If you are anti-guns, or afraid of guns, or just don't like them and don't want them in your house, then this blog is for you.
(It might just change your mind)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

2 students killed, several hurt in shooting at Chardon High School; suspect in custody

Daniel Parmentor, 16,  is the first student killed in the shooting, according to MetroHealth Medical Center.
His parents released a statement: "We are shocked by this senseless tragedy. Danny was a bright young boy who had a bright future ahead of him. The family is torn by this loss. We ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time."

A second student, Russell King Jr., was pronounced brain dead late Monday night at MetroHealth Medical Center.

Police are not releasing names. But Junior Nate Mueller, who said his ear was grazed by a bullet, identified the shooter as T. J. Lane.

 Five students have been injured in a shooting this morning at Chardon High School. 
According to the Geauga County Sheriff's Office and the FBI, a suspect has been arrested. Scott Wilson of the FBI said they believe there was only one shooter, but the incident remains under investigation. 

Initial reports were that four students were shot. But at a news conference about 10:30 a.m., officials said there was a fifth victim.

The youth who was arrested had fled the high school building, but was caught on Woodin Road in Chardon Township, a law officer said. The boy is being processed at the sheriff's office, according to reports about 9 a.m.

Both the sheriff's office and Wilson declined to provide further detail of the events that unfolded in the high school cafeteria about 7:45 a.m.

A local official said four boys and a girl were injured. Four ambulances -- from Chardon, Kirtland, Burton and Chesterland -- arrived at the school just after 8. Sources said three of the students were flown to the trauma center at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland and the other two were taken to Hillcrest Hospital.

The school was immediately put on lockdown but parents are lined up near the campus now to pick up their children. Parents crowded outside the school said they started receiving text messages from children before 8.

Several students came out of the school in tears. Others came out in gym shorts, an indication of how suddenly the school day changed and the urgency with which the students were removed from the building.

"I'm just glad you're OK," one parent said to a student as they embraced.

The shooting happened in the cafeteria, according to a waiting parent, Jessica Bryant, whose freshman daughter, Allison, had seen it and texted her.

Parents were being told at 8:21 that it might not be safe to remain near the school.  Maple Elementary school across the street was being evacuated.

Police were blocking streets near the school as they went through the building in search of the shooter. A teacher saw the shooting and chased the gun-wielder, who escaped, according to reports.

At 8:30, students were being evacuated from the school and are going to Maple Elementary. Many, scared, could be seen holding hands and crying.

Mother Darlene Judd said she had heard from her two sons, seniors Peter and Paul, and was relieved for them but scared for the others. Chardon is "a tight-knit community," she said. "Everybody knows everybody; everybody cares for everybody. Even though it's not your kid down, someone else's is." 

Around 8:45, the Lake County SWAT team arrived with two large vehicles.

Parent Jeannette Roth, who had heard from her son Joshua, a junior, said he told her the shooting happened while students were eating breakfast in the cafeteria and waiting for first period. Suddenly, a boy "stood up and started shooting, and then it was chaos." 

Students fled and were locked into classrooms for safety.


KITCHENER — A Kitchener father is upset that police arrested him at his children’s’ school Wednesday, hauled him down to the station and strip-searched him, all because his four-year-old daughter drew a picture of a gun at school.

“I’m picking up my kids and then, next thing you know, I’m locked up,” Jessie Sansone, 26, said Thursday.
“I was in shock. This is completely insane. My daughter drew a gun on a piece of paper at school.”

The school principal, police and child welfare officials, however, all stand by their actions. They said they had to investigate to determine whether there was a gun in Sansone’s house that children had access to.

“From a public safety point of view, any child drawing a picture of guns and saying there’s guns in a home would warrant some further conversation with the parents and child,” said Alison Scott, executive director of Family and Children’s Services.

Waterloo Regional Police Insp. Kevin Thaler said there was a complaint from Forest Hills public school that “a firearm was in a residence and children had access to it. We had every concern, based on this information, that children were in danger.”

Their concern wasn’t based on the drawing alone, he said.

Neaveh, the child who made the drawing, also made comments about it that raised more flags.
Sansone thinks police overreacted. He didn’t find out until hours after his arrest what had actually sparked the incident.

He said he went to the school Wednesday afternoon to pick up his three children. He was summoned to the principal’s office where three police officers were waiting. They said he was being charged with possession of a firearm.

He was escorted from the school, handcuffed and put in the back of a cruiser.

At the same time, other police officers went to his home, where his wife and 15-month-old child were waiting for his return.

They made his wife come to the police station while the other three children were taken to Family and Children’s Services to be interviewed.

“Nobody was given any explanation,” said his wife, Stephanie Squires. “I didn’t know why he was being arrested.

“He had absolutely no idea what this was even about. I just kept telling them. ‘You’re making a mistake.’ ”

At the police station, Sansone talked to a lawyer who said only that he was being charged with possession of a firearm, Sansone said.

He kept asking questions. He was given a blanket and told he would appear before a judge in the morning to post bail.

“I was getting pretty scared at that point,” Sansone said. “It seemed like I was actually being charged at this point.”

He was forced to remove his clothes for a full strip search.

Several hours later, a detective apologized and said he was being released with no charges, Sansone said.
The detective told him that his four-year-old daughter had drawn a picture of a man holding a gun. When a teacher asked her who the man was, the girl replied, “That’s my daddy’s. He uses it to shoot bad guys and monsters.”

“To be honest with you, I broke down,” Sansone said. “My character got put down so much. I was actually really hurt, like it could happen that easy.

“How do you recognize a criminal from a father?’’

He said he thought he had good relations with the principal who offered him a job last year counselling students at the school.

“We’re educated,’’ he said. “I’m a certified PSW (personal support worker) and a life issues counsellor. I go into schools to try to make a difference.’’

After he was released, Sansone was asked to sign a paper authorizing a search of his home. He signed, even though he didn’t have to, he said.

“I just think they blew it out of proportion,’’ Squires said. “It was for absolutely nothing. They searched our house upside down and found nothing. They had the assumption he owned a firearm.

“The way everything happened was completely unnecessary, especially since we know the school very well. I don’t understand how they came to that conclusion from a four-year-old’s drawing.’’

Scott, of Family and Children’s Services, said the agency was obligated to investigate after getting a report from the school.

“Our community would have an expectation if comments are made about a gun in a house, we’d be obligated to investigate that to ensure everything is safe.”

If there’s a potential crime that’s been committed, the agency must call in police, she said
“In the end, it may not be substantiated. There may be a reasonable explanation for why the child drew that gun. But we have to go on what gets presented to us.

“I’m sure this was a very stressful thing for the family,” she acknowledged.

The school principal, Steve Zack, said a staff member called child welfare officials because the law requires them to report anything involving the safety or neglect of a child.
The agency chose to involve police, he said.

“Police chose to arrest Jessie here. Nobody wants something like this to happen at any time, especially not at school. But that’s out of my hands.”

Sansone says he got into some trouble with the law five years ago, and was convicted of assault and attempted burglary. But he’s put all that behind him. He never had any firearms-related charges.

As for the strip search, Thaler said it was done “for officer safety, because it’s a firearms-related incident.
“At the point in the investigation when it was determined it was not a real firearm, the individual was released unconditionally,” he said.


TP&W Considers Allowing Use of Lawfully Owned Suppressors to Hunt

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to Hold Public Meetings Seeking Comment on Proposed Changes to Hunting Regulations - Including Use of Lawfully Owned Suppressors to Hunt!

Recently, the NRA notified you about the opportunity to submit public comments online in support of this administrative rule change that would positively impact hunting in the Lone Star State.  In addition to voicing your opinion on the hunting regulation proposals electronically by clicking here (and scrolling down  to "Lawful Means,")  you now also have the opportunity to weigh-in on this debate by personally attending one of the public meetings being held across the state seeking comment on the department's hunting regulation proposals. 

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Division public hearing calendar is below. Please make plans to come and voice your support for this common sense reform! 

The NRA strongly supports the proposed rule changes which would allow for the use lawfully owned suppressors for hunting.  There is an incredible amount of misinformation on what suppressors do and how they may be acquired.  Suppressors are not "silencers," as depicted in typical Hollywood action films.  While suppressors do not eliminate the sound of a firearm, they do reduce the muzzle report in a manner similar to the way that a muffler reduces exhaust noise from a vehicle.  The benefits associated with suppressor use include increased accuracy due to reduced recoil and muzzle blast, protection from hearing damage and reduced noise pollution.  Currently, Texas law permits the use of lawfully-possessed suppressors for all other shooting activities, including the taking of nuisance species.
For more background on this topic, visit this link to a previous alert sent out to Texas NRA members.
For more information on firearm suppressors, click here.
TPWD Public Hearing Calendar
* * * All meetings are open to the public and begin at 7:00 p.m. ***
March 6
  • Beaumont - Holiday Inn & Suites, 3950 I-10 South
  • Denison - Center for Workplace Learning (Room #111), 6101 Grayson Drive
  • Nacogdoches - Nacogdoches Co. Courthouse Annex, 203 West Main
  • San Antonio - Lions Field Adult Center, 2809 Broadway
March 13
  • Dickinson- TPWD Dickinson Lab, 1502 FM 517 East (Pine Drive)
  • Fort Worth- Kennedale High School, Gymnasium, 901 Wildcat Way, Kennedale
  • Marshall- Lions Community Center, 1201 Louisiana Street
March 14
  • Port Isabel - Port Isabel Community Center, 213 Yturria
March 20
  • Houston - Sheldon Lake State Park, Regional Headquarters Classroom, 14200 Garrett Road
  • McKinney - Myers Park & Event Center, 7117 County Road 166
  • New Boston-  Bowie County Courthouse (2nd floor), 710 James Bowie Drive
This alert is posted at: http://www.nraila.org/legislation/state-legislation/2012/02/texas-parks-and-wildlife-department-to-hold-public-meetings-seeking-comment-on-proposed-changes-to-hunting-regulations-including-use-of-lawfully-owned-suppressors-to-hunt!.aspx

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Guns on campus bill faces another hurdle

By Enrique Rangel

AUSTIN – Despite Texas’ cowboy image and its reputation as a Second Amendment-friendly state, in recent legislative sessions a high-profile pro-gun bill hasn’t made it to the finish line.

Now the fate of the proposal which would allow Texans with concealed gun permits to carry their firearms on college campuses faces an additional hurdle.

So far, it lacks an author and a sponsor who can convince their fellow legislators the bill is good for law-abiding citizens.

Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, the author of last year’s bill, said if re-elected, he probably won’t file a similar proposal when the 83 rd Legislature convenes in January.

“I’m not sure I’ll carry it again,” Wentworth said in a debate with two challengers he’s facing in the Republican primary. “Sometimes it’s just as well to let someone else handle a bill that you have handled a couple of sessions as I have done.”

And Rep. Joe Driver, R-Garland, the bill’s sponsor in the House, is not seeking re-election, mainly because of a scandal.

Driver recently pleaded guilty to a double-dipping charge, a year after the Associated Press reported he had billed the state tens of thousands of dollars for traveling expenses his campaign funds had already paid for.

Although the bills Wentworth and Driver filed had dozens of co-signers, so far no one has come forward saying he or she will carry the legislation next time.
However, some of those co-signers say this does not necessarily mean there won’t be a concealed carry bill in 2013.
“The reason we don’t hear much about this bill is because of the election,” said Rep. John Frullo, R-Lubbock. “But I think after the election there’ll be others who’ll want to carry it.”

Rep. Four Price, R-Amarillo, said, “This bill had so much support in many regions of the state that it’s hard to imagine that no one would introduce it next year.”

For Rep. Raul Torres, R-Corpus Christi, despite the support the concealed guns on campuses legislation had in last year’s session, it didn’t pass because, responding to pressure from influential university presidents, some legislative leaders didn’t want the bill to pass.

Torres was referring to schools such as the University of Texas and the University of Houston whose leaders lobbied against Wentworth’s bill.

Such opposition led to Democratic Sens. Mario Gallegos of Houston and Eddie Lucio of Brownsville to withdraw their support for the legislation at the last minute, in essence killing the bill because Wentworth no longer had the votes to pass it.

But despite the last-minute killing of the legislation, Torres said he also believes a similar proposal will be filed when the Legislature is back in session.

Marsha McCartney, president of the Dallas-based North Texas Chapter of the Brady Campaign, a nationwide organization in favor of gun ownership restrictions, said she is glad to hear Wentworth does not plan file the guns on campuses bill next year.

“I think he finally realizes that there are too many folks who don’t think carrying guns on college campuses is a good idea,” McCartney said. And she is even happier Driver is stepping down.

Nonetheless, like the backers of the proposed legislation, McCartney is not writing off the bill, either.
“We’ll be ready to fight it, college presidents and us,” she said. “There’ll be too much opposition to ignore it.”

Mike Stollenwerk of Northern Virginia, director and co-founder of OpenCarry.org, a group in favor of state laws permitting gun owners to carry their firearms in public view, said though he also expects someone else will file the concealed carry bill in the Texas Legislature, he is not getting his hopes high.

After all, in recent sessions the bill came up short at the last minute, even though Wentworth and Driver are experienced legislators.

But sooner or later the bill will become law, just like in other states, Stollenwerk predicted.
“This bill will keep coming back until it finally passes,” he said.


Disarming the Myths Promoted By the Gun Control Lobby

As much as gun control advocates might wish otherwise, their attacks are running out of ammo. With private firearm ownership at an all-time high and violent crime rates plunging, none of the scary scenarios they advanced have materialized. Abuse of responsibility by armed citizens is rare, while successful defensive interventions against assaults on their lives and property are relatively commonplace.

National violent crime rates that soared for 30 years from the early 1960s began to decrease markedly since 1993. Last December the FBI reported that murder and other violent crime rates fell again by 6.4% during the first half of 2011 compared with the same period in 2010. A Gallup poll indicates that “Americans’ preference regarding gun laws is generally that the government enforce existing laws more strictly and not pass new laws.”

Caroline Brewer of the anti-gun Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence has reported that “The research we’ve seen indicates fewer and fewer people owning more and more guns.” Yet one can only wonder where they are getting that information. In reality, public support for personal gun ownership is growing. According to Steve Sanetti, president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade group that represents about 7,000 firearms manufacturers and related companies, in 1959 some 70% of the American public favored handgun bans, whereas today that number has flipped. This support is reflected in the marketplace. Sanetti observes that the $4.1 billion gun industry “has had nineteen months of growth in an otherwise anemic economy.”

Recognizing these positive trends, most states now issue permits allowing qualified law-abiding people to legally carry handguns outside their homes. Unprecedented numbers are becoming licensed to do so, now totaling an estimated 10 million Americans, contributing, in turn, to a dramatic growth in gun sales.
A record of more than 1.5 million background checks for customers looking to purchase a firearm were requested by gun dealers to the National Instant Background Check (NICS) system last December. About one-third of these occurred during the six weeks before Christmas. They had previously recorded a 49% rise in background checks during the week before President Obama was elected in 2008 compared with the same week one year earlier.

The Brady lobby is upset that there has been no progress in leveraging tighter gun control legislation following the shooting January 8, 2010 rampage that killed 6 people and injured 13, including Democratic Representative Gabrielle Giffords. That tragic incident raised serious questions about background checks after it was determined that the accused shooter, having previously exhibited erratic behavior, legally purchased the weapon he “allegedly” used from a store.

The National Rifle Association clearly agrees that guns should not be sold to individuals found to have serious mental problems, although many states fail to provide mental health records to the federal computerized background check system. According to a November, 2011 report by the Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG), 23 states have shown “major failures” in complying, and four (Alaska, Delaware, Idaho and Rhode Island) submit no records at all. (Although murder has been in decline in New York and other major cities for years, a Pepsi and Honda Super Bowl advertisement spot featured New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston’s Thomas Menino on a couch calling for stricter government measures to curb illegal gun sales.)

Dennis Henigan, the Brady group’s acting president, told Reuters: “Really it is a national disgrace that the only piece of gun-related legislation to come to a vote since Tucson was this legislation that would have enabled dangerous concealed carriers like Jared Loughner to carry their guns across state lines.” Referring to a proposed “National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011″ (H.R. 822) which has passed the House of Representatives but stalled in the Senate, the resolution would require states to recognize one another’s concealed carry permits the same way they recognize one another’s driver’s licenses. The intent is to eliminate confusion and potential legal problems for traveling gun owners.

As pointed out in a recent paper titled “Tough Targets” released by the Cato Institute, “The ostensible purpose of gun control legislation is to reduce firearm deaths and injuries. But authors Clayton E. Cramer and David Burnett believe these restrictions put law-abiding citizens at a distinct disadvantage to criminals who acquire guns from underground markets since it is simply not possible for police officers to get to every scene where intervention is urgently needed. They also document large numbers of crimes…murders, assaults, robberies…that are thwarted each year by ordinary persons with guns.

A widely-known study conducted by Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz in the 1990s found that there were somewhere between 830,000 and 2.45 million U.S. defensive gun uses annually. A National Crime Victimization Study (NCVS) which asked victims if they had used a gun in self-defense found that about 108,000 each year had done so. A big problem with the NCVS line of survey reasoning, however, is that it only includes those uses where a citizen kills a criminal, not when one is only wounded, is held by the intended victim until police arrive, or when brandishing a gun caused a criminal to flee.

For these reasons, the Cato researchers investigated published news reports which much more often reveal how Americans use guns in self-defense. The data set is derived from a collection of nearly 5,000 randomly selected incidents published between October 2003 and November 2011. Still, the authors also recognize limitations with this approach, since many defensive incidents are never reported by victims, or when they are, never get published. In fact, the overwhelming majority of the successful self-defense outcomes are those where the defendants’ guns are presented but never fired.

Most of the actual self-defense shootings in the Cato study didn’t involve concealed carry licenses, but more typically had to do with responses to residential invasions. Of these, 488 involved home burglaries. In addition, there were 1,227 incidents where intruders were induced to flee the scene by armed inhabitants, circumstances that might otherwise have resulted in injurious assaults including rapes and murders. There were 285 news accounts indicating that the defender had a concealed weapon license, which in the majority of these incidents took place outside a home or place of business. Pizza delivery drivers were common robbery targets.

Whereas gun control proponents often argue that having a gun put people at risk because a criminal will take it away and use it against them, it seems the reality is more often to be the reverse situation. The Cato data contains only 11 stories out of 4,699 where a criminal took a gun away from a defender, but 277 where the intended victim disarmed the bad guy, although the authors acknowledge that these event reports may be printed more frequently due to newsworthiness.

Still, it should also be remembered that the threatened party often has more motivation to fight back than a criminal hoping for an easy score. There were 25 news reports where armed rape attack victims ultimately got the upper hand, and 65 where this occurred in carjacking attempts.

Then there is the argument that more private gun ownership will lead to more accidents because the average citizen isn’t sufficiently trained to use a weapon defensively. While gun accidents do occur, the Cato study indicates that they are the most overstated risks. There were 535 accidental firearms deaths in 2006 within a population of almost 300 million people. Although every lost life is tragic, the proportion is not particularly startling.

On the other hand, Newsweek has reported that law-abiding American citizens using guns in self-defense during 2003 shot and killed two and one-half times as many criminals as police did, and with fewer than one-fifth as many incidents as police where an innocent person mistakenly identified as a criminal (2% versus 11%).

Finally, on the subject of public safety, just how well have gun bans worked in other countries? Take the number of home break-ins while residents are present as an indication. In Canada and Britain, both with tough gun-control laws, nearly half of all burglaries occur when residents are present. But in the U.S. where many households are armed, only about 13% happen when someone is home.

Doesn’t this comparison offer some indication that criminals are getting the message? Don’t you wish those bent on eliminating our Second Amendment rights would also?


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Greenbrae man, 90, testifies about shootout with suspect

When a residential burglar fired a gun at Jay Leone last month, he was initially too angry to realize he had been shot in the head, he testified Friday.

"To tell you the truth, I never felt a thing," said Leone, 90, of Greenbrae. "I said, 'F—- you, you son of a bitch, now it's my turn.'"

Whereupon he shot five bullets at the suspect from his .38-caliber Smith & Wesson snubnose revolver, hitting the burglar three times in the abdomen. A scuffle ensued between the wounded men.

"Then he took the gun and put it to my head — click!" said Leone, who knew there were no bullets left in the gun. "And that was the end of that. He ran away."

Leone testified at the preliminary hearing of the suspect, Samuel Joseph Cutrufelli, who is charged with attempted murder, burglary, robbery and firearms offenses by a felon. After the hearing, Judge Paul Haakenson will decide whether there is sufficient evidence to hold a trial.

he shooting occurred at about 10:45 a.m. Jan. 3 at Leone's home on Via La Cumbre. Police said Cutrufelli entered the home, detained Leone at gunpoint and searched the residence for property.

After the gunbattle, Leone called 911 from his house, and Cutrufelli called 911 after stopping his car just over the San Rafael border. Cutrufelli, a 30-year-old Novato resident, said he had shot himself and needed medical attention, according to Twin Cities police.

Leone testified energetically, despite having been shot in the face just weeks ago. With his head shaved and a bandage on his left cheek, he described how the bullet entered his jaw area and exited the back of his neck, avoiding a fatal wound but eventually leading to a jaw infection, pneumonia and a breathing tube.

Under questioning from prosecutor Dorothy Chou Proudfoot, Leone described how the burglar entered his home, held a gun to his head and said there was a "contract out" on him.

"I said, 'How could there be a contract out on me?'" Leone said. "He said, 'I understand you're the guy with all the expensive cars.'"

While Leone had collected 1970s-era cars in the past, he had only a 1996 Mitsubishi and a 2005 Ford in his garage at the time. Then the burglar led him at gunpoint to the bedroom, which he allegedly ransacked for valuables while Leone sat on the bed.

Leone said he concocted a plan: He said he needed to use the bathroom, which is where his five guns were hidden. When the burglar refused, Leone pulled his pants down and said he would defecate on the spot.
The burglar let him leave for the bathroom but would not let him close the door, Leone said.

"I said, 'Do you like to watch people take a s—-?'" Leone testified. The burglar let him close the door, and Leone went for his Smith & Wesson snubnose.

Cutrufelli spent nine days at Marin General Hospital before he was well enough to be booked into jail. His public defender, Kathleen Boyle, has filed a motion to dismiss the charges, saying Cutrufelli was denied access to a lawyer while he was in the hospital, and the crime scene was contaminated in the interim.

The motion to dismiss is scheduled to be heard by Judge Andrew Sweet on March 15.

Outside the courtroom, Leone, a fitness buff and former member of the sheriff's air patrol, said he would like to go another round with Cutrufelli, perhaps in a classic duel at three paces.

"The doctor says I'm healing well," Leone said. "He said, 'For some reason, it didn't kill you.'"


Shooting suspect thought cop was criminal

By Steve Visser

On a day where almost everything went wrong, Atibi Thomas and Keith Roach were lucky about one thing when they met nearly two years ago: Roach wore his bulletproof vest.

If Roach had removed the vest when he ended his shift as an Atlanta police officer at 
3 p.m. on May 29, 2010, he would be dead and Thomas would be facing a life sentence in prison — if not the death penalty — instead of the 25 years he faces this week.

Thomas shot Roach three times when the officer was in full uniform, fracturing Roach’s rib, piercing both arms and shattering a cellphone in a pocket above the officer’s heart. Why? He said he thought the officer was a crook.

Thomas, a DeKalb County merchant who at that moment was a victim of crime, said he believed the officer to be part of a robbing crew with which he had just exchanged gunfire. Roach, who had just left work in his Chevy Tahoe, heard the gunfire and drew his .40-caliber Smith & Wesson on a fleeing Thomas, the only man he saw with a gun.

It was a moment that altered the lives of two longtime solid citizens. This week, both are looking for closure in Fulton Superior Court, where the case is scheduled to be heard. Thomas, who has refused all plea bargains, wants his record cleared. Roach believes Thomas needs substantial time in prison.

“This guy was shooting in broad daylight, and all I could do was react,” Roach said. “I was in full uniform. There is no way he could look at me and not believe I was a police officer.”

Thomas had steered clear of trouble for his 31 years and held a bachelor’s degree in mathematics with hopes of becoming an actuary. He contends he only sought to protect himself but made a horrible mistake prompted by fear, confusion and adrenaline.

“I hope the jury can understand that I am not a criminal,” he said.

District Attorney Paul Howard said Thomas originally started to surrender to Roach before shooting him. That doesn’t warrant a free pass, the prosecutor said.

“He says, ‘I shot him, let me apologize and go,’ ” Howard said. “He needs to accept responsibility.”

‘You got rims?’

According to interviews, court documents and police records, the case began when Leland Cortez Sims and Darrlin Vernard Warner walked into the Autotron in Lithonia on the Saturday afternoon of Memorial Day weekend. They wanted to buy four tires with 26-inch rims, which Thomas, a manager at the store, had advertised on Craigslist.

The deal was quickly clinched. The men paid Thomas $2,000 in cash, which included a fee to deliver the wheels to the West End in Atlanta.

Thomas loaded the tires into a truck, but before leaving to follow the customers to their residence, he handed the $2,000 to his father.

He became nervous when he saw the men’s Honda Accord peel off I-20 at Flat Shoals Road, seven exits before West End. But instead of turning around, Thomas exited at Lee Street in West End and pulled into the Shell station to phone Sims and Warner. They told him they had to stop for gas and they would be there soon.

Thomas didn’t like it. His instinct was right. Sims and Warner had already called Dontavious Marquess Berry, a then 21-year-old with a long arrest record who three weeks earlier he had gotten out of prison. Unaware the $2,000 was in Lithonia, Sims said Thomas represented “an easy lick for you.” Sims and Warner quickly picked up Berry and dropped him at the West End Mall behind the Shell station.

When Sims and Warner arrived at the station, Thomas prepared for trouble. He put his Glock .357 semi-automatic pistol, which he was licensed to carry, into his side pocket. He balked at their request to make the trade-off on a side street and instructed them to unload the rims. In moments, he said he was confronted by Berry’s revolver.

Thomas fired first, hitting Berry in the leg. He then fled toward a Popeye’s restaurant across Oak Street, firing back at the men he feared were pursuing him.

Sims drove Berry to Grady Memorial Hospital, where he left the Honda, according to the police investigation. The car was quickly connected to Warner, who then contacted police and confirmed the robbery attempt.

Sims and Berry were charged with attempted armed robbery. Thomas and Warner, who faces no charges, are the key witnesses against them.

He is the police’

But the situation quickly deteriorated at Popeye’s. Keith Roach, then 31, was sitting in his black Tahoe at an Oak Street stoplight when he heard the gunfire and saw Thomas, gun in hand, running toward the fast food restaurant. The officer got out of the SUV.

Thomas said he heard Roach tell him to halt, but despite the officer’s uniform and pointed gun, he ignored the command and ran up to the clerk at the restaurant’s window.

“I said, ‘Ma’am, I’ve been robbed. Call the police,’ ” Thomas said.

Roach again shouted for Thomas to get down on the ground, and while Thomas this time got on his stomach, he said he kept squirming to watch Roach approach, still not sure he was a lawman. He had noted Roach got out of a Tahoe with tinted windows, not a squad car.

Suddenly he felt Roach’s knee in his back, and when the officer grabbed his wrist to handcuff him, Thomas saw tattoos on the officer’s forearms.

“I’m like, this is not an officer. And that is when the struggle ensued,” Thomas said.

Who fired first is a matter of contention, but Roach’s pistol malfunctioned after one shot and ejected the clip. Thomas emptied his final three shots into Roach, who was able to hit Thomas with his pistol and wrestle him back to the ground.

“I was just fighting for my life, and I was just struggling to get his gun,” Roach said. “An officer’s worst nightmare is to draw a weapon and it doesn’t fire.”

The larger Thomas soon was atop Roach, who was trying to turn the muzzle of Thomas’ gun away from his face.

“I said, ‘Don’t move or I will kill you,’ ” Thomas said.

Donald Melvin, a 64-year-old Decatur contractor, and his wife watched the struggle from their car across the street. He feared that Roach was about to be killed and thought of his own son, a DeKalb County police officer.

A Vietnam War veteran, Melvin stepped on the gas and drove his Pathfinder’s bumper into Thomas’ back. But not even that could stop the struggle. Melvin said he next tried to pull Thomas off the officer.

“He started telling me [Roach] is not a police officer, and I told him he was a police officer ... don’t you see that shirt?” Melvin said.

While Melvin’s wife, Paulette, called 911 — the dispatcher placed her on hold — it was Melvin who reacted. He recovered Roach’s pistol, pointed it at Thomas and pulled the trigger.

Misfire. He cocked the gun and pulled the trigger again. Again nothing. He then began pistol-whipping Thomas.

As more people joined in to help, Melvin saw the pistol’s magazine was ejected. He slammed it in tight and chambered a round.

“I told [Thomas] you need to get down this time because I will kill you,” Melvin said.

A small crowd helped Roach get Thomas handcuffed, and the wounded officer lay across him until patrol cars arrived minutes later. Thomas was quickly placed under arrest, even as he explained that he was the victim.

“Once I saw the police cars pull up, I felt safe,” Thomas said.

Sending a message

Thomas, who is out on bail, believes he has a 50-50 chance of staying a free man. For that to happen, the jury will have to believe he made an honest mistake while acting in self-defense.

Howard, the district attorney, said he believes that Thomas shot Roach out of anger, not error. “For whatever reason, his emotions got the best of him and he almost killed a good man,” Howard said.

Melvin said the case is a no-win situation. He said letting Thomas walk free would send the message to thugs that they can escape prison if they shoot a cop. He understands Thomas had a clean record and was on the verge of starting a second profession when his world turned upside down.

“It is a hard case for that young man, and I hate to see it be that way,” Melvin said. “You can’t say how scared he was or why he couldn’t understand the guy was a police officer. But if he doesn’t go to jail, it will look like he can shoot a police officer and get away with it.”


Pizza Hut customer shoots employee, commits suicide

DeKalb County police are piecing together details in a shooting Saturday inside a south DeKalb Pizza Hut that left an employee in critical condition and the alleged shooter dead from suicide.

Joshua McColle, an ex-boyfriend of an employee at the restaurant on Covington Highway, pulled out a gun after getting into a fight with another employee at about noon Saturday, according to Channel 2 Action News.
Samuel Wallace, 32, was shot twice and taken to the hospital in critical condition, police said. McColley's ex-girlfriend told police that the gunman demanded the eatery's security video but jumped away when customers arrived.  He then went into the back of the store and shot himself.


He could have just as easily begun shooting all the witnesses. To bad no-one was prepared and able to take him down before he shot his first victim.  Then it could have been him in the ER recovering instead of his victim.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Ex-Marine rips NY’s 'illogical' gun law


Getting prosecuted under New York’s gun laws is a nonsensical crapshoot, where gangsters get their cases expunged and thugs can turn in illegal weapons for $200 — but a weapon that’s legally registered elsewhere can brand a citizen as a criminal for life.

That’s the view of a retired Marine who is facing criminal charges after unwittingly trying to check his Indiana-registered handgun at the Empire State building, according to the latest court filings in the case.
Prosecutors have offered Ryan Jerome a no-jail misdemeanor plea deal in apparent recognition of the special circumstances of his case.

Ryan Jerome 
That’s opposed to the mandatory 3 1/2 years behind bars he could have gotten under a strict interpretation of New York’s gun-possession laws, which make it illegal to carry any gun that isn’t specifically registered in this state.

But in a letter filed with the Manhattan DA’s Office by his lawyer yesterday, the ex-Leatherneck asks that his charges should be dropped entirely.

Jerome, 28, carries a gun because his job as a jeweler often requires him to transport large quantities of gold to refineries, his lawyer, Mark Bederow, argues in the letter.

He checked gun laws before coming here, but a problem with his smart phone left him believing, wrongly, that an Indiana license was good in New York, rather than the other way around, the lawyer argues.
And Jerome took it upon himself to offer the gun to security as he and his girlfriend stood in line for the Empire State Building last September, the lawyer argues.

“Continued prosecution here would criminalize a mistake made by someone who, but for his honesty and sincere attempt to comply with New York law, would not have been arrested,” Bederow argues.
But the letter saves its most fervent arguments for what it describes as the “disproportionate outcomes” in gun possession cases.

DA Cyrus Vance Jr. has been an outspoken advocate of a successful, citywide gun buy-back amnesty program that gives anyone turning in an illegal gun $200 — no questions asked — and without threat of prosecution.
“District Attorney Vance has publicly written that people should be encouraged to deliver firearms to appropriate authorities without fear of prosecution,” Bederow says in the letter — precisely what his client tried to do.
“It is illogical and unjust to grant potential criminals with illegal firearms carte blanche immunity from prosecution and financially compensate them in the name of effective gun control, while at the same time asserting a ‘zero-tolerance’ policy that would result in a criminal record for Jerome handing in a legal firearm under far more conscientious circumstances,” he argues.
Prosecutors have declined to discuss plea negotiations in the Jerome case.

Prepper Declared “Mentally Defective,” Put On FBI List

Prepper Declared “Mentally Defective,” Put On FBI List

Paul Joseph Watson
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Before featuring in National Geographic’s new show Doomsday Prepper, David Sarti visited his doctor complaining of chest pains, only to have the doctor later commit him to a psychiatric ward and alert authorities, before Sarti was declared “mentally defective” and put on an FBI list that strips him of his second amendment rights.

Back in November, Sarti, a resident of Lebanon Texas, visited a cardiologist named Andre C. Olivier, M.D., who examined Sarti and then told him tests would be run. After hearing nothing for two months, Sarti called to make another appointment on January 16th. The doctor informed Sarti there was nothing wrong with his heart but that he could have tubes inserted to help alleviate his breathing difficulties.

When Sarti refused to have tubes inserted, Olivier insinuated that he could be suicidal and insisted on Sarti going to the emergency room. Sarti refused and left the hospital but within 15 minutes of arriving home, police arrived at his house and forcibly took him to the emergency room.

Sarti was subsequently placed in hospital for observation for a period of four days before an attorney and then a judge arrived to hear his story. Sarti repeatedly emphasized to doctors that he was not suicidal and would not commit suicide because of his Christian beliefs.

When Sarti later attempted to purchase a Glock 21 firearm, he was flagged up by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and refused the sale. When he appealed, he received a letter from the FBI stating that he had been declared “mentally defective” and was not allowed to own firearms.
Sarti says he attempted to get legal defense from the NRA, who initially indicated that they would be able to help but ended up refusing to take his case. Gun Owners of America are now talking with Sarti about setting up a legal defense fund for gun owners with similar problems.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Drink up with your Valentine at Starbucks

Drink up with your Valentine at Starbucks

February 14th, 2012 by Dave Workman

Today is supposed to see the launch of a boycott by gun prohibitionists against Seattle-based coffee giant Starbucks because that business has the audacity to serve all customers rather than become a pawn in a game of social bigotry targeting legally-armed citizens.

Northwest rights activists on at least four popular firearms forums have clearly indicated they will be countering this boycott with their business. It’s a text book example of the “Money Talks, B.S. Walks” principle.

The firearms community, exemplified by Gun Rights Media, Seattle Guns, Open Carry Washington in Redmond, Lacey and Silverdale, and Northwest Firearms members, will put their money where their mouths ar. Meanwhile, the hysteria mongers led by the so-called National Gun Victim’s Action Council (NGAC), a Chicago-based group claiming to be “a network of 14 million gun victims,” wants to make Starbucks a surrogate for its promotion of prejudice.

Vancouver, WA resident Heidi Yewman sits on the NGAC board. She is, according to her profile, a graduate of Columbine High School and author of Beyond the Bullet: Personal Stories of Gun Violence Aftermath.

The first attempt to sway Starbucks was short-lived and was followed by a string of quarterly reports that showed the company’s profits steadily, and in some cases dramatically, increasing. Instead of turning their backs on Starbucks, it looks like more Americans developed a thirst for Starbucks coffee, and that must include legions of people who don’t feel the least bit endangered by patronizing a business where other customers just might be armed. Recently, CNBC reported:

Starbucks reported quarterly earnings and revenue that beat Wall Street's forecasts on Thursday and raised its full-year guidance although its outlook remains below analysts' expectations…

Net income rose to $382.1 million, or 50 cents per share, from $346.6 million, or 45 cents, a year earlier. Revenue rose 16 percent to $3.44 billion from $2.95 billion a year ago.

Starbucks has simply maintained the good business practice of serving coffee to people who want to buy it. The company operates its stores and serves its clients in accordance with state and local laws, and that includes serving people who may be openly or covertly carrying firearms, depending upon those statutes. There has not been a rash of incidents inside Starbucks stores, as this column noted, and the publicity, while possibly annoying to Starbucks owners and investors, has hardly interfered with their bottom line profits.

The ringleader of this effort, Elliot Fineman, declares in a press release that by “allowing guns to be carried in thousands of their stores,” Starbucks boosts the risk for customers to become victims of something called “gun violence.” There must be some distinction between that and “knife violence” or “baseball bat violence” or other forms of violence, but this column has seen no supporting definitions

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

More Dallas DART Shootings prompt calls for higher security

DALLAS — After two violent attacks that ended with deaths, there is renewed concern from DART, passengers, and the city of Dallas over safety at train stations.

The most recent incident was in downtown Dallas early Wednesday morning as a man got onto the Pearl Station platform after riding on a Blue Line train. Dominique Wilson was shot and killed after arguing on board with three men.

Police made one arrest.

Last November, 19-year-old Octavius Lanier died after an attempted robbery at MLK Station. Dallas police said a group of boys tried robbing Lanier and pushed him into a moving train.

About 80,000 passengers ride DART trains every day over the system with 55 stations. DART employs some 200 police officers to keep them secure.

But after Wednesday's homicide, there are calls for the transit agency to do more.

Passengers aren't the only ones who think there's not enough law enforcement presence at rail stations.

"Whenever I ride the train, I don't see very many [police]," said Dallas City Council member Linda Koop, who chairs the Transportation Committee. "Even on the train, I don't see many either uniformed personnel or just people taking tickets or just checking tickets... I really don't see that."

DART said it will review adding manpower. Passengers and the city are waiting for answers.