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Old January 12, 2015, 10:17 AM   #1
Double Naught Spy
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Confrontation of Suspected Bad Guy(s)

http://www.fox4news.com/story/277983...shot-in-dallas
http://www.star-telegram.com/news/lo...le5679801.html
http://crimeblog.dallasnews.com/2015...gunfight.html/
http://www.wfaa.com/story/news/crime...rime/21538065/

Here is an interesting take on the story. The Good Sam, Phillip Thomas, saw the robbers/kidnappers park and then one leave on foot. Instead of calling 911, he grabbed a rifle (AR-15) from inside the house and then went back outside where he confronted the returning robber(s details are "sketchy") who had just finished a kidnapping and robbery (he took a hostage and robbed a convenient store). Thomas has been robbed 6 times himself and is apparently hyper vigilant. Thomas verbally queries/challenges the robber(s) and the robber(s) apparently opened fire on Thomas (I assume the robber saw Thomas' rifle). Thomas returned fire and in the process, both suspects were hit and one died later. The gunfight continued as the robbers drove away.

So the actual robbery/kidnapping was over. Thomas probably had no actual insight as to what had occurred (though I am sure he suspected no-good). He confronted multiple bad guys at night and was shot at at first (maybe shot first?).

I gotta like the fact that Thomas is actively vigilant about the security of his area, but I certainly have to question his tactics. He obviously suspected there would be trouble, that trouble was occurring, but failed to call 911 when he had the opportunity. I am not against what he did, but feel strongly that he could have done it better and with less risk to himself. Of course, the most prudent thing to have done is to have called 911 and NOT confronted the bad guys. That would have all but completely negated the risk to himself.

Before anybody says it, no, it was not his "job" to stop the bad guys and having a gun does not make him a cop. Lots of things in our lives aren't our jobs, but we do them because we feel they are necessary or important to do. We all do them - things that are not "our jobs" that we feel need to be done. So whether or not this was Thomas' job isn't really relevant, but how he did it is.
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Old January 12, 2015, 10:31 AM   #2
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I only read the first link and noticed that Mr. Thomas apparently told the reporter that the robbers “deserved it”. It sort of makes me wonder if his goal in confronting them was to hold them for Police or provide a little vigilante justice.
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Old January 12, 2015, 11:15 AM   #3
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With all due respect, according to the news reports he had nothing to tell 911 except that he saw a man park and walk across the field, and had a bad feeling about it on account of having been robbed himself so he was suspicious.

I agree in general that if he had enough suspicion to grab his AR and confront, he "must" have had enough to call the cops - but having read only the first two links you posted, it seems that he was going on just "gut feeling" - he was right, too - but may not have had enough specific, solid information to justify a call to the police or their responding rapidly to his call.

Whether or not he was acting as a vigilante is an open question. One could take the position that since nobody had been hurt, no shots fired, until he confronted the robber who then fired on him, he actually precipitated the shootout. My own feeling is that the robbers precipitated the entire event, including the shootout, by robbing the store - but I'm not on the Grand Jury.
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Old January 12, 2015, 01:30 PM   #4
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With all due respect, according to the news reports he had nothing to tell 911 except that he saw a man park and walk across the field, and had a bad feeling about it on account of having been robbed himself so he was suspicious.
A "suspicious person(s)" report near a frequently robbed location is more than enough reason to dispatch officers to the scene

He was an idiot to arm himself and confront them without calling first
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Old January 12, 2015, 01:47 PM   #5
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Yeah, I am thinking that if you are so suspicious of activity going on around you that you feel the need to grab a rifle and prepare for a confrontation outside of your home that you should be calling 911 or at least minimally the non-emergency number to report what is going on.
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Old January 12, 2015, 03:34 PM   #6
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I would have called 911 first or had my Wife or son do so and then made the confrontation . Like Mr Thomas I would have used a rifle/carbine . Not sure that the end result would have been any diferent . I have to confront suspicous behavior from time to time at work so unless they wanted to open fire maby I could have defused the situation better but faceing multi felonies like the bad guys were I dont think they were giving up to anyone . Evan in the most peacful places this is a dangerous World We live in .
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Old January 12, 2015, 04:16 PM   #7
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been robbed himself so he was suspicious.
A "suspicious person(s)" report near a frequently robbed location is more than enough reason to dispatch officers to the scene
Thanks Snyper! Good point.

I'm in no hurry to confront anyone or get into a gunfight, but I might feel "funny" calling the cops on nothing more than a hunch.

Your post makes me feel better about that - the phrase "suspicious person" is probably the key. Not calling to say the world is ending, just that there is a suspicious person.
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Old January 12, 2015, 06:13 PM   #8
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Your post makes me feel better about that - the phrase "suspicious person" is probably the key. Not calling to say the world is ending, just that there is a suspicious person.
For many years I regularly listened to a police scanner, and you'd be amazed at the "suspicious activity" calls that come in.

911 keeps detailed records of calls, so they know if it's credible, and they know if there have been other reports in the area

Even if you call the "non-emergency" number, those who answer generally have access to all the same information
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Old January 12, 2015, 11:32 PM   #9
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So you think he should have called 911 and then went back inside and sat on the couch.......and three hours later maybe an officer might have responded to the 911 call.

That sure doesnt work here in town let alone my place on White Pass. Us residents call 911 how ever we can work it in as it may be six hours before an officer shows up. The sheriff department calls us when something is going on so we can be outside to head off the trouble back toward them.
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Old January 13, 2015, 08:19 AM   #10
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That sure doesnt work here in town let alone my place on White Pass. Us residents call 911 how ever we can work it in as it may be six hours before an officer shows up. The sheriff department calls us when something is going on so we can be outside to head off the trouble back toward them.

City folk don't understand this. I can't comment on the legality or even the logic of the confrontation BUT there are times when "you just have to do what you feel is right". I've done this a few times(maybe illegally) but when there's one officer for 450-600 square miles, you'd better have that in your game plan.
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Old January 13, 2015, 08:29 AM   #11
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That sure doesnt work here in town let alone my place on White Pass. Us residents call 911 how ever we can work it in as it may be six hours before an officer shows up. The sheriff department calls us when something is going on so we can be outside to head off the trouble back toward them.

City folk don't understand this. I can't comment on the legality or even the logic of the confrontation BUT there are times when "you just have to do what you feel is right". I've done this a few times(maybe illegally) but when there's one officer for 450-600 square miles, you'd better have that in your game plan.
Well city folk don't have to understand your situation when they are operating in the city, LOL. This did happen in the city in the middle of a major MSA.
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Old January 13, 2015, 08:57 AM   #12
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I didn't read the links, but if the Ops "cliffs notes" version is accurate, he'd be in jail if he lived here in VA.
The precipitated a fight, and ended up killing someone. He or his were not jeopardized by the original actions of the bad guys, this was a second totally separate incident which he started.
Snyper was right, here, calls of a suspicious person will be responded to. If you see something that just doesn't fit, they will check it out, and tell you they don't mind at all, don't hesitate to call.
There would be nothing wrong with sitting somewhere and keeping an eye on what's happening either, to "make a good witness". If police had not yet arrived, he could have followed from a safe distance to report where they went.
This would be the option out "in the country" as well. Starting a gunfight because they did something somewhere else isn't going to fly for the average citizen.
Now, if you see something happening that is just so bad as to be almost unbelievable, you might get away with it. Say, an active shooter walks in two doors down from where you are coming out, and you go and hunt them (essentially what this guy did, hunt them). You would be preventing so much wanton death and destruction you might get away with hunting the bad guys. But it had better be pretty clear what's going on.
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Old January 13, 2015, 10:26 AM   #13
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If you have the suspicion that something is about to happen and, you have enough time to pick up your AR-15, you also have enough time to call LE and report your suspicion. Observe, and report from cover/concealment.
Unless you happen to be present when the robbery/ kidnapping is taking place then, you do not know the dynamics of the circumstances and, have no reason to intervene or "challenge" anyone. Not your monkeys, not your circus.

His reaction seems, on the face of it, to be vigilantism at the least.(imho) I will be watching this closely and, will be very surprised if there are not some legal repercussions for the rifleman.

Quote:
One could take the position that since nobody had been hurt, no shots fired, until he confronted the robber who then fired on him, he actually precipitated the shootout.
Yup.
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Old January 13, 2015, 10:34 AM   #14
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Here is an interesting take on the story. The Good Sam, Phillip Thomas, saw the robbers/kidnappers park and then one leave on foot. Instead of calling 911, he grabbed a rifle (AR-15) from inside the house and then went back outside where he confronted the returning robber(s details are "sketchy") who had just finished a kidnapping and robbery (he took a hostage and robbed a convenient store). Thomas has been robbed 6 times himself and is apparently hyper vigilant. Thomas verbally queries/challenges the robber(s) and the robber(s) apparently opened fire on Thomas (I assume the robber saw Thomas' rifle). Thomas returned fire and in the process, both suspects were hit and one died later. The gunfight continued as the robbers drove away.
What if they had not been robbers. Running outside and pointing a rifle at someone-the best option is you're going to jail. The worst option is they may legally possess a firearm and someone is going to get shot.
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Old January 13, 2015, 12:35 PM   #15
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His reaction seems, on the face of it, to be vigilantism at the least.(imho)
Vigilantism, by definition, involves acting outside of the boundaries of the law. There is no indication Thomas did this. You can be vigilant without being a vigilante. That doesn't make it smart, just not illegal.
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Old January 13, 2015, 12:48 PM   #16
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Quote:
His reaction seems, on the face of it, to be vigilantism at the least.(imho)

Vigilantism, by definition, involves acting outside of the boundaries of the law. There is no indication Thomas did this. You can be vigilant without being a vigilante. That doesn't make it smart, just not illegal.
Of course there is. He has no permission to do what he did under color of law. He drew down on a stranger-thats battery and prima facae evidence of a reasonable belief for self defense purposes, and that stranger can now blow his brains out. This isn't the bleeping Wild West.

If I'm that stranger, I am going to own everything you have after the lawsuit. Alternatively, if I can I am going to empty my S&W into your face and then I'm going to own everything you have after I sue you.

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Old January 13, 2015, 01:33 PM   #17
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City folk don't understand this.
Didn't they rob a convenience store?

Not many of those in "remote" areas.

I live 7 miles from a 1 stoplight town, and 25 miles from the Sheriff's office, but can generally get a non emergency response in 20 minutes or less.

In a real emergency, they would dispatch an officer from the Town PD, meaning an ETA of less than 10 minutes in most cases

Not all scenarios will apply to all areas, but that doesn't mean people "don't understand"

Either way, an armed response without witnessing an actual crime, and without at least calling the police is not a wise thing to do
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Old January 13, 2015, 02:28 PM   #18
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an armed response without witnessing an actual crime, and without at least calling the police is not a wise thing to do
I agree if there’s time why not call the Police they could be 20 minutes away or two, so calling just seems to make sense. Also, if you are forced to use deadly force the call can show that you tried to call Police and possibly help identify you as the “good guy”.
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Old January 13, 2015, 04:02 PM   #19
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In fact, its very important to helping identify you as the Good Guy. I was told in CHL class, he who calls first wins in a confrontation.
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Old January 13, 2015, 06:06 PM   #20
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Of course there is. He has no permission to do what he did under color of law. He drew down on a stranger-thats battery and prima facae evidence of a reasonable belief for self defense purposes, and that stranger can now blow his brains out. This isn't the bleeping Wild West.
There is NOTHING in the law that says he can't verbally challenge a stranger by asking what they are doing. There is nothing in the law that says he can't open carry a rifle, especially on his own property. If you know specific laws to the contrary, please state them.

Please reference explicitly where any of the articles on this incident indicates that he drew down on the stranger. NONE I have seen said this. They only say that he armed himself with a rifle and verbally confronted the returning bad guy(s). That is not battery.

From this article...http://www.star-telegram.com/news/lo...le5679801.html

Quote:
“The homeowner said something like, ‘What are you doing?’ and the suspect fired.”

The resident was hit, retreated to his back porch and started shooting, Winstanley said.
Quote:
If I'm that stranger, I am going to own everything you have after the lawsuit. Alternatively, if I can I am going to empty my S&W into your face and then I'm going to own everything you have after I sue you.
So before you start threatening to shoot me or anyone else in the face, LOL, and then claiming how you will sue us about something that isn't reported (by the way, such suits never actually go as you claim, least not in Texas), try to read the articles first or provide the articles that substantiate your claims.

I noticed how Mr. Thomas didn't get arrested and still hasn't been arrested. As such, there is no indication so far that he has broken any laws.
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Old January 13, 2015, 07:41 PM   #21
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Grabbing an AR then running out into the street to challenge some guy you "suspect" - "might" be up to no good just sounds like a very poor idea.
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Old January 14, 2015, 02:12 AM   #22
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Mr. Thomas was in his own yard.
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Old January 14, 2015, 02:53 AM   #23
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he was in his yard, and we don't know if he went out and "pointed his rifle a someone", he may have had pointed in a safe direction. carrying a firearm isn't a crime, and it definitely shouldn't be on your own property.

if this guy has been robbed six times, maybe he already knows that calling 911 isn't going to do him any good. he may have tried that the first five times with little sucess
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Old January 14, 2015, 03:04 AM   #24
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Flip it around. You are walking back to your car (you have done nothing wrong) and the guy in the yard across the street comes outside with a long gun and is staring you down. You are carrying concealed. Do you draw your weapon?

If you choose to go back in your house and get your gun instead of calling the cops because you think someone is committing a crime, you better be right about them being a bad guy, because if you are wrong and it is a good guy with a gun, well you just caused a bad situation to happen
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Old January 14, 2015, 04:04 AM   #25
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do you draw your weapon if your neighbor is carrying a gun from his car? why would I pull my gun on a guy on HIS property? why am I on HIS property in the first place?

I sometimes clean my surplus rifles on the back porch with boiling water, I would hate to think if someone saw me walking outside with it, they would think to pull their gun.

probably not what you were asking but....if I am in the street and a guy comes out of his house, coming towards me with a look in his eye, carrying an AR15 in both hands.....I retreat to my vehicle or to wherever I can. if the threat persists beyond my retreat, then maybe my weapon will come out. if he his pointing the gun at me, then I am fear of my life and yes, I would absolutely draw.
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