Just a reminder to all of us. No car is worth a innocent life. If you pull the trigger make sure you know what is beyond your target.
Stray bullet stops generous heart; even dying, grandma thinks of others | freep.com | Detroit Free Press
Stray bullet stops
generous heart; even
dying, grandma thinks of
BY TAMMY STABLES BATTAGLIA and ZLATI MEYER
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITERS
Retired Army officer Gregory Agee Sr. would
send checks to his mother in Detroit
periodically, begging the 69-year-old to use the
money he earned from his job at the Pentagon to
move someplace safer.
Inevitably, Geraldine Jackson would instead
spend it on clothes for one of the four
grandchildren living with her, school supplies for
a great-niece or great-nephew, or to take care of
a utility shutoff notice for a relative.
Her caring for others continued Wednesday even
after she was struck by a stray bullet that
blasted through the front wall of her house -- a
shot Detroit police say was fired by a 65-year-
old man chasing a 19-year-old carjacker through
Her concern: that someone turn off the red
beans, neck bones and corn bread on the stove
so the feast she was cooking for a granddaughter
wouldn't burn while she was at the hospital. She
didn't realize that the bullet in her side had
fatally pierced a main artery.
"Even as late as this weekend, I was talking to
her about moving," her son said Thursday
afternoon as her 25-year-old grandson, Larry
Jackson, washed her blood out of the cream-
colored living room carpet.
"It goes beyond any words, the sadness. She
should have been out of here."
Unsympathetic to man who shot at car
In 2006, Cassandra Johnson's brother, Steven
Agee, was killed just shy of his 40th birthday by
a woman who said she made a "mistake" when
Then on Wednesday, a bullet killed her 69-year-
old mother -- an unintentional shooting by a
man aiming instead for a carjacker in northwest
In both instances, the shooters belong behind
bars, Johnson said Thursday, standing in front
of her mother's home on Vaughan at Pickford.
Nearby was a pink and white cemetery wreath
with a laminated sign reading, "In loving memory
of Geraldine Jackson, May 12, 2010: The killing
of a Grandma."
[Page 2 of 3]
"How can you make a mistake when you have a
gun in your hand?" Johnson said in her mother's
driveway, a single bullet hole in the gray siding
between the two front windows.
Geraldine Jackson was fatally wounded
Wednesday as she cooked a celebratory dinner to
welcome a granddaughter back to Detroit on a
Johnson said the woman who shot her brother is
free today after serving some time behind bars.
The 65-year-old Detroit man whose bullet hit
her mother remained behind bars Thursday, held
by the Detroit Police Homicide Unit, according
And the 19-year-old carjacking suspect who
police say started the fatal chain of events
Wednesday remains in custody in a Northwest
District lockup cell while investigators sort out
Charges up to prosecutor
Detroit police spokesman John Roach anticipates
a warrant request to charge the 19-year-old man
with armed robbery and carjacking. But, he said
Thursday, it's up to the Wayne County
Prosecutor's Office to decide whether to charge
the 65-year-old or the 19-year-old -- or both
-- in connection with Jackson's death.
Maria Miller, spokeswoman for Wayne County
Prosecutor Kym Worthy, declined to comment
Thursday until her office receives the results of
the completed police investigation.
According to Detroit police, the 19-year-old
held up the 65-year-old, who was looking at a
house at the corner of Pickford and Evergreen
shortly before 2 p.m. The thief then fled in the
man's green and tan Chevy Suburban but quickly
crashed into a tree as he tried to turn onto
The thief ran westward along Pickford. The
victim fired his gun at the suspect, sending a
stray bullet into Jackson's home a block away at
the corner of Vaughan and Pickford, police said.
'She was a good woman'
On Thursday evening, approximately 150 people
returned to the corner for a short candlelight
vigil mere yards from where Jackson's life
suddenly was cut short.
"There are bad things that happen in the world
every day, but there are good people," Gregory
Agee Sr., Jackson's son, told the crowd. "Even
though she left this place the way she did, we do
not know why things happen the way they do."
[Page 3 of 3]
As three shiny helium balloons sagged against
the overcast night sky, Elvira Edwards, 39, of
Detroit handed Johnson a teddy bear, which she
would clutch for much of the evening.
"She was a good woman, and she did what she
could for everyone," said Edwards, who knew
Jackson, nicknamed Mama J, through her 20-
year friendship with Johnson. "She was fun-
loving, full of life."
Wayne State University Law School professor
Peter Henning said Thursday that the case is a
Advertisement classic legal situation of transferred intent.
"This goes back centuries," Henning said. "It's a
way that the law dealt with the situation of
hitting the bystander. Transferred intent is the
bad shooter rule. If I intend to shoot you, but
instead I hit somebody behind you, I don't get a
defense, 'I didn't mean to shoot that person -- I
meant to shoot you.' "
The situation could land first-degree murder
charges, punishable by life in prison, for the 65-
year-old, he added.
"Shooting at a thief can be first-degree murder,"
Henning said, emphasizing that malice or
extreme recklessness would have to be proved.
A more likely defense for the 65-year-old would
be claiming he shot "in the heat of passion,"
which would reduce the charges to voluntary
manslaughter, Henning said. That charge carries
a 15-year maximum sentence and allows for
"He could claim he shot out of anger, then he
could have a defense he was provoked, and shot
in the heat of passion," Henning said.
A sympathetic jury, he added, could reduce a
murder charge to involuntary manslaughter. "A
jury may be able to express their sympathy, but
still be able to hold him responsible."
Defending property, like a car, carries no legal
value when someone is shot and killed, Henning
"You can understand what he did, but at the
same time you have a completely innocent victim
dying," Henning said. "There's a lot of sympathy
on both sides."
There's no sympathy as far as Jackson's son is
concerned. Agee, a retired Army officer, said he
is mystified by the boldness of someone
shooting as he runs through a neighborhood,
regardless of the circumstances.
"This guy that did the shooting, he should be
held accountable for killing my mother," said
Agee, who now works in Army planning at the
Pentagon. "Why is he running with a loaded
weapon? Does he have military or police training,
to run after him shooting? Let the guy go with
the car -- insurance will replace your car. You
don't go shooting out here with residents."
Jackson also is survived by another daughter,
Coretta Stoudemire; four brothers, and 11
grandchildren, according to Johnson.
"She said, 'If anything ever happens to me, take
care of my grandkids,' " Johnson said. "That's
what I'm going to do."
Funeral arrangements were incomplete Thursday.