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Thread: Who needs a gun in a Court Building?

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    By Janie Bryant
    The Virginian-Pilot
    © November 13, 2008 PORTSMOUTH
    Detectives are at the Portsmouth General District Courtinvestigating a homicide, sheriff’s deputies said.
    A manapparently was stabbed to death at 9:21 a.m. in the basement of the court building, near the Portsmouth Magistrate's Office, said Detective Jan Westerbeck, police spokeswoman. It happened in a hallway area, she said.
    A police officer in the basement saw a man who had been stabbed several times. The officer saw another man with blood on him, and subdued him. That man was being questioned by detectives.
    The manwho was stabbed had multiple upper body wounds. He died at the scene. He was 75.
    Both of the men, it was later discovered, were to have appeared in court this morning. Details on that were not immediately available.
    For more details, return to PilotOnline.com later and read tomorrow's Virginian-Pilot.

    By Janie Bryant
    The Virginian-Pilot
    © November 13, 2008 PORTSMOUTH
    A 75-year-old man was stabbed to death in a basement area of General District Court near the magistrate’s office about 9:20 a.m. today.
    The building also houses part of the Portsmouth Police Department, including the uniform patrol division. Police park cars in the garage area of the basement. But it is accessible by the public and not monitored by deputies, according to Jan Westerbeck, police spokesman.
    Westerbeck said a police officer happened upon the victim, who was still alive at the time. He thought he was being disruptive and then saw that he had been stabbed, she said.
    The officer then saw a second man who had blood on him; the officer was able to subdue that man, Westerbeck said.
    The victim died at the scene. The second man was being questioned by detectives.
    Police have not identified the victim, but Westerbeck said both men were supposed to appear in court today.
    Janie Bryant, (757) 446-2453,

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    Regular Member Neplusultra's Avatar
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    Remember the attack at the "US Capitol" building no less. Gunman walks up to the metal detectors, shoots and kills both officers there. Runs down the hall to Tom DeLay's office where he gets into a gun fight with a security guard there. Both are wounded IIRC before the gunman is subdued. Tom DeLay was in his office a few feet away at the time.

    But this case appears to be lax security checks. How did he get in with a knife in the first place?

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    Neplusultra wrote:
    But this case appears to be lax security checks. How did he get in with a knife in the first place?
    Maybe it wasn't a knife per se, but a weapon of opportunity. If all they are using is a metal detector there are lots of things that could get passed through.

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    Regular Member richarcm's Avatar
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    Surely there were PLENTY of police officers there. Why weren't they able to protect this man?

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    I'm not familiar with the layout of the building, but the article said he was found laying in the foyer. That suggests that he may have been attacked outside of the secure area. Not sure what to think here...

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    richarcm wrote:
    Surely there were PLENTY of police officers there. Why weren't they able to protect this man?
    Perhaps it is because criminals do not normally commit murders and robberies in front of the police.

    Imagine if guns WERE permitted in the court house. The victim would have had a chance to defend his life against a man with a knife.

    But on the other side of the coin:

    If you COULD carry a gun in the court house it would open up possible attacks on judges, prosecutors, police, and witnesses involved in a court case.It would also helpbust out criminalswho have not bonded out of jail and are having their day in court.

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    Devils Advocate wrote:
    richarcm wrote:
    Surely there were PLENTY of police officers there. Why weren't they able to protect this man?
    Perhaps it is because criminals do not normally commit murders and robberies in front of the police.

    Imagine if guns WERE permitted in the court house. The victim would have had a chance to defend his life against a man with a knife.

    But on the other side of the coin:

    If you COULD carry a gun in the court house it would open up possible attacks on judges, prosecutors, police, and witnesses involved in a court case.It would also helpbust out criminalswho have not bonded out of jail and are having their day in court.
    So a person couldn't just wait outside the building to murder somebody when they exit?

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    Regular Member Kevin108's Avatar
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    I believe this to be the magistrates waiting area where this happened. This area is accessed by going down a ramp under the civic center adjacent to city hall. In short, the place is crawling with police but the attack occurred in a publicly-accessible space with chairs, vending machines, and a phone on the wall where people go to arrange to see a magistrate, turn themselves in, etc.

    There is no metal detector here, nor should there be given that much of the traffic is not court-related. Saying that this area is within the court is somewhat misleading. The courts are on the floors above this location. It is not a secured area, but an area that isolates the magistrates from the public while allowing them access with permission and/or an escort by a police officer. You can bet the farm that things will change and that a police officer, or at least armed private security, will be stationed there from now on.

    In other words, this location could have been anywhere at all and it certainly serves to point out that the police cannot protect you.

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    Kevin108 wrote:
    In other words, this location could have been anywhere at all and it certainly serves to point out that the police cannot protect you.
    +1 That is kind of what I was thinking.

    Police identified him as Lancaster's son Michael Lancaster, 54, of the 1700 block of Richmond Avenue. He was charged with first-degree murder.


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    You're correct. It was just on WAVY-10. It was the Magistrates Office in the basement of the Courts building. The victim was the doer's father. He was at the Magistrate to swear out a restraining order against sonny boy.





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    emergency protective order...

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    DocV wrote:
    You're correct. It was just on WAVY-10. It was the Magistrates Office in the basement of the Courts building. The victim was the doer's father. He was at the Magistrate to swear out a restraining order against sonny boy.



    Just a point of order - Restraining Orders are issued by the Circuit Court. EPO's are issed by the Magistrate, as Apostle said.
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    Founder's Club Member ixtow's Avatar
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    If that isn't irony to prove gun haters are stupid....

    He's there to get an RO/EPO, and is killed while surrounded by police officers. Who do nothing, becasue they don't have to. In a court building, our illustrious Pez Dispensor of Justice...

    I wonder what that RO/EPO would have done for him far away from these same dutiful public servants who sprang to his defense?

    Oh, wait, there were only Police there, no public servants bount to any obligation to protect him while depriving him of his right to do the job himself...

    I think the most telling part of this, is that the perpetrator knew he could get away with it. If this thug has it figured out, why can't the rest of the public get it through their thick heads?
    "The fourth man's dark, accusing song had scratched our comfort hard and long..."
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    Tyranny with Manners is still Tyranny.

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    If only he'd gotten the emergency protective order issued first. Everyone knows those piece of paper can stop knives and deflect bullets!

    Sad situation.



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    KBCraig wrote:
    If only he'd gotten the emergency protective order issued first. Everyone knows those piece of paper can stop knives and deflect bullets!

    Sad situation.

    A judge I used to work for would always say " This is a piece of paper. Its not going to stop a gun or a knife". Its merely a court order that we hope people will follow".
    James Reynolds

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    Regular Member Thundar's Avatar
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    What is the legality of carrying in the magistrates office? In Chesapeake the magistrates office is a side entrance to the city jail building that is entered without going through a metal detector.
    He wore his gun outside his pants for all the honest world to see. Pancho & Lefty

    The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us....There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! ...The war is inevitableand let it come! I repeat it, Sir, let it come . PATRICK HENRY speech 1776

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    VCDL President wrote:
    Devils Advocate wrote:
    richarcm wrote:
    Surely there were PLENTY of police officers there. Why weren't they able to protect this man?
    Perhaps it is because criminals do not normally commit murders and robberies in front of the police.

    Imagine if guns WERE permitted in the court house. The victim would have had a chance to defend his life against a man with a knife.

    But on the other side of the coin:

    If you COULD carry a gun in the court house it would open up possible attacks on judges, prosecutors, police, and witnesses involved in a court case.It would also helpbust out criminalswho have not bonded out of jail and are having their day in court.
    So a person couldn't just wait outside the building to murder somebody when they exit?
    I see your point.

    But on the other hand.

    Is it notharder to kill one person at a time while waiting outside the court houseversus killing everyone involved in a case in the same room?

    Will the Judge, Jury, Prosecutor, Cop, and victim all walk out side by side? Probably not. You may get to attack one or possibly two.

    At best... if the bad guy gets off and walks out the front door then yes.. he is an easy target.

    You never responded to the fact that some people may wish to break a guy out of jail while he is attending court. This is easier done when you are armed and can even give the criminal his own gun.



    I will walk in the direction of why I think it is more plausibleyou are disarmed in court:

    Two families are in court because the member of one family raped a member of the other family. The alleged rapist is found GUILTY or NOT GUILTY !!

    What do you think could happen at that very moment to the family that lost in court? Can you see the accusedgetting shot in the back of the head because he was found NOT GUILTY?

    We have seen footage of courtrooms where the victim's family jumps over the bench and attacks the person on trial even before the verdict. SO we know attacks on the accused can and do happen.

    Can you imagine if at that heated moment both families were armed with guns?

    Over time it has become necessary to disarm people in court because of what the people have done while in court. The people only have themselves to blame for this.

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    Regular Member sccrref's Avatar
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    Devils Advocate wrote:
    VCDL President wrote:
    Devils Advocate wrote:
    richarcm wrote:
    Surely there were PLENTY of police officers there. Why weren't they able to protect this man?
    Perhaps it is because criminals do not normally commit murders and robberies in front of the police.

    Imagine if guns WERE permitted in the court house. The victim would have had a chance to defend his life against a man with a knife.

    But on the other side of the coin:

    If you COULD carry a gun in the court house it would open up possible attacks on judges, prosecutors, police, and witnesses involved in a court case.It would also helpbust out criminalswho have not bonded out of jail and are having their day in court.
    So a person couldn't just wait outside the building to murder somebody when they exit?
    <snip>
    Over time it has become necessary to disarm people in court because of what the people have done while in court. The people only have themselves to blame for this. <snip>
    By thislogic, people should be disarmed of a bunch of things. Someone has injured or killed someone else with a gun, knife, baseball bat, iron bar, piece of steel pipe, rope, car, golf club, etc.... and therefore the people only have themselves to blame. I've got a great idea. How about, the person has only their self to blame for their action and society has an obligation to hold them accountable for their actions.

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    sccrref wrote:
    By thislogic, people should be disarmed of a bunch of things. Someone has injured or killed someone else with a gun, knife, baseball bat, iron bar, piece of steel pipe, rope, car, golf club, etc.... and therefore the people only have themselves to blame. I've got a great idea. How about, the person has only their self to blame for their action and society has an obligation to hold them accountable for their actions.
    Your post seems to be filled with sarcasm and/or frustration. I hope this is not the case.

    I see your point in regards to all the possible weapons available. Keeping in mind I am talking about while "IN COURT" and not on the street.

    But I suspect most would agree that out of most of the items you have listed you would have a very hard time getting them into a court house.

    Guns and knives are already prohibited.

    Baseball bats andgolf clubs are not needed in a court house since there are no sports activities inside.

    Iron bar and steel pipe will not make it past the metal detector. Even then you are going to need a good reason to be walking in with such an item.

    Obviously, anything can be used as a weapon.

    Belts, Purses, Shoes, Umbrellas.

    And when the time comes that the people all start using these items on a routine basis for attacks they too will probably be prohibited. But for the moment they are not much to worry about.

    Anything outside a gun, knife, or heavy club is not likely to cause immediate death.This givescourt security time to react and stop such an attack.

    So I hope you are willing to see that there is a bona fide reason "weapons" are prohibited in the court house. It is not to "disarm" the people form an oppressive government.


    EDIT: I corrected a typo

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    Founder's Club Member ixtow's Avatar
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    Devils Advocate wrote:
    ...knives are already prohibited.
    Just for the record, small stabbing and blunt force weapons are very effectively made from non-metallic materials. New polymers with embedded fiber patterns are in some casses stronger and sharper than a lot of the cheap knives available. You've seen the plastic 'brass knuckles' that are harder, ligher, and more durable than 'the real thing,' right? Some of the new ceramics and plastics can even handle baing made into a gun, granted, it won't last but a few shots.

    Did you ever consider the innocuous objects that can be re-purposed as a weapon? Clicker pens have nice springs in them. You can conceal other bit and pieces inside 'normal' objects. Fancy stainless steel pen, pocket calculator, cell phone, etc. Hell, a big gaudy belt buckle. It's perfect! Of course its setting off the metal detector, look at the thing; next... You draw suspicion away from yourself by drawing attention to yourself. A bad guy would want to be below the radar, right? All can be mere containers for parts that you can assemble into a weapon later. 2-3 people entering and leaving daily, with a stash locaton, can build up a bit of a stockpile inside the building in short order.

    Perhaps I've said too much.... ;-)
    "The fourth man's dark, accusing song had scratched our comfort hard and long..."
    http://edhelper.com/poetry/The_Hangm...rice_Ogden.htm

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    "Be not intimidated ... nor suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your Liberties by any pretense of Politeness, Delicacy, or Decency. These, as they are often used, are but three different names for Hypocrisy, Chicanery, and Cowardice." - John Adams

    Tyranny with Manners is still Tyranny.

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    ixtow wrote:
    Devils Advocate wrote:
    ...knives are already prohibited.
    Just for the record, small stabbing and blunt force weapons are very effectively made from non-metallic materials. New polymers with embedded fiber patterns are in some casses stronger and sharper than a lot of the cheap knives available. You've seen the plastic 'brass knuckles' that are harder, ligher, and more durable than 'the real thing,' right? Some of the new ceramics and plastics can even handle baing made into a gun, granted, it won't last but a few shots.

    Did you ever consider the innocuous objects that can be re-purposed as a weapon? Clicker pens have nice springs in them. You can conceal other bit and pieces inside 'normal' objects. Fancy stainless steel pen, pocket calculator, cell phone, etc. Hell, a big gaudy belt buckle. It's perfect! Of course its setting off the metal detector, look at the thing; next... You draw suspicion away from yourself by drawing attention to yourself. A bad guy would want to be below the radar, right? All can be mere containers for parts that you can assemble into a weapon later. 2-3 people entering and leaving daily, with a stash locaton, can build up a bit of a stockpile inside the building in short order.

    Perhaps I've said too much.... ;-)
    Is yourargument basically?

    "Because you could obtain a plastic weapon and sneak it into court thenwhy should the court house ban any weapons at all."

    Most items known to be used as weapons can be located and kept out of the court house. When plastic knives become so problematic maybe the courts will make you walk through a body x-ray machines.

    As the Devils Advocate I understand both sides.

    I do not like having to lock up my gun in my carif I go to court because you do not know what can happen on the front steps by someonewaiting for his victim to step out.

    But the courts have learned over the years that unhappy people canreturn to get revenge on Judges orProsecutors. Some people may even wantto break people out of jail while they are having their day incourt.

    So, what do you suggest?

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    Founder's Club Member ixtow's Avatar
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    I'm suggesting that keeping weapons out of the courtroom is, in the end, futile.

    Where there is a will, there is a way. If you hate the judge/plantiff/etc enough, you can find a way.

    I just don't understand why anyone would want to do it in a courtroom. There are so many less secure ways. But for those who want to, there isn't really a way to stop them if they put their minds to it. Given time and ingenuity, a little .32cal submachinegun could get in there just the same as a hat or a shoe (sure, that's an extreme example, but in no way far-fetched). Anything less than that takes less time and ingenuity.

    Just like any other 'weapon free safe zone.' Those who obey it become the next victims. A report of exactly that is what strated this thread. One could say the same of an airport's sterile area too.

    Blah blah blah...
    "The fourth man's dark, accusing song had scratched our comfort hard and long..."
    http://edhelper.com/poetry/The_Hangm...rice_Ogden.htm

    https://gunthreadadapters.com

    "Be not intimidated ... nor suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your Liberties by any pretense of Politeness, Delicacy, or Decency. These, as they are often used, are but three different names for Hypocrisy, Chicanery, and Cowardice." - John Adams

    Tyranny with Manners is still Tyranny.

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    Regular Member sccrref's Avatar
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    I do not believe that they had gone through the metal detector. If they had, then there is a possible serious flaw with the equipment. This based on the assumption that it was a metal type knife. Besides the polimer items mentioned, keys and credit cards are other normal everyday objects that can and are used as weapons. I understand your points as well and am just trying to play the "Devils Advocate" here.

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    Regular Member Kevin108's Avatar
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    We established on page 1 that there was no metal detector.
    If you'd like, I can check tomorrow and see if there's one now. :P

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    Regular Member sccrref's Avatar
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    Kevin108 wrote:
    We established on page 1 that there was no metal detector.
    If you'd like, I can check tomorrow and see if there's one now. :P
    Why don't you do that on a daily basis and keep everyone informed as to your observations.

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