I live in Tucson, AZ. Last night I had a incident that I almost pulled my gun out and shot a rapist. I was walking my dog and I heard a woman screaming for someone to stop and get off of them. I asked the punk what he was doing with that woman. He kept trying to wrestle with the woman. I told him that I had a gun and to leave the woman alone. I repeated myself to get him to release the woman. He finally did. She walked away crying and I asked if she wanted me to call the police. She said no. I turned my attention back to the guy and told him that he had to leave the neighborhood. He got belligerent and wanted me to pull my weapon. At that point a police vehicle came into view. I flagged them down and explained the situation. They asked me about my gun and I showed it to them. They said that if the woman refuses to talk then their is nothing they could do. I described the woman to them and told them where to find her. They talked to her and that was it. Would it have been wrong if me to fire a warning shot during the altercation?
Warning shots are generally considered to be a bad idea. Both because a prosecutor could argue that it is “proof” you weren’t really in fear of serious bodily harm since you just fired to warn and not to stop the threat but also because you are responsible for every round you fire and the shot could deflect and endanger an innocent person.
While I also would have intervened in this case you have to be incredibly careful as situations like this often end up being domestic violence issues where both people know each other. Before you know you could be faced with both of them attacking you or both explaining to the LEO that it was you who attacked them.
Fortunately LEOs showed up in time. You always want to be the first to call LEOs whether the victim wants you to or not. In this case I might have dialed 911 before confronting the attacker and tell him you are on the line with police and he needs to stop now. That guarantees that you are the first to contact LEOs and let’s 911 hear that you are trying to stop the attack.
(I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice)
Firearms are to be pulled when facing an imminent deadly threat/imminent threat of serious bodily har or death. My layperson interpretation of the situation does not indicate either of those being faced by you.
Drawing and firearing a gun is something you should consider to be lethal force, only to be used if and when lethal force is necessary and justified.
Warning shots are virtually never a good idea.
IMO pretty much everyone should carry pepper spray.
I doubt you have the authority to demand someone leave a neighboorhood.
I would delete your post and only speak to a lawyer
I am not a lawyer, but even if I was (I’m not) I already completely forgot everything that you posted anyway
IMO, call 911 as soon as you can safely do so (nearly immediately, likely, in a case like that) and then call your lawyer next. This should never be a “do I call 911” question. If, theoretically, you were to tell someone you have a gun as a threat that you may draw and use it, calling 911 should in that case be a foregone conclusion
Thank you for letting me know that. This was my first time being in that kind of a situation. It was just unfortunate that I walked out of my house without my phone. The LEO was on my side about the incident. That is a first, also.
I never pulled my firearm. Just warned the guy that I did have one on me and to stop doing what he was doing. I know to never pull my firearm unless the situation warrants it. It was just a question that I wanted an insight on. I have never pulled my firearm since I have owned it.
My wife gives me a hard time because I never go anywhere without my phone but I consider it an important part of EDC/PPE kit.
Whoever calls LEOs first is usually going to be considered the “good guy” at least until the whole mess gets sorted out.
“Wrong” is not a strong enough word.
Just remember, it’s not the police on scene that file charges, it’s the prosecutor/DA/whomever. And it can be done after the fact. General suggestion, if anything ever happens, police contact made or not, and anybody hits you up to ask questions later…you will cooperate 100% but first you need your attorney (do not talk further without your lawyer present)
@Cavanell_E Thanks for being an armed citizen and willing to protect others, a real 2-edged sword for sure, many stories and comments pro and con here at USCCA with outcomes good and bad.
Yes… Warning shots are generally a very bad idea for many reasons.
I am guilty of forgetting my phone while out walking the dog also.
I think you handled the situation and the Police encounter very well. Just remember sometimes people don’t want help and will turn on you after. Go figure.
Just a thought… Keep your eyes open for both of them after this.
Thank you. She was grateful that I got him to stop. She just didn’t want to deal with the police. The thing is, my weapon never left my holster. It was just a warning to him to stop and let her go. I was glad that the LEO drove by when they did. I always have my phone. I was just deprived of sleep from dealing with an abused husky.
You still threatened him with assault, and he believed it. That is the reason for calling the police. If the perp called and said you threatened him with a firearm, the police would arrive to investigate/arrest you.
This has nothing to do with being justified in preventing/stopping an assault. It is just a sad commentary on life today. You did the right thing in aiding someone in need. No one will fault you for that. Just make sure, if there is a next time, to call the police. You were fortunate, as was she, that an officer was - quite surprisingly - nearby.
I agree with the folks who recommended against warning shots or brandishing. Not sure if AZ has a statute similar to Florida’s, where you would be justified to use a deadly weapon to stop a “forcible felony”(what you witnessed) against a 3rd person. Say, you had barked a verbal order at the felon, but he paid no attention and continued to harm the woman. What then? I guess exceptions exist for every rule.
I am glad things worked out, but had they not… do not bet she would not have sided with the guy against you, in the courtroom. Why was she apprehensive of police? Involved with this guy in something police would have to look into?
I wouldn’t fire a warning shot, that’s time and ammo you might need later.
76-2-402. Force in defense of person – Forcible felony defined.
(1) As used in this section:
(a) “Forcible felony” means aggravated assault, mayhem, aggravated murder, murder, manslaughter, kidnapping and aggravated kidnapping, rape, forcible sodomy, rape of a child, object rape, object rape of a child, sexual abuse of a child, aggravated sexual abuse of a child, and aggravated sexual assault as defined in Chapter 5, Offenses Against the Individual, and arson, robbery, and burglary as defined in Chapter 6, Offenses Against Property.
(b) “Forcible felony” includes any other felony offense that involves the use of force or violence against an individual that poses a substantial danger of death or serious bodily injury.
|(a)||An individual is justified in threatening or using force against another individual when and to the extent that the individual reasonably believes that force or a threat of force is necessary to defend the individual or another individual against the imminent use of unlawful force.|
|(b)||An individual is justified in using force intended or likely to cause death or serious bodily injury only if the individual reasonably believes that force is necessary to prevent death or serious bodily injury to the individual or another individual as a result of imminent use of unlawful force, or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.|
Sounds to me like it would be legal in the jurisdiction I live in.
The important thing I see though is that the legal justification for threatening to use force is identical to the justification for actually using the force. So if someone isn’t sure they need to draw and use a weapon they should at the very least think twice about threatening to do so.
I’m not saying that the threat of lethal force wasn’t possibly justified in this case. Just saying that as with actually drawing a weapon it should be a last resort choice after all other options have been deemed insufficient.
The KY revised statute
503.070. Protection of another.
(1) The use of physical force by a defendant upon another person is justifiable when:
(a) The defendant believes that such force is necessary to protect a third person against the use or imminent use of unlawful physical force by the other person; and
(b) Under the circumstances as the defendant believes them to be, the person whom he seeks to protect would himself have been justified under KRS 503.050 and 503.060 in using such protection.
(2) The use of deadly physical force by a defendant upon another person is justifiable when:
(a) The defendant believes that such force is necessary to protect a third person against imminent death, serious physical injury, kidnapping, sexual intercourse compelled by force or threat, or other felony involving the use of force, or under those circumstances permitted pursuant to KRS 503.055; and
(b) Under the circumstances as they actually exist, the person whom he seeks to protect would himself have been justified under KRS 503.050 and 503.060 in using such protection.
(3) A person does not have a duty to retreat if the person is in a place where he or she has a right to be.
I would bet where you live has a similar law.
Edited: My main point there is that drawing and firing a gun is likely to be considered lethal force, so, lethal force should probably be justified and necessary before doing so.
And an unknown third party (potential domestic) situation with no known weapon present and no serious bodily harm happening…that’s a damn risky situation to be employing lethal force.
In OP’s situation you would have to ask yourself…before drawing a gun…is this worth potentially going to prison for decades over? What is “this” that we are seeing, and how certain-enough of what’s happening?
/still NOT a lawyer and not legal advice or interpretation of the law
To play the MMQB what if game…for mental preparation…what aspect of the OP scenario can you articulate that you believe justifies use of lethal force?
“I heard a woman screaming for someone to stop and get off of them. I asked the punk what he was doing with that woman. He kept trying to wrestle with the woman.”?
Or is it “I turned my attention back to the guy and told him that he had to leave the neighborhood. He got belligerent and wanted me to pull my weapon.”?
Or something else.
I’m not a lawyer and all those disclaimers, but…I don’t see lethal force in this situation.
If you read section 2a of the statute it specifically says if I have a reasonable belief of great bodily harm is going to happen, then listing specific assaults, to a third person, I can defend that person the same as if I was that person. A man holding a woman down, pulling his dyck out gives reasonable grounds for belief that great bodily harm is about going to happen.
Telling me you are going to assault me gives me reasonable grounds that you are going to do great bodily harm. Coming at me gives me, to my thinking, after I tell you to stop, gives me reasonable grounds to defend myself especially if I just saw you doing an assault on another person.
I don’t or attempt to not to jump to conclusions. Seeing an assault and then that person coming at me….you better believe I’m going to defend myself.
I didn’t read that “pulling it out” part in the OP. Where did that part come from?
This is what the OP says
I was walking my dog and I heard a woman screaming for someone to stop and get off of them. I asked the punk what he was doing with that woman. He kept trying to wrestle with the woman. I told him that I had a gun and to leave the woman alone. I repeated myself to get him to release the woman. He finally did.
I only see that the man was wrestling with the woman.
I didn’t see this part either
Seeing an assault and then that person coming at me
I turned my attention back to the guy and told him that he had to leave the neighborhood. He got belligerent and wanted me to pull my weapon.
I don’t see anything indicating that the man came at the OP.
When it comes to using deadly force on someone, these differences really, really matter
(also, this seems like a possible scenario where pepper spray is an invaluable tool to have access to…if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail)
In Utah I think the standard is Reasonable believe. A person could make the case:
Guy on top of woman, Woman struggling to get away, Guy won’t stop the attack…