Trying To Maintain Rationality

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

"Bystander Fired Deadly Shot, Not Officer" - Conceal And Carry Weapon Laws In Action

I got into an interesting debate with a pro-CC guy re: this article from Louisiana's WAFB Channel 9 online (not sure exactly what city in LA, but presumably broadcasts mainly to the Baton Rouge area).

It's a short article, so I'll just quote the whole thing:

Bystander Fired Deadly Shot, Not Officer

Feb 21, 2006, 07:39 AM CST

There were two big developments Monday in the case of a motorist who was shot and killed along Greenwell Springs Road Friday after a fight with a police officer. Investigators say an autopsy shows the deadly bullet was fired by a bystander, not the officer. Police also announced that no charges would be filed in the case, either against the police officer involved or the bystander who fired the fatal shot into the head of George Temple.

East Baton Rouge Sheriff's spokesman Greg Phares says Officer Brian Harrision was escorting a funeral procession Friday when he pulled Temple over and wrote him a ticket for breaking into the procession. According to Phares, that's when Temple attacked Harrison. Police say Perry Stevens was walking outside of the Auto Zone on Greenwell Springs Road when he heard Harrison yelling for help. Harrison was reportedly on his back with Temple on top of him. That's when Stevens went to his car and grabbed his .45 caliber pistol.

According to Col. Greg Phares, "[Mr. Stevens] orders Mr. Temple to stop and get off the officer. The verbal commands are ignored and Mr. Stevens fires four shots, all of which struck Mr. Temple."

Perry Stevens fired four shots into Temple's torso. Officer Harrison had already fired one shot into Temple's abdomen. With Temple still struggling with the officer, Perry continued to advance toward the scuffle. "He again orders Mr. Temple to stop what he was doing and get off the officer. Those commands are ignored and he fires a fifth shot and that hits his head. The incident is over with, and as you know, Mr. Temple is dead."

Police are calling the shooting death justified. Perry Stevens has a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Col. Phares would not give out any more details relating to the shooting. Both Phares and Baton Rouge Police Chief Jeff LeDuff stopped short of crediting Stevens with saving the officer's life. LeDuff says the entire incident is unfortunate.

"I spoke with his father at the scene briefly," said LeDuff. "I think this is a tragic situation all around."

9 News is told George Temple has a criminal record, and Officer Harrison was involved in a shooting while employed as a prison guard in East Baton Rouge Parish, where he was suspended for three days back in 1995.

I thought it looked pretty overreaching to summarily justify the totality of the citizen's actions, and that, at least, the citizen is probably looking at a civil lawsuit by the shot/killed man's family; my debator thought it was a clearcut example of the usefulness of CC... case closed.

Neither of us had the appropriate Louisiana laws in front of us, so we mutually decided to quit arguing about it. For me... it was more about whether or not this kind of *outcome* is appropriate, versus the proscribed legality of the situation (without the benefit of knowing how a jury would in fact interpret the situation, of course).

I think I'll follow this story.

I look forward to any comments, from any position.

NOTE: I've been generally undecided on conceal/carry laws, for a very long time now.


  • It doesn't say whether Temple had a weapon, which would make a difference. In any case, a man's life is lost. To be fine with this chain of events is to devalue that life to virutally zero.

    People in the South in general are just batshit crazy. I remember the case in Texas a few years ago where a Japanese exchange student walked up to a suburban house's front door to ask for directions.. who was mistaken to be a burglar and was shot to death on the doorstep.. Legally. sigh. They're savages.

    By Blogger SJ, at Wednesday, February 22, 2006 12:17:00 PM  

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