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Old March 8, 2013, 11:20 AM   #1
Bartholomew Roberts
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Interesting Self Defense Shooting - Eagleton

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=707151

This is an interesting story of a self-defense shooting that was prosecuted and went to jury (as told by one of the jury members). The shooter was acquitted based on self-defense (he shot a man who attacked him with a knife after an earlier scuffle). The story should go a long ways to remind us of how even what appears to be an obvious "good shoot" can still land you in a legal nightmare.

The man who was shot died in front of his teenage son who witnessed the whole thing. The whole confrontation started because the two men were trying to go through the sane gate and Eagleton said "Watch where you are going" which apparently caused the other man to physically attack him. An important lesson on how minor courtesies not only make for a more pleasant society; but a safer one as well.
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Old March 8, 2013, 07:07 PM   #2
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Unfortunately, this type of investigation seems to be the rule in some jurisdictions rather than the exception.

fortunately, the defendant had a good jury.
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Old March 8, 2013, 11:35 PM   #3
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The defendant was fortunate he got a sympathetic jury, because there are several troubling issues.

First off, the lawyer he hired was incompetent. Second, the aggressor was running away and the defendant shot at him. This could have turned out very badly.
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Old March 10, 2013, 08:55 AM   #4
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One of the human characteristics that has changed over the decades, is the notion of simple courtesy. In years gone by, when two fellow neighbors accidently bumped into each other, there was an "excuse me" or "pardon me" offered by one or both men.

Today, people often feel they have been so disrespected, by even the slightest of behaviors, that it is worth, fighting, killing, dying or spending the rest of ones life in prison for. The posted shooting incident appears to be a legitimate case of self-defense, but it probably could have been avoided.
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Old March 10, 2013, 09:32 AM   #5
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Common courtesy has fallen by the wayside. When was the last time you stepped out of an elevator and some one wasn't trying to push his way past you as you stepped out. The plane lands and everyone's jumping out into the Isle to get off first. It's all "me first". Kindergarteners are more respectful than most adults. If someone is offended, or feels disrespected, he probably was.

Someone trying to push past you to get out a door warrants a "watch where you're going". A "watch where you're going" does not warrant a stabbing. A stabbing does warrant lethal force to protect yourself.

That said, if you look at situations like this and decide that you should let people walk all over you to avoid the risk of angering some idiot and losing a few years of your life defending yourself in court, I totally understand. This is what the world is coming to.
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Old March 10, 2013, 09:36 AM   #6
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I would agree that there is a distinct lack of common courtesy in our society these days. One of the things I've found myself repeating, especially in front of my impressionable child is the theory that: "when I put on my gun this morning, I gave up the right to be rude." Not that I was ever rude to begin with, but at the point where the gun goes in the holster, I think we (CCers) all need to remember that we really, really need to mind our manners.
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Old March 10, 2013, 10:23 AM   #7
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I must agree that "common courtesy" is very uncommon these days. I'm not sure what has happened but I find it very sad.
In my book there is no justification for shooting at an attacker who is running away. JMHO
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Old March 10, 2013, 10:45 AM   #8
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Don't be so sure that things were so much better in the good old days. Nostalgia, Disney, and old timey TV shows have a way of making the past look a lot more wonderful than it really was. Just because you didn't hear about things as much in the past is likely more a product of geography or technology than of society.

It isn't like people didn't hurt one another over trivial matters in the past, such as the color of another's skin, their sex, age, size, class, wealth, or religion. There was a LOT of disrespecting of African Americans in many parts of the country, more so than even today, but especially in the South. Persecuted groups like JMB's Mormons ended up in Utah because of a lack of first amendment courtesy.

That two folks got into a fight that escalated into a homicide really isn't any sort of exceptional instance in our day and age or in the past.
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Old March 10, 2013, 10:54 AM   #9
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Someone trying to push past you to get out a door warrants a "watch where you're going". A "watch where you're going" does not warrant a stabbing. A stabbing does warrant lethal force to protect yourself.

Agreed...
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Old March 10, 2013, 11:17 AM   #10
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... And an, "Excuse me! I didn't see you coming in," might have averted the entire play.

Common courtesy, isn't. Common sense, isn't.
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Old March 10, 2013, 11:36 AM   #11
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ATTA BOY AL!
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Old March 10, 2013, 11:57 AM   #12
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[QUOTE+"wayneinFL"]That said, if you look at situations like this and decide that you should let people walk all over you to avoid the risk of angering some idiot and losing a few years of your life defending yourself in court, I totally understand. This is what the world is coming to.[/QUOTE]

I have had to do this on more than one occasion. At first it was humiliating, but later I learned its actually humiliating for the offending person. This is part of conflict resolution and a very important part of owning or carrying a gun.
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Old March 10, 2013, 02:28 PM   #13
Bartholomew Roberts
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Quote:
In my book there is no justification for shooting at an attacker who is running away. JMHO
With a single sight picture, my splits are around 0.22 - which effectively means that once I have made the decision to shoot, I can shoot faster than my brain can process new information. By the time I have recognized someone with a knife is turning and running away, I can easily fire an additional 2-3 shots. To an eyewitness (or ubiquitous surveillance camera), it may look very bad. Throw in some adrenaline, bad lighting, etc. and it is easy to understand how it can happen.

Heck, we discussed a shooting in Tactics and Training where a trained SWAT officer off-duty stopped a McDonald's robbery by shooting the guy ten times. He was effectively dead with the first hit; but by the time the body responded to the loss of blood and the cop noticed him stopping, he'd fired 9 more times.
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Old March 10, 2013, 04:29 PM   #14
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So all police departments don't have a CSI-Miami team to dissect every discarded cigarette butt and crumpled 7-11 receipt within 100 yards of the crime scene?

Amazing that such a seemingly botched investigation would prompt a DA to take the case to trial, especially given the knife aspect. Another good reason to be civil to everybody ... and keep your gun loaded.
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Old March 10, 2013, 10:20 PM   #15
breakingcontact
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They had an earlier scuffle, where they physically ran into each other.

More importantly, the guy was later attacked with a knife.

Shooting at the guy while he's running away is a No-Go, agreed.

I get that we all need to be more polite to one another. I find people here in Austin, pretty unfriendly. Get outside of town just a few miles and they're way nicer.

Quote:
The whole confrontation started because the two men were trying to go through the sane gate and Eagleton said "Watch where you are going" which apparently caused the other man to physically attack him.
No, the guy decided he was insulted or whatever the case and pulled a knife and threatened/attacked. He did this due to whatever mental/emotional/ego issues he had, not due to the run in.
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Old March 11, 2013, 10:46 PM   #16
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Tom Servo said:
Quote:
First off, the lawyer he hired was incompetent.
Tom, I'm not sure how you came to this conclusion. The first vote of the jury was unanimously "not guilty." He brought out inconsistencies in the the girlfriend's story, he was able to get the jury past the fact the defendant fired after the other guy turned to leave, that he chased the girlfriend (even though he may not have shot her), and apparently pointed out the obvious shortcomings of the police investigation. Am I missing something?
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Old March 12, 2013, 01:53 AM   #17
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According to the original post (the THR one),

Quote:
His first lawyer was dismissed *by the judge* for gross incompetence.
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Old March 12, 2013, 05:46 AM   #18
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Quote:
Shooting at the guy while he's running away is a No-Go, agreed.
I am not sure why various folks here are hung up on this "running away" business. Nobody knows whether he was running away or simply trying to optimize his position. However, there are numerous cases in Texas where folks have been shot while "running away" or shot in the back that have been perfectly justified. There wasn't any proof that the third shot hit him and so even if there was a problem with the shot, the problem would not be murder.

ALSO, from the original THR thread concerning the third shot...
Quote:
The whole incident took place so fast that they didn't think he was intentionally doing anything beyond 'shooting to stop the threat'. That was one of the major premises of the case was that third shot.
Just because a person is moving away from you does not mean that they are no longer a threat. Failing to recognize this is a failing of folks during some SD scenarios.
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Old March 12, 2013, 06:16 AM   #19
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Quote:
One of the things I've found myself repeating, especially in front of my impressionable child is the theory that: "when I put on my gun this morning, I gave up the right to be rude."
Good rule.
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Old March 12, 2013, 07:58 AM   #20
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I guess this has an element of risk, but I frequently say "you're welcome" to people for whom I hold open a door when they brush past me without even a nod.
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Old March 12, 2013, 09:23 AM   #21
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Quote:
I am not sure why various folks here are hung up on this "running away" business
It's a hollywood idea that's been mainstreamed. I'm not saying it's right, or that it's wrong. I'm saying it's the way it is. We have some level of defense available to us, but it'll be judged on a case by case basis, and almost always less so than an actual officer who will often have technically more restrictive rules on such a shooting.

In my state, I could probably point to our state laws, and convince a lawyer and a judge. The Jury would probably be at best even money given state politics.

I could argue he was committing a felony in my presence, and on me. This is grounds for deadly force by both civilians and LEO in WA. I could argue that given his rapid response to go from watch it, to pulling a knife, as well as his repeated efforts to clash with me, he posed a significant threat of death or injury to myself and/or others.

I'm not a lawyer so I may have the nuance wrong, but that's pretty much the end result of Tennesee v. Garner 471 US 1 (1985) for when a law enforcement officer is able to justify deadly force on a fleeing suspect.

The last thought I'd leave you with is that it's still a crap shoot. You could get an activist judge, you're going to go broke from legal fees, and worst of all, you will have shot someone. With the public stigma of it being "in the back".
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Old March 12, 2013, 09:41 AM   #22
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In Texas, to legally use lethal self defense, the fear of death or severe injury must be immediate and reasonable.

A person running away (unless armed) provides evidence that that fear is not immediate nor reasonable. Its one factor, but its like any other piece of evidence. Is the BG running away to get a better shooting position? Is the BG running away? Is the BG running to get his buddies (no can't shoot fyi).
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Old March 12, 2013, 08:36 PM   #23
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Quote:
His first lawyer was dismissed *by the judge* for gross incompetence.
Missed that. I thought you were talking about the attorney that represented him at trial. Pretty darned rare for a judge to dismiss an attorney for incompetence.
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Old March 12, 2013, 08:39 PM   #24
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Quote:
I could argue he was committing a felony in my presence, and on me. This is grounds for deadly force by both civilians and LEO in WA. I could argue that given his rapid response to go from watch it, to pulling a knife, as well as his repeated efforts to clash with me, he posed a significant threat of death or injury to myself and/or others.

I'm not a lawyer so I may have the nuance wrong, but that's pretty much the end result of Tennesee v. Garner 471 US 1 (1985) for when a law enforcement officer is able to justify deadly force on a fleeing suspect.
It has to be a felon who would pose a substantial risk to the public safety (can't remember the exact wording) to authorize LEO to do this and remain within U.S. constitutional authority. I have no idea what Texas state law authorizes its LEO or private citizens to do.
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Old March 12, 2013, 09:03 PM   #25
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When I was growing up, my Dad, (a proper English Gentleman who emigrated in the 50's) was the soul of courtesy, a good example.
However when he saw something that was obviously rude and uncalled for, especially to a female, he would take all 6'2" of his polite English self and be shockingly direct, without raising his voice but with a very steady look on his face. No one ever saw fit to make an issue of it.
This is a man who as a child during WWII on the outskirts of London slept under what amounted to a large table built out of oak 4x4 timbers. The theory being that if the house were hit by bombs the "bomb shelter" would leave you in an air pocket and you could be dug out (hopefully) alive. It changed him. He hates Bullies, and taught me to confront them in turn.
Every day I am armed, in large part due to the good advice I've gotten here (thanks Frank), I have to remind myself not to follow his example.
Sad, really.
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