Archive for April, 2007

April 30, 2007

Huntsville, Alabama

From the Huntsville Times of April 30, 2007

Huntsville homeowner kills intruder

One man was shot and killed as he allegedly broke into a residence at 900 Julia Street just before 4 a.m. today.

According to Huntsville police reports, a man was startled by a loud banging at his front door, and he and his roommate armed themselves and went to investigate. They discovered someone kicking in the front door, and one of the offenders was shot and killed as he entered the residence with a pistol in his hands.

The other offender ran away.

The names of the victims and the person who was shot and killed were being withheld early today.

From the The Huntsville Times of May 1, 2007

Man who killed intruder unlikely to face charges

An apartment resident who shot and killed an armed man who broke down his apartment door will not likely face charges, Huntsville police said.

Police investigators are looking at the incident as self-defense, police spokesman Wendell Johnson said Monday afternoon.

Police identified the intruder as Demarcus Williams, 26, of 3406 Elizabeth St.

The identity of the shooter, who lives at 900 Julia St. No. D, is being withheld by Sgt. Ed Cain of the major crimes unit, Johnson said.

Johnson said the man and his roommate were awakened about 3:15 a.m. Monday when someone tried to break in the front door. The two residents armed themselves, he said.

Williams, who was wearing a mask and had a gun, came into the apartment after kicking down the door, Johnson said. One of the residents shot and killed Williams.

“When somebody breaks in your house and you are in fear of your life, you have the right to self-defense,” Johnson said. “But it’s still under investigation.”

Johnson said police are not releasing why Williams broke into the apartment and Johnson did not know if Williams and the apartment residents knew one another.

Investigators will decide whether to send the results of their investigation to the district attorney for further review, Johnson said.

Williams’ shooting death was the city’s seventh homicide of the year.

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April 29, 2007

Swansboro, North Carolina

From the Wilmington Morning Star of April 28, 2007

Swansboro High student, Paul Allen Kuerbitz, 18, of Windy Rush Lane in Cary, was charged with breaking and entering, possession of firearm with altered serial number, possession of a stolen firearm, larceny after breaking and entering, obtaining property by false pretenses, and attempted breaking and entering, the sheriff’s office said.

Kuerbitz was arrested after a homeowner who had already been burglarized twice confronted a man attempting to break into his Stella Road home, the sheriff’s office said. The homeowner, armed with a shotgun, began to question the man, who ran to a pickup truck and drove away.

The homeowner called county detectives, who traced the truck to Kuerbitz. On Tuesday, the detectives spoke with the high school senior, who was identified by the homeowner as the man who attempted to break into his house, the release said. Three guns stolen from the Stella Road home were recovered during the investigation, the sheriff’s office said.

April 29, 2007

West Covina, California

From the San Gabriel Valley Tribune of April 28, 2007

Man fires at 3 dogs mauling cat

A man opened fire on a group of dogs as they mauled his cat Friday, officials said.

The incident occurred about 8:50 p.m. in the 1500 block of Elgenia Avenue, said West Covina police Lt. Dan Brooks.

The cat’s owner observed a pit bull, a German shepherd, and a mixed-breed dog attacking his pet cat and grabbed a handgun to defend it, said Brooks.

The man went outside to aid his pet and the dogs charged at him, prompting him to fire a single shot, Brooks said.

The bullet struck the ground and the dogs ran away unharmed to a nearby house, which turned out to be the home of the dogs’ owner, said Brooks.

The cat was killed in the attack, Brooks .

Brooks said the man will face no charges, as he did nothing wrong and was only acting to defend himself and his property, officials said.

The owner of the three dogs was cited for leash law violations by animal control officials, added Brooks.

April 27, 2007

Fresno, California

From the Fresno Bee of April 27, 2007

Man acquitted in neighbor’s killing

Jury unanimously finds James Grove not guilty of manslaughter in his retrial.

Three years ago, a jury was split over whether rancher James Grove, 69, was guilty of killing his 61-year-old neighbor in the rural outskirts of Fresno.

But after a three-day retrial in Fresno County Superior Court, jurors announced a unanimous verdict Thursday.

All 12 found him not guilty of manslaughter — though they wavered on that decision significantly during two days of deliberations.

Grove’s supporters broke out in tears. One started clapping. Another said, “Thank you.”

Grove raised his hands in the air, and his defense attorney, Ernest Kinney, clasped his hands around his client’s shoulders.

“It’s been a nightmare,” Grove said moments after the verdict was read. “I’m just glad this part is over.”

By “this part,” Grove meant the criminal charges.

A wrongful-death lawsuit his former neighbor’s family filed against him is still pending.

Kinney said the suit seeks $3.5 million.

Relatives of George Barber, the man Grove shot and killed in February 2002, could not be reached for comment.

A year and a half ago, Grove turned down a prosecutor’s offer to plead no contest to a lesser crime and be put on probation but not serve jail time, Kinney said.

Instead, Grove insisted on a trial — risking a potential 21-year prison sentence if convicted.

Grove and Barber lived relatively peacefully for years while they shared a fenced property line in the rural eastern limits of Fresno.

But then in the late 1990s, they started squabbling over almost everything — loose dogs, overflowing irrigation and nasty-smelling smoke.

The men “hated each other,” Fresno County prosecutor Jon Skiles said in his closing arguments Wednesday.

The smoke from Barber’s chimney — contaminated by a wood preservative burning in his fireplace — would waft into Grove’s property and bother his wife. One day, as the plumes of smoke rose again, Grove snapped, Skiles said.

The 400-pound Barber had been shot in the stomach. He died the next day in a hospital.

Grove meant to kill his neighbor, Skiles said. But Kinney said his client reacted in self-defense.

Five months before he was killed, Barber showed Grove a new handgun he had bought, Kinney said. He said that during the following months, Barber tried to make it clear to Grove he kept it in his coat pocket. Barber suggested they settle their dispute with a gunfight, Kinney said.

He said Grove shot Barber only after Barber reached in his coat pocket and told him, “I’m going to shoot you.”

In the end, jurors agreed with Kinney.

They deliberated for less than two days — but changed their minds quite frequently, said Kinney, who talked to the jurors after the verdict.

At first, 10 jurors believed Grove should be convicted. Only two felt otherwise.

But, Kinney said, jurors swung the other way after they carefully read a state law that states a person can still act out of self-defense even if the person confronts — instead of flees — someone perceived to be a threat.

“It says right here — you don’t have to go to safety,” Kinney said.

April 27, 2007

Spokane Valley, Washington

From Spokane’s KREM.com of April 26, 2007

Pit bulls shot and killed by neighbor

A man who claims he felt threatened by his neighbor’s two pit bull-mixes shot and killed both dogs.

The incident happened on the 12000 block of East Broadway. The daughter of the dog owners came home to her parents’ house, who were not home at the time. She let the two pit bull-mixes out of the house when she arrived; those dogs got into a neighbors’ yard. The woman called for the animals and heard a yelp. Spokane Valley Police say the man shot and killed the dogs with a rifle.

The dogs were burried less than an hour after they were shot. Spokane Valley Police say the neighbor was justified in shooting the dogs if he felt threatened. The daughter of the dog owner tells KREM 2 News she has seen her neighbor point a rifle at the dogs before.

April 27, 2007

Germantown, Pennsylvania

From Philadelphia’s NBC10.com of April 26, 2007

Witness: Robber Shot In Struggle Over Gun

A man is hospitalized after police said he was shot trying to rob two people in Germantown Thursday afternoon.

NBC 10 reported that a neighbor had gone to visit a friend on the 400 block of East Woodlawn Street around 2:30 p.m. and the incident happened when he came out of the house.

“When he came outside of the house, a young man jumped up on the porch and approached them, and had a gun, and was attempting to rob them, and then during the robbery and a struggle went on and the gun discharged,” said Sam Brackeen, a friend of the neighbor.

The alleged would-be robber was shot in the head and chest. He is listed in critical condition at Einstein Medical Center.

Police are still investigating the incident.

There is no word on what charges, if any, will be filed against any of those involved in the incident.

April 26, 2007

Brunswick, Georgia

From the Jacksonville Times-Union of April 26, 2007

Brunswick man acquitted in shooting death

A Brunswick man has been acquitted in the shooting death of another man in the parking lot of a Glynn County apartment complex two years ago.

Moses Emanuel Walker, who testified that he acted in self-defense, was found not guilty of murder and voluntary manslaughter charges in the death of Darrell Hobbs, 27, of Brunswick on Nov. 9, 2005, outside Camelia Apartments, 5800 Altama Ave.

A Glynn County jury deliberated about five and a half hours before acquitting Walker, 26. The verdict Wednesday night ended a trial that began April 18.

Hobbs was shot twice at close range with a .40-caliber Glock semiautomatic pistol. Walker was seated at the steering wheel of his car when he shot Hobbs who was standing outside at the driver’s door, a Glynn County police investigation showed.

The shooting occurred during an argument about a woman, according to the investigation.

Walker testified that he believed Hobbs had a gun, and shot him as he appeared to be reaching for the weapon.

Hobbs had a criminal record, including convictions in 2004 for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, and possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana. He also had been convicted of sale of cocaine in 1997, Georgia Department of Corrections records show.

Glynn police records show Walker had been identified as a suspect in six complaints reporting either family violence or public disturbances from 2002 through 2005. Walker had been arrested for criminal trespassing in January 2005 following a domestic dispute involving a sister at their mother’s home, according to the police records.

April 26, 2007

Augusta, Georgia

From Augusta’s WRDW.com of April 26, 2007

Man shot during home invasion

A man is recovering from a gunshot wound to the chest after breaking into a house just before 4 o’clock this morning at 3721 Lexington Drive in Augusta.

Deputies say a woman living there shot the man once. Then he ran across the street tossed the gun and was found later lying on a picnic table.

He is being treated at MCG.

From Augusta’s WJBF.com of April 26, 2007

Homeowner Fights Back

The WJBF News Channel 6 Crime Tracker reports an arrest in an early morning, violent break-in in South Augusta. Happened shortly before four-thirty this morning, on the 37-hundred block of Lexington drive — that’s just off Rosier Road in South Augusta. The homeowner was no easy mark. She fought back against her attacker. It looks like the victim stopped the suspect in his tracks. The victim is a 57 year old woman who lives alone. But that only made her more prepared to protect herself. Even though she was abruptly awakened while asleep, it didn’t take long for her to come to her senses and take aim at the suspect who turned out to be a neighbor. The Mount Vernon subdivision is usually quiet, but that peace was broken in this Lexington Drive home this morning. Detectives say 19 year old Justin Brent Haynie got into his neighbors home while she slept and put a knife to her throat.

Sgt. Calvin Chew, Richmond County Sheriff’s Office: “He jumped on the bed and he started trying to cover her mouth because she was shouting.”

During the struggle Sergeant Calvin Chew says the victim, a 57 year old woman who lives alone somehow managed to grab her .357 off the nightstand. That was something haynie (sic) didn’t know. Detectives say as haynie (sic) walked behind her with a knife to her neck, she quickly spun around and shot him in the stomach. Haynie grabbed her gun and ran. But he didn’t get far.

“It was really shocking to me that something like this would happen.”

It was a little after four in the morning when Joann Hatchell heard voices. She says she saw police and the suspect in her backyard.

“Then I looked over at my picnic table and this young man was sitting there that was bloody front and back.” “He turned sideways and I recognized him. I said Brent.” “Is that Brent?”

Hatchell says she knows Haynie and he would often offer to help her out in the yard. He lives next door with his grandparents.

“I just think it’s a sad situation that things like this happen.”

The victim wasn’t seriously hurt, just a few scratches on her neck.

“This is actually the perfect scenario for self-defense and protecting your home and family.”

“A lot of time you hear about gun control and so forth but she was able to use her gun to protect herself in her home.”

Haynie is in serious condition in a local hospital. He’s expected to be o.k. A list of charges is waiting on him when he gets out. They include burglary, kidnapping aggravated assault and weapons charges. The homeowner is not facing any charges. Investigators say there was no sign of forced entry. The suspect may have come in through an unlocked door.

From Augusta’s WRDW.com of April 26, 2007

Teen breaks into neighbor’s house, ends up shot

He broke into her home…so she shot him.

19-year-old Justin “Brent” Haynie was arrested this morning for breaking into the home of his Lexington Drive neighbor, Theresa Wachowiak.

The 56-year-old woman shot him before he escaped, and he survived.

It was a burglary gone bad for Haynie. Little did he know his target was within arms reach of a revolver.

“Terrible. Scary, really,” said neighbor Joann Hatchell. “I looked and this guy was sitting here and I didn’t recognize him.”

19-year-old Justin “Brent” Haynie was slumped over Hatchell’s picnic table. He’d been shot.

“I said, ‘Oh my God, that’s Mary’s grandson’,” Hatchell told News 12.

The young man lived next door and often helped Hatchell with yard work, which is why she never imagined he’d break into the home of another neighbor, 56-year-old Theresa Wachowiak.

Woken up at 3:30 a-m, Wachowiak was startled by the intruder.

“She was initially, but she’s a strong lady,” said Sgt. Calvin Chew of the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.

Sgt. Chew says what she did next may have saved her life: “She had a gun in her nightstand, and she was able to retrieve the gun during the assault and ended up shooting the suspect.”

Shot in the chest, Haynie then left, leaving a bloody trail to Hatchell’s yard.
News 12 found Haynie’s cousin, Patrick, who didn’t want his face shown on TV.

“I think that I’m glad he’s still living, but maybe it’ll make him not do some of the things he’s done,” Patrick Haynie said.

Hatchell, whose morning was unlike any other in her lifetime, fears what could have happened.

“Do you own a gun, and if not, do you want one now?” we asked her.

“Yes. I would love to have a gun,” she said. “I’m telling you, you’re not safe anymore.”

Brent Haynie is still recovering from that gunshot. He faces several charges, including burglary, aggravated assault, kidnapping and possession of a knife during the commission of a crime.

We’re told relatives have not been allowed to visit Haynie in the hospital because he’s been placed under arrest.

April 26, 2007

Decatur, Alabama

From the Decatur Daily of April 26, 2007

Alleged robber who had gun pulled on him now in custody

A robber, who ran after a would-be victim pulled a gun on him, is now in custody, Decatur police said Wednesday.

With a towel wrapped around his hand to give the impression he was armed, Nicholas Bernard Lawson, 23, of 623 Central Parkway, Apt. No. 6, took cash and a pizza off a Domino’s employee outside his apartment building on Jan. 11, police said.

The robbery took place amid the rash of armed robberies of pizza deliverymen earlier this year that prompted that particular driver, 52-year-old Rolando Zargosa, to arm himself while working his part-time job.

Zargosa told the masked robber that his wallet was in the car and went to get it, but instead reached into his pocket and pulled out his pistol.

The robber fled into a breezeway between the apartments, spilling the pizza, when he saw the gun.

Sgt. Chris Jones said police developed Lawson as a suspect and arrested him Tuesday on a charge of first-degree robbery. He will be taken to Morgan County Jail and held in lieu of $25,000 bond.

April 26, 2007

Charlotte, North Carolina

From Charlotte’s WSOCtv.com of April 26, 2007

Cab Driver Shot, Then Shoots Back During Attempted Robbery

3 people could be charged with trying to rob a car driver in East Charlotte. It all happened around 11:30 on Wednesday night. The cab driver pulled up in front of a home on Wilora Landing Road. Three people in the cab attempted to rob the driver. A scuffle ensued and the driver was shot in the ring finger. During the struggle, the cab rolled into the porch of the building. The driver was able to wrestle the gun away from one of the suspects. He then shot that person in the leg and shoulder. The injuries to the cab driver and robber are non-life threatening. All three passengers in the cab are in police custody.