NC Shooting ruled Self-Defense


September 22, 2004, 10:30 AM
This is an interesting situation, it seems the authorities were very lenient with this guy. Teh stolen gun notwithstanding, a different interpretation of NC self-defense law could have had this guy going down for attempted first-degree manslaughter or at least assault (if the guy he shot survives), if it was ruled that he didn't have sufficient reason to fear death or serious injury. On the other hand, the "habitation rule" is often extended to a motor vehicle, so if that is the case the he would be justified in shooting to prevent hostile entry, the same as if he was at his house. Of course, since the shooter made an obscene gesture to his attacker before the attack, it could be argued that he instigated or provoked the confrontation, which changes the rules of self-defense yet again, and then he would be guilty. This stuff sure gets complicated.................

Road Rage Leads To Shooting In Rocky Mount
Man Charged For Possession Of Stolen Weapon, Not Charged For Shooting

POSTED: 4:31 pm EDT September 21, 2004
UPDATED: 6:41 pm EDT September 21, 2004
ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. -- It started with a frustrated driver in a hurry. Rocky Mount police say it ended with gunshots, but that the man who pulled the trigger was not in the wrong.

Investigators say the incident began at a stoplight at the intersection of Nashville and Raleigh roads in Rocky Mount. Police say when the light turned green, Thomas Williams Jr. did not move right away.

Authorities say Allen Williams Jr., who is no relation to Thomas Williams Jr., was right behind him and honked his horn. Investigators say Thomas Williams Jr. made an obscene gesture, then slowly drove a half-mile to the next stoplight.

When the men stopped at the second intersection, police say Allen Williams got out of his car and walked to Thomas Williams' car. Investigators say Allen Williams grabbed the handle and yanked the car door open. They say that is when Thomas Williams grabbed a gun and shot him.

Gregory Pittman, who was working outside, saw the incident happen.

"What I heard was actually three gun fires, three gunshots, then I saw two gentlemen reaching into the car. That's when I ran into the building and asked them to dial 911," Pittman said. "Someone firing out of control could hit anybody. He could have accidentally shot me or anybody else. Of course, it was scary."

Allen Williams was shot in the chest. Police arrested Thomas Williams for possession of a stolen weapon, but he is not charged in the shooting. Investigators said it was self-defense because the other man opened his door.

Allen Williams is listed in good condition at Pitt Memorial Hospital. Neither man is expected to face any more charges.

Reporter/Photographer: Mike Charbonneau
OnLine Producer: Kamal Wallace

Copyright 2004 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

If you enjoyed reading about "NC Shooting ruled Self-Defense" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
Nathaniel Firethorn
September 23, 2004, 06:52 AM
So Thomas Williams flipped someone off while carrying. And he was packing a stolen gun to boot.

Conduct unbecoming, fershure. Wonder who's brother-in-law he is? :rolleyes:

- pdmoderator

September 23, 2004, 11:12 AM
Obscene gestures are the same as words, never an excuse to use force against someone.

Going up to someone's car door and opening it while they're at a stop light seems like a good way to show someone that you intend to do them serious harm. Rational people do not do something like that, so he was justified in fearing that he was in serious danger.

If the gun was stolen, then he should be charged with that, but that's not related to the shooting.

The guy who walked up and opened his door should be charged with assault.

Nathaniel Firethorn
September 23, 2004, 11:47 AM
Not my point. My point is that Thomas Williams chose (a) to carry a stolen weapon, and (b) while carrying, to escalate hostility.

Neither of which is smart or reflects well on the rest of us.

- pdmoderator

September 23, 2004, 12:09 PM
pdmoderator's point is correct, but in today's world flippin' off someone who honks at you for not starting the instant a light turns green isn't exactly "escalating hostilities," it's more or less standard operating procedure. It is true that those who carry should avoid such actions, but the sad truth is it's a sorry state of affairs that we find it necessary to avoid such for the simple reason that idiots like that soundly DESERVE to get flipped off.

September 23, 2004, 12:24 PM
When I'm carrying - which is most of the time - and encounter some moron on the road with a case of road rage, I don't respond in a way that will escalate the situation.

Flipping someone off does NOT justify assault, and these days it's becoming SOP.

BUT it's worth it to me to NOT flip someone off - even if they richly deserve it - since, if the situation DOES escalate to the point I have to employ deadly force, my conscience will be clear that I did occupy the moral high ground by not contributing to the escalation. ALL the escalation will have to be on the other guy's part.

September 24, 2004, 10:56 AM
Carrying a stolen gun
killed a man

He's ok.
Shot when door opened

flipped off the Guy
didn't have the door locked

If you enjoyed reading about "NC Shooting ruled Self-Defense" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!