Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Chicago: Security guard stops shooter: "Emmanuel Perez-Gomez, 20, of the 4700-block of North Kenneth Ave, has been charged with three counts of attempted murder, three counts of aggravated discharge of a weapon and one count of aggravated assault to a police officer. The shootout took place Monday just after 1 a.m. near the Croatian Cultural Center at 2845 W. Devon, near Mozart. The officer was working as a security guard at a party at the center when investigators say someone pointed a gun at him, and the officer opened fire. Police say Perez-Gomez first fired several shots at an SUV carrying three men. The off-duty officer then chased the suspect, who aimed the gun in his direction. The officer said he fired at the man he'd been chasing. The suspect fled in a dark-colored SUV and arrived at nearby Swedish Covenant Hospital for gunshot treatment shortly afterward, police say. His injuries were not reported to be life threatening."

FL: Man acquitted of murder convicted on related charge: "William T. Wilkerson was acquitted of murder in the death of Jason Payne outside a drunken party in Wellington in 2007. Jurors last year decided under Florida's "Stand Your Ground " law that Wilkerson shot at a very drunk Payne in self-defense. The two fought after Wilkerson flirted with Payne's girlfriend. Yet Wilkerson still faced sentencing Tuesday on one charge he was convicted of — discharging a firearm from a vehicle. Defense attorneys Marc Shiner and Patrick McKamey asked Circuit Judge John Kastrenakes that Wilkerson be sentenced to probation after already serving nearly two years in jail. A prosecutor described Wilkerson's third shot — fired after Payne had been struck — as "deliberate, intentional and dangerous" to the other partygoers that night. Assistant State Attorney Barbara Burns asked for a term of years in prison. Wilkerson was seated in his vehicle, preparing to drive away from the party after being asked to leave, according to witnesses, when an intoxicated Payne — angry at Wilkerson's flirting with his girlfriend — smashed his driver's side window." [A verdict that makes little sense. He was judged to have fired in self-defense and therefore acquitted of murder but convicted because he was in a car when he fired!]

FL: Burglar shot by man with a felony conviction: "The attorney for a convicted felon who used a gun to shoot a suspected burglar during a struggle plans to argue that his client was right to use the weapon to defend himself. Lamar J. Coaston was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon stemming from the Wednesday shooting of a 23-year-old man that took place at Coaston’s rental home on the 700 block of Tompkins Street in Melbourne. Funk contends that necessity or duress can exempt a person from being charged in the act of criminal behavior. In this case Coaston, prohibited by law from possessing a gun because of a previous drug conviction, felt he was in a life or death struggle against someone that broke into his residence, Funk explained. “Even a convicted felon can defend himself. I want to be clear, this guy was not invited into his house. This was a burglar,” said Funk, adding the gun used did not belong to his client. Coaston was released from the Brevard County Detention Center in Sharpes after posting a $5,000 bond. The arrest came as Melbourne detectives continued their investigation into the shooting that left Cesar Rivera of West Melbourne recovering from a gunshot wound to the throat." [Are felons not allowed to defend themselves? Gun possession seems to be the only charge]

Utah Legislature: Clarification of gun laws advances: "A Senate committee approved a bill to clarify Utah firearms laws and allow gun owners to display and threaten to use their guns in self-defense. The panel passed the bill on Tuesday, despite Democrats who voiced concern that the bill might increase violence. "I'm not sure this is a step in the right direction," Sen. Ben McAdams, D-Salt Lake. In the end he voted for the bill, while a fellow Democrat, Sen. Ross Romero, Salt Lake City, cast the single no vote. Supporters of the bill say the law simply clarifies existing law and provides gun owners with more direction."

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