Panic button couldn’t protect woman


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dasmi
June 23, 2005, 01:01 PM
http://www.newsday.com/news/local/longisland/ny-limurd20,0,6915050,print.story


BY CHRISTINE ARMARIO
STAFF WRITER

Merline Port-Louis knew she was a woman in danger.

In the weeks before she was shot to death early Saturday morning, her estranged boyfriend, Marlon Fann, called and threatened to kill her and her family three times, Nassau police said.

Port-Louis took the appropriate measures: She made copies of the threats, filed charges with police and got a panic button to press in case of emergency.

But neither her efforts nor those of police were enough to stop Fann from pulling out a gun and shooting Port-Louis in the driveway of her New Cassel home, and then calling her mother and threatening to do the same to her and police if they tried to arrest him, police said.

Yesterday, Fann was still at large, and police moved Port-Louis' mother and 3-year-old daughter to an undisclosed location. That nearly every means of protecting Port-Louis was exhausted but insufficient is the frustration of police.

"I think she did everything she could," said Det. Sgt. Richard Laursen of the Nassau Homicide Squad. "There's only so much a court order will do. If the person wants to disregard it, he's going to."

Laursen said police have been looking for Fann since Port-Louis reported receiving a threat from him on May 15. During that call, made a month after Fann was released from jail for attacking her in a West Hempstead parking lot three years ago, he said he would kill her and her family.

Police tried to locate Fann by tracing his phone calls, contacting family in Queens and equipping Port-Louis with the emergency button. They also offered Port-Louis space in a shelter for victims of domestic violence, but she declined.

"Most people don't," accept that offer, Laursen said. "You have to understand that 99 percent of the time, orders of protection do work."

The situation escalated when Port-Louis received similar threats on May 26 and June 10. Police are investigating the possibility that Fann also made threats in person that Port-Louis did not report.

In spite of all the upheaval, Port-Louis made plans to go out with a friend Saturday night. To be safe as she left the house, she put the emergency button on her rear view mirror.

Port-Louis then left her car running for a minute and went back into the house, police said. When she returned, Fann was waiting for her with a gun. She reached into the car and pressed the button before being shot.

As Port-Louis lay on the asphalt, Laursen said Fann called Port-Louis' mother, Huguette Port-Louis, and said that "he had just shot her and that she was going to be next and if any police tried to arrest him, he would do that to them also."

Police said Fann made additional threats to another tenant at the home who witnessed the attack and was being kept yesterday in protective custody, according to police.

"This guy is extremely dangerous," said Laursen, who would not elaborate on their search, except to say that Nassau police had notified officers in Suffolk and New York City as well.

Merline Port-Louis' life seemed on the upswing after Fann was jailed and convicted of felony assault in February 2004. In January she earned her bachelor's degree at SUNY Old Westbury, and was working toward her master's in accounting and tax law at Long Island University.

"I think it was more the fact that she no longer wanted him in her life," Laursen said when asked what drove Fann's anger. "This was a young woman who was moving up in the world."

Police are asking anyone with tips on Fann's whereabouts to call Crime Stoppers at 800-244-TIPS.

Copyright 2005 Newsday Inc.

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Nazirite
June 23, 2005, 01:09 PM
Being near NYC I doubt she could get a CCW. :(

dasmi
June 23, 2005, 01:13 PM
Yes, I'm sure. I personally feel that NY deserves some of the blame for this. Not to remove guilt from the killer, but NY makes it exceedingly difficult for average citizens to protect themselve. Of course, we don't know if she would've actually taken the time to take her safety into her own hands.

boofus
June 23, 2005, 01:14 PM
Well she could have gone and gotten a handgun illegally and shot the bastard. And then plea bargained and spent 3 days in Rikers like Ronald Dixon. Infringement? nah /sarcasm

another okie
June 23, 2005, 01:23 PM
Logical fallacy:

"You have to understand that 99 percent of the time, orders of protection do work."

Well, by that standard, doing nothing at all would work about 95% of the the time, since most people who make threats or are perceived as threats never do anything. In other words, if the person stays safe this bureaucrat gives the protective order credit.

migoi
June 23, 2005, 01:25 PM
on this statement..."That nearly every means of protecting Port-Louis was exhausted but insufficient is the frustration of police."

I can think of lots of stuff that could have helped protect this woman that was not done. Seems to me she was still operating way in the white zone. She felt (justifiably it turns out) she was under serious enough threat to have a "panic" button but she still didn't feel the need to keep in actually on her person (To be safe as she left the house, she put the emergency button on her rear view mirror.) and left her car running while she returned to her house?

With a more that a month between the call and the shooting it seems there was plenty of time to ratchet personal safety protocols way higher than they were. There was no mention of the "panic" buttons attached to OC spray canisters or stun gun types of devices much less those connected to the best "panic" system...a firearm.

The other quote that reeks of stupidity is... "You have to understand that 99 percent of the time, orders of protection do work." Maybe this is because 99 percent of the time orders of protection are applied for to seek an advantage in a court case rather than because the subject of the order has actually made any threat against the person seeking it.

In between the lines we can see that the "panic" button not only failed to protect the woman but didn't even manage to get the police on scene fast enough to catch the guy after he killed her.

migoi

Chipperman
June 23, 2005, 01:32 PM
Clearly this would have never happened if NYC had more gun control laws.

buzz_knox
June 23, 2005, 02:57 PM
"Most people don't," accept that offer, Laursen said. "You have to understand that 99 percent of the time, orders of protection do work."

There's a bald-faced lie. Orders of protection work ONLY when the person against whom it is brought is both rational enough and not enraged enough for the order to have any effect. Against those who are predisposed to commit violence, they have no effect, especially after they are violated once or twice and the police do nothing.

The equivalent statement would be "99 percent of the time, life preservers worn properly prevent drowning of individuals crossing a desert."

Standing Wolf
June 23, 2005, 03:34 PM
Port-Louis took the appropriate measures: She made copies of the threats, filed charges with police and got a panic button to press in case of emergency.

A panic button, eh? So you can be murdered to the accompaniment of loud noise?

I can think of a better way to make loud noise.

Father Knows Best
June 23, 2005, 03:49 PM
I should point out that the hoplophobes all like to say that guns aren't useful for self-defense because we'd never have time to pull them out and use them if a bad guy was already pointing a gun at us. If this woman had a time to reach into her car and press a "panic button" (huh?) before getting shot, she had time to draw and fire a gun.

What the heck is a "panic button," anyway?

jefnvk
June 23, 2005, 04:11 PM
I have to ask. Does anyone actually pay attention to panic buttons anymore? I use mine to find my car. I don't even turn to lok when one goes off, they are so common place. They may have been great 15 years ago when almost no one had one, but I think it is time for something new.

Nick1911
June 23, 2005, 04:50 PM
... I think it is time for something new.

I suggest a Smith 340.
:evil:

Too bad NY removes the right effective to self-defense. :(

GlenJ
June 23, 2005, 05:00 PM
I have a cousin who went through a bad breakup with her husband (lot's of physical abuse) who broke the restraining order. They had guns in the home and the sheriff stupidly told her to get them out of there!!!

peacefuljeffrey
June 23, 2005, 05:29 PM
That nearly every means of protecting Port-Louis was exhausted but insufficient is the frustration of police.

I wonder if the bleeding-heart leftist writer for Newsday saw the irony in leaving out the ONE THING that probably could have saved her life: a GUN.


But we're talking about Long Island. If you live in NY and go through the 6 month wait to get a handgun license, like I did on L.I., you get a license that does not entitle you to carry a gun. Without it, you're not even allowed to own a handgun.



I wonder if Port-Louis was holding that panic button up like a crucifix at her murderer, the moment he shot her to death. "The power of circuitry compels you... The power of circuitry compels you... The power of symbolism compels you... The power of symbolism compels you..."

And no one up there has the intellectual honesty to admit that when someone is after you and he has a gun, NOTHING you do will help you survive as much as having a gun of your own.

But on the plus side, if all the stupid people who don't realize that get killed off, the result will be that anyone still around does realize it.


-Jeffrey

Nightfall
June 23, 2005, 06:44 PM
Anything that can't cause immediate, substantial damage to a human central nervous system is a huge gamble for self-defense IMHO. Here we see what happens when you gamble with something as important as your life, and lose. Very sad. :(

Cesiumsponge
June 23, 2005, 06:59 PM
Something like this article should be a very obvious wakeup call for people across the board. The time between calling the police and waiting for them to arrive in a situation of great threat is practically infinite. In that given time span of minutes, the victim's life can end many times over. Instead people somehow primarily choose to depend on someone else rather than themselves in a life-or-death situation. I will never be able to understand this.

The only impact these cases seem to have on the firearms community is a "I told you so" since we have seen these cases ad infinitum. It is painfully obvious to us that the police are not, and can never respond fast enough to such situations.

For those who are against firearms or the idea of using deadly force to preserve one's own life, the response is "tighter laws would fix things". No amount of legislation can provide you with instant immunity to the threat at hand. People need to realize that there is a chance that, if you rely on people or the government, it can (and has) fail you. Once you depend on someone else to feed you, house you, and protect you...you're defenseless and helpless.

griz
June 23, 2005, 08:58 PM
What a sad story.

I wonder if NY, having seen the obvious need for more appropriate measures, would agree to an "advanced panic button"? (imagine one of those TM logos here) What I'm thinking of is a little red button that would take the place of the safety lever on the trigger of a Glock.

scubie02
June 23, 2005, 10:57 PM
the sad thing is, this will just be used as an example of the need for even stricter gun control by the sorts that have foisted so much of it on us in NY already--you could tell the guy was itching to come right out and say it

c_yeager
June 24, 2005, 05:31 AM
"I think she did everything she could," said Det. Sgt. Richard Laursen of the Nassau Homicide Squad. "There's only so much a court order will do. If the person wants to disregard it, he's going to."

I like how the oficial police position on this amounts to "hey sometimes people are just gonna kill you, nothing you can do about it".

I love how the article emphasizes that EVERYTHING was done to protect her, when its PAINFULLY obviously that there was a hell of a lot more that could have been done.

This part bothers me quite a bit:
"This guy is extremely dangerous," said Laursen, who would not elaborate on their search, except to say that Nassau police had notified officers in Suffolk and New York City as well.
Hes "extremely dangerous" now that the police are the ones who have to deal with him. When it was an unnarmed defenseless woman he wasnt quite dangerous enough to warrent actually HELPING in any way.

Does it strike anyone else as disturbing that the police never suggested or made a firearm available to this woman, but when they catch him they will CERTAINLY perform the arrest with their guns drawn in a full on felony-stop?

LadySmith
June 24, 2005, 06:25 AM
What the heck is a "panic button," anyway?
It's usually a small remote that sends a signal for help to the police station or to an alarm company who then calls the police. It kind of works like an instant 911 call without having to talk to anyone. Panic buttons are usually silent so as not to alert the perp that the police are on the way.

Crosshair
June 25, 2005, 04:01 AM
Shouldn't the "panic button" be a "Bend over and kiss you're a** goodbye button." I don't wait until I am about to crash to put on my seatbelt, why should I wait for my protection to arive.

Cesiumsponge
June 25, 2005, 04:23 AM
Panic buttons are usually silent so as not to alert the perp that the police are on the way.

Couldn't that work either way? A silent panic button might not scare away a particular perp while a loud blazing panic button might scare the same perp away.

Either way, panic buttons aren't guaranteed to save lives. Its a guaranteed homing beacon for the police to find you but your condition may vary at that point.

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