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Prosecutor Says Armed Robber Killed Gas Station Clerk He’d Just Robbed in Self-Defense

Antioch, CA – An armed robbery suspect who fatally shot a gas station clerk after a holdup late last month will not be charged with murder.

The incident occurred at a Chevron station on Contra Loma Boulevard shortly before 2 a.m. on Nov. 26, KNTV reported.

Investigators said 20-year-old Ronald Jackson and an unidentified accomplice robbed the store clerk, 36-year-old James Williams, at gunpoint, according to KABC.

The suspects were fleeing the scene of the armed robbery when the clerk ran out of the building behind them with a gun, according to NBC News.

Security footage showed Williams firing at the suspects from approximately 100 feet away, Contra Costa County Chief Assistant District Attorney Simon O’Connell said.

Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney Derek Butts said the clerk fired a total of nine rounds during the incident.

One of the bullets struck Jackson in the back of his leg.

“He strikes one of those individuals who goes down to the ground and continues to then close the approximate distance between himself and the two perpetrators of that robbery,” O’Connell said, according to NBC News. “Further gunfire is made by Mr. Williams toward those individuals.”

Jackson returned fire, striking Williams in the head and killing him, KNTV reported.

Police are still searching for the second suspect, according to NBC News.

Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton ultimately charged Jackson with possession of stolen property, robbery, and a firearm enhancement, but she refused to charge him with murder, the Antioch Police Department (APD) told NBC News in a statement.

Becton released a statement on Dec. 1 saying the armed robber was acting in self-defense when he fatally shot Williams.

“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,” she declared.

San Jose defense attorney and legal analyst Steven Clark said that Williams had a right to protect himself as he was fleeing the scene, NBC News reported.

“Self-defense is a temporal concept. So in other words, had this event happened within the store, that would have been one thing,” Clark told the news outlet. “But when the guy ran away, the concept of the clerk being reasonably afraid, that changed considerably. Now you have a serious felony, what the robber did, but you don’t get to execute the guy under those circumstances. So the robber then obtained the right to self-defense.”

Butts said it is possible Williams would have faced criminal charges if he had survived.

“We’ve encountered this situation where someone’s use of force exceeds what is reasonable as self-defense,” Butts told NBC News. “In this case, because Mr. Williams’ use of force was unreasonable… perhaps it would be that he was liable for some crime depending on the outcome of the shooting.”

Butts also said Williams was not legally in possession of the firearm he used during the shootout, KABC reported.

Williams’ girlfriend and co-worker, Anette Matamoroz, said she was stunned by Becton’s decision not to charge Jackson with William’s murder.

Matamoroz said she was off-shift visiting Williams at the store when the robbery occurred.

She was inside the bathroom when the suspects came in, she told NBC News.

“He had told me, ‘They’re trying to rob this place. Just say here. Just stay here in the bathroom,'” she recounted.

Matamoroz said there is little question in her mind as to why her boyfriend is dead and noted that Jackson and his accomplice came into the store with the intention of committing a crime, NBC News reported.

“They didn’t come here just to go shopping,” she said.

“I totally disagree with this,” she said of Becton’s refusal to prosecute Jackson for Williams’ death. “It is murder. What else could it be?”

Jackson faces up to 15 years in prison if he is convicted, NBC News reported.

Becton said that her office plans to use the fatal shooting to seek a maximum sentence.

“The reality of Mr. Williams’ tragic death will be a substantial factor in the DA’s position in asking for greater penalties in the sentencing of the defendants,” she said, according to NBC News.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin

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