Archive for February, 2004

February 27, 2004

Durham, North Carolina

From AP via Raleigh’s WNCN ( of February 27, 2004:

Defendant Invokes Defense Of Habitation Statute

A man who says he shot a man while defending his apartment against intruders has been found not guilty of murder.

Officials say the case has brought the little-known “defense of habitation” statute into play for perhaps the first time in Durham.

Kennis Thaxton shot 18-year-old Abdullah Ali Helms twice in the back in June 2002, killing the teenager. He says Helms and another man barged into his apartment and that he thought Helms was going for a gun.

The defense of habitation statute says homeowners may use any degree of force to prevent an illegal intrusion into their residences or to oust an intruder. But homeowners have to fear for their physical well-being or believe the intruder will commit a felony.

The statute differs from the self-defense law. That one allows people to use “reasonable,” but not excessive, force to protect themselves.


February 27, 2004

Chattanooga, Tennessee

From the Chattanoogan of February 26, 2004:

Home Invasion Leads To Gunfire

A home invasion on Dorris Street led to gunfire when the homeowner came out of a bedroom with a handgun.

Police said Willie Hall was in a bedroom asleep with his girlfriend, Jillian Phillips, when they heard a loud noise at the kitchen door. He grabbed his gun and went toward the kitchen, when he came face to face with two black males. One was holding two black revolvers.

When the pair saw the homeowner’s gun, they ran out the kitchen door they had just kicked in.

Police said Mr. Hall followed them outside and gunfire was exchanged before they got away. A third person was seen running away with them.

February 27, 2004

Jacksonville, Florida

From the Jacksonville Times-Union of December 8, 2003:

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Employees foil robbery

Two gunmen trying to rob an East Jacksonville tire shop were scared off by a 16-year-old store employee pointing a shotgun, according to a police report.

The failed holdup at Toliver Tires, 2313 Phoenix Ave., was reported to police about 7:40 p.m. Saturday. Two store employees said they spotted the robbers walking up to the business wearing black masks and carrying handguns.

The robbers pointed their pistols and demanded the shop’s money, but one of the employees already had grabbed a shotgun from the shop’s office. After a standoff that lasted about 30 seconds, the robbers left empty-handed, the police report said. No arrests have been made.

February 27, 2004

Hendersonville, North Carolina

From the Hendersonville Times-News of December 28, 2003

Domestic dispute turns violent

A 34-year-old man was shot in the leg Saturday morning after he broke into his ex-wife’s house and hit her in the face, Henderson County Sheriff’s Department officials said..

The man, who has not been identified, broke into the house at 181 Willow Bend at about 11 a.m. after making harassing phone calls to the residence, said Lt. Tim Gordon. The man entered the two-story Beechwood Lakes home, uninvited, through an unlocked front door, he said.

As the man’s ex-wife was dialing 911, the man hit her in the face and knocked the phone from her hand, Gordon said. Another man living at the home shot the ex-husband in the left leg, above the knee, with a 30-30 rifle, he said.

The injured man was transported by helicopter to Mission Hospital in Asheville, where he later underwent surgery, Gordon said. When emergency workers arrived at the scene, the man was conscious and alert, but bleeding profusely, he said.

The injury was “very serious,” Gordon said. No other serious injuries were reported, he said.

The shooting was “clear cut self-defense,” Gordon said. The man and his ex-wife had a history of domestic problems, he said.

Sheriff’s deputies had responded to the home numerous time prior to the shooting and had provided extra security there several times, Gordon said. A court order was filed in May that prohibited the man from being at the house or having any contact with its residents, he said.

Followup, January 14, 2004

A Henderson County man who was shot in the leg last month during a domestic dispute was arrested Tuesday in connection with the incident.

Thomas Hamilton Lindsey, 34, of 1225 Cane Creek Road, faces one felony and seven misdemeanor charges after he was shot Dec. 27 in the home of his ex-wife in the Beechwood Lakes subdivision off Brookside Camp Road.

February 26, 2004

Middletown, Pennsylvania

From the Bucks County Courier Times of February 25, 2004:

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Senior citizen pulls gun on knife-wielding robber

A senior citizen using the men’s room yesterday at a popular Middletown eatery was approached by a would-be robber waving a knife. The potential victim responded by pulling out his own weapon – a handgun.

A thin, white male between 25 and 30 years old tried to rob the 68-year-old Langhorne man about 9:30 a.m. at the Great American Diner and Pub, 1201 E. Lincoln Highway, Middletown Sgt. Ken Mellus said.

The Langhorne man is licensed to carry the gun, police said. No shots were fired and the suspect fled.

February 25, 2004

Houston, Texas

From the Houston Chronicle of February 24, 2004:

Homeowner shoots intruder who flees, then dies

Police say a southeast Houston homeowner shot an armed intruder who’d broken into his house overnight, but no realized the suspect died until a neighbor found the body a block away this morning.

The incident happened in the Sagemont Park subdivision, off Fuqua and Sabo, a subdivision with neatly trimmed lawns and many homes with alarm system signs.

Around 10:15 p.m., three intruders barged into the home in the 10400 Kirklane and tried to rob the homeowner of his car.

The homeowner started shooting and the intruders scattered, police said.

Police searched the neighborhood, but the intruders were believed to have gotten away. Around 8:15 a.m., however, a resident one block away in the 10400 Kirkshire found what is believed to be one of the gunmen’s body on a walkway next to his home, shot three times in the chest. A ski mask was next to his body, Houston Police Homicide Sgt. Jim Binford said.

Outside the home that the intruders tried to rob, police recovered an AK-47 covered with blood that one of the gunmen is believed to have dropped.

The slain gunman has not been identified. His friends fled in a turquoise Dodge Durango, police said.

February 25, 2004

Knoxville, Tennessee

From the Knoxville News Sentinel of February 24, 2004:

An armed robbery went awry this morning when a store manager shot the suspect in the back and buttocks.

Around 6:02 a.m., Christopher Pulley, 31, of Powell, entered the Rite Stop Mart, 441 Dutch Valley Rd., and approached the clerk at the counter, said Knoxville police spokesman Darrell DeBusk.

Pulley asked for cigarettes and then demanded money from the clerk. He had what appeared to be a gun in his front pocket and pointed it at the clerk, DeBusk said.

The store manager, Sam Braswell Jr., 51, approached Pulley from the back of the store with a .25-caliber handgun. The suspect ran from the store and Braswell followed, firing several shots. Braswell hit Pulley twice in the back and buttocks.

Twenty minutes after police arrived, they saw Pulley walking along Bruhin Road and Pulley asked them for help. The officers discovered a stick in Pulley’s pocket that he used to simulate a weapon.

Pulley was taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries. He has been charged with one count of attempted robbery, DeBusk said. The district attorney is reviewing the case to see if there are any additional charges that may apply to Pulley.

February 21, 2004

Seattle, Washington

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer of February 21, 2004:

Business owner shoots, injures would-be robber

A would-be robber attempting to hold up Western Jewelry and Coin in West Seattle yesterday was confronted with the owner’s own handgun and fled the store, shot in the chest.

Gilbert Dorland, 42, had seen shoplifters swipe his antique watches and custom jewelry before, but he had never confronted armed robbers. At 4:19 p.m., two men wearing bandanas over their mouths walked into the store in the 4200 block of Southwest Alaska Street, guns drawn.

“Nobody move,” they said before Dorland drew his own handgun and fired, said Matt Tomlinson, a friend who had left the store only minutes before and spoke with the shaken store owner afterward.

“He was definitely broken up,” Tomlinson said. “He called me and said he’d just shot somebody. He was being robbed and he shot. He was scared to death.”

Police interviewed Dorland and said no charges would be filed.

“It appears to be a completely legitimate use of force,” police spokeswoman Deanna Nollette said.

February 20, 2004

Austin, Texas

From Austin’s of February 19, 2004:

Jewelry Courier Robbed In North Austin

A mid-day jewelry heist lead to a shoot out and Austin Police SWAT team storming a hotel. It all happened in North Austin just after 12 p.m. Thursday.

Police say an early afternoon ambush outside an Americus Diamond store erupted in gunfire between a jewelry dealer and three men he says were trying to steal his jewels. He asked News 36 not to use his name for his own protection.

Police say no one was hit.

“We think the courier was targeted on this. We think he was definitely the person that they were looking for. They had information on him,” APD spokesman Kevin Buchman said.

The lunch crowd next to the jewelry store was looking for cover when the shots rang out. Witnesses heard a half-dozen shots.

“I didn’t know what was going on. All I saw was a gun, heard the gunshots and I just tried to get down,” witness Katrina Hutchins said.

Police say the three suspects, all Hispanic males, got away with an undisclosed amount of jewels, fleeing to a nearby motel.

February 20, 2004

Plainview, Texas

From Lubbock’s of February 19, 2004:

Shotgun blast deters burglar

An unidentified intruder was greeted with a blast from a shotgun following a foiled burglary attempt at 2 a.m. in the 1500 block of West Seventh Street.

According to a police report, the home was occupied by a woman and her two sons. The residents were awakened by a loud noise. A 13-year-old resident grabbed his father’s shotgun and entered the room. He fired a shot at the intruder who took off running from the scene.

Police did not discover any blood trails leading from the residence or any reports of gunshot injuries at the local hospital.

The home sustained a broken window.