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Read & React: French Jeweler Shoots Robber, Charged with Murder

by G&A Online Editors   |  September 19th, 2013 71
French jeweler

Police cordone the area outside the jewelry store La Turquoise in Nice, France, after the store's owner, Stephan Turk, shot and killed a 19-year-old robber, Alexandra Asli, on Wednesday, Sept. 11. (Photo by JC Magnenet/AFP)

Generally speaking, most of the self-defense stories we hear about come from the United States. It’s interesting, then, when international stories of citizens protecting themselves from harm within legal boundaries hit our desk.

Just as they can in America, however, that fine line between what is and isn’t allowed while defending yourself, your family or your property can easily be crossed.

According to the French news website The Local, Stephan Turk, a 67-year-old jeweler from the town of Nice on the French Riviera, shot and killed an armed robber, 19-year-old Anthony Asli, who tried to flee after holding the jeweler at gunpoint around 9 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11.

Witnesses say Asli and another man robbed Turk at his shop, La Turqoise, then made their escape on a scooter. Turk pursued the men on the adjacent street and fired a 7.65×17 mm—or .32 ACP—semi-automatic pistol at the men, striking Asli, who was pronounced dead at the scene shortly thereafter. Turk was arrested and charged with voluntary manslaughter, as prosecutors allege Turk fired his gun at a time when he was no longer in danger.

“After he was threatened the jeweler grabbed his firearm, moved toward the metal shutters, crouched and fired three times. He said he fired twice to immobilize the scooter and a third time he fired because he said he felt threatened,” said Nice prosecutor Eric Bedos, who added Turk’s pistol was in fact illegal. “I’m convinced that he fired to kill his aggressor. When he fired, his life was no longer in danger.”

Even Asli’s sister reached out to media to condemn Turk.

“He shot a kid in the back. He’s a traitor, he’s a coward,” Alexandra Asli told reporters.

Despite the charges levied against him, millions of people across the Internet are showing their support for Turk. A Facebook page called “Soutien au bijoutier de Nice”—meaning “Support to Nice jeweler”—already has 1.6 million fans; social media tracking sites show over 79 percent of those users are from France, while .4 percent hail from the U.S.

It’s interesting to see the reaction from French citizens apparently fed up with a perceived plague of delinquency and violence in their cities, particularly coming from Europe, which doesn’t exactly have a friendly rapport with private gun ownership.

Still, there are parallels to be made with American self-defense laws. In Peoria, Ill., where G&A’s online office is located, the fact that the robbers had already made their getaway wouldn’t be enough of a defense to justify the shooting, and the argument that Turk was simply fed up with robbers and thugs certainly wouldn’t hold up.

What do you think? Was Turk justified in firing at the robbers at that point, or was it no longer personal defense at that point?

  • MrApple

    I support the jeweler!
    The 19 year old was killed while committing a crime. Crime is inherently a dangerous “occupation”. He took the risk and has to live, or die, with the consequences of his actions.

    • TedCrunch

      The thief was no longer committing a crime. The crime had been committed and he was running away. I’m all for using a gun in self-defense, but the jeweler wasn’t acting in self-defense. His was an act of revenge.

      • MrApple

        He was acting in defense of his business, his livelihood, and by extension his life. The thief took the chance, rolled the dice of life, and lost. As I said before and still stand by it, “I support the jeweler!”

      • ZENPATRIOT

        The criminal was attempting to avoid arrest after committing a crime – that IS a crime! It was not revenge, it was attempting to halt a fleeing felon, which IS justifiable!

      • Ron47

        What you’re “all for” is allowing criminals to get away without facing the consequneces of their actions.

      • nadadhimmi

        Of course the getaway is part of the crime. Are you saying the instant the robber left the store the crime was over? how ridiculous. So robber’s now have the right to dictate exactly when and where their illegal activity starts AND stops? Robber’s can say” My crime is over now, you can’t touch me”? Nobody has mentioned if the Jeweler got his property back from the criminals. He has the right to recover his property or else what are the Police for? Recovering your property is now revenge? If that is the case, then isn’t calling the Police and asking them to recover your stolen property revenge also? The 19 year punk got what he asked for and deserved. FREE THE JEWELER.

  • squareWave

    Monsieur Turk would be in trouble even in the most defense-friendly states in the US. With the robbers already fleeing, it’s hard to make the case that it was a justified shooting.

    Still though, I certainly sympathize with him. The deceased is responsible for his own demise by having chosen to live as a violent criminal.

  • JohnC

    Life is defensible by taking life. Property is not. Once the robber stopped threatening him and left his store it was then an issue of theft to be dealt with in normal channels, however frustrating. Perhaps Mr. Turk’s greatest error was not having the gun accessible when the robbers entered his store. Then it would have been a completely justifiable self defense shooting.

    • Richard

      He had the barrel of a 12 gauge pump action in his face. Not such a comfortable position to reach for a gun, is it? When the two bastards left that’s when he reached for it.

    • Sunshine Kid

      I love the ‘normal channels’ idea. Yeah, have them in court to be released later to come back and do the crime again. Doesn’t it occur to you that such ‘normal channels’ thinking is only good for the criminals?

  • AZ Thunder

    JohnC. Excellent. My thoughts and words exactly. I sympathize with Turk, but shooting because you’re angry is wrong, no matter how inept or failing justice might be.

  • JONES FROM TEXAS

    It’s extremely difficult to understand how trying to protect your property from should be against the law. where is the concern for an honest man whose lively hood was being attacked????

    • Chris Reynolds

      I agree, but the arguement is “you have insurance”. That is how the gov will spin it to YOU being the criminal.

      • Sunshine Kid

        So your point would be let the criminal go free and have the insurance pay the price for their act? Kind of like robbery by proxy approved by liberals and condoned by the victims. When are criminals going to face the consequences of their acts?

        • Chris Reynolds

          I didn’t say that. I said, that is THEIR justification for you not being allowed to kill said criminal. Don’t twist my words. I even said “That is how the gov will spin it to YOU being the criminal.” It’s half of my comment!

          • Sunshine Kid

            You did indeed. Sorry if I made it sound like you were being in favor of letting the insurance companies pick up the tab, which I think you and I agree is a bad thing.

    • TedCrunch

      It’s not against the law to protect your property. It’s against the law to shoot somebody who is running away. It was an act of revenge. If the jeweler had shot the guy while having a gun pointed at him, that would have been justified, and he wouldn’t have been charged.

      • ArmedPatriot

        Absolutely agree.
        I am not distressed, however, that one more violent felon is dead.

  • Joe Sobotka

    Although I can sympathize with Mr Turk. The shooting was not justified. He was no longer in danger. Had he pulled his firearm while the robbers gun was pointed at him,,, thats a different story.

  • displacedjim

    It wasn’t self-defense, but it was shooting an armed and dangerous felon who was fleeing arrest. Every man ought to be able to defend not just his life, but also his property, with the minimum level of force available and sufficient to affect the arrest of the criminal committing a felony crime.

  • Frank Demundo

    The heart of self defense justification is you must be under a threat to life or limb when you defend yourself- once the the criminal thugs left the shop the threat was no longer present. Sorry Sir- you should have shot them in the store.

  • Bob Smith

    Don’t worry Turk.. you won’t sit to long.. the perp is dead.. one less piece of garbage to take out..

  • FLShooter

    I agree with squareWave 100%! Even in gun-friendly U.S. states he’d be facing a felony. Deadly force is justified ONLY when defending against an imminent threat. A fleeing person is not a threat.

    • Sunshine Kid

      That is an infringement on the right to bear arms. Bearing arms means to USE THEM. You seem to forget that criminals make the decision to be criminals. They should have been taught from the earliest of age that is bad, but the liberals WANT to give criminals rights, and release criminals back into society on the flimsiest of excuses, such as ‘violation of the Miranda law’.

      If a criminal is not ‘read his rights’ that should not mean he goes free because of the mistake of an officer of the law; the officer of the law should be likewise reprimanded, fined or whatever in order to make officers of the law more aware of their duties.

      But criminals are consistently released on the flimsiest of excuses by the courts. The COURTS should be administering justice, not looking for ways to let criminals go free.

      • dylanpolk

        Interesting argument, Kid, but the rights criminals have—due process, right to a jury of one’s own peers, etc.—are rights guaranteed to all Americans by the Bill of Rights. If you’re going to defend one of them—like the Second Amendment—you should be prepared to defend all those rights.

        Dylan Polk
        G&A Social Media Editor

        • Sunshine Kid

          I stand by my post: The courts should try any case and if there are irregularities, those should be addressed by the court and fines, etc. meted to the arresting authorities, not dismissing the case, for example, on failure to read the accused his rights under the 1963 Miranda decision. The accused should still stand trial; that violates not one provision of the Bill of Rights.

          Where does dismissing a case on technicalities conform to the Bill of Rights? It doesn’t, as there is nothing in the Bill of Rights that demands that any case be dismissed for violation of protocol. What the Bill of Rights does guarantee is that everyone will get a fair trial, cannot be made to testify against their self, and that the trial will be by jury in any case over involving twenty dollars.

          If you think I am being unfair to the arresting authorities by holding them accountable for performance of their duties, think of how often a lawyer spends time in jail for contempt of court.

  • larryrobetts513@yahoo.com

    If a cop had shot him for fleeing it would be ok, so why cant a person protect their own property.

  • BJC

    I support the shop owner but the way the law’s are made he may be in trouble. Hopefully he will get a sympathetic jury who are also fed up with violent criminal’s.

  • Richard

    Just a couple of things the article does not mention : that jeweler had/has been attacked 23 times before. The “little angle” who died came to the store with a pump-action shotgun, beat up Mr Turk first, then did run away with stollen goods. He also had been convicted 14 times before ( 14 times ) and he was only 19. The family of the little angel not only are not taking any responsibility in what the little … angel … did but are being defiant.
    What sort of a world do we live in these days?
    When you make a profession of being a robber, when you are armed and threaten people, you are very likely to be shot since it comes with the “job”. This is just what f.. happened !
    If you do not want to get shot, do not rob, do not steal, do not threaten people with weapons.
    You guys in the US, you might not know this but this growing delinquency all over Europe is generated because of muslim immigrants, they constitute over 90% of the prison population in France.
    But the bad news is that it’s coming you way VERY rapidly and you won’t be exempt from it for long.

    • needful

      he should have shoved the gun up his arse first before shooting him!!!his sister called the store owner a coward????they should shoot her to!!!!

      • Sunshine Kid

        I would have her arrested and put in jail for aiding and abetting criminal activity in general.

    • Dave Hicks

      exempt? have you seen our president?

    • Justin

      Richard,

      I couldn’t agree more! having lived in France for many, many years I have seen the descent into chaos that has been allowed to happen. The family of this scum as there is no other word are doing exactly what we know they do and I can only say this….If they don’t like it then tough! they should be ashamed and in hiding for what they seemingly allowed their family member to do! Their reaction to their family members death is nothing less than I would expect from people like that and France and its government are not doing enough to stop them ! The French people need to start pushing harder for change. These immigrants are a fleau in France and are, as you say, 90% of the incarcerated population and why ? because they think it is their right to do what the hell they want. How many times have we seen these types of people get away with minimum sentences, if any, before justice is done? We just have to look at all the killings in Marseilles at the beginning of the year to understand that the sovereign laws of the country mean nothing to them.

      I would say this, if the family member has committed a serious criminal offence such as this person has done many times before then the WHOLE family should be deported to their country of origin, see how they like it back there !!
      There is no place for these types of individuals in society and the jeweller was in my mind totally and utterly justified in what he did!

      God help you guys in the US because Europe at the moment is a valve with pressure building up its just a matter of time before it blows !

      If these ‘people’ (used in its broadest terms) in Europe think they have a raw deal then look no further….this is why !

  • Olan knight

    The information from Richard was most interesting, and in my mind justifies the jeweler coming after the little sh*t after the violent criminal fled with the jewelers possessions. Defense of your property should be a recognized right.

    Larry is also correct: If this would be acceptable from a cop, why is it not acceptable from a private citizen?

    • Sunshine Kid

      A perfectly logical question that will be avoided at all costs by the liberal criminal lovers.

      • Sunshine Kid

        Is France using the jury system or just a judge?

  • Olan knight

    The information from Richard was most interesting, and in my mind justifies the jeweler coming after the little sh*t after the violent criminal fled with the jewelers possessions. Defense of your property should be a recognized right.

    Larry is also correct: If this would be acceptable from a cop, why is it not acceptable from a private citizen?

  • Rory Gibbons

    He isn’t wrong, society is wrong…….period.

  • Larry O

    here’s a question for all you robber-sympathizers: is french society better off or worse off with this POS under ground.? And don’t deny that you sympathize with the punk; if you feel it wasn’t justified that he be killed, you sympathize with him?The only poetic justice for the “punk-sympathizers” is if he wasn’t killed and was eventually let out of jail and to then pistol-whip and rape your daughters. Would you still be kissing his azz then?

    • Sunshine Kid

      They would be still supporting the punk because they are idiots who refuse to learn logic.

  • Mike Garcia

    How can Alexandra Asli tell reporters that Stephan Turk is a coward if he was dead at the scene-“He shot a kid in the back. He’s a traitor, he’s a coward,” Alexandra Asli told reporters. “I don’t get that”.

    • dylanpolk

      That’s an error on my part; sorry about that. Thanks for the heads up.

      Dylan Polk
      G&A Social Media Editor

  • LesJC

    I once had my truck broken into and a lot of my military gear (I was in the Army Reserves at the time) was stolen. I think I came out just in time to scare them away because they didn’t quite get everything. My brother made the comment that this was an example of a good reason to have a firearm. My response was that I was not going to kill someone for stealing. Put me or my family at risk of our lives, break into my house while I am in there, try to hijack my car with me or my family in it, and I will shoot you. But not for simply stealing behind my back. If I aim at you and you run without shooting back, I will let you go – but don’t ever come back.

    • Sunshine Kid

      And if they come back every time you have your back turned? When will enough be enough? I’d shoot them in the leg (lower torso), if possible and have the police search hospitals to get the idiot the first time. A second time would not be an appendage shot. If you let them get away, what makes you think they won’t try again?

      • ArmedPatriot

        So maybe the cops should shoot people ‘just in case’ ?

        • Sunshine Kid

          You cannot follow the discussion line? We are talking about citizens who catch the crook in action, not the police. Or would you rather prefer this picture:

  • person

    one the news always try to make out more then what is and leaves out so much so if the so called angle been convicted 14 times why did he have a gun? i would think he should of not had a gun if that was the case. 2 if it was a cop who shot the kid it would not be this way why is that? cop are to up hold the law will if you cant shot someone in the back why do they say stop or i will shot and then shot if they dont stop did the guy say that? 3 what did the sister do to try to get her brother to stop doing this 14 and now 15th times? 4 was this guy price going up on his insurance cause he was rob 23 times? if he keeps getting rob at what point will he not be able to stay in in business ?

  • Sunshine Kid

    The whole point in being a criminal is to take what isn’t yours, and if you get away, you’re ‘clean’. I say take the criminals out of circulation, either by courts or by the means the jeweler used. Criminals need NOT be criminals – they choose that life. Courts should be cognizant of that choice.

  • Axeman

    I’m french and gun’s owner. I’m a rare specie in a france mostly anti-gun.

    Our culture is totally different from your US point of view, alas. A cop is almost forbidden to use his weapon (don’t even think about shooting in the back !).

    Private citizen cannot have guns for self defense. It’s only for sport/hunting purpose.(well i DO sport with my Glock 21)

    I totally understand the jeweler, and shout at my TV when the media reported the sister and robber’s family “grief”. Even the jeweler said he was ashamed for taking a life, he’s a normal person, him.
    I don’t have a conscious trouble because he shot the robber fleeing. This guy was threatening his life 2 minutes ago, where’s the point ? And a 19 y/o criminal in the street with a pump action is better ? Shooting him was like a civilian arrest for me, public safety.
    Aside that the guy was under electronic bracer 3 weeks prior the robbing…

    • ArmedPatriot

      The problem is that concealed carriers are NOT LAW ENFORCEMENT.
      It is NOT OUR JOB to chase down criminals AFTER the fact.

      Yeah, it doesnt bother me the punk is dead, but there are rules that apply to using lethal force and for a good reason.

  • D.Dravot Esq

    Ok look, i agree 100% with what the jeweler did. I wouldn’t kill someone for stealing but holding me at gunpoint it a great way to get shot. BUT you guys who think being a criminal is always a choice clearly dont understand desperation.Doing things like this are inexcusable but there other thing you can do for money that are illegal and people do this stuff because they have no job and no HOPE of EVER getting one. It could be hunting an animal out of season or selling pot some ware its illegal or a million other things. Before you get on your high horse ask yourself how long would you go hungry or not being able to provide for your family before you did anything you could to survive. There is no excuse to harm any one or steal their belongings but thinking that all criminals chose that life is bull shit.

  • Kitty

    If the robber was fleeing on a scooter, and the jeweler stayed in his store, then that jeweler was no longer in danger, and the shooting was not justified.

  • croge

    Police are only there after the fact… people should be able to defend their person and property from felons. I can’t get over how so many folks of one political point of view think it is ok for felons to rob, threaten, beat and otherwise terrorize honest citizens. Why do these low life criminals deserve more protection than the victims or honest folks. The criminals should live in fear, not the honest people. Once someone decides to take action to rob, harm or threaten others their rights should be over… Sad world we have created.

  • TedCrunch

    At the point he shot the robber, his property was no longer in danger,
    and neither was he. I understand that we are all fed up with crime, and
    the justice system doesn’t seem to help us much, but we, as gun owners,
    must learn where the line is that we don’t cross. Even with the relative freedom to use our guns in self-defense in some states in America, we are still not allowed to go after someone and shoot them when they are running away. If that was allowed, then we could shoot anyone in the back and claim they had threatened us. With gun ownership goes responsibility. It’s every gun owner’s obligation to learn what the limitations are. Shooting in anger is not permissible or justifiable. Yes, I’m glad to see criminals pay with their lives in justified self-defense, but what the jeweler did was not justified. What he did was criminal and it gives ammunition to the anti-gunners to work against us.

  • Robert

    From a legal point of view, the jeweler wasn’t in fear for his life anymore and the shooting is therefore not justified. He should have considered the robbery done, and started to get ready to be robbed a second time, legally and buy his insurance. And after all, the police may have been able to arrest the robbers and recover the stolen property. They actually do sometimes.

    But considering exclusively the legal point of view of this tragic event would be a bit simplistic. In France people are loosing their confidence in the Police. First, police can’t be everywhere at the same time, especially not in a country as broke as France is. Second, how can you expect a citizen to rely on the justice system when a 14 times convicted felon is still able to get a shotgun and commit armed robberies ? Moreover criminals don’t have too much trouble to lay their hands on a full auto AK-47. Even small time / teenage robbers are often found in possession of knives. In contrast, a law abiding citizens will have hard times trying buy a semi auto pistol. And he can’t even dream of carrying anything more than a pepperspray. The result is when people witness a violent crime, the best most of them will do is usually call the police. And some who tryed to stop an agression have paid dearly for their courage. Many citizens feel frustrated of being so powerless, and enraged of reading news reports so full of armed robberies, women raped in wagons in front of other travellers, or fathers killed trying to calm down some teenage p***k.

    The shooting wasn’t legally justified, but I can understand the Jeweler’s anger. And there’s a kid who won’t point a gun on anyone’s face anymore.

    • Justin

      Robert,

      I feel your pain with this one, its a terrible situation and state of affairs its happened far, far too many times now. C’est de la merde finis quand tu vois les banlieu etc, le seul endroit ou il y a pas trop de merde avec ces gens la c’est la corse surtout Calvi pour les raisons evident… 2eme REP.

  • KalleMedKepsen

    From a legal perspective it seem rather clear to me; it was not self-defence any longer. But then, how many people would reach for your gun (assuming that you had one) while a criminal is pointing a gun in your face? That’s asking to be shot (by the criminal, that is).

    One might actually argue that he was in his right to shoot the criminal when he did since a crime was in progress. An armed and dangerous person was out there, presenting a serious threat to all people around him. The shop-owner used his gun to protect THEM from a criminal.

    I live in Sweden, and boy, even looking sideways at a criminal here is much more criminal than anything someone might do to you. Fighting back is not an option and we’re sick of it.

    • Justin

      I lived for a few years in South Africa after leaving France and believe me that doesn’t happen there, if you see an armed robbery in the process you draw your carry weapon and shoot, even if you are not directly involved and even if the perpetrator/s looks like they are leaving the scene he/they still poses a real and immediate threat.

  • Justin

    This 19 yo multiple convicted felon and his accomplice were in the street with a weapon after committing a crime who knows what that person could have done, maybe shot someone to steal their car ? taken a hostage ? At the end of the day that person presented a clear, real and immediate threat to anyone in that street. His death was justifiable in my book and I hope the jeweller comes out on top.

  • 100capo

    I have to say i can only imagine how this poor business owner that out working making a living was fead up with thugs taking what he works for.Good for him for him for taking care of business .he made sure this punk will never breach in his place of business again.As far as him been arrested and charge with murder is insane.Hope he has some good attorneys and the law helps law abiding citizens.but we live in a world were this tugs POS punks have more rights then good working tax paying citizens ..shameful .

  • Ron47

    No good deed goes unpunished.

    • Mazryonh

      Yeah, like how Lance Thomas from LA ran a Rolex shop in the late 80s in West Los Angeles, ended up shooting dead 5 robbers during his time there and had to go into hiding from the increasing threat of reprisal he couldn’t handle. Here’s a link to the old LA Times article in case anyone wants to read about him:

      http://articles.latimes.com/1992-04-26/local/me-1455_1_watch-dealer

      If the previous robberies mentioned in this article are the work of an ethnic gang, it could be a flashpoint to ignite ethnic tensions around France. It’ll be interesting as to how this court case will turn out. Will G&A be following the rest of it?

      • Ron47

        Truly sad what happened to the store owner in LA. He truly is a hero, and his father was right in his philosophy.
        As to the leftist French government types, they will probably sacrifice the shop owner to avoid any sort of ethnic backlash. My opinion of the government in France is that it is populated with cowards who will run scared and do whatever is easiest for them without any consideration of what is just or moral. The fact that the shop keeper was even arrested attests to the fact that my opinion is correct.

  • 2tall2pay

    I go with the argument that the kid was brandishing his 12 ga in public, right after proving that he would use it to rob and possibly murder other citizens, more counts against the law. The kid was a proven present and future danger to the public at large, as well as a continuing danger to the jeweler in particular.
    I am no student of French law, however I am informed by local lawyers here that exactly that defense was used successfully by a Saginaw MI Gun store owner, who on hearing the alarms on his store go off, walked into the street and fired one shot from a rifle thru the back window of the get-away car, killing the driver. The accomplice jumped and ran from the car taking some of the guns which he used later to commit more crimes. The gun store owner was arrested and tried for murder, and was acquitted as not guilty.
    I think the jeweler should try this defense.

  • tomaso

    Threaten my life or my family…..your now a target..dosnt matter if you have stopped .
    “Good Shoot Mister Nice”

    • ArmedPatriot

      I’d expect to see you in prison soon enough, then.
      I dont think any state in the Union allows for an execution AFTER the criminal is fleeing and you are no longer in danger.

      Not that I mind when violent criminals are killed. More power to ya on that point. But there are rules about how lethal force is to be used. Some of those rules will get you a life sentence if you go chasing down a fleeing criminal and shoot him in the back.

  • ArmedPatriot

    “Witnesses say Asli and another man robbed Turk at his shop, La Turqoise,
    then made their escape on a scooter. Turk pursued the men”
    ==================
    If true a murder charge seems appropriate. It would be exactly the same in Ohio here. You cant go after a fleeing criminal AFTER the crime has been committed and shoot them dead when you are no longer in danger.

  • ArmedPatriot

    “What do you think? Was Turk justified in firing at the robbers
    at that point, or was it no longer personal defense at that point?”
    =====================
    Since his life was no longer in IMMEDIATE danger from the felon no court in the world could call this ‘self defense’ once the felon was fleeing the scene.

  • ferrari5k

    the robber deserved to die. I wont even guess how many he has already killed, or would have eventually. robbery is a dangerous trade.

  • wildmanjeffsmith

    Turk was no longer in danger, so it was not self defense.
    I think Turk was charged fairly. If I were on his jury it would not be good for him.
    but
    To the Asli family I am sorry for your loss but that young punk was commiting a crime and this was a consequence of his actions. I am sick of young thug’s families portraying them as victims. If he were not robbing someone at gunpoint–he would still be with you

  • Tumbleweed

    Enough with the many crimes, get rid of the gangsters!

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