Restaurant owners want to arm themselves

August 28, 2008 1:03:29 AM PDT
Police expect to release a suspect sketch Thursday, following the latest East Bay takeover robbery. Two robbers held up the Yuet Foo Seafood Restaurant on Tuesday night in El Cerrito. However, the good news is one of the crooks was not wearing a mask, so witnesses are now helping police create a sketch of the guy.

It gets nerve racking around closing time for a lot of East Bay business owners. Some have hired security guards, and now some are even thinking of packing a little surprise of their own.

The pistol whippings during two takeover robberies, this past weekend, have some East Bay business owners quietly thinking of arming themselves.

"If you give them the money, sometimes they shoot you. If you don't give them the money they still can shoot you, so sometimes you have no choice you have to protect yourself sometimes," says Catarino Piedra, the Coliseum Pizza owner.

Piedra keeps a nine millimeter pistol in his shop.

"He tried to point the gun on me, and when he point the gun on me, I shot once," says Piedra.

In April of 2007, with his family in the restaurant, Piedra killed an armed robber, but Oakland Police discourage business owners from arming themselves.

"I think overwhelmingly if you look at the data, the persons who are armed generally fair more poorly than the persons who are unarmed," says Oakland Police Chief Wayne Tucker.

The increasing violence, however, has some business owners willing to take that risk.

However, what are the risks of being armed and where is the line drawn between self defense and a criminal act?

Police say Piedra was clearly defending himself, but often times, the circumstances fall into a gray legal area leaving the crime victim liable.

"They get into a gun battle. There's some collateral damage. There's a backdrop issue, that is when people are shooting through things, or bullets traveling and hitting innocent persons," says Chief Tucker.

During the malay, Piedra accidently shot his 17-year-old son.

"My kid was behind and that's how he got shot because the bullet went through him and hit my son in the back," said Piedra.

One year later, Piedra says his son is still suffering from the complication after being shot. He feels horrible about it, but he still believes arming himself was a risk worth taking. By the way, his shop has not been robbed since the day of that incident.


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