Saturday, August 05, 2017

Warning Shots Precipitate Attacks

Antonio Hickerson

Warning shots may galvanize an opponent into the action you are attempting to deter. They may attack you. That is what seems to have happened in situations in Indiana and South Carolina.  From in Indiana:
“The victim was able to retrieve a handgun that he owned,” Mull said. “He was able to use that handgun to get Mr. Hickerson out of his residence.”

The situation didn't end there. The homeowner, who didn’t want to go on camera, told police he fired two warning shots after Hickerson refused to leave. That's when a struggle started as the suspect tried to grab the gun out of the homeowner's hands.

Neighbor Libby West described how another neighbor jumped in to help.

“He walked outside because he kind of saw and heard a commotion and he saw a gun waving in the air,” West said. “The two men were fighting over it.”

That neighbor grabbed his gun and ran over to assist his friend. Other neighbors jumped in as well.

Police got to the scene quickly and arrested Hickerson. The homeowner’s keys and cellphone were found in Hickerson's pocket.
In the case in Indiana, the shots attracted the attention of a neighbor, who appeared with a firearm and helped to subdue the suspect. The suspect,  Antonio Henderson, told police that he was under the influence of multiple opiates.


In South Carolina, in January, a woman fired warning shots, was attacked, then shot and killed her assailant. From
Sheridan told investigators she heard a noise coming from her shed and fired two warning shots before Sanders came out from behind the shed. When he did, Sheridan said she fired a shot in his direction.
Wagner said Sheridan retrieved her handgun after hearing a loud crash as she opened the door to her home. Sanders was dressed in dark clothing and had his face covered at the time of the incident, Wagner said.

"His behavior would startle anyone in a similar situation, and it is not unreasonable to think that to protect herself after feeling threatened Ms. Sheridan believed she had to fire a shot in the direction of the large male charging at her," Wagner and Anderson County Sheriff Chad McBride said in a joint statement.

The problems with warning shots are several. The bullet has to go somewhere, and it may not land where you intend it. People have been killed and wounded by "warning shots". Prosecutors may ask why, if you faced a deadly threat, did you fire a warning shot? Warning shots use precious ammunition that may be needed to stop a threat.

In spite of these shortcomings, there is one overwhelming advantage of warning shots. You may stop an attack without having to shoot someone. The assumption is that some people will be deterred by warning shots that would not be deterred by the sight of a firearm pointed at them.

Florida has modified their law to make the use of warning shots less legally problematic. Prosecutors in other states have stated that warning shots show restraint.

Criminals may not act rationally. They may respond in ways that a rational, "civilized" person does not expect a person to act.

Do not depend on your version of how you expect a criminal to react.  A retired police officer told me to view an attacker as you would a large, dangerous, wild animal. Do not expect to reason with them or expect mercy from them.

Warning shots sometimes work with wild animals. Sometimes, they don't.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch


Anonymous said...

You used the term wild animal, How many wild animals ask before they attack if you were once convicted of a felony? They never do. My German Shepard loves me, I have been asking her for four years to speak English. she hasn't yet. It makes no difference what you may have done in the past. If you are on the street you need the right of self defense. Just like my opinion of tools, I have tools I may never use but if you need it and don't have it, who's fault is it. it is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. No one has the right or the authority to take your right of self defense away from you. Self defense is a GOD given right for everybody. You screw up and you don't get to take your weapons to jail. If war should ever break out in this country every one will need and should have weapons. No body will ever care if it is an EX Con that saves their ass in a fire fight. I'm not an ex con but I know people that are. all they have to defend themselves with is their hands and feet. bullets travel much faster and farther. I'm not asking any one for permission to exercise my religious rights. and I'm ready to stop any one that objects.

Anonymous said...

I have made the point several times on this sight that warning shots are dangerous. IF You have to fire hit something so you know where the bullet went. what goes up must come down and it could come down on someone's head. if seeing the gun is not a detourant warning shots have little use. wasting ammo is down right ignorant. fire a couple of warning shots then find out there are six attackers. yelling bang bang will not stop any one. hand to hand fighting with a bowie knife can be very taxing. much more effective to blow a hole in them. I believe in ammo conservation the ammo I use will easily take down two at a time if they get lined up just right.