Details are still emerging of a road-rage incident in Florida this week which resulted in the fatal shooting of a pregnant woman outside of her house. Her death is tragic, but the circumstances leading to it are still under investigation - and suggest that she may have been the aggressor.
Police body-camera footage of the moments after the shooting which have been released to the public, show that the shooter in the episode appeared to be acting in full compliance with police.
Here's how the incident appeared to go down.
Sara Nicole Morales is reported to have deliberately driven her car, a blue Kia, into a motorcycle being ridden by Andrew Derr. What prompted her to do this is as-yet, unclear.
Derr was uninjured in the collision, and he and other witnesses decided to follow Morales from the scene - presumably to confront her about the collision. This may be where the episode escalated.
Morales led Derr back to her home and went inside to retrieve a licensed handgun. Derr and witnesses remained in the street and called 911, presumably to summon police in the resolution of the incident.
Now armed, Morales confronted Derr with her firearm. Derr has a concealed-carry license and so drew his weapon, presumably believing himself to be in mortal danger - and shot Morales multiple times.
Having already called the police himself, he then lay on the ground, waiting for police to arrive and has fully co-operated with investigators since - in much the same way as can be seen in the body-cam footage.
What it demonstrates
Derr is undoubtedly feeling remorse for the shooting - Morales later died in hospital of her injuries and leaves behind a fiancé and an 11-year-old daughter. But based on accounts so far, and evidence from body-cam footage there can be little doubt that the Derr acted in full compliance with the law and appeared to have shot a licensed weapon in self-defense.
Various reporting of the original road-rage incident suggests that Morales was the aggressor - many have described it as a hit-and-run. Derr may have appeared intimidating, particularly in following her home, but it appears to have been as a means of confronting her about the original episode by calling the police to her home.
The recent verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial has brought the issue of self-defence forward within the public consciousness. If the outcome of that trial shows anything, it's that the threat of lethal force is viewed as legal justification for a gun to be fired.
The fact that Morales saw fit to draw her gun first, suggests that perhaps she too felt she was in mortal danger, although that's yet to be proven and doesn't seem justified based on information currently circulating.
Either way, it's a gun-related death that illustrates that human-judgement plays a big role in the consequences of their use.
Police are yet to file charges.
Do you feel that the prevalence of guns in Florida, even those that are legally-owned has resulted in a safer state? Would you feel comfortable using a gun in self-defense? Let me know in the comments section below.