Attorney: Four men jumped accused mall shooter
Accused Penn Square Mall shooter Elizha Sanders acted in self-defense when he shot a man inside a second-floor shoe store, his attorney told The Oklahoman on Saturday.
The attorney, David Slane, said Sanders was Christmas shopping for his sister Thursday afternoon when he was jumped by four "thugs."
"What the public needs to know is he was attacked, violently and viciously, by four people," Slane said. "And he defended himself. This is a case of self-defense."
Slane called Sanders a "good and decent young man" who is being tried in the court of public opinion by people "who don't know what happened."
"That's not where he's going to be ultimately tried. He's going to be tried in a court of law," Slane said. "He had a licensed, concealed carry permit. He was lawfully carrying a firearm. He was shopping for Christmas when he was violently attacked. I believe the law will give him the right to defend himself."
Sanders, 24, of Del City, is also known as "Trey." He is accused of shooting Gerron Cobb, 22, following an altercation inside Foot Locker. The sound of gunfire caused panic among holiday shoppers, who took cover in stores, closets and restrooms.
Sanders was arrested early Friday in Moore. He was booked into the Oklahoma County jail on a complaint of assault and battery with a deadly weapon. Bail was set at $500,000.
Sanders and Cobb have had "prior issues" and began exchanging words after running into each other at Foot Locker, police wrote in an affidavit requesting his arrest.
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The two then began fighting, police told a judge. After the fight was over, Sanders reached into his pants, got a gun, pointed it at Cobb and then shot him, police wrote.
"After the victim was shot, he fell and began crawling out of the store. Sanders pursued the victim continuing to shoot at him. The victim was struck at least two times," according to the arrest warrant affidavit.
As of Friday, Cobb was listed in stable condition at a hospital.
"They're calling this guy a victim. He should be a defendant," Slane said. "He violently attacked someone. I think the threat was imminent and there was a great likelihood of either great bodily harm or being beaten to death and I think this man had a right to defend himself."
The attorney disputes the probable cause affidavit used to secure Sanders' arrest warrant.
"It mentions nothing about the other attackers," he said. "It says there was some sort of an altercation with one person and he shot the person. That's just not true. We intend to prove that this young man acted in self-defense.
"The Oklahoma Constitution gives you the right to carry a firearm and defend yourself. No matter what might have been said or might have happened between these people in the past, nothing would justify four men jumping another man and beating him."
Sanders is currently on probation for obstructing an officer in 2018. He pleaded guilty to the offense in September in Payne County District Court in Stillwater. Prosecutors dropped a domestic abuse count against him on the same day. Cobb, meanwhile, is facing a a felony charge of drug trafficking in Oklahoma County District Court.
Slane said he isn't sure if his client was legally allowed to carry a firearm.
"He has a legal right to defend himself, even if he was on probation," he said. "Being on probation doesn't mean you can't defend yourself. He didn't go to them and attack them. He didn't go to them and cause this problem. He didn't go there and start an altercation. They did."
Tim Willert is a native Californian with Oklahoma ties who covers K-12 education, including Oklahoma City Public Schools and the state Education Department. Before that he covered district, federal and appellate courts in Oklahoma County. Prior... Read more ›