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Thread: Robbery suspect killed at AA meeting place

  1. #1
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    Horrors!!!!!!! Carrying a gun at an AA meeting.

    http://www.thestate.com/local/story/747998.html

    A robber who walked into the Columbia downtown Alcoholics Anonymous center, pulled out a gun and demanded money was killed in a burst of gunfire from an AA visitor’s gun, police said.

    “Gimme what you got,” witnesses quoted the robber as saying when he entered the AA building at 2015 College St. in Five Points about 10:48 p.m. Saturday. They said he brandished a .25-caliber handgun.

    At that point, as one AA visitor dropped something on the floor — possibly his wallet — another AA visitor pulled out his own pistol and shot the robber “multiple times,” police said.




    Kayson Helms, 18, of Edison, N.J., was pronounced dead at Palmetto Health Richland at 11:24 p.m. Saturday.

    Helms was identified by Richland County Coroner Gary Watts. His office notified the next of kin.

    An autopsy Sunday showed bullets hit Helms in the abdomen, chest and neck, Watts said.

    The AA visitor who fired his weapon and killed the suspect had a concealed weapons permit, police said.

    Police declined to identify the shooter, saying an investigation is under way.

    Police said they expect to release more information today after noon.

    This is the second time in five weeks that a person with a concealed weapons permit has killed a person in the Midlands.

    In early March, an Irmo pizza delivery man shot and killed an attacker who telephoned in a phony order. In that case, pizza man Christopher Miller shot and killed Paul Andrew Sturgill, 17, as Sturgill and three others tried to rob him, police said.

    At twilight Sunday, the Columbia AA center, a popular destination in the city’s Five Points area, was deserted. A sign on the front of the low-swung block building read, “No Money Left in Club Overnight.”

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    I wonder if 20/20 will cover this story? It seems as if CC is doing a great job lately.

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    "This is the second time in five weeks that a person with a concealed weapons permit has killed a person in the Midlands."

    This wording bothers me for some reason. Makes it sound as if they were doing something wrong in shooting the attackers.


    "Police said they expect to release more information today after noon."

    Also I'm not sure how others feel about this but I don't want the police giving out my name if it is found that I've done nothing wrong, especialy if I'm concealed carrying. CC is a secret I only share with people who warrent knowing.

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    I noticed that a couple of the commenters were taking up for the perp, claiming they knew him and that he wasn't a "f*** up". Well, it appears that at least at one point in his life he was, and once is all it takes to get your card punched.

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    Tiny85 wrote:
    "This is the second time in five weeks that a person with a concealed weapons permit has killed a person in the Midlands."

    This wording bothers me for some reason.
    Bothers me too. Perhaps a better way of saying it would have been "This is the second time in five weeks that a person with a concealed weapons permit has defended themselves or others in a life threatening situation". Should be thanking the guy for making sure that the robber didn't harm anybody, rather making it sound like he didn't do the right thing.

    Irritating.

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    NightOwl wrote:
    Bothers me too. Perhaps a better way of saying it would have been "This is the second time in five weeks that a person with a concealed weapons permit has defended themselves or others in a life threatening situation". Should be thanking the guy for making sure that the robber didn't harm anybody, rather making it sound like he didn't do the right thing.

    Irritating.
    You have to realize that our wonderful and all-providing government cannot allow citizens to take care of themselves let alone their comrades. Such behavior must be discouraged. Instead, citizens need to leave such matters to the police whowill bethere to make sure you spend all of your time subdued in front of the television like a good pawn.



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    This reminds me of a conversation I had with my roommate. He was saying that because I carry I have less appreciation for the lives of others and that you don't know if the person (in this case a robber) is going to kill you and therefore shouldn't shoot him. My argument was that a person threatening someone with violence my not deserve death but that's what he'll receive if he threatens armed individuals. Criminals don't attack police stations unless they have a death wish, anti-gunners want to make sure criminals have a market somewhere like law abiding citizens.

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    Drunk with a gun...

    Sounds like he did a fine job.



    April 14, 2009

    Probe continues in fatal South Carolina shooting that involved Edison man

    JOSHUA BURD
    Staff Writer

    Authorities in South Carolina on Tuesday still were investigating the death of an 18-year-old Edison man who they say was fatally shot during a botched robbery at an Alcoholics Anonymous center there late Saturday night.

    Police in Columbia, S.C., say Kayson Helms wielded a handgun while trying to hold up two people at the downtown building when he encountered a group member who had a gun of his own. The man shot Helms at least three times.

    City officials declined Tuesday to identify the shooter — a 61-year-old man with a concealed-weapons permit - but police continued to investigate his involvement. Police also were trying to "determine if there is a threat of retaliation against him," said city spokesman Brick Lewis, though he could not say who might retaliate.

    The shooter has not been charged.

    Columbia police were also checking reports that a vehicle fled the scene immediately after shots were fired inside the building, Lewis said, though Helms was the only one seen inside the building, at 2015 College St. in the city's Five Points section.

    "He was the only person that went into the room," the spokesman said. "And he was the only person that walked in said, at gunpoint, "Give me everything you have.' "

    Witnesses told police Helms entered the building at 10:48 p.m., pulled out a silver handgun and ordered a man and a woman to turn over their property.

    One of the victims emptied their pockets and dropped everything on the floor, but Helms proceeded further into the building, according to a police report. At that point, another man pulled a gun from his rear pants pocket and fired three to four rounds, striking Helms several times in the chest and abdomen, witnesses and authorities said.

    Helms then fled the building before collapsing on a nearby sidewalk, where police found him lying face-down. Medics responded and took him to Richland Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at about 11:35 p.m., police said.

    Police found the pistol on the ground where Helms collapsed.

    A witness told police that he heard the shots and immediately saw a white Lincoln Town Car fleeing the scene. Two other people in the building said they heard the shots fired, but did not see the shooting, a police report said.

    Lewis said police were unsure why Helms was nearly 700 miles away from his Central Avenue apartment in Edison.

    "At this point, this doesn't affect our investigation, but it's obviously a question everybody has," Lewis said.




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    Well, one article I read on this event didn't mind stating the race (white) of the 61-yo man who shot the robber, but did not state the race of the robber. Whystate the race of one person but not the other?

    I mean if the robber was black, then the threats against the old guy -- as therace card is played again -- make sense (I mean be expected, as per usual).

    -- John D.

    (formerly of Colorado Springs, CO)

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    cloudcroft wrote:
    Well, one article I read on this event didn't mind stating the race (white) of the 61-yo man who shot the robber, but did not state the race of the robber. Whystate the race of one person but not the other?


    If you disliked that reporting aspect, wait until you read the description of the LAC's ammunitionand holsterbelow...

    Based on this reporting, it was a good shoot. Very clearly so. My hat's off to Jim for capably defending himself and his fellows aginast an armed and dangerous intruder. He did what he had to do and he did it well. As a result, and fortunately, nobody but the robber was hurt.

    Unfortunately, Jim ain't gonna be anonymous anymore. There's no good reason to keep his name secret.The publichas a right to know whokillsanother person.

    Oh, well, there is the old saying:

    Better to be outed than to be carried by six.



    Apr. 16, 2009


    Man who shot robber at AA gathering tells his harrowing tale

    By JOHN MONK


    The man who shot to death a gun-wielding would-be robber Saturday night at a Five Points Alcoholics Anonymous gathering spot is a well-known local attorney and an AA member who says he’d do it again in similar circumstances.

    “I had two choices — maybe get killed and robbed — and I’m not sure what might have happened to the other people with me — or draw my weapon and fire,” said Jim, 61, who spoke to The State in his law offices Wednesday afternoon.

    Jim admitted he was the man who fired the gun Saturday night. He asked that his last name not be used until any retaliatory threats against him can be assessed. Police say the possibility of retribution might exist but refuse to be specific.

    Since the shooting of Kayson Helms, 18, of Edison, N.J., Saturday night, police have kept Jim’s name secret and released only a sketchy account of what happened when a young man entered the AA center near USC, brandished a gun and demanded money from what Jim said was a group of four people.

    Wednesday, in a 90-minute interview at his law office, Jim recounted — in second-by-second detail — how the shooting took place. He showed a reporter a .32- caliber Kel-Tec semi-automatic he said was similar to the one he drew from a rear pocket and used to shoot Helms.

    “Police asked me the question, ‘Were you afraid?’ I was concerned. There wasn’t time to be afraid. Till afterwards.”

    Seeing the assailant’s gun, he said, he knew he had to take action. “I didn’t want him to get a chance to fire. I didn’t know what he was going to do. He didn’t say, ‘This is a stickup — your money or your life.’ But if somebody presents a pistol, they’ve just said that.”

    At the time, Jim’s tiny, black lightweight pistol, loaded with hollow-point bullets that flatten when they strike a body, creating more damage than regular bullets, was encased in a special wallet-style holster, he said.

    A wallet holster is a squarish leather wallet holder with one hole for the gun barrel and another for the trigger. The holster both hides a pistol’s shape and allows a shooter to fire quickly.

    Columbia police confiscated the .32-caliber gun he used, Jim said.

    “I don’t think I did anything anybody else in the same circumstances wouldn’t have done. If I’d left my gun in the car, or at home, I might not be sitting here talking to you,” said Jim, who said he nearly always carries a gun and was carrying a two-shot concealed derringer during Wednesday’s interview.

    He graduated from USC’s law school in the 1970s, has had a concealed weapons permit since the early 1980s and practices a variety of civil and criminal law. His voice is gravelly; he smokes three packs of cigarettes a day.

    “I didn’t know whether he was going to open fire. He did point and swing his gun this way and that way. We had seven or eight people in the back room.” Those held at gunpoint were in the front room, according to Jim.

    Columbia lawyers said Jim — at 6 feet, 3 inches, a big man with a full head of blondish-brown hair — has a good reputation.

    “He’s a reputable member of the legal profession,” said Dick Harpootlian, a former 5th Circuit prosecutor. “I’ve tried cases with him and against him. I’m sure the folks down at the AA center Saturday night were glad he was packing heat.”

    Jack Swerling, a noted Columbia criminal defense lawyer, said he has remained friends with Jim since they went to USC law school. “Jim’s really a good guy.”

    Jim said the incident took “10 seconds, max” to unfold.

    Shortly before 11 p.m. Saturday, Jim was sitting on a sofa in the lounge of the ACOA building, a meeting place for AA members since 1947, talking to a friend.

    Jim is a self-described recovering alcoholic who describes alcoholism as a “cruel, cunning, baffling, powerful disease. The desire to drink goes away but comes back all the time.” He said he hasn’t taken a drink since 1981.

    Saturday night, a young woman came in the front door, saying, “‘I don’t have money. I have money in the car,’” he said.

    “I thought, Why’s she talking about money? Then this kid came around her and started off — ‘Get it up!’ You couldn’t see his gun at that point. He said, ‘Empty your pockets.’ Then I saw his gun.”

    The gun was small and silver, and Jim said he knew right away it was a .22- or .25-caliber.

    “I thought, Oy! That will hurt — .22s and .25s are very lethal. I wasn’t going to take a chance on him getting a shot off.”

    One of the four people in the lounge started emptying his pockets onto the floor, Jim said.

    At that point, Jim said, he was maybe six to eight feet from the gunman and had a clear shot across a coffee table. He drew.

    “My first shot was dead center on his chest,” said Jim, who demonstrated how he gripped the wrist of his right gun hand with his left hand to steady his aim.

    “With that, he kind of turned to his right, exposing his left side, and his gun arm went up. I’m pretty sure the second shot hit him in the stomach. With that, he did a 180 (a complete turn) and headed back toward the door, and I fired the third shot. I think that’s the one that hit him in the neck.

    “I thought I fired a fourth shot. But they (police) only found three spent casings. ..... In the stress, I thought I fired four.”

    Jim said he never was able to count the number of bullets remaining in his Kel-Tec because police took his weapon. The gun holds seven rounds, but Jim only loads six.

    The assailant “disappeared out the door,” and, according to police, made his way up a walkway, across railroad tracks toward Laurens Street, where he collapsed.

    Jim called 9-1-1, gave them his name, said he had a concealed weapons permit and that he had just shot an armed robber at the ACOA center on College Street.

    Still talking to the dispatcher, Jim said, he went outside the building.

    “I saw this white Lincoln pull up... .. It looked to me like a white guy in a white shirt got out and went up the walkway.”

    Two minutes “at the most” elapsed between the time he dialed 9-1-1 and the time police arrived, Jim said. The Lincoln vanished. But a distraught young woman remained near the fallen man, he said.

    Jim said police no doubt told the media earlier this week that his life was in danger because of “all the unanswered questions about the shooting.”

    For one thing, Jim said, there was the vanished Lincoln. Then, the distraught woman could have been Helms’ “girlfriend. .... She was sobbing and crying near the body, and police took her into custody,” he said.

    “I’m not sure whether there is a threat. I just find it weird that some guy from Edison, New Jersey .... would be in Columbia, South Carolina and trying to rob people.”

    Columbia police have declined to release details, including any information about Helms, saying they are investigating. Prosecutors have not said whether they will charge Jim.

    One resident of the nearby University Neighborhood, Bud Ferrillo, who owns a Columbia public-relations firm, confirmed some of Jim’s descriptions of the scene.

    Ferrillo said he heard three shots in quick succession. Within a minute, he was watching events unfold from a close vantage point.

    He said he saw a distraught woman crying loudly near the body on the walkway. Ferillo said police got to the scene within a minute or two.

    Ferrillo said police asked who had “the gun” and saw a man fitting Jim’s description raise his hands.

    Jim said he when he first got a concealed weapons permit, he had a need for it but declined to give details. He also declined to say whether he had ever fired at a person before.

    These days, he said, he carries a concealed pistol “because at this point, I feel almost undressed without it. I don’t have a problem leaving it in a car when I go to church or into the courthouse. I can live with that.”

    He has rehearsed shooting scenarios in his mind. “Have I ever thought about such a scenario before? Sure. Everybody who carries a gun has thought about it.”

    Yet, it still came as a surprise to have to fire Saturday, he said. “That was the last thing on my mind that night.”

    Jim shook his head. Violence is everywhere, he said.

    “I did what I had to do, that’s the way I see it. And under the laws we have in place, I think I’m immune from civil or criminal prosecution. I’d do it again, if the same circumstances arose... .

    “I’m just sorry the whole incident occurred. I would have preferred he not come in... .

    “I’m okay with this. Sorry I had to do it. It wasn’t something I wanted to do. But you do what you’ve got to do.”


    http://www.thestate.com/local/story/751469.html


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    This isn't a laughing matter, but I have to wonder who would rob an AA meeting? What did they hope to get - coffee and cigarettes? This just confirms the need for preparedness - these things can happen anywhere.

    -ljp

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    Legba wrote:
    This isn't a laughing matter, but I have to wonder who would rob an AA meeting? What did they hope to get - coffee and cigarettes? This just confirms the need for preparedness - these things can happen anywhere.

    -ljp
    Probably the same kind of person that doesn't mind killing someone over the $20 in his wallet.

    Also, one has to wonder if the Jersey thugs will finally learn to stay on their side of the Mason-Dixon line.

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    Heartless_Conservative wrote:
    Legba wrote:
    This isn't a laughing matter, but I have to wonder who would rob an AA meeting? What did they hope to get - coffee and cigarettes? This just confirms the need for preparedness - these things can happen anywhere.

    -ljp
    Probably the same kind of person that doesn't mind killing someone over the $20 in his wallet.
    People in AA meetings come from all walks of life. Some are poor, some are wealthy. Most, in between.Agroup of AA members probably has about the same amounts of cash,jewelryand other pawnable possessions as an average group of citizens not in AA.

    Some clubs, the type of place involved in the robbery attempt, even have a safe to store $ contributions collected from several meetings.

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