ANTIOCH, Calif. -- Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton on Thursday said a man who allegedly shot and killed an Antioch gas station employee last weekend is not being charged with murder because the employee had chased the suspects after they had fled from the station's convenience store.
Ronald Jackson III has been charged with robbery, possession of stolen property and a firearm enhancement for the fatal shooting of James Williams early last Saturday morning at a Chevron gas station on Contra Loma Boulevard.
Antioch police said Williams was a clerk at the station who was held up at gunpoint during what appeared to be a "botched robbery."
Becton in a statement expressed "sympathies and condolences" for Williams' family but said a murder charge cannot be filed in the case.
The district attorney said video footage shows that Williams ran after Jackson and another suspect and shot Jackson in the leg, causing him to fall to the ground. Williams then allegedly continued to approach Jackson and pointed his firearm at him when Jackson shot Williams twice, hitting him once in the chest and once in the leg.
"In the eyes of the law, Mr. Williams' actions ceased to be self-defense when Mr. Williams pursued Mr. Jackson and the other suspect with a firearm -- and continued to pursue Mr. Jackson after he shot him," Becton said.
"The legal distinction is clear: when your property and life are being threatened, an individual is legally justified in using deadly force in self-defense," she said. "However, once the threat of harm has dissipated, the victim of a property crime cannot then use deadly force to reclaim stolen property."
Becton said though that if Jackson is convicted of the charges he faces, the death of Williams "will be a substantial factor in the DA's position in asking for greater penalties in the sentencing."
Police and prosecutors have not released any details about the second suspect in the gas station robbery. Antioch police ask anyone with information about the case to contact Detective Duffy at (925) 779-6890 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. People can also text a tip to 74637 (CRIMES) using the keyword ANTIOCH.
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