Another Sword in the News (Merged)

Another Sword in the News (Merged)

This is a discussion on Another Sword in the News (Merged) within the In the News: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly forums, part of the The Back Porch category; Swords are all over this forum lately. Here's an incident that happened in Baltimore yesterday: Sword-wielding Hopkins student kills intruder -- baltimoresun.com Be sure to ...

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Thread: Another Sword in the News (Merged)

  1. #1
    Member Array spacetoast's Avatar
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    Another Sword in the News (Merged)

    Swords are all over this forum lately.

    Here's an incident that happened in Baltimore yesterday:
    Sword-wielding Hopkins student kills intruder -- baltimoresun.com

    Be sure to read this short opinion piece and (especially) the comments that follow too:
    Second Opinion: Tomorrow's editorials: A burglar killed with a samurai sword, and the end of paging at BWI - A virtual meeting of The Sun's editorial board, where issues are discussed, opinions made - baltimoresun.com

    Hours earlier, someone had broken into John Pontolillo's house and taken two laptops and a video-game console. Now it was past midnight, and he heard noises coming from the garage out back.

    The Johns Hopkins University undergraduate didn't run. He didn't call the police. He grabbed his samurai sword.

    With the 3- to 5-foot-long, razor-sharp weapon in hand, police say, Pontolillo crept toward the noise. He noticed a side door in the garage had been pried open. When a man inside lunged at him, police say, the confrontation was fatal.

    "He was backed up against a corner and either out of fear or out of panic, he just struck the sword with force," said Baltimore Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. "It was probably with fear for his life."

    Pontolillo, who rents the house in the 300 block of E. University Parkway in the Oakenshawe neighborhood, struck the intruder no more than twice, police say, nearly severing his left hand and inflicting what police termed a "spear laceration."

    The intruder, Donald D. Rice of Baltimore, a 49-year-old repeat offender who had been released from jail only Saturday, died at the bloody scene.

    Pontolillo, 20, of Wall, N.J., whose identity was confirmed by law enforcement sources, was released late Tuesday afternoon. Guglielmi said it would be up to the state's attorney's office to determine whether he will be charged in the incident.

    In a statement Tuesday, Hopkins officials told students there had been more than a half-dozen burglaries in the area recently, and that police presence would be bolstered.

    Diego Ardila, a Hopkins student who lived with Pontolillo in the three-story, five-bedroom house during the summer, said Pontolillo owned a samurai sword and generally kept it in his room. He described Pontolillo as somewhat outgoing, but said they didn't talk a lot.

    "You don't expect to hear that someone you know killed a guy with a samurai sword," said Ardila, 19. "From what little I know of him, he wasn't some guy going out to kill."

    It is legal to possess a sword in Baltimore, Guglielmi said, and "individuals have a right to defend their person and their property." He declined to comment on whether its use in this case was appropriate.

    University of Maryland professor David Gray, who specializes in criminal law, said prosecutors must weigh whether Pontolillo felt his life was in danger or whether he became the aggressor.

    In Maryland, Gray said, an individual is not expected to retreat from suspected danger in his own home. But it is unclear how the law applies to an enclosed backyard.

    If the student felt he was in danger of severe bodily harm, then he was within his right to protect himself, Gray said: "It doesn't matter if he used a gun, a sword or a frying pan."

    The sword police recovered from the scene, with a sharp blade and ribbon-wrapped hilt, is a replica of a historic samurai weapon. Though a real one would cost thousands of dollars, Guglielmi said, this one probably cost a few hundred.

    The police spokesman said the student who wielded the weapon had no advanced sword training. "He wasn't a ninja," Guglielmi said. "He may have been moderately trained or on the intermediate level."

    Hundreds of varieties of samurai swords are available online to collectors and hobbyists, martial arts enthusiasts and students of swordplay through stores such as Steve Dibble's Japanese Swords 4 Samurai site, based in Birmingham, Ala.

    His swords range in price from about $50 for the model called the "Kill Bill," after the violent Quentin Tarantino films, to more than $2,000 for a handmade "Katana" forged of steel, a hilt wrapped in leather and silk, and decorative flourishes of silver.

    Midrange swords, the type apparently used in the Baltimore incident, are those likeliest used at martial arts schools, he said, where students want a weapon sharp enough to cut.

    To inflict lethal damage requires some skill, Dibble said.

    "To be that confident with it that he would go grab it, he may have been into martial arts," he said. "You would have to hold it with two hands and be confident that you would really know what you were doing."

    Mantis Swords, an online outlet based in Westminster, specializes in sharp weapons. "Our swords are ready for cutting," owner Shawn Salafia said.

    Salafia sells mats that people can soak in water so that when they dry, they'll be roughly the consistency of a person.

    "You stick them on a stand, and you cut them," he said. "If someone laid their hand into it, you could probably cut into it pretty darn deep."

    By Tuesday afternoon, two pools of blood remained on the ground a few feet away from the door to the garage, which is not connected to the home. A gate in a wooden fence surrounding the backyard was broken, allowing the scene to be viewed from the sidewalk.

    Michael Hughes, who lives about a block away in the neighborhood, heard screams early Tuesday.

    "I could hear the fear in the voice, and I could tell someone was scared," said Hughes, 43, who works for Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health.

    He called police and then walked over to the crime scene.

    "The body was near the garage," he said. "I watched them carry the sword out. The whole thing was surreal and totally bizarre."

    Rice, of the 600 block of East 27th St. in Baltimore, had 29 prior convictions for crimes such as breaking and entering, Guglielmi said. He had been released Saturday from the Baltimore County Detention Center, where he had been held after his arrest by county police last year for stealing a car in the city. He was found guilty in December of unauthorized removal of property and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

    The incident was the second this week in which a man was wounded trying to commit a robbery. An off-duty Baltimore police officer shot and critically wounded a man who had tried to rob him at gunpoint in his Northeast Baltimore home, according to police. He chased the man for two blocks before opening fire, police said.


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Posted and discussed, yesterday.

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

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    Member Array spacetoast's Avatar
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    D'oh! I did not check the Knife forum before posting this.

    Here's the other discussion thread in the knife forum:

    http://www.defensivecarry.com/vbulle...rai-sword.html

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    Distinguished Member Array P7fanatic's Avatar
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    "The incident was the second this week in which a man was wounded trying to commit a robbery. An off-duty Baltimore police officer shot and critically wounded a man who had tried to rob him at gunpoint in his Northeast Baltimore home, according to police. He chased the man for two blocks before opening fire, police said. "

    This is the one I'm interested in. An off duty cop chases a man for two blocks before shooting at him!? What...was he trying to catch up to the robber so he could say he was in fear of his life?
    No charges? No investigation?
    Wonder what would've happened if he'd been a civilian?
    "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." -Thomas Jefferson

    "Liberalism is a Mental Disorder." -Michael Savage

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    Senior Member Array mojust's Avatar
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    Good. The Samurai are back.
    Sig 226, 228. Glock 19, 23. Smith Model 60,and 1911. XD45 Tactical. Mossberg 930 SPX.

    How we behave as gun owners is important. Posturing and threatening does not serve us well in the public eye.

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    Senior Member Array dldeuce's Avatar
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    And now for the bad and the ugly

    Sword killing no cause for cheers -- baltimoresun.com

    "There is something vicious, sick and mean-spirited about much of the public's reaction to Tuesday's killing of a burglar by a Johns Hopkins University undergraduate with a samurai sword. The gleeful response is completely oblivious to the tragedy that now has engulfed two lives.

    Two lives? Yes, because one of the victims, however culpable, is now dead, while the other likely will be scarred psychologically for years to come by the devastating knowledge that he took another human life.

    The student, John Pontolillo, was no doubt on edge - someone had broken into the house he shares with roommates hours before and stolen electronic equipment. After reports of more suspicious noises early Tuesday, he and his roommates searched the area, and he brought his sword. He surprised the intruder lurking near his detached garage. He later told police the man lunged at him and he struck back, partially severing one of the intruder's hands and piercing his chest. Before police arrived, the burglar bled to death on the floor.

    The burglar, Donald D. Rice, wouldn't ordinarily deserve much sympathy. He was a career criminal with a long record of thefts. He had just gotten out of prison the previous Saturday after serving six months for a conviction in Baltimore County. By all accounts he was neither an admirable character nor an innocent victim.

    But even burglars don't deserve to be killed with a razor-sharp sword. And Mr. Pontolillo - whose thinking may have been clouded by the adrenaline rush of fear, panic and anger - must now spend the rest of his life grappling with the anguish and remorse of having snuffed out another's life.

    In June, Charles Village dry cleaner Harry Goodman shot and wounded a robber in his store. The man had robbed him repeatedly over the years, but Mr. Goodman expressed profound regret over the incident. "I did feel my life was threatened," he said afterward. "But I don't want people to think this is the way out." Even police officers, trained to use their weapons in potentially deadly situations, often suffer severe psychological trauma after a shooting that results in the death of a suspect. Most leave the force within five years of participating in a fatal shooting.

    This is certainly nothing to celebrate. The glorification of the incident online and around town belies the horror of the killing and its aftermath. Even if it ultimately is judged to have been legally justified, the question of whether the situation couldn't have been handled differently will remain.

    Police advise people never to take matters into their own hands if at all possible but to call the authorities instead. That advice is given to protect them against harm - not only from a potential assailant but from their own inadvertent missteps and lapses in judgment. Had Mr. Rice also been armed, the situation could have turned out very differently.

    In hindsight, Mr. Pontolillo and his roommates put themselves at risk by searching the area without police. By the time Mr. Pontolillo, sword in hand, encountered Mr. Rice near his garage, probably neither man felt able to back down. Was protecting some possessions worth precipitating an event that will change the rest of his life? We think not. No amount of adulation as a modern-day ninja vigilante is likely to take away the pain Mr. Pontolillo is liable to feel in years to come as the awful reality of this gruesome episode sinks in."

  7. #7
    Member Array DaveInTexas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spacetoast View Post
    "The body was near the garage," he said. "I watched them carry the sword out. The whole thing was surreal and totally bizarre."
    I hope Pontolillo gets his sword back. He did nothing wrong, and was not charged. He might well need it again.

  8. #8
    Distinguished Member Array tangoseal's Avatar
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    OOOH they are bolstering police protection. Why???? Just let them people use their firearms you idiots.
    "I believe that the right of the citizen to keep and bear arms must not be infringed if liberty in America is to survive." - Ronald Reagan

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    Exclamation Highlander moment: There can be only one!

    Originally published 04:07 p.m., September 15, 2009, updated 04:07 p.m., September 15, 2009

    Hopkins student with sword kills burglary suspect

    Ben Nuckols ASSOCIATED PRESS

    BALTIMORE -- A Johns Hopkins University student armed with a samurai sword killed a suspected burglar in a garage behind his off-campus home early Tuesday, hours after someone broke in and stole electronics.

    Some shocked neighbors said they heard bloodcurdling screams in an area just blocks from the university. Police held the student, a junior chemistry major who turns 21 on Sunday, for several hours, but no charges were filed by early afternoon, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi SAID.

    Around 1:20 a.m., the student heard noises behind the home and noticed that a door to the garage was open, Mr. Guglielmi said. The student grabbed the sword and confronted the intruder, who was crouching beneath a counter.

    The student asked the suspect what he was doing and threatened to call police.

    "When he said that, the suspect lunged at him, kind of forced the kid against the wall, and he struck him with the sword," Mr. Guglielmi said.

    The intruder's left hand was nearly severed -- Mr. Guglielmi described it as "hanging on by a thread" -- and the man suffered a severe cut to the upper body. The 49-year-old suspect, whom police described as a habitual offender, died at the scene.

    On Monday, two laptops and a Sony PlayStation were stolen from the student's home, though police were not sure whether the slain suspect was responsible, Mr. Guglielmi said.

    There was a pool of blood Tuesday morning in the brick courtyard between the back porch of the home and the garage. The courtyard was strewn with debris, including what looked like broken glass.

    Mr. Guglielmi did not know why the student kept a sword. He said he may have had some martial arts training but was not an expert.

    Police have not yet released the suspect's name because they were having trouble locating his relatives. Mr. Guglielmi said the suspect had 29 prior arrests, mostly for burglary and breaking and entering, and had been released Saturday from a Baltimore County jail after serving about a year for auto theft.

    Several nearby residents said the community has experienced a rash of petty crimes in recent months, including home, garage and vehicle break-ins. Many homes have bars on windows and stickers advertising alarm systems.

    Michael Hughes, 43, said he was getting ready for bed when he heard the screams.

    "There was fear in the voice. I could tell someone was scared," Mr. Hughes said.

    Mr. Hughes called 911, and several police cars arrived while he was on the phone. Campus security officers and an off-duty city officer who were in the area responding to a suspicious-person report also heard the screams.

    The diverse neighborhood includes a mix of students, professors and families, said Mr. Hughes, who lives with his wife and young children and works for Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health, which is on another campus across town.

    "There seems to be a noticeable increase in crime in the neighborhood," Mr. Hughes said. "I am concerned for my family's safety."

    Kenny Eaton, 20, a junior political science major at Hopkins who lives nearby, said there was some tension between students and lower-income residents of nearby communities. The private Johns Hopkins is known for its health and science research and has about 4,600 undergraduates on its main campus.

    "You take kids who are paying $50,000 a year (in tuition) and then put them out in a very dangerous city environment, it's almost like a clash of civilizations," he said.

    Three young men, including one in a Hopkins T-shirt, were sitting on the front porch of the home Tuesday morning. A police officer was standing in the doorway, and a single police car was parked nearby. The men refused to talk to an Associated Press reporter.
    Former Army Infantry Captain; 25 yrs as an NRA Certified Instructor; Avid practitioner of the martial art: KLIK-PAO.

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    Member Array Jetpilot007's Avatar
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    "Now that's a knife Mate!" Words spoken by Crocodile Dundee.

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    Exclamation Give him your money ... he's got a KNIFE

    Quote Originally Posted by Jetpilot007 View Post
    "Now that's a knife Mate!" Words spoken by Crocodile Dundee.
    THAT's not a knife .... zzzzzzzzk! (draws blade) Now THAT'S a KNIFE! ~carves punks jacket into shreads~ LOL One of the best movie moments ever. Definitely rivals the first Indiana Jones where Dr Jones is facing the sword wielding bad guy and shoots him with an extremely tired look on his face. In truth Harrison Ford was suffering from the flu that day of shooting and the moment was completely ad-libbed. They kept it in the movie.
    Former Army Infantry Captain; 25 yrs as an NRA Certified Instructor; Avid practitioner of the martial art: KLIK-PAO.

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    ... the suspect had 29 prior arrests, mostly for burglary and breaking and entering, and had been released Saturday from a Baltimore County jail after serving about a year for auto theft.

    The 49-year-old suspect, whom police described as a habitual offender, died at the scene.
    Perhaps the rash of recent crimes in the immediate area will cease, or at least reduce dramatically. If the "authorities" fail to curb crime, then the People will help curb crime.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
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  13. #13
    Member Array Jetpilot007's Avatar
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    Yes, Perhaps the Chief of Police of Fitchburg MA would ban Swords. This would bring crime rates back to Pre-Hack levels. The increase in Crime would create more arrests thus making the Chief look great. Its all politics.

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    VIP Member Array ExSoldier's Avatar
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    Wink DUH and then again maybe not...

    Quote Originally Posted by Janq View Post
    Posted and discussed, yesterday.

    - Janq
    Yeah well I was going to put this on the knife forum but I thought this was the more appropriate forum and I also figured there may be folks who don't normally go to the knife area because edged weapons might not be their thing. Therefore I think THIS article posted HERE draws a wider audience. OKAY JANQ???? Gimme a break.
    Former Army Infantry Captain; 25 yrs as an NRA Certified Instructor; Avid practitioner of the martial art: KLIK-PAO.

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