SF Chronic: Oakland Pizzeria Owner "Tragically" Shoots Armed Robber

Blogging is really pretty easy when you’re a conservative on the West Coast. Just pick up the San Francisco Chronicle and go to town. It’ll be either amazing blue-state snobbery, wacky “Palomino” Bay Area lifestyle alerts, or egregious bias. I see at least two posts leering at me from the Chronic’s homepage, so let’s start with this one:

Catarino Piedra, 41, kept a gun underneath the counter at the Coliseum Pizza and Taqueria that he owned in East Oakland because his drivers had been robbed many times while making deliveries.

Allen Joseph Hicks III, 22, was an accused batterer on probation for a drug conviction and an aspiring rap artist whom everybody in his neighborhood knew as “Boonie.”

The lives of the two men intersected tragically at about 9:30 p.m. Thursday when Hicks, armed with a pistol and joined by two other men, tried to rob Piedra inside the popular pizzeria at 89th Avenue and International Boulevard. Fearful that the assailants might hurt him, his wife and three children — all of whom were inside the restaurant — Piedra pulled out his 9mm semiautomatic pistol and opened fire, killing Hicks, police said.

I suppose it was a tragedy in the dramatic sense–“Boonie’s” flaws of hubris, a violent temper, and too much ganja led him to conclude Mr. Piedra would be an easy mark–like the girlfriend he used to hit so hard he knocked her head through the wall.

But Oakland police urge caution:

“There is definitely a balance,” said Officer Roland Holmgren, department spokesman. “This thing had potential — who knows where the suspects were going to take the situation? But by no stretch of the imagination are we agreeing with or justifying what the owner did.”

Holmgren said, “We’re not saying that we want citizens to go out there and arm themselves and take the law into their own hands. We want citizens to be good witnesses, to be good report-takers and to identify suspects.”

The shooting has left two families traumatized, Holmgren said. “There are no winners in this whole case,” he said.

It’s a zero-sum game, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a winner.

UPDATE: IF you think justice is always lax in California, check out this headline:

Man who set himself on fire may face arson charges