Archive for December, 2003

December 31, 2003

Gainesville, Missouri

From the December 30, 2003 Jefferson City News Tribune:

A coroner’s jury decided that a man was justified in shooting and killing a couple who threatened him at his home near Thornfield last month, and the Ozark County prosecutor said he will not file charges.

Merl Cantwell, 40, and his wife, Tammy, 32, of Isabella, were killed on Nov. 9 by Boyd Merriman. Investigators said the Cantwells had accused Merriman of shooting their dog.

The six jurors agreed unanimously that Merriman acted in self-defense.

Dr. Keith Norton, the pathologist who performed the autopsies, said Merl Cantwell’s blood-alcohol concentration was almost twice the legal limit on the night that he died. Norton also said that the Cantwells had “lethal quantities” of the antidepressant Prozac in their bodies.

Jurors also listened to threatening messages that Merl Cantwell left on Merriman’s answering machine. They deliberated a little more than an hour before returning their verdict.


December 31, 2003

High Point, North Carolina

From the Greensboro News-Record of December 30, 2003

Property owner shoots burglar

After a struggle, a man shot an intruder who broke into a High Point business he was watching early Monday, sending the burglar to the hospital, police said.

Police identified the injured man as Terry Wayne Combs, 42, of 109 E. Peachtree Drive. He was charged with two counts of felony breaking and entering and one count of felony larceny after receiving treatment at High Point Regional Hospital, police said.

The shooter, Ernest Galloway, 77, suffered scrapes and soreness but was not hospitalized.

According to police, someone broke into Oak View Auto Service at 312 Old Winston Road about 11:20 p.m. Sunday, stole snacks and cash and left before police arrived.

Galloway, who owns the property, decided to watch the business overnight for its owner because several broken doors and windows left the shop open to passersby, he said Monday.

When a man entered about 4 a.m., Galloway confronted him with a .32-caliber rifle, and the two struggled before Galloway regained control of the weapon. At some point, Galloway shot the man in the midsection when the burglar moved toward him again. Police responded shortly after and found both men across the street from the business.

High Point police Detective Ron Meinecke said the District Attorney’s office will decide whether any charges should be filed against Galloway.

December 31, 2003

Wilmette, Illinois

From the Chicago Tribune of December 31, 2003

(Requires Registration)

Wilmette man shoots intruder in his home

Hours after an intruder used the dog door of a Wilmette home to steal a set of keys and a BMW sports-utility vehicle, the homeowner shot a man he confronted inside the house, authorities said Tuesday.

After being hit twice Monday, the suspect plunged through a front window of the home and escaped, but he was caught a short time later when he drove the stolen SUV to St. Francis Hospital in Evanston seeking treatment for his wounds, police said.

Morio Billings, 31, of the 2100 block of South Trumbull Avenue in Chicago, was charged Tuesday night with two counts of felony residential burglary and one count of felony possession of a stolen motor vehicle, said John Gorman, spokesman for the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.

Billings, who was shot in the left shoulder and left calf, remained hospitalized after surgery, Gorman said. His condition was described as non-life-threatening.

Billings was shot by Hale DeMar, 54, who was home in the 0-99 block of Linden Avenue with his wife and two children when Billings used a key to enter the house, authorities said.

Police would not say whether Billings is suspected in the first burglary when the keys were stolen from DeMar’s house. That incident occurred between 11 p.m. Sunday and 3 a.m. Monday.

“At this point our hearts go out to the residents that suffered this trauma,” said Wilmette police spokesman Roger Ockrim.

DeMar is barred from owning a handgun by village ordinance. Ockrim did not know whether DeMar would be charged with any violations.

But he said, “The primary issue is someone has been burglarized and someone has been shot.” Ockrim described DeMar as “understandably upset.”

Police said they will investigate whether the shooting was in self-defense. The state statute dealing with such shootings is open to interpretation, said police and officials with the state’s attorney’s office.

“There’s the letter of the law and the flavor of the law,” Ockrim said. “You can’t make a blanket statement until you’ve conducted an investigation.”

Wilmette Village Trustee Beth Lambrecht predicted the firearms ban will be discussed at a future Village Board meeting, either to reconsider the ban or to remind the public of it.

She said using a gun to chase off a burglar is “very risky.”

Another trustee said he didn’t think the incident would lead to a change in the handgun ban.

“It wouldn’t from my viewpoint,” said Trustee James Griffith. “But I’m glad the guy had a gun.”

UPDATE ( “Wilmette police say a homeowner who shot an intruder during a break-in will not be charged with violating the affluent Chicago suburb’s handgun ban.”

The authorities’ collective positions on their handgun ban, and this homeowner’s actions is the quintessence of incoherence.

FURTHER UPDATE (Chicago Tribune): “A Wilmette homeowner who shot and wounded an intruder was charged today with violating the north suburb’s ordinance banning handgun ownership.”

“If convicted, Hale DeMar, 54, faces a fine of up to $750.”

“DeMar also is accused of failing to renew his Illinois Firearm Ownership Identification card when it expired in 1988, a Class A misdemeanor.”

“Violation of the firearm registration law carries penalties of up to one year in jail, a $2,500 fine or court supervision or probation.”

Perhaps someday Chicago will join the rest of the country.

December 30, 2003

Columbia, South Carolina

From the Columbia The State of December 30, 2003

Man shot by store manager, official says

A man found dead on the side of Bluff Road was shot after a confrontation with a store manager who accused him of shoplifting, officials said.

Wyman Lee Williams, 44, of 1123 Abbott Road, was shot in the chest at Rickenbacker’s Party Shop on Bluff Road early Sunday, said Richland County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Lt. Joseph Pellicci. He gave this account of the incident:

Williams went to the store and tried to steal a pack of beer when the 66-year-old clerk confronted him. Williams threw the beer cans at the clerk and beat him while customers looked on. Williams started to leave but then slammed the man to the ground. When he attempted to beat the clerk again, the clerk fired a round, hitting Williams, who then left. The clerk then called the sheriff’s department.

Williams’ body was found about a half mile from the store, but no one knows whether he walked there or someone gave him a ride and dropped him off, Pellicci said.

No charges have been filed against the clerk, whose name has not been released.

December 29, 2003

Tulsa, Oklahoma

From Tulsa’s of December 29, 2003

Tulsa man shot during carjacking incident

An investigation is underway into a carjacking that’s left a Tulsa man hospitalized.

Tulsa Police found Dave Torres lying in the driveway of a Tulsa residence Sunday. He was shot once in the lower abdomen, when he caught someone stealing his truck.

Torres told police he managed to fire several shots at the suspect, but doesn’t know if he hit him.

Torres wounds are not life threatening.

December 29, 2003

Brooklyn, New York

From the New York Daily News of December 29, 2003

B’klyn man kills intruder

A Brooklyn man shot dead a would-be robber who had burst into his first-floor Flatbush apartment last night, police said.

“I just shot somebody,” the man said in a call to 911, police said.

The 29-year-old intruder, identified by his girlfriend as Fisher Canton, was gunned down about 6:45 p.m. inside the rear bedroom of the apartment on E. 18th St., near Newkirk Ave., police said.

Police were questioning the apartment resident, who was not identified, and trying to determine if his weapon was registered.

They also were sorting out whether Canton, who was shot in the face, was armed or just pretending to carry a weapon.

Third-floor tenant David Colling, 54, defended his neighbor’s actions.

“It could have happened to me,” Colling said. “I guess he did the right thing.”

Building resident Harry Bell, 30, a maintenance worker, said his apartment was broken into about a year ago and thieves stole about $2,000 worth of jewelry.

“I guess you got to do what you got to do to protect yourself,” he said.

December 29, 2003

Kansas City, Missouri

Brief but clear news report from KCTV, Channel 5 in Kansas City, December 25, 2003:

At about 6 a.m. Thursday, armed robbers hit the Grand Slam Liquors on Sixth Street in Kansas City.

The clerk fired some shots at the robbers, but police officers didn’t think anyone was hit.

However, this Kansas City Star articles the following days (here and here) don’t seem to mention the shots fired.

Thanks to Wince and Nod for the links.

December 28, 2003

New Orleans, Louisiana

From Baton Rouge’s of December 28, 2003

Man Killed During Attempted Robbery

(New Orleans-AP) — New Orleans police say a man washing his clothes at a coin-operated laundry on Saturday was killed when two masked armed robbers held up the business and the owner shot back.

The two gunmen, both wearing ski masks, entered the “Washateria 7” at about 8:00 a.m. and demanded money from the 58-year-old laundry owner and a 70-year-old woman cashier. Police say the owner got his pistol and shot several shots at the armed robbers.

Police say Garry Hayes, who was 42, was at the laundry washing his clothes and was shot and collapsed on the sidewalk. Police say no charges have been filed against the owner. Police say the two suspects remain at large and face murder and robbery charges.

December 26, 2003

Leesville, Louisiana

From Lake Charles’ of December 26, 2003

Botched Robbery Leaves Suspect Dead

Police are investigating an attempted armed robbery of a business that left one suspect dead and the business owner wounded.

Leesville police say four men entered a business on Third Street at about 6 p.m. on Tuesday to rob the owner.

One of the suspects was killed in the ensuing gun battle and the business owner was injured and taken to Byrd Hospital where he was treated and released.

The names of the people involved were not released pending notification of the family of the fatally shot suspect.

Police Chief Bobby Hickman says one of the suspects was arrested and booked on a charge of armed robbery.

The two other suspects remained on the loose.

December 26, 2003

Muskegon, Michigan

From Grand Rapids’ of December 26, 2003

Muskegon man who shot intruder won’t be charged

A Muskegon man who shot someone as he broke through his front door early Saturday will not be charged. That’s according to a member of the Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office.

The man who was shot, 20-year-old Demario Leroy Brown, is listed in fair condition at the hospital.

The shooters’ home had been broken into three times before the latest incident and the shooting. Three other people have been charged in the break-in.

The man who was shot has not yet been charged.