Robbery suspect charged with murder after concealed carry owner shoots his friend

Robbery suspect charged with murder after concealed carry owner shoots his friend
Posted at 5:26 PM, Jan 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-09 19:25:01-05

A victim fights back and shoots two men who tried to rob him at gunpoint on Milwaukee's southwest side.

One suspect was killed, and now the second suspect has just been formally charged with his friend's death.

According to Milwaukee County Chief Deputy DA Kent Lovern, prosecutors can legally charge someone with murder even if they didn't pull the trigger. 

He says his office changed their policy about a decade ago to send a stern warning to criminals.

On December 27th, Deonte Thomas and Dantel Henderson allegedly tried to rob a man as he was leaving a store near South 66th Street and W. Euclid. The plot was foiled when the victim, who had a concealed carry permit, pulled out a gun and opened fire.

Thomas died on scene, but Henderson survived.

Henderson is now charged with Thomas' death.

"If two people are engaged in a crime together, they have already engaged in behavior that is hazardous to themselves, and if one of them is killed as a result of their decision to engage in dangerous criminal behavior, the one who survives can essentially be held responsible for the death of the other one," Chief Deputy DA Kent Lovern said.

Lovern adds his office has successfully prosecuted a handful of similar cases in the past.

96 percent of homicide cases prosecuted end in a conviction, according to Lovern. 

“What we have to prove in a felony murder case is that the actions of the defendant were a substantial factor in the death of another person," Lovern said.

Meanwhile, Nik Clark with Wisconsin Carry, Inc. says this latest case is just a classic example of people fighting back against crime.

“Ultimately, the only person you can count on for defense is yourself," Clark said. "We can argue whether police are over or understaffed, but ultimately there is not always going to be a police officer there."

With recent crime, Clark says he's seeing more people from all walks of life signing up to take concealed weapons classes.

Even though Henderson never fired a single shot during the robbery, prosecutors hope their decision to charge him with murder serves as a warning.

"People should think twice before engaging in the decision to rob someone because if someone is killed because of this, they could very well we held responsible," Lovern said.

Henderson is charged with armed robbery and felony murder.

He has a preliminary hearing scheduled for January 13. 

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