A Florida county sheriff has warned any "hotheads" who may want to attack someone that they could face deadly, legal resistance from victims who carry firearms, according to ABC News.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd issued the warning after an Uber driver shot and killed a man who followed and threatened to shoot him.
"This is a justifiable homicide all day long. You have a right to protect yourself. ... This was the intent of the law," Judd said Wednesday.
Robert Westlake, a 38-year-old Uber driver, picked up a drunk woman named Jasmine Meazel on Monday night from a bar. Another woman, Jessica Mazzarella, whom Meazel did not know, had called the Uber ride for her.
Mazzarella stayed at the bar, and was texting Jason Boek, her on-and-off boyfriend with whom she said she had a "rocky" relationship with. Boek reportedly had been at the bar earlier, but left.
Boek said in the text messages that even though he left the bar, he had remained nearby and was watching her. He apparently thought Mazzarella, not Meazel, had gotten into the Uber car.
"You know I'm watching every move right now," Boek said in text messages. "I've been watching you the whole time. ... I see y'all. ... I'm going to f*** both of y'all up."
Boek tracked down the Uber ride, tailgated it for a little while, and then pulled in front of it and stopped his truck to get out.
Once Boek got out, he began walking toward Westlake's Uber, yelling threats and claiming he had a gun.
As it turns out, Boek didn't have a gun. But Westlake did, and he wasn't taking any chances.
Westlake, who had worked as a security guard, had his concealed carry permit, and just completed the police academy, took out his weapon and fired one shot that hit Boek in the chest, as he believed both he and his passenger were in mortal danger.
After shooting Boek, Westlake called 911 and tried to perform CPR and keep Boek alive, but he was unsuccessful.
"I feel for his family and their loss and I feel for their son more than anything," Westlake told ABC News.
'Leave people alone'
Judd said he hopes other potential criminals will look at this situation and think twice before attacking someone.
"At the end of the day, the message is clear: Don't mess with an Uber driver," Judd said. "I can tell you unequivocally the Uber driver, Robert, did the right thing to protect himself and ostensibly his passenger as well.
"Here's a message for the hotheads of the community: don't do that stuff. Good people carry guns. And they will shoot you a lot. Graveyard dead. Leave people alone. It's a new day in the state of Florida and the United States."