It’s never a good idea to speak your mind freely to the press after you’ve been involved in any kind of shooting, even if it’s a defensive gun use that is likely to be justifiable in a court of law.
Of course, we cannot determine what is or is not justifiable, here, on our little blog. What we can do, however, is speculate on the outcome and learn from what happened in an effort to never make the same mistakes, ourselves.
Last April, Mr. Bowers of Peoria, AZ, was the victim of arson. He pulled his revolver, shot the suspect, and could have created a huge mess for himself with his loose lips.
The only thing you should ever do after a defensive gun use, is call the police, and then your lawyer. (please note that I’ve included the video interview at the bottom of this article)
Now, I’m not an attorney so nothing I say here should be taken as legal advice, but I do know some firearms-specific attorneys who all agree on something:
Under no circumstances should you ever speak to the media or the police about what happened, no matter what anyone tells you.
The main reason for this is because you’re likely a mess of emotions after you pull the trigger and you may or may not be able to recall the events of a critical incident right after it happens.
The only words that are ever acceptable to say to the police, is a description of the perp who got away. That’s it.
Don’t ever tell them why you pulled your gun out, how many times you fired, or anything else for that matter because it all goes on record.
Read what I’m about to say next very, very carefully: If you say the wrong thing, even by accident, you may incriminate yourself later on down the line and not even realize it.
Many people don’t realize this, but most police departments require a specified amount of time to pass before they allow a cop who has discharged his weapon to make any statements.
The main reason for this is because recalling events right after is a hard thing to do. No matter what they tell you, you don’t have to say anything until you’ve spoken to your lawyer.
In fact, once you ask to speak to your lawyer, they have to stop asking you questions. You have rights as an American citizen. If you ever need to use your weapon in self-defense, make sure you use them.
Anyway, back to the Peoria man with the big mouth …
There are two main issues with how he handled his DGU, the first one was going on camera with the media about his defensive gun use, where he describes in detail exactly what happens. Here’s a small paraphrasing of what he said:
He was at home when he walked in on someone setting his house on fire. He had his .357 Magnum revolver and he shot him once in the house.
The wounded arsonist got up and ran away.
However, where the Peoria man went wrong, is where he said, on camera, that he thinks he unloaded the gun on the arsonist as he ran away across the field.
That’s bad juju for a couple reasons.
First, he’s not sure if he unloaded it. Did you catch that? He “thought” he unloaded it. He was unsure, unable to recall the events, and should have kept his mouth shut. (again, check it out in the interview at the bottom)
Second, in order for the defensive use of a gun to be considered “defensive” your life should be in imminent danger (please learn the laws in your state, and don’t take what I’m saying as Gospel, because I can’t know all laws in all states).
This means that, yes, during the time when his house was in the process of being lit and he shot the first round off, he was likely to be justified in a court of law.
Where he may have ran into a jam, are the five shots that he unloaded at the arsonist after he fled the scene.
Life was no longer in danger, and instead of shooting at the bad guy five more times in an open field where other people may have been, there are other things he could have been doing.
Then again, if he just kept his mouth shut, like he should have done to begin with, you and I wouldn’t even be having this discussion right now because we never would have known that he emptied his entire cylinder on a fleeing man.
Did you catch that part? He shot at a man who was running away. Not only did he do that, but the .357 Magnum is not a joke of a self-defense round. In fact, the maximum effective range of a .357 Magnum while hunting a deer is considered by many to be 100-150 yards.
What was on the other side of that field?
See where I’m going with this?
If you take away nothing else from this article, I hope it is these two very important things:
First and foremost, your life needs to be in danger for you to use deadly force, and always know what your target is and what’s around it.
Second, for the sake of your freedom, keep your mouth shut or you could incriminate yourself, even if you were in the right, just by saying something you should not have. It doesn’t matter if it is the police or the media. It’s all on record, and can be submitted in court as a statement. Don’t do it.
Here’s the man’s interview, where he spilled all to the media:
Do you agree with what I said here? If not, what would you add? Remember, the point of this website is to teach others, so don’t hold back. Let us know in the comments below.
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Here is a link to the source article and video.