Welcome to Aftermath, a portion of our First Line email newsletter where Attorney Anthony L. DeWitt walks you through a real-life self-defense incident and shares his key takeaways.
Shane Casado and Rachael Wierzbicki had a tumultuous relationship. In the end, she wouldn’t take no for an answer. During a confrontation Casado picked up a .22 rifle to “scare” the woman into retreating. He fired a warning shot, which Wierzbicki ignored. As she continued to advance, Casado fired. Wierzbicki, who had a history of violence toward men, perished from one .22 wound. Casado testified he didn’t think his gun could kill someone. He had only shot targets with it.
What do you think was Casado’s biggest mistake? How would you handle the confrontation differently?
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Lack of protein in his diet.
Living in tumultuous relationship.
Especially, relationship with somebody who had a history of violence toward men.
Regarding tool used → Lack of basic rules - know your firearm and know what it is capable of.
In such situation - hand skills or pepper spray, then call 911.
For me it’s something unbelievable and I cannot visualize situation that I would need to harm any member of my Family.
I would have tried to wrestle her to the ground then run out then call 911.
He really needed to talk to a good attorney before giving statements to the police or giving ridiculous testimony.
There are lot of things he should have changed before the incident, but once it happened, he needed a lot of help articulating his version of events.
It seems to me that if he picked up the rifle, it was close by, so either of them could have gotten it. that said, couldn’t even a bb gun can kill if you strike someone in the ‘right’ place?
It reinforces, to me, that winning an altercation can be achieved by avoidance and train, train, train. Questions I have; 1) I wonder how much this individual had to pay his attorney? 2) Why not back away, or turn and leave? 3) There was not any escalation of force, straight to the gun. This is one of the best emails I have received from USCCA. Thank you for sharing this.
Women initiate 70% of non-reciprocal domestic violence. If the genders were reversed in that situation, would any of the “takeaways” been said about a woman? I think there’s a double standard.
Should he be better educated about guns? Of course, but saying he should never have a gun again is ridiculous. If a woman finally stood up against her abuser and used a gun that she was unfamiliar with, should she be prohibited from owning a gun ever again?
I’m glad he was able to defend himself from his abuser. I’m glad he wasn’t held responsible for defending himself. I hope he gets counseling to help heal the wounds his abuser inflicted. I hope he learns to use a weapon properly in case he needs to in the future. I hope he finds a woman that will love him and care for him, if he’s so inclined. I hope, if there were children, they heal as well.
I really don’t have enough information about the whole situation to make any kind of meaningful comment. For instance where did this altercation take place? Inside his home? Outside his home? Inside her home? Outside her home? Had she actually physically accosted him prior to this incident? Or was it just her “reputation”? Was she considerably larger than he? Was she physically stronger? Was she in possession of some object the could be considered a weapon?
What did the DA charge him with? Was it first degree murder only? Was the jury instructed on lesser included offenses or was the jury given the choice of first degree or innocent as I understand was the case in People v. Rittenhouse?
If I were on the jury and presented with what is outlined in this article, I would have to vote not guilty. You know the trick question defense attorneys ask jurors on voir dire “If you had to vote guilty or not guilty right now, how would you vote?”
Many jurors say that they don’t know, they would have to hear the evidence. The correct answer is, “Not Guilty, of course.”
Mull that over.
Lucky Casado. In my confrontation with 3 thugs 59 years ago in a “lovers lane” I pulled out & pointed my Granddads antique at one of them, startled him & gave me a few seconds to jump back in the car & get away. It was not loaded. Lucky me.
welcome to the family brothers @Renee7, @Benjamin95 , and @Todd92 and you are all in the right place at the right time. God bless you all.
He should have never owned a gun without proper gun handling training and self defense
His biggest mistake is to continue a volatile relationship with a violent partner. His second mistake is not knowing that a piece of metal moving a over 500 fps (generalization), wouldn’t kill someone.
Welcome to the family @Joe_A and God bless you.
First of all, he should have filed a restraining order against her. Secondly, he should have called law enforcement as soon as he saw her . If necessary, he should have left if that was the only way to avoid her and should have completely removed himself from the relationship and from being around her. He never should have pulled a gun on her. I don’t care how big she is , and I know women use weapons to .He sounds like a complete wimp. Yes,I know women can be just as dangerous as anyone, but, any idiot knows that you don’t even shoot someone with a BB gun under the circumstances described here. I can handle most men with my hands and have been forced to do so on a few occasions even though they had weapons. So,in summary…call law enforcement and go inside and lock the doors, or leave and avoid a confrontation altogether WITH ANYONE if possible regardless of your ego and pride. His biggest mistake was being so stupid. Now, that being said , would I feel the same way if it were a large aggressive man approaching a woman to violently attack her. Not exactly. I trained with women and taught a couple of self defense classes to women and generally speaking they are in much more danger because of the difference in bone density and muscle strength. That complicates the scenario a bit. Bottom line, seek healthy relationships and settle for nothing less. There is always going to be nut jobs out there. Learn the signs and avoid them completely…like the plague. Do not even give them any reason to think that they have a chance…do not allow them to get to know you or anything about you.
I’m surprised he didn’t catch involuntary manslaughter.
His perceived ignorance and his actions showed, to me at least, he had no training outside occasional target plinking.
He also must have been able to claim he was a battered DV victim.
Just reading the summary there are plenty of questions to ask.
I can say the following with some level of confidence:
If he did have formal training then he would be getting raked over the coals for putting himself in a dangerous situation, creating exigency by firing a warning shot at his abuser causing her to perceive danger from him and attempting to disarm him.
If the defendant was law enforcement he would be on his way to jail on a plea deal. A jury would have crucified him.
I can only say if you can evade / diffuse the deadly encounter then try. Otherwise you better have a good attorney and be able to articulate why you did what you did.
Thank you Johnny and Thank you for your service as a NYC Detective. God Bless you and your family!
Joe A. Rodriguez
Fax: 714 602-9790
Although I am licensed to carry and had to demonstrate proficiency with a firearm to qualify for that license, I rarely carry a firearm and generally keep mine safely locked away. My wife of 41 years and I have a safe relationship and I would never be likely to be in the situation Shane and Rachel were in.
That said, relationships and marriages often have issues that can lead to violence. We should learn to step away from the relationship when that happens. The first issue was the relationship. The second was the improper use of a firearm. That the relationship described in this case degenerated into violence was the result of poor judgment on the part of both parties and likely was also a sign of immaturity.
In a situation like this the mere presence of a deadly weapon of any kind, from a claw hammer to a knife to a firearm is a recipe for tragedy. Shane Casado should have simply ended the relationship and gone his way,leaving Rachel Wierzbicki to go hers.
Things that should never happen in the presence of firearms are mind-altering substances, uncontrolled anger, and confrontations like the one described.
Although I own and am able to use firearms and other weapons, I don’t particularly like them. I would use them if the situation justified it. Sorry, boys and girls. A stormy relationship is not such a situation.
Sadly, this situation had a deadly ending. It didn’t have to happen. Given maturity it likely wouldn’t have.