No Bill For shooting Fleeing Felon In The Back

This is a discussion on No Bill For shooting Fleeing Felon In The Back within the In the News: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Several times I have encountered doubters that in Washington a fleeing felon can be shot for theft of property. In this case a citizen saw ...

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Thread: No Bill For shooting Fleeing Felon In The Back

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    VIP Member Array LongRider's Avatar
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    No Bill For shooting Fleeing Felon In The Back

    Several times I have encountered doubters that in Washington a fleeing felon can be shot for theft of property. In this case a citizen saw his neighbor was being burglarized. So he chased the burglar down and shot him in the back ie the scum bags buttocks.
    Source TDM
    http://tdn.com/news/local/article_11...cc4c002e0.html

    Cowlitz County Prosecutor Sue Baur said she will not prosecute a Kelso man who shot an arrow into the buttock of a suspected fleeing burglar late last year, but insisted Friday she is not encouraging vigilante justice.

    In an interview, Baur said her decision is by no means a license for Cowlitz County residents to open fire on people they believe to be committing crimes.

    "If someone chooses to use force on a fleeing felon, their facts better be right - and the likelihood of that is very rare," Baur said. "So you take your chances, and that's why we want you to leave it up to the police. We don't want people taking chances with their own safety, bystander's safety."

    Kelso police said that around 11:45 p.m. Dec. 13, Scott Allen Schwingdorf, 33, heard glass breaking at his neighbors' vacant home in the 1100 block of 10th Avenue North and spotted Galen Louis Crayne of Longview walking away from the residence with a brown box tucked under his arm.

    Schwingdorf, who had armed himself with a hunting bow, shot a fleeing Crayne in the left buttock with a broadhead arrow, police said.

    Crayne, who survived the shooting, broke the arrow off and fled in a truck that was waiting at Cliff's Hilltop Market about two blocks away, authorities said.

    In a carefully worded statement released late Thursday, Baur said Washington State law allows citizens to "use reasonable force to defend property they own or have been entrusted with."

    "It appears that Mr. Schwingdorf acted to stop a person he believed was fleeing after committing a residential burglary at a house he had agreed to watch," Baur's statement said.

    Baur said Schwingdorf chased Crayne for about a block, calling repeatedly for him to stop, then fired his bow once on 10th Avenue near the corner of Burcham Street. (Previous accounts in the newspaper misstated where the shooting occurred.)

    Schwingdorf shot Crayne, also 33, from a distance of about 90 feet, Baur said.

    In her statement Baur said: "Had Mr. Schwingdorf acted with intent other than to stop a fleeing felon, or had the force used resulted in death, or had any of his assumptions been incorrect, his actions would be outside the realm of necessary or reasonable, and the charging decision would likely be different."

    Crayne, who faces trial in September for residential burglary, could not be reached. His mother, Jacquelyn Crayne, of Longview, said she is angry with the prosecutor's office for not filing charges against the man who shot her son.

    "We don't want people out burglarizing places," she said. "But it is not somebody else's responsibility to do something about it. You should never be allowed to do what that man did. He is by no means trained to recognize or assess a situation properly. It's not his right."

    Schwingdorf declined to comment on the record Friday. Juries in several Cowlitz County cases this year appeared to side with defendants claiming to protect themselves. In one case a jury acquitted a man accused of waving a gun at nightclub bouncers who had just forcibly boosted him from a club. In another, a Woodland man who shot a home builder four times and claimed self-defense. He was sentenced to nine months in jail after a jury chose to convict him of a lesser charge.

    Jacquelyn Crayne said Baur feared that Cowlitz County juries favor defendants claiming to protect themselves or their property. Baur, she said, "didn't want to lose a case."

    Baur said earlier this year that she was taking the previous cases into consideration in weighing whether to charge Schwingdorf. But she said Friday that "losing a case is not something I've ever been afraid of."

    Baur, who is being challenged for re-election in November by public defense attorney Tom Ladouceur, said politics did not influence her decision. "If I was worried about that, I would have done something in December... (and) it would have died down by now," she said. "I wanted to take my time with this one and take everything into consideration."

    In this narrow set of circumstances, Baur said, the law simply "does not support a conviction." She cited a state law that allows citizens to use force to protect "personal property lawfully in his or her possession" as long as "the force is not more than is necessary."

    In a statement, Baur said that on the night of the shooting, Schwingdorf was in his garage when he heard glass breaking at his next door neighbors' house, which had been left vacant by a recent fire. The neighbors had asked Schwingdorf to keep an eye on the residence, the statement said.

    Schwingdorf, according to Baur's account, told his mother to call 911. He grabbed a bow and arrow, which was nearby in the garage, and stepped outside, where he found Crayne, authorities said.

    (Police reports have identified the suspected burglar as Crayne, but Baur said her written statement to the newspaper does not mention Crayne's name because his case has not yet been resolved and she is ethically barred from commenting on it publicly.)

    Schwingdorf told Crayne to stop, Baur's statement said. Instead, Crayne ran. Schwingdorf gave chase and called repeatedly for him to stop and put down the box, but Crayne continued running, Baur said.

    "To prevent the man from escaping with his neighbors' property, Mr. Schwingdorf shot an arrow at him," Baur's statement said. "The arrow struck the man in the buttocks, causing serious injury."

    Crayne broke off the arrow's shaft and fled in a truck, the statement said. Crayne was arrested in February on suspicion of burglary.

    Jacquelyn Crayne said the arrowhead remained lodged in her son's pelvis for nearly six months until he underwent surgery to remove it.

    "He still has a limp," she said.
    An addendum the prosecutor made a PC statement but the fact is she misspoke when she said that if the burglar had died there would have been charges. By WA (law) it would still be a no bill like it or not
    Last edited by LongRider; July 18th, 2010 at 05:41 AM. Reason: correct grammer insert "law"
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  3. #2
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    A broadhead in the tail. Whoa...
    that had to be a mess, not to mention hurt. He's lucky he didnt bleed out. You bowhunters know what I mean...
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    Nice shooting on the part of the 'Neighborhood Watch' rep...
    A ninety foot shot with a bow? Impressive!
    This dirtbag is going to remember this experience every time he sits down...for quite a while!

    Protecting property is important, sometimes it can mean someone's livelihood. No mercy for dirtbags...no repeat offenders...
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    VIP Member Array automatic slim's Avatar
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    The BG waited six months to have the arrow head removed??? Must have a high tolerance for pain and infection. That limp will slow him down in future escapades.
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    "We don't want people out burglarizing places," she said. "But it is not somebody else's responsibility to do something about it. You should never be allowed to do what that man did. He is by no means trained to recognize or assess a situation properly. It's not his right."
    Yes, it is his right. I understand that all mothers love their children and are protective of them, but c'mon.

    I defend my neighbors' property the way I hope they'll protect mine. Strange car in the driveway next door? I always challenge: "Hi, whatcha doin'?" Normally these will be friends assigned to feed the dogs or similar.

    The burglar trash in this case got off real lucky. Hope he learned his lesson. (Optimist, me.)
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    Ex Member Array hamlet's Avatar
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    Well, where I live that would be illegal all the way, and I completely agree. The arrow could easily have killed him.

    SD is historically for self-defense. Shooting someone in the back who's leaving the scene is not a threat to you and shooting to recover property is a poor excuse to take or endanger a life and plays havoc with the historic purpose and underlying principle of the right to self-preservation. It could be a kid or anyone, but you've just become judge, jury and executioner. I think legal allowances for this stuff is repugnant ethically and violates a broad legal system based in justice, fairness and proportional response. You don't put people's eyes out for tax evasion and you don't shoot people in the back who stole your toaster or neighbors clock-radio with an arrow or a bullet. This is true for this particular ruling or for any locale's legal allowance for potentially lethal "defense" against any non-lethal action.

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    Yeah, he'd have been in a deep pile in FL. No can shoot over property, only life and limb. And shooting while running away is a no-no, as there's no threat of danger to life at that point.

    But justice is justice, and the BG got what he had coming. 90 feet (30 yds) isn't a particularly long bow shot. Can't believe they left a braodhead in for 6 months.
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    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    But Hamlet, this isn't about self defense. This was about the use of force to catch a fleeing felon. Apples and oranges. Rules on self defense are irrelevant in this case. As far as historical precedence goes, are you familiar with the origins of the word "outlaw"? In jolly olde England back in the good olde days, if you were declared an outlaw, as in outside the law, any loyal subject of his/her majesty could kill you with impunity. In fact the landed gentry were obligated to kill you if they found you.
    The laws of the state of Washington allow for this use of force against fleeing felons, just as the laws of Texas do. Anyone committing felonies in any jurisdiction with laws such as these are assuming the risk that they may encounter someone who is going to use all means allowed them by law to stop them. In fact they run the risk of people even exceding the legal limits. If they are not willing to take that risk, perhaps they should not be committing felonies.
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    Ouch! A broadhead is normally at least 7/8" in diameter. I wonder if it hit/stuck in bone, maybe why they left it for a while.

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    Here in KY, the guy with the bow would be up the creek... During my CCW class there are many discussions on fleeing BG's. And if they are fleeing your house and you shoot it won't be good for you....


    But, I believe the BG got what he had coming...and his mother, I know it's her son, but what if someone broke in her house how she'd feel about it...

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    Ex Member Array hamlet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcp1810 View Post
    But Hamlet, this isn't about self defense. This was about the use of force to catch a fleeing felon. Apples and oranges. Rules on self defense are irrelevant in this case. As far as historical precedence goes, are you familiar with the origins of the word "outlaw"? In jolly olde England back in the good olde days, if you were declared an outlaw, as in outside the law, any loyal subject of his/her majesty could kill you with impunity. In fact the landed gentry were obligated to kill you if they found you.
    The laws of the state of Washington allow for this use of force against fleeing felons, just as the laws of Texas do. Anyone committing felonies in any jurisdictiowith laws such as these are assuming the risk that they may encounter someone who is going to use all means allowed them by law to stop them. In fact they run the risk of people even exceeding the legal limits. If they are not willing to take that risk, perhaps they should not be committing felonies.
    Shooting people in the back thought to be fleeing theft of property is not made better because it's a right given to all citizens all the time, instead of just in SD situations. It makes it much worse. By short-cutting around police, professional investigators, DA officers to Charge after evaluation, courts to try by Jury of Peers, and judges to meet out proportionate sentences - it fails the standards of a just and fair legal system, and truly is medieval.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 8th ID View Post
    Here in KY, the guy with the bow would be up the creek... During my CCW class there are many discussions on fleeing BG's. And if they are fleeing your house and you shoot it won't be good for you....


    But, I believe the BG got what he had coming...and his mother, I know it's her son, but what if someone broke in her house how she'd feel about it...
    And if the guy reaches cover and turns and shoots It probably won't be good for you
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    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamlet View Post
    Shooting people in the back thought to be fleeing theft of property is not made better because it's a right given to all citizens all the time, instead of just in SD situations. It makes it much worse. By short-cutting around police, professional investigators, DA officers to Charge after evaluation, courts to try by Jury of Peers, and judges to meet out proportionate sentences - it fails the standards of a just and fair legal system, and truly is medieval.
    But this is not part of our "legal system". Just as "castle doctrines" are not part of a "legal system". Neither is self defense. The "legal system" is what one of these guys gets to deal with if he is fortunate enough to apprehended by the police. What this is is simply the unintended consequences of choosing to commit a felony in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is simply an occupational hazard for him much like a fatal collision is for someone who chooses to flee in a motor vehicle. If they wanted to deal with "a just and fair legal system" they should have stopped and surrendered when ordered to.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcp1810 View Post
    But this is not part of our "legal system". Just as "castle doctrines" are not part of a "legal system". Neither is self defense. The "legal system" is what one of these guys gets to deal with if he is fortunate enough to apprehended by the police. What this is is simply the unintended consequences of choosing to commit a felony in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is simply an occupational hazard for him much like a fatal collision is for someone who chooses to flee in a motor vehicle. If they wanted to deal with "a just and fair legal system" they should have stopped and surrendered when ordered to.
    Extremely well put. The legal system doest start until the cops show up. As far as I am concerned, what ever happens to a felon during the commission of a crime or the getaway should be open season. I dont care about it only being property.

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    Ex Member Array hamlet's Avatar
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    "But this is not part of our "legal system". Just as "castle doctrines" are not part of a "legal system". Neither is self defense. The "legal system" is what one of these guys gets to deal with if he is fortunate enough to apprehended by the police. What this is is simply the unintended consequences of choosing to commit a felony in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is simply an occupational hazard for him much like a fatal collision is for someone who chooses to flee in a motor vehicle. If they wanted to deal with "a just and fair legal system" they should have stopped and surrendered when ordered to"

    You miss the point that the legal system is set up to determine if someone is a felon and the premise you start with is that he already is. In other words: he is "guilty until...." -- no, not until "proven innocent" since THIS legal system allows lethal force to stop him before the actual one starts that would allow him to show his innocence -- so here he's "Guilty Without Possibility of Showing Innocence Because He Is Dead".


    Good luck sometime going back to your car to retrieve a package you forgot and then having to hurry fast to your appointment, lest you have an arrow in the rear of your brain from the neighbor-folk exercising their "rights".

    If you hadn't committed the felony and run away that wouldn't have happened.

    -----------------------
    Last edited by hamlet; July 19th, 2010 at 08:49 AM. Reason: typing

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