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Man accused in shooting thought new ‘stand your ground’ gun law protected him

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COLUMBIA, Mo. – A Missouri man told police he thought the state’s new “stand your ground” gun law would protect him after allegedly shooting another man Monday, according to police.

Karl Henson

Karl O. Henson, 23, admitted he opened fire while running after a man whose back was turned, he later told officers in a probable cause statement.

Henson, who faces charges of armed criminal action and first-degree assault, told police, “the only reason I thought it was OK to shoot at him while he was running away was because of what happened with the new year with the gun law change,” officer Spirit Stevens wrote.

Missouri instituted the “stand your ground” law in January, 2017, after the state Legislature guaranteed the passage of Senate Bill 650 in September, despite Gov. Jay Nixon’s earlier veto. The law allows people to use deadly force instead of running away, as long as they believe deadly force will be used upon them.

On Monday afternoon, Henson met up with a 20-year-old man who wanted to buy an iPhone 7 from him, according to the Columbia Daily Tribune.  While examining the phone, the 20-year-old allegedly took off with the device, running behind a duplex in a cul-de-sac on Riva Ridge Court in northern Columbia.

Henson told police he chased the man into a field, firing six shots and dropping one unspent round as he ran, according to the statement.

The shooting victim was wounded in the heel, and a private vehicle took him to University Hospital, police said.

Henson was arrested at the scene and taken to Boone County Jail, where he is being held without bond.