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http://www.registerguard.com/news/2005/01/14/a1.shootingfolo.0114.html

Man says he shot neighbor in self-defense

By Rebecca Nolan
The Register-Guard

James Michael Winkelman says he fatally shot a neighbor in self-defense when the other man threatened him with a gun.
He says 43-year-old Todd Alan Hughes pulled a handgun on him Tuesday as Winkelman tried to detain the man for police. Winkelman's daughter believed that Hughes had raped a woman in the street, and Winkelman was trying to make sure he didn't disappear before officers arrived.

Now Winkelman, 48, is struggling to deal with the fact that he took another person's life. It hasn't been easy.

"I don't feel happy and proud," Winkelman said Thursday. "I feel like I killed a human being. I caused a lot of pain for his family, and I caused a lot of pain for my family. We're devastated."

Winkelman decided to tell his story so people would understand that "I'm not some kind of gun-happy nut that my daughter tells me someone's being raped and I just go down there and shoot someone."

It was more complicated than that, he said.

Winkelman looks tough, but his body has been destroyed by a series of violent car wrecks that fractured nearly every bone. He also suffers from Meniere's syndrome, a disease of the inner ear that affects balance and hearing.

Because of these vulnerabilities, he obtained a concealed handgun permit and carries a gun whenever he leaves the house. He was carrying a 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun on Tuesday night when he went out to walk one of the two family dogs.

His 13-year-old daughter ran up to him out of breath and hysterical. She said a man with long red hair was raping a woman on the sidewalk at the corner of West 13th Avenue and Garfield Street. She said the woman was screaming for help and for someone to call the police. She said she saw the man run into the house at 2020 W. 13th Ave.

Winkelman doesn't have a cell phone, so he and his daughter ran to a house on Arthur Street and flagged down a neighbor. The girl went to call police, and the neighbor drove Winkelman to the house so he could wait for officers to arrive.

Winkelman said he saw someone peeking out through the window. "I said, `Dude, the police are coming. Stay in the house,' " Winkelman said. Soon, though, Winkelman saw a man stepping out of the backyard onto West 13th.

"I ran over to him and confronted him," Winkelman said. "I told him, `My daughter said you were raping a person. Sit down on the porch and wait for police.' "

The man said he hadn't done anything. He said the woman was his wife; they were drunk; they'd had a fight. The man continued to walk west, away from the house. Winkelman told him over and over to sit down and wait for police.

"He had his back to me," Winkelman said. "He stuck his hands in his pockets and was fumbling around. I said, `Get your ... hands out of your pockets.' "

That's when Winkelman drew his gun from its holster. He had the safety on and his finger was on the frame, not the trigger, he said. He said he ordered the man four times to put his hands where he could see them.

Instead, the man turned around and started to walk back toward the house. "He was looking right at me," Winkelman said. "I showed him I was taking the safety off and putting my finger on the trigger."

He said he ordered the man to stop and show his hands 20 to 25 times. The man did stop, right in front of the house. He and Winkelman were about three feet apart.

Winkelman said the man whipped around and pulled a semiautomatic handgun from his pocket. He remembers it had pearl inlay on the grip.

"It was so close I tried to hit it out of the way with my left hand," Winkelman said. "At the same time, I dropped my gun down toward my waist and started firing.

"I popped off five rounds," he said. "I kept shooting until he dropped the pistol. He fell to the ground and rolled over."

Winkelman thought he heard the man say something. He leaned closer and realized he was hearing gurgling noises caused by a sucking chest wound. His six years experience in the Army told him that CPR would increase the damage. So he started screaming for an ambulance. He ran to Garfield Street and shouted for passing cars to call 911. Finally, a neighbor walked out with a cell phone, and Winkelman spoke to dispatchers.

An officer arrived and shined a bright light on Winkelman, who slowly set the weapon down in the street. He said he complied with the officer's orders. He noticed that he was shaking violently and hyperventilating. Detectives took him to City Hall, where they interviewed him until about midnight. Winkelman said they believed his story and returned his concealed weapons permit, though they kept the gun for evidence.

"They said, `Look, you're going home tonight,' " Winkelman said. "They said if they had any doubts about what I was telling them, I would not be going home tonight."

Police have said Winkelman is cooperating with the investigation. Police spokeswoman Pam Olshanski said she could not confirm Winkelman's story until the investigation is complete. She said the Lane County district attorney's office will decide whether to file any charges.

Winkelman couldn't explain why Hughes' girlfriend later said Hughes wasn't raping her. She told police he was beating her that night.

He said he empathized with Hughes' family and friends, who have been congregating at the house since the night he died. He said he'd only encountered the man twice before while walking his dog down the street - and those two interactions persuaded him to avoid the area.

Winkelman said he was trying to be a good citizen. "I'm not a police officer, but I'm certainly not going to let someone accused of a crime like that go wandering off," he said. "He may have been a really great person, but he was out there beating the living hell out of that woman on the street."
 

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Man! Those domestic deals are no-win. I'd be willing to bet he gets sued by the girlfriend - the one who was being beaten.

Good for this guy for being a good citizen. I don't think I'd have handled it exactly that way (Monday morning quarterback - I know), but at least his heart was in the right place.

SSKC
 

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A person with a ccw is not a police officer, not responsible for patrolling the neighborhood for holding bad guys for the police, not trained to hunt down and hold bad guys for the police. We have a ccw for our defense, if attacked defend yourself, defend your life, try to keep away from bad situations. I was not there and of course cannot view the situation the same as the police.
 

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The citizen does not have the ability to determine who is who and what is what. Observe, and call for help.
 

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the mistake was in the confrontation. Don't go looking for trouble. Call for help. Your CCW is there to protect your life and the life of your loved ones. I'd of called the cops and left well enough alone. If the GF/wife was screaming that would have been a different story.
 

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In the PRM, Winkelman would lose his CCW, all his guns/ammo, and face murder (and some other miscellaneous felony) charges, assuming that the news story and his story was indeed what happened. And he'd be convicted! More likely he'd plead to manslaughter and spend ~10 years in jail.

Each state is different, but since he "went looking for trouble" (this would be the legal interpretation by MA DAs), he'd be in very big trouble.
 

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Whatever happened to doing the right thing ?

Have we become so jaded by legal liabilitys that we are afraid to act ?

Are we letting scumsucking laywers dictate how we act and react ?

Part of the responsibility of a good citizen is to render aid where it is needed.
Obviously it was needed and this man had good enough charachter to act and try to apprehend the guy. Fortunatley, he was able to win the battle.

Yeah, he is not a cop.
So what ? He stopped a guy that had displayed his intent and more than likely would have beaten someone again. There is no doubt that the guy intended to KILL him, you dont draw on a man holding a gun on you unless you intend to use it.

The guy deserves a medal for having the courage to ACT...while others stand idly by and feel like they did something heroic by calling 911 .

As a deputy sheriff, I get SO sick of people being afraid to act because of supposed legal liabilitys. I deal with domestic disputes and they are usually a no win situation for ALL partys involved. I've seen horrible crimes witnessed by people that could have stopped it on the spot, yet refused to do so for some reason or another and it disgusts me to no end.

I would rather ACT and do something wrong,then NOT ACT and wonder if I could have made a difference. The cops let the guy go home, obviously it was ruled a good shoot.


Someday we will ALL be judged by our actions or inactions here on earth.I hope that I never become so fearful of what could happen "after the fact" that I refuse render aid to someone that needs it.
 

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HotGuns said:
Whatever happened to doing the right thing ?

Have we become so jaded by legal liabilitys that we are afraid to act ?

Are we letting scumsucking laywers dictate how we act and react ?

Part of the responsibility of a good citizen is to render aid where it is needed.
Obviously it was needed and this man had good enough charachter to act and try to apprehend the guy. Fortunatley, he was able to win the battle.

Yeah, he is not a cop.
So what ? He stopped a guy that had displayed his intent and more than likely would have beaten someone again. There is no doubt that the guy intended to KILL him, you dont draw on a man holding a gun on you unless you intend to use it.

The guy deserves a medal for having the courage to ACT...while others stand idly by and feel like they did something heroic by calling 911 .

As a deputy sheriff, I get SO sick of people being afraid to act because of supposed legal liabilitys. I deal with domestic disputes and they are usually a no win situation for ALL partys involved. I've seen horrible crimes witnessed by people that could have stopped it on the spot, yet refused to do so for some reason or another and it disgusts me to no end.

I would rather ACT and do something wrong,then NOT ACT and wonder if I could have made a difference. The cops let the guy go home, obviously it was ruled a good shoot.


Someday we will ALL be judged by our actions or inactions here on earth.I hope that I never become so fearful of what could happen "after the fact" that I refuse render aid to someone that needs it.
***********Someday we will ALL be judged by our actions or inactions here on earth.I hope that I never become so fearful of what could happen "after the fact" that I refuse render aid to someone that needs it.******************

Hear Hear! AMEN! HotGuns is a SHEEPDOG.

http://www.blackfive.net/main/2004/10/i_only_hang_wit.html
 

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HotGuns, I feel your sentiment, but in our litigous society, this is what our society has been remodeled into. How many of you know your neighbors on a first name basis? I can say I do not. So I am along with the majority. I know sticking my nose into other's business has gotten me damn close to going to jail. I have worked long and hard to acquire my family's lil nest egg. I fear coming to a situation where I have to act on teh behalf of someone other than my family. Why, becuase we are in such a litigous society where the second I present and fire my pistol in defense of others I know I will be sued. I knwo of cops that have talked to families of thugs who say either he robs a store and brings back money or he gets killed and I sue someone. I win either way, and this is the parents speaking. Where do we begin changing the way society has become. The addage, "Am I my brother's keeper?" has long since died. That was an addage of yesteryear and is nowhere to be found today. Heck, ppl are trying to sue the cops for not responding in a timely manner.

HotGuns you chose your profession to which I commend you, but thatis your choice, I do not feel I can look down on someone for not wanting to get involved in a situation that will more than likely turn violent. That is not fair on them.

~A
 

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Life aint fair.
I operate by the Golden Rule. "Do unto others what you would have others do unto you."
I try to put myself in the situation and think, what if it were me or mine? How would I want someone to respond ?

I understand were everyone is coming from.

But ask yourself this...

Am I part of the solution, or am I part of the problem?

Failing to render aid when one is capable of doing so,for whatever reason, does not make one part of the solution.
 

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I completely agree HotGuns. On a side note, I thought the Golden Rule was he who has the Gold makes the rules??? JK. Little brevity.

I have gone to the aid of a female getting beat by her bf/hubby/sigother and got into a physical altercation where the gent was sent to the hospital. I retrospect it was the moral thing to do but whether it was right is a different matter. I agree that as a society we suck. But so many (myself included) are too afraid to get sued and rightfully so. There have been a few scenarios and the consensus is that a CCW does not give us Police powers nor do we enjoy their protections. There is no PBA to protect us. I am a member of a professioanl organization that at no additional cost affords me $2million liability insurance per case basis $20million aggregate. I wish there was something like this for the CCW world. I woudl be more ready I think to do the morally correct thing.

~A
 

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Didnt say i wounld render aid but i wouldnthave chase the guy from his house .. Now if i say him beating her and confronted thim there and he pulled that crap thats different than not seeing it and just point the police there ..
 

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ok lets change the scenario to you come upon a domestic. You do not know he is armed until he presents.

What would you all do?
 

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BTDT.
In uniform.
Stand behind the door frame while pointing my Sig 220 right at his head and tell to him to drop the gun or be fired upon.

It worked for that one.



Another time guy presents a Bowie with a 12 inch blade. I draw and tell him that I aint getting cut while Im carrying a gun. He thinks about it and my partner cocks the hammer on his HK. He drops the knife and hits the ground where he is immediatley cuffed.

However...in this scenario,you had better know what you are doing if you enter into someone elses home...escpecially if its a domestic in progress. They can get ugly real quick. Probably not advisabe if you are entering as a neighbor...unless you absolutley think a life is in imminet danger.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Update on Grand Jury proceeding

January 19, 2005

Fatal shooting ruled justified

By Rebecca Nolan
The Register-Guard


A Eugene man was cleared Tuesday in the fatal shooting of a neighbor who threatened him with a gun.
James Michael Winkelman, 48, will not be charged in the Jan. 11 death of Todd Alan Hughes. A Lane County grand jury heard 2 1/2 hours of testimony Tuesday from 10 witnesses and chose not to indict Winkelman.

Reached Tuesday evening, Winkelman said he was relieved at the decision, but was "shaken up" after learning that the gun Hughes pulled on him was unloaded. Police had withheld that information from him pending the grand jury's decision, he said.

"It was bad enough for me in the first place to shoot a human being," Winkelman said. "Now to find out the gun wasn't loaded ... ."

Family and friends of Hughes, 43, were saddened and angered by the grand jury's decision.

"The only thing worse than telling my father that his son was murdered is having to tell him the murderer went free," said Hughes' sister, Sarah Harrington of Cambridge, N.Y. "Todd's gun had no bullets in it. Justice was not served. Do the people of Eugene feel safer with Mr. Winkelman on the street?"

Police and prosecutors have said Winkelman has been cooperative and forthcoming since officers arrived at 2020 W. 13th Ave. about 6 p.m. the night of the shooting.

He has told the same story all along, Lane County District Attorney Doug Harcleroad said.

Winkelman said his daughter saw Hughes attacking a woman on the street. The woman yelled for help and for someone to call police. While the daughter went to find a phone, Winkelman stood guard outside Hughes' home. Hughes tried to walk away. Winkelman told him to stop and wait for police. Hughes kept walking and thrust his hands in his pockets. Winkelman ordered him to take his hands out of his pockets. When Hughes did not, Winkelman pulled out his licensed, concealed handgun - safety on, no finger on the trigger - and pointed it at Hughes. He ordered Hughes to stop.

Hughes turned around and walked back toward his house, still fiddling around in his pockets. Winkelman disengaged the safety and put his finger on the trigger, telling Hughes he was doing so. Hughes then whipped around with a pistol in his hand and pointed it at Winkelman.

Winkelman fired until Hughes fell to the ground. Winkelman remembers firing five times. Prosecutors said he fired six times, and three of the bullets hit Hughes.

Winkelman screamed for someone to call police and waited until officers arrived.

Harcleroad said the shooting of Hughes, though tragic, was a justified act of self-defense because Hughes was about to use unlawful deadly force against Winkelman.

But that doesn't mean prosecutors like what happened, he said.

"Without a doubt it would have been better had (Winkelman) walked away," Harcleroad said. "He could have pointed out the house later when police arrived and let them deal with it."

Hughes' sister agreed.

"He created the situation that ended in Todd's death," Harrington said. "Big deal if he wasn't doing what you told him to do - you're not a cop. There were several moments when this guy could have said, `OK, forget it.' He aggravated the situation."

Don Wood said his friend's death left a void in the Whiteaker neighborhood, where Hughes lived and worked for the past 15 years. Hughes, who had conquered his own addictions for nearly nine years before a recent alcoholic relapse, helped many people get off and stay off drugs, he said. He was active at the Jesco Club and rode with the Clean and Sober Motorcycle Club.

But in recent months, Hughes had been struggling with personal and financial troubles, Wood and others said. The money he had earned from odd jobs and collecting rent for landlords dried up after a drunken driving conviction resulted in the suspension of his license. Unable to drive, he was unable to work, Wood said. The power had been out at 2020 W. 13th Ave. for more than two months.

Hughes was drunk the night of Jan. 11, his girlfriend Janet Bilbrey said. That night his car ran out of gas on the way back from the store where he bought dog food, cookies and orange juice, she said.

He walked toward home, stressed out about money and bills, and encountered Bilbrey in the street. He grabbed her, forced her to the ground, straddled her and tried to get his hands around her neck. They struggled, and when he cocked his arm back to hit her, she kicked him off her and ran away.

She said she went to the Cash King and Amazon Market, and returned home to find her fiance dead on their front porch. They were supposed to be married in June.

"He was a loving, true, beautiful, bright spirit," Bilbrey said. "He loved each and every person he touched. He'll be missed."
 

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Thanks for the update SCott.

Scott said:
January 19, 2005

Fatal shooting ruled justified

By Rebecca Nolan
The Register-Guard


A Eugene man was cleared Tuesday in the fatal shooting of a neighbor who threatened him with a gun.
James Michael Winkelman, 48, will not be charged in the Jan. 11 death of Todd Alan Hughes. A Lane County grand jury heard 2 1/2 hours of testimony Tuesday from 10 witnesses and chose not to indict Winkelman.

Reached Tuesday evening, Winkelman said he was relieved at the decision, but was "shaken up" after learning that the gun Hughes pulled on him was unloaded. Police had withheld that information from him pending the grand jury's decision, he said.

"It was bad enough for me in the first place to shoot a human being," Winkelman said. "Now to find out the gun wasn't loaded ... ."

Family and friends of Hughes, 43, were saddened and angered by the grand jury's decision.

"The only thing worse than telling my father that his son was murdered is having to tell him the murderer went free," said Hughes' sister, Sarah Harrington of Cambridge, N.Y. "Todd's gun had no bullets in it. Justice was not served. Do the people of Eugene feel safer with Mr. Winkelman on the street?"
I for one do. Law Abiding citizen, versus one not. I will go with the GG everytime. This is like what HotGuns and I were discussing. You save the damsel and then get raked ovre the coals with no gratitude and yes I know he killed (not murdered [unlawful taking of another life] her fiance). So she was cool marrying a drunken scum bag??? Go figure.

Scott said:
Police and prosecutors have said Winkelman has been cooperative and forthcoming since officers arrived at 2020 W. 13th Ave. about 6 p.m. the night of the shooting.

He has told the same story all along, Lane County District Attorney Doug Harcleroad said.

Winkelman said his daughter saw Hughes attacking a woman on the street. The woman yelled for help and for someone to call police. While the daughter went to find a phone, Winkelman stood guard outside Hughes' home. Hughes tried to walk away. Winkelman told him to stop and wait for police. Hughes kept walking and thrust his hands in his pockets. Winkelman ordered him to take his hands out of his pockets. When Hughes did not, Winkelman pulled out his licensed, concealed handgun - safety on, no finger on the trigger - and pointed it at Hughes. He ordered Hughes to stop.

Hughes turned around and walked back toward his house, still fiddling around in his pockets. Winkelman disengaged the safety and put his finger on the trigger, telling Hughes he was doing so. Hughes then whipped around with a pistol in his hand and pointed it at Winkelman.
I am not going to wait to find out if the pistol is loaded, not a concern when the business end of a weapon is pointed at me. I hope he and his family do not get sued.

Scott said:
Winkelman fired until Hughes fell to the ground. Winkelman remembers firing five times. Prosecutors said he fired six times, and three of the bullets hit Hughes.

Winkelman screamed for someone to call police and waited until officers arrived.

Harcleroad said the shooting of Hughes, though tragic, was a justified act of self-defense because Hughes was about to use unlawful deadly force against Winkelman.

But that doesn't mean prosecutors like what happened, he said.

"Without a doubt it would have been better had (Winkelman) walked away," Harcleroad said. "He could have pointed out the house later when police arrived and let them deal with it."
So the Law Enforcement Community does not want us to intercede at all. Another reason why I have a hands off approach when I am carrying. Not my concern, my only concern is to get home to MY family and MY loved ones. There are those that are paid to put themselves in harms way.

Scott said:
Hughes' sister agreed.

"He created the situation that ended in Todd's death," Harrington said. "Big deal if he wasn't doing what you told him to do - you're not a cop. There were several moments when this guy could have said, `OK, forget it.' He aggravated the situation."
I completely disagree. He was coming to her aid. This is a no-win situation.

Scott said:
Don Wood said his friend's death left a void in the Whiteaker neighborhood, where Hughes lived and worked for the past 15 years. Hughes, who had conquered his own addictions for nearly nine years before a recent alcoholic relapse, helped many people get off and stay off drugs, he said. He was active at the Jesco Club and rode with the Clean and Sober Motorcycle Club.

But in recent months, Hughes had been struggling with personal and financial troubles, Wood and others said. The money he had earned from odd jobs and collecting rent for landlords dried up after a drunken driving conviction resulted in the suspension of his license. Unable to drive, he was unable to work, Wood said. The power had been out at 2020 W. 13th Ave. for more than two months.

Hughes was drunk the night of Jan. 11, his girlfriend Janet Bilbrey said. That night his car ran out of gas on the way back from the store where he bought dog food, cookies and orange juice, she said.

He walked toward home, stressed out about money and bills, and encountered Bilbrey in the street. He grabbed her, forced her to the ground, straddled her and tried to get his hands around her neck umm this reads of battery and she is ok with this??. They struggled, and when he cocked his arm back to hit her, she kicked him off her and ran away.

She said she went to the Cash King and Amazon Market, and returned home to find her fiance dead on their front porch. They were supposed to be married in June.

"He was a loving, true, beautiful, bright spirit," Bilbrey said. "He loved each and every person he touched. He'll be missed."
 

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Same ole stuff.

The guy that got shot was a model citizen.
He was much loved by his family.
He was stressed out.
It wasnt his fault..(never is)
The guy that shot him wasnt a cop...
(But yet he pulled a gun on him)...


"He was a loving, true, beautiful, bright spirit," Bilbrey said. "He loved each and every person he touched. He'll be missed.""

I really like the comment "his gun had no bullets in it" like that matters when you point it at someone.
It just proves the guy was not only a loser but an idiot.

Yeah he was beautful alright, except when he weas drunk, on drugs or beating his girlfriend silly. He was truly an asset to society.

The people that put up with this crap are as quilty of stupidity as the one that does the deed...
 

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he was not holding someone at gunpoint, he asked him to stay put. He did not draw his weapon until the other man reached into his pocket for his.

Also, he was not looking for trouble, he was told that the rape was IN PROGRESS. You have a moral duty as a human being to respond to a cry for help from someone who is being raped. Incedentally, by the time he got there the crime had been comitted. Finding a suspicious person he made the very reasonable request that he stay put.

Let me repeat, he did not draw his gun until he felt threatened. He did not fire his gun until there was an imminent risk of death or great bodily harm.
 
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