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Fleeing Criminals

Yesterday’s story from Michigan involved a poorly considered shot at fleeing suspects.   Reader KathyH sent me this story from Pennsylvania illustrates the legal risks involved in doing so:

Police said two masked teens armed with BB guns and baseball bats were in the process of robbing the home of Eraldo Iannitelli shortly before 6 a.m. when he returned home. Grabbing a 12-gauge shotgun, he fired at the fleeing teens.

A 16-year-old boy was hit. Neighbors who heard his cries called 911. Police are searching for the second teen.

According to police, Mr. Iannitelli is being charged with attempted homicide, aggravated assault and reckless endangerment.

The 16 year old will be charged with robbery and aggravated assault, police said.

The gray area comes in when the suspects are not fleeing, but are merely engaging in a tactical retreat, and plan to continue the fight.  There’s always a possibility this man felt that the suspects were not breaking off the fight, and thus his actions were not inappropriate, but one should always be inherent wary of firing on suspects who are retreating from you.

3 Responses to “Fleeing Criminals”

  1. straightarrow says:

    I understand the legal argument, but believe it to be wrong. I hope this is one of those things we can change.

    Too bad he was fleeing, but the only way to make sure he doesn’t return later and start shooting immediately now that he knows the merchant is armed is to drop him so he can’t come back. To me it is no different than war. You don’t hold fire because the enemy is running from this fight, because if you do, you will have to face him in another fight where he may be more prepared and have the advantage. I can’t see the difference.

    All the hand-wringing faux humaneness doesn’t change the nature of combat nor should it change the response to it. If the police had shot a fleeing felon it would be marked as justified. Why is this different? No logical reason that I can see.

  2. straightarrow says:

    Perhaps the shooter could claim “He made a move toward his waist, I thought he was going for a gun and I feared for my life.” Or are those only magic when spoken by an “only one”?

  3. Jym says:

    I have to completely agree with Straightarrow on this. As soon as someone invades your territory armed and apparently ready to do violence, they have forfeited the supposed sanctity of their life. While I understand that the legally safe thing to do is to not fire at someone fleeing, this in my opinion goes against basic human nature and is extremely stupid.

    Then again, I think too much value is placed on human life in general, so what do I know? I’m not pro-choice, I’m anti-life. All you need to create this supposed miracle of human life is a dick and a pussy. Now, the fact that some of the people I see out there with kids managed to get laid, that’s the real miracle. :)

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