Archive for November, 2003

November 29, 2003

Greenfield, Indiana

From the Indianapolis Star of November 29, 2003

Alleged break-in ends in shooting

An Indianapolis man was wounded and his friend was arrested after the pair tried to enter a Greenfield apartment early Friday morning, authorities said.

Greenfield Police Chief Clarke Mercer said officers are still investigating why Arthur Pogue, 34, and Helen Day, 27, Charlottesville, tried to enter the home of Arthur and Jessica Pitcock, 400 block of Warren Way.

Jessica Pitcock described Pogue as both her estranged and ex-husband, and police were trying to confirm the exact relationship, Mercer said.

Pogue was in serious condition Friday at Methodist Hospital, a hospital spokesman said.

Mercer said the bullet that struck Pogue had lodged next to his spine, and he was at least temporarily partially paralyzed.

Police received a 911 call from Jessica Pitcock about 1:30 a.m. Friday, saying someone was trying to break into their home.

Pitcock told police she raised the window next to the door and asked Pogue and Day to leave.

Police said Pogue and Day tore off the window screen, and Pogue climbed through the window.

Arthur Pitcock, who had been warning Pogue to stay out, then fired one shot from a semiautomatic handgun, police said.

Officers are waiting to learn from Pogue’s doctors whether he was shot while he was still in the house or attempting to leave. Mercer said Pogue either fell back through the window or dived through after he was shot.

Day was being held Friday in the Hancock County Jail on preliminary charges of residential entry and criminal mischief. Mercer said he expected similar charges would be filed against Pogue.

November 25, 2003

Kyle, Texas

From the San Antonio Express-News of November 25, 2003:

Hays resident shoots intruder

A Hays County homeowner shot and killed an intruder who was struggling with two sheriff’s deputies in his back yard Sunday evening.

Claude Lefuma Labasa, 37, of Raleigh, N.C., was pronounced dead at the scene by Hays County Justice of the Peace Beth Smith.

Hays County investigators said they do not know why Labasa was in the Kyle area, but said he surprised two couples who were in the Stagecoach Road home at about 6:15 p.m. Sunday.

“Apparently he was a complete stranger to the people there,” said Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Allen Bridges. “He simply walked in the back door on them.”

They called police, who arrived about 10 minutes later.

“There was no physical altercation with the people in the house,” Bridges said. “I have no idea what the conversation was like.”

Two sheriff’s deputies arrived and tried to question the intruder, but Labasa was uncooperative, then fought with the deputies when they tried to arrest him.

The fight spilled out into the back yard, Bridges said.

While the deputies were trying to subdue the man, the homeowner, Stanley Hughson, fired one shot, hitting the intruder.

Investigators would not say where the bullet struck Labasa. After being shot, he ran from the deputies, who caught and subdued him in front of the house.

An ambulance was called to the house, but Labasa was dead by the time it arrived. Smith ordered an autopsy by the Travis County medical examiner’s office.

Reached by telephone, Hughson declined comment Monday. He gave investigators a statement at the department’s San Marcos headquarters on Sunday night.

Authorities did not immediately release the names of the deputies, both of whom were treated for minor injuries at Central Texas Medical Center and released.

No charges have been filed against Hughson. The results of the investigation will be handed over to the Hays County district attorney’s office, Bridges said.

UPDATE Austin American-Statesman, January 9, 2004:


Stanley Hughson will not face prosecution for the fatal shooting of a North Carolina man who entered his house uninvited and later fought with authorities.

A grand jury decided Wednesday not to indict Hughson for the Nov. 23 shooting of Claude Lubasa Lufuma, 37, of Raleigh.

November 25, 2003

Birmingham, Alabama

From the Birmingham News of November 25, 2003:


Clerk cleared in fatal shooting

Convenience store death in holdup ruled justifiable

The owner of a North Birmingham convenience store said one of her employees had no choice but to shoot and kill a gun-wielding robber who burst into the shop over the weekend.

“I hate that it happened,” said Tina Brown, owner of Spot-1-Stop. “But basically, it was either him get shot or one of them.”

Demarcus Daniels, 18, was killed about 11 p.m. Saturday in what authorities said was a holdup attempt at the 26th Street North store.

The Jefferson County district attorney’s office on Monday ruled the shooting justifiable.

“There was a videotape that clearly shows him robbing the place with a gun in his hand,” said Chief Deputy District Attorney Roger Brown.

Police questioned the store employee who fired the shot, but did not take him into custody. His name was not released.

Daniels’ mother, Glenda Daniels, said her son was not violent and never carried a gun.

“If he did,” she said Monday, “it’s shocking to me.”

Tina Brown said Daniels came into the store Saturday night pointing a gun at the female cashier.

“He was yelling and cussing her and telling her to give him the money,” Tina Brown said. “He said it was no joke, that he was fixing to blow her (expletive) head off.”

Another employee stocking the store shelves heard the commotion and came to help. He grabbed a gun that Tina Brown kept in the store and fired a shot at Daniels, striking him in the chest or stomach area.

Daniels fell to the floor, got back up and ran out of the store, Tina Brown said.

He dropped a gun just outside the door and then collapsed at the far end of the parking lot. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

The entire incident was caught on a security surveillance camera.

“It’s all on tape,” Tina Brown said. “It was self-defense, plain and simple.”

Tina Brown said if Saturday’s holdup attempt had been successful, it would have been the fifth robbery at the store in the past year. There have also been six burglaries during that time.

That’s why she bought the gun, she said.

“Enough’s enough,” she said.

Tina Brown said there have been threats of retaliation since the shooting, and someone slit the tires on the truck of another one of her employees. She said she won’t let the trouble ruin business.

“People say it’s a bad neighborhood but it’s not. We have some of the best customers,” she said. “One person doesn’t make a bad community.

“So far, the people in the community understand it couldn’t be avoided.”

November 24, 2003

Lufkin, Texas

It’s an Associated Press wire service story that appeared in the November 24, 2003 Las Vegas Sun:

LUFKIN, Texas (AP) – A suspect in the murder of an elderly Oklahoma couple who eluded police for weeks was finally arrested in Texas after he kidnapped another couple and the husband shot and wounded him, authorities said.

Eizember was accused of killing A.J. Cantrell, 76, and his wife, Patsy Cantrell, 70, on Oct. 18 in Depew, Okla., in the northeastern part of the state.

He is also accused of beating Carla Wright, a neighbor of the Cantrells, and wounding her grandson, 16-year-old Tyler Montgomery, that same day. Wright’s daughter Kathy Biggs, Tyler’s mother, is Eizember’s former girlfriend, and authorities believe he had been stalking her.

Eizember managed to elude teams of law enforcement officers who combed through dense woods in between Oklahoma City and Tulsa.

Eizember drove about 200 miles east, where he allegedly kidnapped a doctor, Samuel Peebles, and his wife, Suzanne, near Waldron, Ark., O’Keefe said. They were forced to drive in their van about 300 miles south to East Texas, he said.

At that point, Samuel Peebles managed to grab a pistol he had concealed in his van and shot Eizember, O’Keefe said. The couple then drove Eizember to the hospital, O’Keefe said.

Wounded four times in the chest, Eizember was in stable condition early Monday at the Memorial Health System of East Texas in Lufkin.

November 23, 2003

Southfield, Michigan

From the November 20, 2003, Detroit Free Press:

Yarnell Hamilton was at home with his 24-year-old live-in girlfriend at about 8:30 p.m. Sunday when her 25-year-old ex-boyfriend from Detroit came over to collect a debt from her, police said.

Chatter quickly turned to gunfire.

Hamilton, who lives in the Garden View Apartments at 16200 W. 9 Mile, was enraged when he saw the other man, police said. He demanded to know who the man was and pulled out a .22-caliber handgun and pointed it at his girlfriend.

The ex-boyfriend, who had a concealed weapons permit and an even bigger handgun, a .40-caliber semiautomatic pistol, tried to leave the apartment. But Hamilton turned his gun on the ex-boyfriend and fired, police said.

The ex-boyfriend pulled out his gun and shot back.

“The ex-boyfriend is almost a poster child for the NRA,” said Detective John Harris of the Southfield Police Department, explaining that he had used the gun in self-defense. “The present boyfriend seems to be somewhat jealous and needs a little anger management.”

November 23, 2003

St. Louis County, Missouri

From NewsChannel 5 in St. Louis, dated November 20, 2003:

An intruder got more than he bargained for when he broke into a home Tuesday night in North St. Louis County. Police say the man was shot and killed by the owner of the home.

“I really don’t feel bad for the intruder. I really don’t.” That’s what Jackie Greco says about the man who was shot and killed after he broke into her neighbor’s home around 8:00 p.m. Tuesday in the 11500 block of Lares Drive.

Greco was at home having dinner with her two young daughters when she heard two gunshots, “And they heard this loud noise. I’ve never heard a gunshot before. They ran into the living room where I was and was scared.”

Police say the man entered the couple’s home through the basement. He then attacked the couple with what neighbors say was a knife.

The husband was able to get a handgun and shoot the man. The man then staggered out the house, but only got as far as Greco’s driveway.

November 23, 2003

Rockford, Illinois

From a trade publication called PizzaMarketplace.com:

In Rockford, Ill., an attempted armed robbery of Vinny‚Äôs Pizza ended quickly when co-owner Lia Mercuri fired warning shots near two men who’d stormed through the shop’s back door on Nov. 17.

Mercuri’s brother and Vinny’s co-owner, Mario Cassola, told the Rockford Star one man entered the pizzeria and attacked him with a hammer, while second man, carrying a rifle, followed him in.

Despite receiving multiple blows from the hammer, Cassola fought with the first man while Mercuri pulled out a gun kept at the shop and started to shoot.

“I was angry and I wanted to scare them away, so I shot into the air and hit the wall and by the door,” Mercuri said.

Both men fled.

A short time later, a Rockford Park District patrol officer stopped a vehicle with two men inside. Both a hammer and a rifle were recovered from the scene of the arrest of Michael J. Buck, 18, and Vaughn V. Gulley, 23, both of Rockford.

November 21, 2003

Seattle, Washington

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer of November 21, 2003

Bullets fly in holdup of Beacon Hill store

Grocer grazed, but he wounds robber; customer shot, too

Between errands yesterday, Christine Gonzalez decided to swing by the Latin American grocery that her husband, Tony, has run on Beacon Hill for 11 years, just stopping by to chat on an ordinary Thursday afternoon.

But this time was different.

“I walked in to see a man holding a gun on my husband and asking him for all the money in the till,” she said last night.

And then it got worse.

“All of a sudden, there were guns being fired and all hell broke loose,” she said, “and I’m terrified, and I’m thinking he’s going to shoot Tony.”

He did shoot Tony, the bullet grazing Gonzalez’s left hand between his ring finger and little finger.

But Tony shot back. The robber, wounded, fell by the door, then staggered down the sidewalk before collapsing, scattering money in the street, Christine Gonzalez said. He was taken to Harborview Medical Center and likely will survive, police said.

A customer in the store also was hit by a bullet, in the cheek, Christine Gonzalez said.

Neither the holdup man nor the injured customer was identified by police. The robber, who police said dropped his handgun at the store, has not been charged. A 23-year-old Burien man was arrested in an alley behind the store as a suspected accomplice, police said.

After a rash of holdups at mom-and-pop stores was reported in the newspapers a few years ago, Tony Gonzalez bought a gun for protection at work, his wife said. But, although other businesses in the neighborhood have been held up, he never had to pull his weapon — until 2:15 p.m. yesterday.

November 20, 2003

Chula Vista, California

I actually lived in Chula Vista, when I was very young. This is from channel 10 in San Diego:

A man who broke into a Chula Vista home was shot and wounded by a resident, police said Tuesday.

The burglar was shot after breaking several windows and entering the home in the 500 block of Manzanita Street at about 10:30 p.m. Monday, Chula Vista police Lt. Don Hunter said.

The suspect was struck by several rounds and collapsed in a neighbor’s yard, Hunter said.

He was taken to UCSD Medical Center, where he was expected to survive his wounds, Hunter added.

The homeowner was taken to police headquarters for questioning and later released without being charged, Hunter said.

November 20, 2003

St. Louis, Missouri

Would you believe this if someone put this in a movie? He’s watching the movie Death Wish when the bad guy forces entry and threatens the shooter’s wife?

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch of November 20, 2003

Man, 73, kills robber holding shears to wife’s neck

Police officers privately

praised the outcome

of North County shooting

A man in north St. Louis County was home watching “Death Wish,” a movie about a vigilante who hunts down criminals, when he saw his wife held hostage by a robber holding shears at her neck.

Allowed to get his wallet, the homeowner retrieved his pistol instead and shot the intruder to death, county police said Wednesday after sorting out details of the previous evening’s incident.

An intruder, 26, broke into the home through a basement window and tore down a curtain to tie over his face as a mask. The woman encountered him in the basement and he forced her up the stairs to confront her husband.

Police said the husband, 73, was watching the movie on TV when the stranger approached, demanding money and holding 4-inch shears to the throat of the woman, also 73.

The homeowner told the intruder he had to get his wallet from the bedroom, but he got a handgun instead. When he emerged, she pulled away and he opened fire.

The robber grabbed the wife again and pulled her through the front door with him, but then let her go and ran. He collapsed across the street, where he was pronounced dead.

The woman was treated for minor injuries at a hospital and released.

The dead robber was identified through fingerprints, but his name was withheld pending notification of relatives.

Privately, police officers praised the outcome, saying that burglars should take a lesson from it.