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Old February 21, 2012, 01:48 PM   #1
Patriot86
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Man arrested after firing warning shot at burglar in N.H.

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A New Hampshire man who fired his handgun into the ground to scare an alleged burglar he caught crawling out of a neighbor's window is now facing a felony charge -- and the same potential prison sentence as the man he stopped.

Dennis Fleming, 61, of Farmington, was arrested for reckless conduct after the Saturday incident at his 19th century farmhouse. The single grandfather had returned home to find that his home had been burglarized and spotted Joseph Hebert, 27, climbing out of a window at a neighbor's home. Fleming said he yelled "Freeze!" before firing his gun into the ground, then held Hebert at gunpoint until police arrived.
http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/02/21...est=latestnews



This guy would be a hero in Texas but is a villan in New Hampshire...surprise surprise. IMO what the guy did was just but probably NOT legal. If the guy had been fleeing, he posed no threat and in most states shooting someone over property is a nono. This is really in my mind a perfect example of why to STFU after a DGU, hopefully this guy gets a good lawyer and can end up with little more than some kind of a small fine and no criminal record.


Warning shots, especially in gun-unfriendly territory pose serious legal exposure for the shooter. "IF you felt threatened then WHY didn't you shoot the bad guy, if you had time to fire a warning shot why didn't you just call 911?".

Last edited by Patriot86; February 21, 2012 at 02:13 PM.
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Old February 21, 2012, 02:01 PM   #2
Bartholomew Roberts
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It is a good example of why warning shots are usually a bad idea. Mr. Fleming apparently felt he needed to fire that shot to show the burglar he was serious; but he wasn't able to articulate why he thought that was necessary in the article very well.
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Old February 21, 2012, 02:48 PM   #3
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Just say no to warning shots. Hope the charges are dropped.
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Old February 21, 2012, 03:02 PM   #4
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This guy would be a hero in Texas but is a villan in New Hampshire...
"Live Free or Die"? I think if they pursue charges on this, they are telling property owners to drop dead.

While I understand that warning shots are a bad idea, the legal system is not exactly discouraging burglary in this case....... job sucurity, I'd guess.
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Old February 21, 2012, 03:05 PM   #5
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Digging a little deeper into this in the local NH Paper I can start to sort of see why the cops cuffed this guy..

http://www.fosters.com/apps/pbcs.dll...939/-1/FOSNEWS

Quote:
He said he couldn't tell right away if anything from his home was missing, and that after about 10 or 15 minutes of checking his house for damage and stolen items, he noticed a man walking down the street with a backpack.

"I said, 'That can't be him,'" Fleming said Monday, but decided to see if it was, driving his truck down the road.

After he did not find the man, Fleming said he went back to his house, grabbed his gun, and decided to walk down the street to talk with neighbors and find out if they had seen anyone suspicious in the area.

It was on this walk that he saw the man with the backpack, later identified to be Hebert, again, coming out of a neighbor's back window.

"I heard, 'Crash, bang boom!', and he came flying out the back window," Fleming said. It was later determined Hebert had left Fleming's house in a similar fashion, jumping from a second-story window about 15 feet down to the ground.


So he admitted to going LOOKING for this guy....again IMO just but typically not a good legal idea...though this may be the saving grace...

Quote:
What happened next Fleming said was a result of him acting on an instinct to not only stop the man, but protect himself.
"I had drawn my gun ... I had a bypass last year, I have a bad knee, bad back, I don't want this guy to come at me," he said Monday. "I yelled, 'Freeze!' and fired my gun into the ground."
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Old February 21, 2012, 03:07 PM   #6
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I can start to sort of see why the cops cuffed this guy..
Me too. Competition?
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Old February 21, 2012, 03:12 PM   #7
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Awesome, this state that does not require auto insurance, has the motto live free or die, will be this uptight over this situation... ugh


Anyone find an address or neighborhood where this happened? Would be nice to see the proximity of the other homes, it says 19th C farmhouse but up there that could be on acreage or have been infested by suburbanites.
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Old February 21, 2012, 03:48 PM   #8
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I've got a shout-out in to a State Rep over there...

I'll see what he says...
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Old February 21, 2012, 03:58 PM   #9
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Cut out the TX shoot'em up crap. You don't know what you are talking about.
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Old February 21, 2012, 04:16 PM   #10
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Back on track.

A warning shot is deadly force. If the situation merits deadly force than you should not be shooting warning shots. This is one of the reasons. I'm hoping he gets a reasonable judge and prosecutor (or jury of it comes to it) but you never know.

You can't put the bullet back into the gun. Don't launch it unless you are willing to buy everything that it entails.
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Old February 21, 2012, 07:36 PM   #11
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Maybe that's another thing we need more mandatory training on.

Warning Shots are bad - MmmmmmmKay?
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Old February 21, 2012, 07:38 PM   #12
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I'm hoping for jury nullification.
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Old February 21, 2012, 07:41 PM   #13
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^ sounds painfull
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Old February 21, 2012, 07:51 PM   #14
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If you've been burglarized you would go looking too me thinks.
Unless of course that's a scary idea,to catch someone who stole from you.
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Old February 21, 2012, 08:04 PM   #15
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This guy needs a lawyer... He didnt fire a warning shot... He fired at a Criminal commiting a felony at night that endangered the lives of his neighbors... But he missed thats all... Here is a perfect case of saying too much of the wrong thing.
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Old February 21, 2012, 08:17 PM   #16
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Quote:
"I yelled, 'Freeze!' and fired my gun into the ground."
Sounds more like a negligent discharge caused by a dump of adrenalin to me. At least that's the way I'd sell it to a jury.

Quote:
Warning Shots are bad - MmmmmmmKay?
Yes, they are. They can confuse responders, and I know of no instructor, LEO or civilian, who doesn't warn against the practice.
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Old February 21, 2012, 08:38 PM   #17
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If you've been burglarized you would go looking too me thinks.
Unless of course that's a scary idea,to catch someone who stole from you.
He didn't go looking. He saw the guy climbing out of his neighbors window.
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Old February 22, 2012, 08:18 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Dee
This guy needs a lawyer... He didnt fire a warning shot... He fired at a Criminal commiting a felony at night that endangered the lives of his neighbors... But he missed thats all...
And you know that your version is true and his isn't ... how?

He said he fired into the ground. That's easy to verify. How did that endanger the lives of his neighbors?
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Old February 22, 2012, 08:55 AM   #19
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Sounds like the main reason he was charged is right here:

Quote:
Fleming was arrested late Saturday night after turning himself into police and charged with felony reckless conduct, alleging he put others at risk of serious bodily injury when he discharged his firearm into the ground near 27-year-old Joseph Hebert in a residential area where people had gathered to watch the ordeal unfold.
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Old February 22, 2012, 09:00 AM   #20
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I'm in the camp of those that see no purpose whatsoever to warning shots. Either your life is in danger or its not. In my state, you can add: either a burglar broke into your house, or he didn't. In either of these situations firing a warning shot is ridiculous.

While I think the guy should get off with nothing more than a slap on the hand (just because I like to see folks looking after their neighbors and neighborhoods), I think he was playing cop.
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Old February 22, 2012, 09:07 AM   #21
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You never ever, ever, talk to the police without an attorney.
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Old February 22, 2012, 09:51 AM   #22
Bartholomew Roberts
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTT TL
He didn't go looking. He saw the guy climbing out of his neighbors window.
Actually, in the other report I read, he did indeed go looking. He came home to find his house had been burglarized and then saw the suspect walking down the street. He went inside and got a gun and went looking for the suspect with neighbors but couldn't find him initially. While they were looking, they heard a noise - the man had thrown down a sack and jumped from the second story window of a nearby house. That is when the confrontation occurred.
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Old February 22, 2012, 10:12 AM   #23
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"County Attorney Tom Velardi said Monday that he will be reviewing the case and will work to determine if the charge against Fleming is appropriate. "

Arraignment is scheduled for March 20 if it gets that far.


"You never ever, ever, talk to the police without an attorney."

How do you report a crime? You going to call an attorney first? Ha.
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Old February 22, 2012, 01:32 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTT TL
A warning shot is deadly force. If the situation merits deadly force than you should not be shooting warning shots.
Really? I don't think so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skans
I'm in the camp of those that see no purpose whatsoever to warning shots. Either your life is in danger or its not.

I'm in the camp that every situation is unique and dynamic and that you have to respond to the circumstances as they unfold. A preset script is a recipe for disaster.

You can correct me if I'm wrong, but here's a continuum of action/force:

Threatening to use a gun,
unholstering and pointing a gun at a person,
actually shooting the gun,
hitting the target, and finally
if the target dies from the hit.


Each of these acts can get you charges; each more serious as you go up the continuum. You only need justification for the force that you used.

In this situation the shooter only needs to justify the threat of use, pointing the gun, and discharging a "warning shot." Which is much better than if he had actually shot the burglar. Was he justified, I believe so. Was it the smartest option probably not, but we weren't there. Nobody got hurt or killed, the burglar was arrested, all seems well unless the DA wants to send a message about doing your own "police work."

That said, if the perp doesn't respond to verbal cues and a weapon pointed at him, then it's probably time to be COM. In MOST cases a warning shot is usually a waste of good ammo; ammo that you might have an urgent need for later.
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Old February 22, 2012, 02:41 PM   #25
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Sounds to me that this town hired cops from Mass. for some reason.
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