No good deed, or in this case, “good warning shot” goes unpunished.
Imagine spending two years of your life fighting a charge for defusing a violent fistfight in your front yard. That’s exactly what happened to one LawShield member in 2016.
One evening in the Fall of 2016, a LawShield member went out for dinner with her husband and his brother. Like any family, differences of opinion can arise, and the member’s husband and his brother began an argument on the way home. When they arrived at their residence, the member went inside the home and began to get ready for bed.
The next thing she heard was a loud argument in her front yard. She looked out of her window and saw her husband and his brother locked in a bloody fistfight. She then ran outside and pleaded with the men to stop fighting. They wouldn’t listen.
The member ran back into her bedroom, retrieved her handgun, and walked out of the front door. She again shouted, “Stop fighting.” But they continued brawling. The member, fearing the fight would escalate further, pointed her firearm down to the ground and away from the direction of the men and her neighbors’ homes. She fired directly into the soft ground.
The men immediately stopped fighting. Understandably, a concerned neighbor called the police when he heard the gunshot. The police arrived, rushed their investigation, and instead of arresting either man, arrested the member for deadly conduct; recklessly engaging in conduct that placed another in imminent danger of serious bodily injury.
There was absolutely no direct, circumstantial, or forensic evidence showing that the member’s shot into the ground placed any person in imminent danger of suffering serious bodily injury. The evidence showed only that the bullet went into the ground, away from any buildings or people.
However, based on the responding officers’ assumptions and misunderstanding of the law, the member was arrested. The member’s nightmare was just beginning. Countless court settings and two years later, prosecutors finally dismissed her case because they couldn’t find any evidence to corroborate the alleged crime.
As you can see, the police and even prosecutors can sometimes misunderstand the facts and the law. Luckily, the member had an Independent Program Attorney armed with the knowledge to defend her and obtain dismissal of her criminal charge.
While this member was reasonable in her actions that night, and ultimately her case was dismissed, you should never fire a warning shot, unless you’re up for a long and hard fight for your freedom.
In Florida, you can now fire a warning shot.
However, was discharging the weapon necessary – even as a warning, to diffuse the situation? No. Family fight especially, there was no NEED to pull out the gun. Trained or not, certified or not, a gun should be used for life threatening situations. Basically she used the gun improperly, whether shooting into the ground or not. If the fight got too far out of hand, it still was not life threatening – she should have called the police to help.
All valid points but in all that being said. She should have called the police.
In TX, wouldn’t that fall under the provision allowing justification in case of defending/protecting someone else from serious bodily injury?
The TLS class we just attended , that very question came up!
Never fire warning shots!
My question here would be, what if she loaded weapon with blanks? Then what? Jail her for scaring the dodo out of them!
I think that our biggest problem is ignorant law enforcement and ignorant lawyers. Too quick to jump into a situation and make it look like they did something without using common sense
We cannot change the fact that it has already happened. The moral of the story (at least to me) is that we need to understand when we can or cannot use lethal force even without inflicting injuries. This lady made her choice and had to live with it. Lucky for her, she was a LawShield member and was eventually cleared.
As for the firearm discharge itself, one needs to be fully aware of one’s location and surroundings. Many cities in the US (even in red states) do not allow discharge of a firearm or even a non-fire arm (such as pellet guns). So while one might not be breaking the state law, one might violating the city law/ordinance and one might still be apprehended by the police and face the consequences.
This is a good example of why there are seldom black and white solutions. While I understand that it may be illegal to discharge a firearm within many city limits there should be exceptions to this rule and ALL the circumstances in this incident should be enough to warrant the exception. Firing into the ground for no reason would NOT be enough but with the fight going on, and the success of this action in stopping the fight, it just makes sense, to me anyway, that an exception should have been granted.
I keep pepper spray around in addition to a firearm. This would have been an appropriate case to use it. Nonlethal but effective. There are other types of force that can be used and one should avail themselves of alternatives. Plus it helps your case should you have to use a firearm that you tried other means of deescalation.
Why wouldn’t She just let
Them fight it out….now if it was an intruder that would be a different matter…..