(MN) Security guard may be charged in shooting of 16-year-old


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Andrew Rothman
November 4, 2003, 03:40 PM
http://www.startribune.com/stories/462/4192042.html

This cop wannabe never learned the four rules.

Engle then pulled the teenager out of the car with one hand while holding his gun in the other, Schnell said. It was then that the gun discharged and hit the boy in the back, he said.

The whole story:

Security guard may be charged in shooting of 16-year-old
Lourdes Medrano Leslie and Curt Brown, Star Tribune

Published November 4, 2003

A security guard who shot a 16-year-old boy suspected of stealing a car stereo at a St. Paul high-rise apartment building early Sunday may face criminal charges, police said Monday.

The guard, Timothy Engle, 21, told authorities that the shooting was an accident. Engle, who works for Wolf Protective Agency of Coon Rapids, was taken into custody Sunday on suspicion of aggravated assault. Wolf officials declined to comment.

Officer Paul Schnell, a police spokesman, said that even if the shooting was unintentional, "it doesn't change the fact that a 16-year-old was shot."

The teenager, who was not identified, is expected to recover. He remained in stable condition late Monday at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, where he had surgery.

The boy's mother said doctors told her that her son would be paralyzed from the shooting, according to a community worker who spoke to the St. Paul Pioneer Press newspaper for a story published on Tuesday.

Schnell said the teenager was shot after he tried to get away from security guards who were investigating a possible theft about 3 a.m. Sunday at the Skyline Tower, 1247 St. Anthony Av.

Schnell said the shooting happened shortly after Engle and another guard chased the teenager, who had fled on foot from inside the building and jumped into a vehicle in the parking lot.

Schnell said the boy attempted to drive away but stopped when the two guards stood in his way.

Engle then pulled the teenager out of the car with one hand while holding his gun in the other, Schnell said. It was then that the gun discharged and hit the boy in the back, he said.

Engle's attorney, Steven Meshbesher, called the shooting an accident and said that Engle's leg was bruised when the shooting victim's car sideswiped him.

"He (Engle) told him to exit. He grabbed the guy with one hand, and the guy hits and pushes him with a punch-push combination, causing the gun to discharge," he said.

Wants to be officer

Meshbesher said Engle comes from a very stable family, has worked at Wolf for more than a year and is licensed to carry a gun. He is in training to become a police officer.

"My client feels bad about what happened. He wishes he could undo it, but he didn't intend it," he said, adding that he had faxed a letter to the Ramsey County Attorney's office Monday requesting that Engle be released.

Joe Halgrimson, a security guard with another private security firm who once supervised Engle when the two worked together at Wolf, described him as "a level-headed individual."

Like other Wolf employees, Halgrimson said, Engle is well-trained in the use of firearms. He said the company stresses that guns are to be used only "as a very last-ditch effort," when personal safety or somebody else's life is at stake.

The shooting has caught the attention of the state Board of Private Detective and Protective Agent Services, which regulates security firms such as the Wolf Agency.

Said Marie Ohman, the board's executive director: "Obviously, it's an incident of some note, of concern for us. . . . It's obvious that we will be looking at this."

She would not elaborate but said that when the board investigates and finds wrongdoing on the part of a security firm, it has the authority to suspend or revoke a license, impose administrative penalties or resolve problems through education and conciliation. The board has not previously taken any disciplinary action against Wolf, Ohman said.

Commonbond Communities, which owns the low-income Skyline Towers, reported no problems with Wolf. The company has provided security at the high-rise since September 2002, according to Richard Hutsell, property management director.

The organization spent $13 million to renovate the building after taking it over in 2000, he said, adding that crime has decreased since then. Hutsell said the shooting victim was not a tenant at the 24-story Skyline Towers, which nearly 2,000 Somalis and other recent immigrants call home.

Schnell, the police spokesman, said that although police make frequent calls to the apartment building, the level of crime "is not out of line" given the large number of people who live there.

Staff writer Herón Márquez Estrada contributed to this report. The writers are at lleslie@startribune.com and curt.brown@startribune.com

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Standing Wolf
November 4, 2003, 07:17 PM
"He (Engle) told him to exit. He grabbed the guy with one hand, and the guy hits and pushes him with a punch-push combination, causing the gun to discharge," he said.

I have to wonder whether security guards have legal authority to force people from cars.

That said™, if the thief fought back, I doubt he's got a complaint coming.

Andrew Rothman
November 4, 2003, 07:44 PM
http://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/stix2002/A/AR/arrests.html


629.37 When a private person may make an arrest.

A private person may arrest another:

(1) for a public offense committed or attempted in the
arresting person's presence;

(2) when the person arrested has committed a felony,
although not in the arresting person's presence; or

(3) when a felony has in fact been committed, and the
arresting person has reasonable cause for believing the person
arrested to have committed it.

609.06 Authorized use of force.

Subdivision 1. When authorized. Except as otherwise
provided in subdivision 2, reasonable force may be used upon or
toward the person of another without the other's consent when
the following circumstances exist or the actor reasonably
believes them to exist:
.
.
.
(2) when used by a person not a public officer in arresting
another in the cases and in the manner provided by law and
delivering the other to an officer competent to receive the
other into custody


So yeah, but the security guard better be right, or he'll face a lawsuit.

Of course, shooting dead a perp for an alleged burglary is not justified use of force. Whether it is an excusable accident remains to be seen.

To me, it looks like a negligent accident. Failure to use the gun led to the "accidental" gunshot.

But, as always, IANAL.

gunsmith
November 5, 2003, 12:08 AM
the guy in the car would have been shot for trying to
run over a police officer.
the S/O didn't keep his mouth shut until
talking to a competent lawyer.
guns don't "discharge" without a finger on the trigger.
the S/O had his finger on the trigger.
The one time I pulled my sidearm I made damm sure the
my finger was not on the trigger and had the muzzle pointed at
the ground

F4GIB
November 5, 2003, 12:28 AM
the S/O didn't keep his mouth shut until talking to a competent lawyer.

This is the best way I know of to go directly to jail.

Self-defense is never accidental.
If it's accidental, then it is going to be charges as First Degree assault, a major felony.

As Smokey Bear says "Only you can keep your mouth shut."

Pilgrim
November 5, 2003, 05:55 PM
In addition to not following the four rules, he also made the mistake of grabbing a suspect while holding a pistol in his other hand. Very bad arrest and control tactics.

Daniel T
November 5, 2003, 06:41 PM
If it had been a LEO, it would be a justified shoot, no grand jury involved. After all, if you can get away with "accidentally" shooting someone locked in the back of your patrol car with a Glock, when you meant to do it with a Taser, you can get away with anything.

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