Philadelphia

From the Philadelphia Daily News of April 4, 2007

Police assurances on his gear are music to DJ’s ears

BRIAN LEWIS was leaving his apartment, heading to a gig as a disc jockey in January 2005, when three guys jumped him.

Two of them pulled pistols.
The men wanted his gear, including two CD mixers worth $499 each.

They also wanted Lewis to turn around and go back inside his house with them.

What the robbers didn’t know was that Lewis had a gun, and a permit to carry it.

Lewis reached for his gun, telling the robbers he was pulling out the key to his door.

Lewis aimed across his body, drawing a bead on the head of one man aiming a pistol at his back.

Click.

The gun was loaded, but there was no bullet in the chamber.

The two robbers heard the pistol’s dry fire and blasted away, shooting Lewis in the back.

“I was able to stand my ground and get a round in there,” Lewis said.

“I turned around, started yelling and shooting back. I shot every bullet I had in my clip. I just kept pulling the trigger.”

Lewis hit two of the three men, killing one of them. Lewis slumped to the ground and briefly passed out.

He woke up worried about the two robbers still alive.

“I was scared to death,” he said. “I was shot. I wasn’t going to wait until they finished me off. I got the hell out of there.”

Lewis drove, beeping his horn and screaming for help, several blocks to a friend’s house, where police and an ambulance came to take him to the hospital.

More than a year later, Lewis knows he is lucky to be alive, and recovered from his injuries.

Police, meanwhile, quickly ruled that he’d been justified in defending himself.

Still, his close call has left one lingering mystery:

What happened to his disc jockey equipment?

“I’ve been stumped,” he said. “I’ve called everybody. I called the Homicide detectives. I called the district attorney’s office.”

Then he called the Daily News.

It took some digging, perhaps because there were three police reports filed for the incident in front of Lewis’ home in the Ivy Hill neighborhood.

The first officers to arrive there found a dead robber and the disc jockey equipment.

The wounded robber was found somewhere else.

And Lewis was found at his friend’s house – three locations, three reports.

So the Police Department and the D.A.’s office rooted through their files last week to trace the mystery of the missing disc jockey equipment.

Lewis also wondered about the fate of his gun, a .40-caliber Taurus that he dropped in front of his house after firing all 11 of its bullets at the three robbers.

“If I’m not going to get my gun back, I’d like to get it out of my name,” Lewis explained.

It was unclear last week if the two robbers who survived the shootout with Lewis ever faced criminal charges.

The D.A.’s office has no record of the case being sent its way.

Capt. Ben Naish of the Police Department’s Public Affairs Unit did some research and determined that the disc jockey equipment was confiscated as evidence, in part because it was covered with blood in the robbery.

“We’ll be able to get him his stuff back,” Naish said last week, predicting that Lewis would be reunited with his equipment this week.

“We’re working on getting him the proper receipts out of storage right now so that he’ll be able to claim them. It shouldn’t be a problem.”

As for Lewis’ gun, Naish explained that “Guns used in a homicide, justified or not, stay in the custody of police.”

Lewis could file a petition in court for the gun but it doesn’t sound like he wants it back.

Naish said Lewis shouldn’t worry about the gun still being registered in his name.

“It’s not something that he’d have to worry about being out on the street,” Naish said.

Lewis was thrilled to hear his equipment might be returned.

“That’s beautiful,” he said last week.

“That’s great news.” *

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