Saturday, February 20, 2010

Texas: Man Fatally Shoots Intruder: "Houston police said a 23-year-old man tried to break through a window to get into a home on Blueberry Lane near Bluegrass Street at about 9:30 a.m. Investigators said the homeowner woke up, grabbed his shotgun and fired shots as the man was going through the window. “The homeowner was awakened by breaking glass and the movement of a dresser in the front window,” said M.F. Waters of HPD Homicide. The intruder fell out of the window into the yard and died, officials said. His family identified him as Roosevelt Jackson Jr. Jackson’s pastor said he joined a local church three weeks ago and a Bible study group prayed for positive changes in his life. Family and friends described the homeowner as distraught after the shooting. “It’s going to change his life. I don’t think he’s ever going to be the same,” neighbor Elizabeth Moody “He’s a good person. The case will be referred to a Harris County grand jury without charges."

CA: Man released after assault convictions reversed: "A judge ordered a Fullerton man released from jail Friday, a month after a Santa Ana appellate court found there was insufficient evidence showing he did not act in self-defense when he fired shots at a Fullerton tactical weapons team more than five years ago. Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals declared Ernest Gerald Benefiel II, 45, not guilty of assault charges, based on the reversal of a jury's verdicts last month by the 4th District Court of Appeal. Benefiel, 45, was serving 17 years, four months in prison after he was convicted of four counts of assault for firing a handgun twice at officers from Fullerton's tactical weapons team after they surrounded his apartment on Dec. 30, 2004. The team was summoned to the two-bedroom apartment Benefiel shared after his father reported that he thought his son was suicidal, had a gun and had nailed himself inside his bedroom. But defense attorney Doug Lobato contended during two trials that Benefiel had been taking prescription pain killers to treat neck and back injuries and was in a deep sleep when Fullerton officers arrived. Police officers tried to get Benefiel's attention by using a loudspeaker on multiple occasions to request that he come out with his hands up, and then by using a flash-bang grenade under his window and firing bean bag blasts from a shotgun through the bedroom window. Benefiel, who was bruised and cut because of the bean bag shots, fired his handgun twice at the officers before he stumbled out of the window and was arrested, according to news accounts. Lobato argued that Benefiel did not know the men outside his window were police and that he shot back in self-defense because he thought he was under attack."

Guns to be allowed in CA parks: "Beginning Monday it will be legal to bring loaded, concealed weapons into Muir Woods National Monument, Point Reyes National Seashore and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The Bush administration overturned a 25-year-old Reagan administration federal rule that restricted loaded guns in national parks after the Supreme Court struck down a handgun ban in Washington, D.C., and declared that individuals have a constitutional right to possess firearms for self-defense and other purposes. Now under the new rule visitors can legally carry a loaded gun into a park or wildlife refuge - but only if the person has a permit for a concealed weapon and if the state where the park or refuge is located also allows concealed firearms. California allows concealed weapons. "We have been working closely with local, state and federal officials to ensure that we clearly understand the provisions of the laws that will now apply to our visitors when they are in the park," said Don Neubacher, Point Reyes National Seashore superintendent. "We encourage every visitor who may wish to bring firearms to the park to do their research ahead of time and ensure that they are aware of and abide by the laws that apply. Our goal is to provide safe, enjoyable park visits for everyone."

Montana man acquitted over fatal struggle with aggressive drunk: "The garage door began to open in Kevin Smoot’s Lancaster driveway, where Jimmy Wilson’s shadow stood tall. Piece by piece, Smoot’s body began to appear from behind the garage door, a curtain being lifted for a prizefighter. First his legs, then his torso, then his face. “How could you do this to my family?” Wilson repeatedly screamed and screamed, coming within two feet of Smoot. Smoot had been hiding something behind his right leg. He pulled an AK-47 from the leg, slung it through the air, and pointed it at Wilson’s chest. Wilson stood motionless for three seconds. His aunt emerged from the side of the house, wearing nothing but shorts and a cut-off tank top, crying out three words to Smoot: “Don’t hurt him!” Smoot looked away at her. Wilson saw his opening. He grabbed the barrel of the gun with his sweaty palms. Smoot grabbed the stock, and soon four hands were on the assault rifle. It was a three-second war. Two men grunting, battling for control of a deadly machine. Their silhouettes danced across the driveway. Wilson’s sweaty palms lost grip. He got one last tug at the rifle, which swung upward and fired a round into the humid California sky. Wilson heard the thunder of that one shot, and ran. He thought Smoot controlled the weapon, and that he would lay down rounds through the neighborhood. He thought his life was over. So he ran harder than he ever had, back to his black Lincoln Navigator. He made it. There was no crimson piercing through his T-shirt. But there was a river of it running down the driveway, and Wilson followed the stream back to Smoot’s head, where the bullet had taken an abrupt path through his cheek and cranium."

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