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Thread: Stockton Man Shot by Police in Home

  1. #1
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    The way of the gun dangerous

    By Michael Fitzgerald December 17, 2008 6:00 AM

    Last Wednesday about 2 a.m., police Officer John Hernandez, having chased a fleeing gangster into a south Stockton backyard, shot and killed a resident of the home.

    Hernandez, a four-year veteran, shot Melecio Arquines, 30, as he emerged from or appeared in the doorway of his home armed with a 9 mm handgun.

    Arquines, a married warehouseman, apparently was awakened by the commotion and decided to intervene.

    Seeing him, Hernandez believed he and other officers wrestling the gangster in the backyard were in danger, police said.

    Whether Hernandez's split-second decision was legally justified, or he broke the rules of engagement, investigation should determine in a month or so.

    In the meantime, it is possible to credit Stockton police for immediately releasing Hernandez's name. Some past regimes circled the wagons and treated public scrutiny as hostile.

    It is also possible to credit the victim's brother, Reginael Arquines, who reserved judgment. Until the facts are in, "I won't point any fingers," he said.

    It is not possible, however, to agree wholeheartedly with Reginael Arquines when he said his brother needed a 9 mm pistol because "he lived in south Stockton."
    A gun does not make south Stockton less dangerous. Rather, it makes dangerous situations more critical.

    As this case shows, critical situations are sometimes treacherously hard to evaluate for trained, experienced professionals. They are doubly so for ordinary civilians.
    Given that, is a gun worth the risk? Consider what good a 9 mm would do anyone who finds an unarmed gangster in his yard.

    According to Penal Code 197, that person could not use lethal force unless the gangster tried to kill him or do him "some great bodily injury" or broke into his home to commit a felony.

    Nor could he have used the gun to detain the gangster. If the gangster turned and ran, he would be no threat. Lethal force would be unwarranted.

    To avoid attack, Melecio Arquines simply could have remained inside. However, he could have emerged to find an armed gangster about to shoot a cop and saved the day. That is the sort of outcome of gun violence Americans seem to expect.
    Or he could have found himself in the middle of a firefight without wearing team colors. Judge for yourself whether a gun would have made him safer in that case.

    I have not mentioned the laser sight on Arquines' handgun. Police will not say if it was activated. Obviously, if Arquines painted a cop with a laser sight, the officer could reasonably believe his life - or the life of a fellow officer - could be over in the blink of an eye.

    Guns do work out sometimes. But critical situations involving guns require good judgment, good aim and good luck. Two out of three buy only grief.

    Contact columnist Michael Fitzgerald at (209) 546-8270 or


    The article is quite vague, and the reporter clearly has a strong bias. I got in a debate with a few friends over the legality of the situation. But I'm still curious about opinions.

    Edit: formatting, etc

  2. #2
    Anti-Saldana Freedom Fighter bigtoe416's Avatar
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    Makes me wonder why the police officer was so quick to react to what would appear to be somebody emerging from his house. If one was in a clear state of mind then one could expect a homeowner to investigate any loud noises that might be occurring in the backyard. Most gun owners would choose to investigate such noises with the aid of a firearm.

    I'm sure the police officer who shot the man was pumped up on adrenaline and wasn't able to figure out that the other officers were probably safe despite the presence of an unknown man with a gun. Not sure why the homeowner didn't turn on any backyard lights or use a flashlight to see what was going on before he emerged while armed.

  3. #3
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    bigtoe416 wrote:
    Not sure why the homeowner didn't turn on any backyard lights or use a flashlight to see what was going on before he emerged while armed.
    Lights are tactically good if you're in unfamiliar areas or absolutely need them to see. Otherwise, I think I'm better off without the light. I'd just as soon not alert the intruder to my presence (and position). Not to mention shining a flashlight blinds you to every other direction in most cases. You're on more level ground if both of you are equally in the dark, except you have home field advantage.

    Taking the facts as laid out in the story, it is apparent that the officer was not in danger. Too often LE get a pass on the grounds of their job being stressful, confusing, and dangerous. All I can say is: grow a pair. If you lack the ability to think clearly and make decisions under pressure, don't be a cop. If you're so **** scared of every shadow that moves in the night, you shouldn't even own a gun.

    As for the author's opinion that guns make South Stockton less safe... I suggest he visit the area at night some time.... unarmed. I've worked those streets both armed and unarmed. There are some rough neighborhoods. Some places people are afraid to let their kids play outside in broad daylight. Countless times I've seen Stockton PD let down the citizens they are supposed to protect and serve. Guns in the arms of the good people in South Stockton is an asset. The gangs would have much more resistance if their victims were not helplessly waiting on 9-1-1 for the state's second worst PD to respond. (I assume LAPD is worse, but I've no first hand experience there - it is fully possible Stockton is the worst.)

    What the author fails to see is that it was the cop having a gun that caused the injury. If the man had been carrying a knife or baseball bat, he would probably be shot just the same. Some cops just don't have the courage and conscience to put the 'citizens' safety before their own.

    The 'shoot first, ask questions later' attitude that is prevalent in our police state must end. I hope the murderer spends some quality time in jail. It all comes down to one thing: cowardice.
    Participant in the Free State Project - "Liberty in Our Lifetime" -
    Supporter of the CalGuns Foundation -
    Supporter of the Madison Society -

    Don't Tread On Me.

  4. #4
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    Reports on another forum and from the brother has posted to, and also the audio I have heard, the man was in his home and was called out by police...and then shot once they saw he had a gun.

    The reporter is only slightly right. If you hear noises outside your home you should not go and inspect. You should arm yourself and stronghold your position. Never exit the home as you may loose any tactical advantage the home may have offered.

    Unless your family or a loved one is outside there is (likely) no good to come of "checking" on a noise outside.

    The guy likely looked out of his home not knowing whether there were police in the vicinity. I don't think he really did anything wrong, but it doesn't matter. Today a cops life is worth more and will be defended almost every time against a lowly citizen.

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