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Thread: OT: This happened in my neighborhood

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    Vancouver woman finds felon in garage, fires gun
    07:13 AM PST on Tuesday, February 26, 2008 By KATHERINE COOK, KGW Staff

    A Vancouver woman took the law into her own hands when she found a wanted felon hiding in her garage Monday afternoon.

    "What I did was stupid... I should have had a police officer with me," reflected Dawn Livermore, after the incident unfolded.

    <snip>

    Livermore said the intruder kept inching towards the door so she fired a warning shot off to the side. The bullet went into a container filled with camping gear and Guevara-Martinez went out through the side door.

    "I ran outside and didn't see police, so I let another round off in the air," Livermore said.

    <snip>

    Livermore said she's had a concealed weapons permit for 10 years, but this was the first time she'd ever fired at anything but a practice target. She said she hopes it will be the last time she’ll have to, though she wishes there had never been a first.

    "I should have gotten a police officer to go inside with me," she said. "It could have turned out much differently if (Guevara-Martinez) had been carrying a weapon.”

    http://www.kgw.com/news-local/storie....2deb930e.html





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    A CPL holder, but a very poorly trained one! Not one, but two, warning shots? One of which busted up some of her camping equipment, the other into parts unknown? Sheesh!!!

    However, this is not nearly as stupid as the reporter (sigh) misusing yet again (another big sigh) the phrase "took the law into her own hands". Good grief.

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    Regular Member Machoduck's Avatar
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    At least she didn't use the term "vigilante".

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    Next time, shoot to decrease the felon population.

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    Jered,

    That would be taking the law into her own hands! (And quite wrongly, too, since there was nothing in the story that leads us to believe the BG posed any immediate threat to here, as opposed to looking for a way to escape.)

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    I'm loath to pass judgement, never having been in the lady's situation myself, so it's not like I can say "I would have handled that so much better."

    However.

    I subscribe to the Massad Ayoob school of thought regarding private citizens firing warning shots. That is to say, I'm against it. As a private citizen, you are either justified in firing to stop, or you aren't justified in firing at all. Going by the decription of events in the article, I'd say she wasn't justified in firing her weapon at all. She fired her first shot while Guevara Martinez was "inching towards the door"; if he was apparently trying to leave, he didn't present an imminent threat to her. The second was completely unnecessary. Putting out pieces of high-velocity lead in a residential neighborhood is not a good idea, all the more so when it isn't necessary.

    As for Jered's suggestion to "decrease the felon population," she didn't know at the time he was a felon, did she? Sure, the wailing sirens would have been something of an indication, but she didn't know. I mean, if a cop were to essentially execute a person because he suspected the guy was a felon, we'd be outraged, and rightly so.

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    Regular Member just_a_car's Avatar
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    Euromutt wrote:
    As for Jered's suggestion to "decrease the felon population," she didn't know at the time he was a felon, did she? Sure, the wailing sirens would have been something of an indication, but she didn't know. I mean, if a cop were to essentially execute a person because he suspected the guy was a felon, we'd be outraged, and rightly so.
    I agree with you except for this last bit... of course she knew he was a felon; he was considered to be a burglar under RCW 9A.52.020... at the very least, if he could explain he was "only hiding" he would still be charged with a gross misdemeanor of criminal tresspass.
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    Euromutt wrote:
    I'm loath to pass judgement, never having been in the lady's situation myself, so it's not like I can say "I would have handled that so much better."

    However.

    I subscribe to the Massad Ayoob school of thought regarding private citizens firing warning shots. That is to say, I'm against it. As a private citizen, you are either justified in firing to stop, or you aren't justified in firing at all. Going by the decription of events in the article, I'd say she wasn't justified in firing her weapon at all. She fired her first shot while Guevara Martinez was "inching towards the door"; if he was apparently trying to leave, he didn't present an imminent threat to her. The second was completely unnecessary. Putting out pieces of high-velocity lead in a residential neighborhood is not a good idea, all the more so when it isn't necessary.

    As for Jered's suggestion to "decrease the felon population," she didn't know at the time he was a felon, did she? Sure, the wailing sirens would have been something of an indication, but she didn't know. I mean, if a cop were to essentially execute a person because he suspected the guy was a felon, we'd be outraged, and rightly so.
    I agree. She did not have the right to use deadly force as he had only committed a misdemeanor against her. To the general citizen a felony must be being committed against them or another in thier presence to warrant lethal force. The suspect had only committed a misdemeanor.
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    Regular Member thebastidge's Avatar
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    A person invading your home is one of the most violent acts that can be perpetrated against you without needing a medical doctor. In some states the mere fact of the person's presence in your home is de jure proof of harmful intent, i.e. Castle Doctrine. Something we should enact in Washington.

    Agreed, the woman was poorly trained. Agreed, the story as reported, indicates she would not have had a legal defense if she shot him, particularly if he lived and it became he-said she-said.

    That shot in the air is the only thing morally indefensible, IMHO. If she wants to fire a 'warning shot' that breaks her own stuff, whatever. It's her life and her stuff.
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    just_a_car and thebastidge, I see your point in an abstract sense, but consider a couple of factors.

    First, we are talking gross misdemeanor at the most, since Livermore states herself in the article that she never locks the side door to her garage.

    Second, Guevara Martinez did restrict himself to hiding in her garage, rather than invading the "living" areas of her house. Speaking for myself, there is a psychological barrier there. If I were to encounter a strange guy in my garage, that's a threat level down from encountering a strange guy in my kitchen or living room, and I'd be more inclined to think the guy intended to pose a threat only to my property rather than to my person (and/or that of my wife and kid). In all fairness, a factor in that is that, in my house, there is a side door to the master bedroom (right next to the side door to the garage) and a back door to the office/guest bedroom, both of which are no harder to force than the side door to the garage (which I do keep locked and dead-bolted), so it stands to reason that if the intruder wanted to hurt me and mine, rather than just steal my power tools, he could have forced his way into my bedroom or office rather than my garage with an equal amount of effort and probably less risk of detection.

    Third, even if we accept the premise that entering someone's house (even if it's just the garage) constitutes a home invasion, when confronted by Livermore (and her doberman), Guevara Martinez' response was to try to flee ("inching towards the door"). Call me a wuss if you will, but while I consider myself quite capable of taking a life to protect myself or my loved ones, I'm not prepared to inflict lethal force on someone who would rather run away. Especially when, as in this situation, the neighborhood is already crawling with cops who are more than likely to catch the guy.

    Regarding Livermore's first warning shot, thebastidge, you don't know that (a) Livermore intended to put the bullet into her camping stuff and, more importantly, (b) that her camping stuff would form an adequate backstop. Given her second ill-considered warning shot, I'm inclined to think that the fact her first shot did find a safe backstop was purely a matter of luck on her part.

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    Euromutt wrote:
    As for Jered's suggestion to "decrease the felon population," she didn't know at the time he was a felon, did she?
    Also, does it really matter if she knew he was a felon or not? Although I'm generally a fan of capital punishment in cases that deserve it, meting it out without due process is wrong. Deadly force should only be used to prevent injury, death or an imminent and serious crime. A guy trying to leave your garage doesn't qualify, even if he had no right to be there.

    I should clarify that I do like Castle Doctrine laws, but not because I think the mere presence of a stranger in your house uninvited really warrants deadly force. I like them because I realize that making accurate risk assessments in a situation like that is difficult, and I don't want to be armchair quarterbacked by the courts. I'm willing to accept that some criminals may be hurt or killed improperly by poorly-trained or excessively aggressive homeowners rather than risk homeowners who were truly just defending themselves going to prison or losing everything they own. But that doesn't make shooting a man who's running away right.

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    swillden wrote:
    Euromutt wrote:
    As for Jered's suggestion to "decrease the felon population," she didn't know at the time he was a felon, did she?
    Also, does it really matter if she knew he was a felon or not? Although I'm generally a fan of capital punishment in cases that deserve it, meting it out without due process is wrong. Deadly force should only be used to prevent injury, death or an imminent and serious crime. A guy trying to leave your garage doesn't qualify, even if he had no right to be there.

    I should clarify that I do like Castle Doctrine laws, but not because I think the mere presence of a stranger in your house uninvited really warrants deadly force. I like them because I realize that making accurate risk assessments in a situation like that is difficult, and I don't want to be armchair quarterbacked by the courts. I'm willing to accept that some criminals may be hurt or killed improperly by poorly-trained or excessively aggressive homeowners rather than risk homeowners who were truly just defending themselves going to prison or losing everything they own. But that doesn't make shooting a man who's running away right.
    I hope to he!! you worriers never have to be in a gun fight for your life. You'll get killed worrying about the other guys rights. When someone is in your home, which includes your garage he has no rights other than to give up or die. No wonder so many people have their guns taken away from them. At least she pulled the trigger.

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    Bear 45/70 wrote:
    I hope to he!! you worriers never have to be in a gun fight for your life. You'll get killed worrying about the other guys rights. When someone is in your home, which includes your garage he has no rights other than to give up or die. No wonder so many people have their guns taken away from them. At least she pulled the trigger.
    +1!



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    Bear 45/70 wrote:
    I hope to he!! you worriers never have to be in a gun fight for your life. You'll get killed worrying about the other guys rights. When someone is in your home, which includes your garage he has no rights other than to give up or die. No wonder so many people have their guns taken away from them. At least she pulled the trigger.
    You misunderstand me completely. I'm not saying you should sit down and make some detailed evaluation, but there's a big difference between shooting because you fear for your life and shooting because you have a chance to shoot somebody you think should be removed from the world.

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    DrewGunner wrote:
    Bear 45/70 wrote:
    I hope to he!! you worriers never have to be in a gun fight for your life. You'll get killed worrying about the other guys rights. When someone is in your home, which includes your garage he has no rights other than to give up or die. No wonder so many people have their guns taken away from them. At least she pulled the trigger.
    +1!

    Yup. The way I see it, if I come into my home and see a stranger there, I will draw and order the person down. If they fail to comply and make threatening moves I'll shoot.

    Okay I live on a boat, it would be a bit different for me. But if I were a dirt dweller again that is how I would treat it.

    Someone in my boat, I would retreat and call the cops. They've probably gotten into my guns and ammo already.

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    Euromutt wrote:
    just_a_car and thebastidge, I see your point in an abstract sense, but consider a couple of factors.

    First, we are talking gross misdemeanor at the most, since Livermore states herself in the article that she never locks the side door to her garage.
    Hrm... nope, sorry. If you had taken the time to follow the link I posted, you'd see that if he had "intended" to commit any crime other than the basic tresspass, he could be charged with either a B or C felony.

    ....and, even though we have the hindsight to "know" that he didn't intend on doing anything but hide, how was Livermore supposed to know that he wasn't stealing something from her garage (felony) or hiding there to wait until night to attack her (felony)? She couldn't have known and I'm sure most juries would see that.

    Now, I agree if the man was running away, there is absolutely no justification to put booger-hooker to bang-button, whether as a warning or intentionally to harm. But she had every right to keep the sights on him until he was out of sight, just in case he turned and pulled a weapon.
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    swillden wrote:
    Bear 45/70 wrote:
    I hope to he!! you worriers never have to be in a gun fight for your life. You'll get killed worrying about the other guys rights. When someone is in your home, which includes your garage he has no rights other than to give up or die. No wonder so many people have their guns taken away from them. At least she pulled the trigger.
    You misunderstand me completely. I'm not saying you should sit down and make some detailed evaluation, but there's a big difference between shooting because you fear for your life and shooting because you have a chance to shoot somebody you think should be removed from the world.
    You've never been a woman or talked with a woman who carrys have you? My wife read the originalarticle and wanted to now why she didn't drop him on the spot.

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    Bear 45/70 wrote:
    swillden wrote:
    Bear 45/70 wrote:
    I hope to he!! you worriers never have to be in a gun fight for your life. You'll get killed worrying about the other guys rights. When someone is in your home, which includes your garage he has no rights other than to give up or die. No wonder so many people have their guns taken away from them. At least she pulled the trigger.
    You misunderstand me completely. I'm not saying you should sit down and make some detailed evaluation, but there's a big difference between shooting because you fear for your life and shooting because you have a chance to shoot somebody you think should be removed from the world.
    You've never been a woman or talked with a woman who carrys have you? My wife read the originalarticle and wanted to now why she didn't drop him on the spot.
    +1... again




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    Bear 45/70 wrote:
    You've never been a woman or talked with a woman who carrys have you? My wife read the originalarticle and wanted to now why she didn't drop him on the spot.
    My wife agreed with me that she wouldn't shoot if he was leaving. Actually, she said she wouldn't even have gone into the garage to investigate if she thought someone was in there. She'd have waited in the house behind cover and called the police.

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    swillden wrote:
    Bear 45/70 wrote:
    You've never been a woman or talked with a woman who carrys have you? My wife read the originalarticle and wanted to now why she didn't drop him on the spot.
    My wife agreed with me that she wouldn't shoot if he was leaving. Actually, she said she wouldn't even have gone into the garage to investigate if she thought someone was in there. She'd have waited in the house behind cover and called the police.
    Must be nice to live close to the cops for a prompt response, ours are "30 minute out as an average", their words to my wife. My wife will not cower in her house from some intruder waiting for some man or cop to solve her problem. It's why she has guns and is more than compentent in their use. The guns, level the playing field at a minimum and gives her the advantage in most cases.

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    Bear 45/70 wrote:
    Must be nice to live close to the cops for a prompt response, ours are "30 minute out as an average", their words to my wife.
    The cops were all over the place. It was the sirens that made her think she needed to check her garage. They weren't 30 minutes away, they were 30 seconds away. In a different situation, a different reaction would be appropriate, but we're not talking about a different situation.

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    Regular Member thebastidge's Avatar
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    As others have said, it is not hindsight that provides the guideline on your actions, but what you know in the moment.

    She had no way to know he wasn't after her or her property. Someone in your garage stealing your power tools may or may not turn violent when caught in the act. Anecdotally, this is why my dad had dentures from a fairly young age: he caught a couple guys breaking into his car, and they smashed him in the face with a pipe he never saw coming.

    "Hot" burglaries are uncommon in the United States, but when someone invades your house when you are home, the chances are *very* good that the encounter will turn violent. He is not merely an unwelcome guest, not merely "uninvited", he is an *invader* and it would do you well to be mentally prepared for that.

    I will admit there is a psychological step between the garage and the living spaces, just as there is between being in the yard and inside the building. But again, hot burglaries are rare and a high percentage that do occur, involve violence.

    On another note, this woman should have **** about what happened until she was sure there won't be legal repercussions. As responsible gun owners and users, we need to be able to articulate what, where, when, how, and why both to the public at large and to Law Enforcement if necessary. If you don't have a coherent narrative, then keep your mouth shut until you do. Not saying to make up a story or lie, but do not incriminate yourself because you simply didn't think through what you're saying, or give the rest of us a bad name because you seem unstable, poorly trained, or uncertain of yourself.

    SWilden says: "I like them (Castle Doctrine laws -ed.) because I realize that making accurate risk assessments in a situation like that is difficult, and I don't want to be armchair quarterbacked by the courts. I'm willing to accept that some criminals may be hurt or killed improperly by poorly-trained or excessively aggressive homeowners rather than risk homeowners who were truly just defending themselves going to prison or losing everything they own. "

    I agree with this 100%

    Also the fact the he didn't have to force a door or window does not make his criminal activity any less dangerous to you and yours. In this case we find out from the beginning of the story that he was merely hiding and that he was willing to run away.

    However, in the actual event, the sequence of events isn't laid out like that. The end result doesn't come first, with the explanation and justificationsneatly tagged on as an afterthought.

    In the first person version of the story, a woman hears a bunch of police commotion, checks her house out, and finds an unknown man present in her home. There's already enough bad juju going on in her environment to make her nervous in the first place, and NOW THERE'S A MAN IN HER HOME. She shoots (perhaps foolishly and in a poorly thought-out and untrained manner) to scare him. He runs away. She shoots again in the air because she is hyped to the max on adrenaline, scared, and because chase instincts make her want to do *something*. Read Dave Grossman's book on when most killing occurs on the battlefield, it's not when orderly ranks are looking each other in the eye, it's when one side is routed and triggers an instinct to kill prey.

    This does not make it right, but it is something that is best overcome by training and forethought, to predetermine some of those decision branches when cooler heads can prevail.

    Better training on when deadly force is justified, both ethically and legally, and better training on safety are what this woman appears to need.
    Be prepared. Be very prepared.

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    thebastidge wrote:
    Better training on when deadly force is justified, both ethically and legally, and better training on safety are what this woman appears to need.
    Agreed. A dose of common sense wouldn't hurt as well. If you strongly suspect that a bad guy has locked himself in your garage, the sensible thing to do is to hunker down in a defensible position and call the police. Actually entering the garage is needlessly putting yourself at risk.

    Years ago I was trained to search and clear buildings in both law enforcement and military situations and the force-on-force exercises made it pretty clear to me that going through a door with a bad guy on the other side is a very dangerous action. Even doing it the military way -- rolling fragmentation grenades in first or, better yet, creating your own entrance with a satchel charge and then following grenades in -- is pretty dangerous. I got "killed" enough times that my preferred combat clearing method is an air strike.

    Going in without grenades, not even flash-bangs, just to protect a garage full of replaceable stuff? Forget it. Hunker down, call the cops, let them deal with it.

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    Regular Member thebastidge's Avatar
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    Maybe. Not to be all false machismo, but many people feel a responsibility to do for themselves.

    If you're not willing to defend it, why should the cops?
    Be prepared. Be very prepared.

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    thebastidge wrote:
    If you're not willing to defend it, why should the cops?
    I would have thought that was blindingly obvious.

    They'll bring a dozen officers, surround the place to make sure he can't escape, then try to talk him out safely. If that doesn't work, they'll bring a SWAT team with body armor, helmets and plenty of shoothouse training. If they feel it's necessary they also have CS and flashbangs.

    In short, they have the manpower, equipment and training to do it as safely as possible, so that hopefully no one gets hurt, except maybe the bad guy, if he chooses.

    What have you got? You and your wife? How much experience and training do you have at search and clear operations? What equipment? Body armor? Got anything to incapacitate an area either briefly (flashbang) or for a longer period of time (CS)?

    Search and clear operations are extremely dangerous if the enemy is armed. Even with the best equipment, tactics, training and overwhelming force, it's entirely possible for the blue force to get hurt. Without all those advantages, it's extremely likely that you'll get hurt.

    It's just not smart.

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