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OnTheFly
April 16, 2009, 08:42 AM
Lincoln Journal-Star (http://journalstar.com/articles/2009/04/15/news/local/doc49e6412947584161713812.txt)

County attorney: Shot was justified
By LORI PILGER / Lincoln Journal Star
Wednesday, Apr 15, 2009 - 05:15:19 pm CDT

Prosecutors say they will not file charges against a 21-year-old who shot his father last Friday to keep him from hurting his mother.

“The County Attorney’s office has determined that this was justified self-defense or defense of another,” Chief Deputy County Attorney Joe Kelly said in a press release Wednesday.

On Friday, police arrested Larry Grutel III after calls about shots fired sent them to a four-plex at 1730 S. 17th St. around 7 p.m.

Grutel was waiting outside when they got there.

His father, 45-year-old Larry Holmes Jr. of Omaha, was rushed to the hospital.

He remained there in critical condition Wednesday.

According to the affidavit for Grutel’s arrest, he told officers his father had gone to the building, where Grutel’s mother lives, and an argument ensued.

Grutel fired two shots from his handgun into the air in an attempt to keep Holmes from following her into her apartment.

Holmes went in anyway.

Grutel followed and saw Holmes with his arms around his mother, restraining her, police said. Grutel fired one shot into the wall next to them and they separated.

Court records say he shot Holmes once in the chest, then left to wait for police. A bullet penetrated Holmes’ liver.

Police arrested Grutel on suspicion of first-degree assault and use of a weapon to commit a felony.

He was released Monday without charges or a bond.

This story surprises me for a couple of reasons. Lincoln, NE in general, and the Chief of Police specifically, are very liberal in their thinking on guns. I was shocked to see that there was not some charge brought against this young man.

The first thing I thought they would charge him on was when he fired into the air twice and then at a wall. Who knows where those first two bullets ended up. The second thing that might have generated a charge was the legal status of the weapon (i.e., stolen, illegally transferred, etc.). Since the story didn't address this, I assume that was all on the up-in-up.

Though the lack of charges is a surprise, it gives me hope that common sense will prevail if I were ever forced to use my firearm in self-defense.

What do you think?

Should he have been charged, or were his actions legal?
Regardless of legal, were his actions (shooting in air, at wall, and finally his father) responsible?

Fly

johnwilliamson062
April 16, 2009, 08:58 AM
Who knows where those first two bullets ended up.
No kidding. I think there should have been a charge at least for the two up in the air. He couldn't fire into a tree trunk or something at least?

The actual shooting seems justified though, especially if there is a history of violent abuse. I bet the dad won't doubt him again.

KLRANGL
April 16, 2009, 08:59 AM
You are responsible for every round that goes downrange, but if those rounds going downrange dont hurt anybody, I guess there isnt anything the police can do.
IMO he got lucky... An initial call to the police instead of two shots in the air would have done him a greater service...
But who knows, we werent there :p

Jim March
April 17, 2009, 11:57 AM
Sigh. Look, it was his freakin' FATHER. He didn't want to shoot him. Might not have been the best plan but under the circumstances it's understandable.

Michael Anthony
April 17, 2009, 12:42 PM
With only the information given in this article it is an awful shoot. If someone can supply some more information that would justify the county attorney's decision I may recant.

According to the affidavit for Grutel’s arrest, he told officers his father had gone to the building, where Grutel’s mother lives, and an argument ensued.

An argument? Nothing criminal, felonious, life-or-great-bodily-injury-threatening here.

Grutel fired two shots from his handgun into the air in an attempt to keep Holmes from following her into her apartment.

Holmes went in anyway.

I would not remain outside if someone is shooting, why would we expect Holmes to?

Grutel followed and saw Holmes with his arms around his mother, restraining her, police said. Grutel fired one shot into the wall next to them and they separated.

He did not see what happened between the pair entering the home and him coming in behind them apparently. Was Holmes doing anything illegal at this point? The article does not say.

Court records say he shot Holmes once in the chest, then left to wait for police. A bullet penetrated Holmes’ liver.

So he came in, fired a shot and they separated. Then... he shot him. I don't see it.

This article makes no mention of any kind of criminal activity that Holmes was engaged in or what gave Grutel the idea that he or his mother were in a life-threatening situation. Now if there was some kind of history of violence, or he was acting in violation of a court order, or if he was hacking at Grutel's mother with a machete and the article just leaves that part out... maybe I'd say good shoot.

As I currently see it, this is an awful shoot. Maybe someone more familiar with Nebraska law can enlighten me.

comn-cents
April 17, 2009, 12:47 PM
Sorry to hear someone had to shoot his father. Glad he wasn't charged. As for the warning shots I would hope I wouldn't do the same but don't know until I'm in that situation.

Michael Anthony
April 18, 2009, 04:01 PM
Glad he wasn't charged.

Why?

Creature
April 18, 2009, 04:08 PM
Sigh. Look, it was his freakin' FATHER. He didn't want to shoot him. Might not have been the best plan but under the circumstances it's understandable.

Understandable? It isn't to me ... especially since those first two shots could have easily injured or killed an innocent bystander.

Brian Pfleuger
April 18, 2009, 04:30 PM
As for the actual shoot, I'd say there must be a lot of detail left out of that story otherwise I can't believe they didn't charge him.

As for the 3 rounds he fired at nothing, he should definitely be charged for those. That is ridiculous.

mskdgunman
April 18, 2009, 04:54 PM
As usual with news reports, it's lacking in enough detail to make an informed decision. At the very least the guy should be charged with the warning shots (discharging a firearm or something similar). After all, in SD, we're taught that if deadly force is not waranted, don't fire the weapon. No shooting to wound, no shooting to scare. If thats all you're doing, then the situation was apparently not that serious.

But, as I said, I'd like to have more factual information as to the actual shooting. I agree in that he probably should have called the cops the first time

comn-cents
April 18, 2009, 05:36 PM
michell anthony. Why you asked. The guy just shot his dad. I’m sure you’re a real tuff guy and putting you in this situation you wouldn’t hesitate to put a round in your dad and you would follow letter of the law to a teeee. Just like I'm sure you do every day, "not speeding-always using your blinker" or just being a human being with feelings.

The guys probable in a living hell right now

stevelyn
April 19, 2009, 03:20 AM
Sigh. Look, it was his freakin' FATHER. He didn't want to shoot him. Might not have been the best plan but under the circumstances it's understandable.

I agree. The shots fired off into the air might be a dumb idea to those of us with training and experience, but this is still a 21 year old wet-behind-the-ears kid who now finds himself faced with the decision of how to keep his father (who very likely has a past DV history) from injuring or killing his mother.

Under the circumstances, he went above and beyond any reasonable attempt to avoid having to shoot his father and only did so when the SOB made it apparent he wasn't going to stop what he was doing even after the warning shots.

It sucks for the kid, but I think he done good.

Shame on the police for such crappy police work, good on the prosecutor for not filing.

Michael Anthony
April 19, 2009, 06:39 AM
Comn-cents, trying to reinterpret your flame as an answer, I will assume you were responding to my question of "Why?" (as in "Why are you glad he was not charged?")

Your reply indicates you are glad he was not charged because of the psychological trauma he is experiencing as a result of the shooting. I am unclear, are you implying that the emotional aftermath is punishment enough for an unjustified shooting? Or did you read something in the article that justifies the shooting and you are glad he does not have to defend himself in court?

I also believe it was a poor decision to imply I would shoot my father in the same situation. Did you understand that I believe the shooting was not justified based on the information given? Actually I believe it was tacky to imply I would shoot my father at all.

Michael Anthony
April 19, 2009, 06:42 AM
To Stevelyn, I won't say the blind assumption of a history of violence is an unlikely one, but assumptions don't have any place in determining the lawfulness of a shooting.

Also, I can't find the part of the article that indicates that his father was attempting to injure or kill his mother. I read that Grutel claims he entered the room to see his father restraining his mother. His arms were allegedly around her, not striking her or strangling her. Do we know why he was doing this?

Further, I cannot find the part in the article that indicates poor police work. If you are referring to the fact that they arrested him at all, remember the police arrived to find an unarmed man shot and some "victims" with no visible injuries indicating Grutel was the shooter.

Dingoboyx
April 19, 2009, 06:56 AM
After the son interrupted him bashing the mother?

We will never know, we werent there? Hopefully the falling bullets didnt hurt someone elsewhere :eek: not a good idea at all, yes a tree or garden might have been a better idea... dunno, wasnt there.....

I am sure the cops would have charged him if there was cause, must have been circumstances for them to not press charges.

We can only trust the law has made the right decision on the facts they have at hand :eek:

Hope the dad is ok, hope the boy is too.... a shame when families fight, it's not right :(

Al Norris
April 19, 2009, 08:26 AM
Why is everyone getting into such a tizzy over this?

From the OP, there are a few facts that can be gleaned.

A young man shot his father.
Police arrived at the scene and it was not immediately apparent what had actually happened, so
The young man was arrested on suspicion of first-degree assault.
An investigation into the incident was made.
The County Attorney declined to file charges, after reviewing the investigative report.
The young man was released since no charges were filed.

That is all we know. Barring other evidence to the contrary, all the arm-chair quarter-backing of this incident is useless speculation.

You weren't there. No one has any other facts than the above.

So why is everyone getting into such a tizzy over this?

OnTheFly
April 19, 2009, 08:44 AM
Why is everyone getting into such a tizzy over this?

Because I have this magical way of asking a question that riles everyone up and eventually gets my thread closed. I swear I could ask something as benign as "What is your favorite color?", and conversation would escalate to pointed jabs being thrown back and forth that would eventually erupt into a bar fight, ultimately closing the thread...sheesh! :o

Fly

Creature
April 19, 2009, 09:07 AM
Why is everyone getting into such a tizzy over this?

Because we have seen countless threads warning and admonishing against so-called 'warning shots' and/or shots fired into the air as irresponsible and extremely dangerous. And if anyone thinks warning shots are 'okay' or even warranted in this particular situation, they would be wrong...especially since this incident seems to have taken place at an apartment complex of some kind which generally has a denser population per square foot and the probability of someone being hit by those un-aimed shots is far higher.

Dingoboyx
April 19, 2009, 12:11 PM
Are you causing trouble.... AGAIN? :eek::D

My favorite colour is BRASS... filled with BLACK with GRAY on top & a little SILVER (or gold) thingy in the back :D

Al Norris
April 19, 2009, 01:03 PM
Creature, as a general rule, yes, warning shots are not warranted. I agree. Yet, there are exceptions to this rule.

Apparently, this was a case of an exception. I say apparently, because it met the "smell" test of the D.A.

Yet some of you want to focus on a peripheral "fact" instead of all the facts. And remember, we don't know all the facts. Just a very few inferences from the article.

jammin1237
April 19, 2009, 02:01 PM
never aim at something with a firearm that you don't intend to destroy... firing warning a shot into the air and or wall(especially in an apartment building) is reckless... he should be at least charged with reckless endangerment... we have to start promoting more responsible use with firearms... if he wanted to deter his father from engaging in anymore violent behavior he should have just shot him in leg, intending to steer the situation into a better outcome............




cheers

Michael Anthony
April 19, 2009, 02:51 PM
You are correct Antipitas. Anyone who can read that story and say the shot was justified can only be basing their judgment on a preconceived notion of how these events typically play out.

Several posters have mentioned Holmes injuring, attempting to kill, or "bashing" Grutel's mother. Several others operate off of the assumption that Holmes had a history of violence. The news story never mentions any of this.

Remember, they were arguing when Grutel started shooting.

(That is of course, according to the news article's interpretation of the police report's interpretation of Grutel's interpretation of the events.)

More recent articles add that Holmes came towards or "charged" Grutel. :rolleyes: Anyone familiar with, "It's comin' right for us!" It's always a poignant reference when you hear about the phenomenon of humans "charging" one another.

Holmes version of the story might sound like this based on the very same statements Grutel made:

"Ok I was arguing with my son's mother. We were screaming and cursing and carrying on and my son started shooting. She and I ran inside. She starts screaming and attacking me, so I grab her. It was half to calm her down and half because I was scared out of my head. My boy comes in and shoots again so I figure... this is it. I let go and say, "Look, son..." *BAM* I'm shot, I go down."

With very little facts, it is impossible to say what happened. The above scenario used the same statements from Grutel that you used to create your version of events.

Quick, now someone post "Whatever, I'm glad he didn't get charged."

comn-cents
April 19, 2009, 04:04 PM
I'm glad he didn't get charged!

Al Norris
April 19, 2009, 05:21 PM
You are correct Antipitas. Anyone who can read that story and say the shot was justified can only be basing their judgment on a preconceived notion of how these events typically play out.
Not exactly. I have no preconceived notions. The facts I laid out were in the OP.

Your version, Michael. I can certainly change my mind, with new evidence. Care to provide the links to all of that?

Still and all, there must be something to what I've said, else the DA would have charged the kid.

OnTheFly
April 19, 2009, 10:10 PM
Still and all, there must be something to what I've said, else the DA would have charged the kid.

I agree. As I said, the Lincoln chief of police and likely the DA are on the liberal side of the gun spectrum. If they didn't press charges, Grutel must have had good reason to believe his mother was in imminent danger.

Fly

skydiver3346
April 19, 2009, 10:38 PM
:mad:
Seems like no one is addressing Grutel's father? He obviously is an idiot for not taking into account that his son had a gun and actually fired two shots. Grutel warns him numerous times and this guy still enters the house and attacks Grutel's mother. Anyone who is that foolish and has a don't give a crap attitude, (after being warned and shots fired) probably is a serious threat to anyone who gets in his way. If someone attacks my mother (even his father or stepfather, as he has a different name) I can promise you that something bad is going to happen to them for sure. That is a promise!

Michael Anthony
April 20, 2009, 07:21 AM
Antipitas, I suppose there was a communication breakdown. I had to reread a few times to understand how a post that began with "You are correct" could be rebutted.

I was under the impression that your stance was similar to mine. I thought we both believed that the original post did not contain enough facts or information for anyone to call the shot justified.

My hypothetical Holmes Version was an example of how filling in the blanks with a small number of facts can lead to a very different story. There is no link to the information because it does not exist. It was directed to the posters who were inserting "bashing", "trying to kill" and other tidbits that were not from the article (i.e. other information that does not exist).

It must be my poor communication skills. I mean after all, immediately after taking the stance that the article did not explain how the shoot was justified, it was stated that I would have shot in the same situation.

I was only hoping to get the posters of the more popular "You killed someone, good job!" opinion to explain how the article led them to that conclusion. I should just go back to lurking.

Al Norris
April 20, 2009, 07:35 AM
Communications Problem? On teh interwebz?

Nah, can't happen! :rolleyes: (Now I'll have to re-read the thread...)

Edit: fixed wording... :D

Michael Anthony
April 20, 2009, 07:37 AM
Antipitas... it's teh interwebz... teh :)

Skydiver, the article never mentions any warnings. You are filling in the blanks. It just mentions shots. It says "Grutel fired two shots from his handgun into the air in an attempt to keep Holmes from following her into her apartment." What listener would be fluent enough in gunshot report to know that these gunshots mean "Don't go in the apartment." and not "I'm trying to kill you." "Happy New Year!" or "Don't worry I'm just doing some urban duck hunting."

The article also doesn't say he "attacked" her. That's more blank-filling. It says Grutel entered to see him restraining her. In fact when I see someone restraining someone else, the first thing I try to determine is why... before I try to get them to let go.

The article does not state any facts that justify this shooting. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that the facts don't exist. I'm saying the article doesn't contain them.

skydiver3346
April 20, 2009, 10:07 AM
You make good points. But you have to assume that there had to be some kind of dialogue going on between them in the yard when shots were fired. Also, I'm sure he just didn't shoot his gun in the air for no reason and never uttered a word first??
Think about it, Grutel walks into the home after firing the shots and finds his Mother being restrained and grappling with his Dad. etc. Probably more words exchanged and he then shot the guy. You would have to be there to really know all of what transpired. However, to me it is justified if someone is attacking your Mom. Obviously something serious was going on for him to shoot the guy. You never know if he could have had a gun or knife on him and could have stabbed his Mom. etc. Things like that happen all the time and domestic quarrels are considered by the police to be the most dangerous calls to respond to......

Michael Anthony
April 20, 2009, 03:58 PM
Also, I'm sure he just didn't shoot his gun in the air for no reason and never uttered a word first??

I would hope not, but you would be surprised at what goes on in households. My only point is the article makes no mention of it.

However, to me it is justified if someone is attacking your Mom.

I partially agree. It depends on nature and level of the attack. Walking into a room to see one party restraining another, and no other information, only leads me to think "I don't know what is going on."

Obviously something serious was going on for him to shoot the guy.

I sincerely hope in this case that is so.