Home Courts DA Explains Charging Decision After Gunfight Outside Antioch Convenience Store

DA Explains Charging Decision After Gunfight Outside Antioch Convenience Store

Photo: File

D.A. Becton’s Statement on the Charging Decision of Ronald Benjamin Jackson, III:

The family, friends, and loved ones of James Williams are understandably devastated by the shocking news of his death in a gun battle at the Chevron station in Antioch on November 26th — where he worked as a store clerk.

Our sympathies and condolences go out to those closest to him.

The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office declined to file murder charges in this case solely on a legal and factual determination — and not an elective, optional, or discretionary one.

It was based upon an established law that clearly states a person cannot pursue another to retrieve stolen property once the threat of bodily injury or harm to the victim has subsided.

The video evidence of the incident clearly shows Ronald Benjamin Jackson, III, and another suspect exiting the Chevron station convenience store after the robbery and running from the scene. Mr. Williams is also seen in the video footage leaving the Chevron station store with a firearm while running after the robbers. Mr. Williams then fired upon Mr. Jackson, hitting him in the leg while he was fleeing and causing him to fall to the ground. Mr. Williams continued to approach Mr. Jackson with his firearm pointing at him when Mr. Jackson fired shots at Williams hitting him twice. Once in the chest and 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.

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. However, once the threat of harm has dissipated, the victim of a property crime cannot then use deadly force to reclaim stolen property.

However, 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.


  1. Charging after “righteous justice” is black and white. The law, centuries of it, tested and evolved, is not.

  2. Wow – the wrong reaction at the wrong time and your liable. The good guy with the gun is dead and his robber is not charged with the murder. I just don’t understand.

  3. I’ll bet if the police had pulled up in a car as they ran out the door, they would believe the robbers were still in the commission of a crime. I’ve seen YouTube videos of convenience store holdups where the robber came back inside after leaving. There is also that law about any death as the result of a felony can be charged as murder in the case of reckless disregard for other’s lives, which seems to be the case if the robbers were armed. I think the DA’s interpretation is convenient for her political beliefs.

  4. Mr. Jackson initiated contact with Mr. Williams when he robbed him at gunpoint. After that Mr. Williams was in a heightened state of self protection and in fear for his life. By his actions Mr. Rogers proved a wounded criminal can still kill. Mr. Williams was most certainly aware of this. Mr. Rogers is a murderer.

    • Ed. Note: Readers should be aware that while this post carries the name of a person they can be led to believe is a law enforcement representative we have nothing to suggest the poster is actually in law enforcement.

  5. The law is very clear here, pursuing a fleeing property crime suspect and then shooting him is not appropriate. Inside the store, when the gun is pointed at you is an entirely different matter.

    Firestone 11R

    • The law is very clear here, and you don’t have to be LE to understand this. You can’t go around shooting people just because you’re ticked off. If that was the case, we’d all be in prison.

    • @Jeff – Setting aside the DA’s curious declination to apply the felony murder rule under Penal Code section 189(a) (“[a]ll murder that is … committed in the perpetration of, or attempt to perpetrate … robbery …. is murder of the first degree”), I presume you’ll agree that there is an critical lesson for armed citizens and LEOs alike: unless necessary to incapacitate a subject posing an imminent threat to others (eg, an active shooter), NEVER FOREGO A COVERED POSITION to engage an armed subject in a firefight. Irrespective of the law of man, the laws of physics and biology auger against engaging an armed assailant from an exposed position.

      • Yes, always look for cover. A recent, local, classic case was retired Oakland Police Captain Ersie Joiner, he should have taken cover behind his car before engaging his armed assailants, his outcome would have been better. And, many cases of one handgun round not being sufficient to disable a person, even when to a center mass area.

        Firestone 11R

        • I was thinking about that incident too! I’d met Lt. Joyner a few times over the years and was horrified to see him so badly injured.

          I too was perplexed that such a trained, experienced retired LEO opted to engage retreating robbers from an exposed position after decisively incapacitating one assailant, wounding another and inducing the others to retreat (neutralizing the immediate threat) and taking cover behind his SUV.

  6. Put my way through school working nights in convenience stores. I have never felt more threatened and exposed. Condolences to the victim’s family and friends.

    • @Sue – If that was true, about 1/4 of the residents in the 24-680, myself included, would be unemployed.

  7. The DA is right about one thing… the law is clear. She just got it wrong on what the law is clear about. Even in California, this homicide qualifies as first degree murder under CA PC section 189. In fact, it is first degree murder with special circumstances, under PC 190.2 – which explicitly includes “immediate flight” from the covered felony of PC 211 robbery. Which, btw, is not a property crime, but a crime of violence. Further, under People vs. Wilkins, 56 Cal.4th 333 (Cal. 2013), the California Supreme Court clarified the felony murder rule by making clear that underlying felony is not completed until the perpetrator escapes from the scene, is no longer being chased, and has unchallenged possession of the property. That is not true in this instant case. That means, the felony of robbery was still in the state of commission, so the robber actually shooting and killing the store clerk invokes the felony murder rule. Ergo, he can, and should, be charged with first degree special circumstances murder.

    I am livid with fury at the incompetence of our lying buffoon of a “DA.”

    • Thank you, Caramel Kitten. It is also unfortunate that in 2019, California watered down its felony murder law so that in this case, only the shooter, and not the other robber, could be tried for felony murder. Felonies create social instability, and frequently lead to violence that results in the death of the original crime victim, a bystander, a police officer, or even one of the felons. Traditional felony murder laws handle the situation by placing the blame for the foreseeable deadly consequences of a felony on the felons. I.e., if you intend to commit a felony, you are presumed to have intended the reasonably foreseeable or likely consequences of your criminal actions, including death if that occurs. California should bring its old law back.

  8. DA Benton continues to make poor decisions just as she did as a judge. She was not respected by her peers as a judge and she’s got numerous lawsuits against her from employee in the DAs office. She’s bad for this county just look at the crime stats since she’s been in office. Unfortunately once someone is in office in CA they never seem to be voted out! Sad day for the family! You charge a drunk driver with Murder but not someone that robs a store? Wrong message being sent

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