Off-duty officer shoots and kills man in cop's own driveway


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TheeBadOne
December 16, 2003, 06:27 PM
http://a.abclocal.go.com/images/ktrk_121603_copshoot2.jpg
A no trespassing sign was clearly posted at the officer's driveway.

http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/news/121603_local_copshoot.html

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Andrew Rothman
December 16, 2003, 06:50 PM
Aw, c'mon. Post the story. These things tend to evaporate in a couple of weeks. Plus, we're lazy!

:)

ABC13 Eyewitness News
(12/16/03 – MONTGOMERY COUNTY) — A 21 year veteran of the Houston police department shoots and kills a man. But the veteran cop was not on duty when he killed the man who parked outside his Montgomery County home.

The HPD lieutenant was off-duty and with his family when he was confronted in his own driveway by a man who had allegedly made threatening and harassing phone calls to the officer.

The nature and reason for those calls has not been immediately made clear, but the officer apparently was concerned for his safety. The calls have been well-documented with law enforcement, we're told.

The officer asked the suspect several times to leave. He did not. Investigating officers tell Eyewitness News the officer identified himself as a police officer, drew his gun and told the suspect if he didn't leave he would be arrested for trespassing.

When the man made what the officer perceived as a threatening gesture by reaching for his glove compartment, he opened fire. He fired several shots, striking and killing the suspect.

HPD Internal Affairs is investigating the shooting.
(Copyright © 2003, KTRK-TV)

cool45auto
December 16, 2003, 07:17 PM
Seems cut and dry but I'd like to hear more details.

HABU
December 16, 2003, 08:43 PM
http://a.abclocal.go.com/images/ktrk_121603_copshoot2.jpg No trespassing. Trespassers will be shot. Really.

dinosaur
December 16, 2003, 08:54 PM
Kinda like the signs on my road. They get ignored too but so far no one`s been shot.:what: :D

Steve in PA
December 16, 2003, 10:35 PM
Don't like to arm chair quarterback these things.........but how did the LEO know that the person wasn't reaching for a cell phone, etc.......and not a weapon.

He's going to have a lot of explaining to do.

TheeBadOne
December 16, 2003, 10:45 PM
he was confronted in his own driveway by a man who had allegedly made threatening and harassing phone calls to the officer.

The officer asked the suspect several times to leave. He did not.

When the man made what the officer perceived as a threatening gesture...

Steve in PA
December 16, 2003, 11:12 PM
I'll play devils advocate here........

"threatening and harassing phone calls"........threatening as in I'm gonna kill you......or threatening as in I'm going to rip you a new a@#hole??

"threatening gesture"...........again, reaching into the glove compartment?? Was there a gun or weapon found in there? Was anything found in there??

"told to leave"..........why weren't the local police called? Was the officer coming home with the family......was the officer already inside the house when the guy arrived.......if he was in the house then he should have called the local PD and let them handle it.

There is alot left out of the story.....and again with some arm chair quarterbacking.....I think it should have been handled differently.......but I wasn't there.

As a LEO Firearms Instructor I instruct my shooters about the three requirements for use of deadly force,.....all must be in place before they can use deadly force. Work for both on and off futy.........

Ability....did the guy in his driveway have the ability to inflict death or serious bodily injury?? No weapon was seen......only "threatening movement". If no weapon was found.....I think a lawyer is going to eat him up in civil court for sure......criminal court??? Doesn't look good

Opportunity.....did the guy have the opportunity?? Don't know......don't know what he was reaching for.

Immediate fear of death or serious bodily injury.......was the LEO in fear? Perhaps.....but I don't see it from article. But again, articles like these are knwon to leave alot of facts out.

Thumper
December 17, 2003, 02:23 AM
As a LEO Firearms Instructor I instruct my shooters about the three requirements for use of deadly force,.....all must be in place before they can use deadly force. Work for both on and off futy.........

That's great...for Northeastern PA. This is Texas. Did y'all know that criminal mischief at night is a shootable offense down here?

Detachment Charlie
December 17, 2003, 09:27 AM
No Trespassing.
Violators will be shot.
Survivors will be shot again.

They mean it: Don't mess with Texas.

Carlos Cabeza
December 17, 2003, 09:52 AM
Well put Det. Charlie. I have a private drive too. I had to put up a gate and close it every time I enter or leave (PITA) because of people driving in and out of my driveway.

Steel
December 17, 2003, 09:53 AM
There is alot left out of the story.....and again with some arm chair quarterbacking.....I think it should have been handled differently.......but I wasn't there.

Give us a break, Steve!

Daniel T
December 17, 2003, 10:13 AM
No Trespassing.
Violators will be shot.
Survivors will be shot again.

They mean it: Don't mess with Texas.

It is not legal to use deadly force to prevent trespassing in Texas.

Criminal mischief at night can be prevented with deadly force. Where in the article did it say that this happened at night?

edit: sp.

buzz_knox
December 17, 2003, 10:49 AM
The problem is the cop told him to leave after drawing his weapon. Was the guy attempting to comply and was reaching into his glove compartment for the keys he'd tossed there? The fact that the cop told him to leave eliminates the argument that this was a furtive movement. The cop couldn't reasonably believe that he was reaching for a gun when the cop himself ordered the person (with a drawn weapon no less) to take an action that required movement.

Edward429451
December 17, 2003, 10:57 AM
Looks like it was clearly posted. I don't see how a person could handle it any better than that. It makes no difference with this one that it was an officers place. A mans home is a mans home. Leo or non.

Buzz, I disagree, the problem with this was that the man was on private property!

hansolo
December 17, 2003, 11:06 AM
First off, I wasn't an eye witness, so I'm not judging: what I'm thinking is, would the outcome have been different if a total stranger defied the "No Tresspassing" sign, as opposed to this (dead)guy who already had a history with the officer.

I visited my Bro-in-law on his ranch in the Texas Hill Country last Summer: he also has a gate and is a-way off the highway. Being a City Boy, I loved the place, but if a stranger drove up to the house and started
towards his glove box, my bet is he wouldn't be driving home -- IF it were at night, per TX law.

I sure hope the investigation clears the LEO.

Daniel T
December 17, 2003, 11:08 AM
Edward, as I said before, it is not legal to prevent trespass with deadly force in Texas.

By the way, to make it obvious, I'm not saying that this wasn't a justified act of self-defense. I'm saying that trespassing cannot be used as an excuse for deadly force.

Mute
December 17, 2003, 11:14 AM
I don't see the problem. If I pointed my gun at some guy who's made threatening phone call and he reached into his glove compartment (knowing he's being covered by a gun), the result will probably be the same.

The No Trespassing sign is just a red herring. It has no relevance to what occured.

Quartus
December 17, 2003, 11:17 AM
but how did the LEO know that the person wasn't reaching for a cell phone, etc


Oh, he didn't of course. There's no way to know WHAT he was reaching for (IF he was "reaching", of course.) What an officer SHOULD do when a potentially dangerous person reaches for something is to wait until they have whatever it is in plain sight, THEN decide if it's a threat or not.

Of course, if he happened to be reaching for a gun, the officer has just let him get his gun into play. That's not a problem, of course. If I'm confronted with someone who is threatening me, I'm CERTAINLY going to give him the chance to get his gun into plain sight before I decided whether or not to shoot him.


Not.

We don't have a right to ask cops to wait until a gun is in clear sight before firing on someone. I sure wouldn't do it. If I have a reason to consider someone a deadly threat, and I have them covered, they reach they get shot. Any other course of action is risking my life for no good reason.


Look, it's real simple:

[list=1]
Man makes threatening phone calls to officer.
Man shows up on officer's property, disregarding a clearly posted No Trespassing sign.
Man makes more threats.
Man refuses to leave when ordered to do so.
Man makes "threatening gesture".
Man gets his stupid butt shot.
[/list=1]


A person has been killed, so an investigation is in order. Whether this is a good shoot or not depends on the nature of the "threatening gesture". Flipping the bird to the officer is NOT grounds for shooting. Reaching into his car or jacket IS.

NOBODY is morally obligated to hide in his house and wait for the police to come rescue him from the big mean man who won't leave the property! If your state has a legal requirement that you do so, shame on your state.

buzz_knox
December 17, 2003, 11:22 AM
Reaching into his car or jacket IS.

If someone is trespassing on your property and you tell them at gunpoint to leave, you can and will be charged with murder if you shot them when they attempt to comply. "Oh, so you shot him because he moved? Didn't you tell him to move? So you shot him when he complied with the explicit instructions you gave him?"

Once you tell a suspect to do something, you lose the ability to argue furtive movement. A furtive movement is an action taken which is inconsistent with the actions a reasonable person would take in the given situation, such as reaching into a pocket when a person points a gun at you and says not to move.

As for killing trespassers onto property (as opposed to intruders in one's home), that hasn't been legal at any time in this nation's history.

buzz_knox
December 17, 2003, 11:27 AM
What an officer SHOULD do when a potentially dangerous person reaches for something is to wait until they have whatever it is in plain sight, THEN decide if it's a threat or not.

Okay, so if a cop tells you to pull out your wallet and then blows your head off when you comply, should he then be able to say "he moved" and that be that?

What people are not understanding is the COP TOLD THE GUY TO DO MOVE AND THEN SHOT HIM WHEN HE DID! If you tell someone to do something at gunpoint, you have to wait to see if that movement is in compliance with your instructions or not. That's why every academy and ccw instructor tells you not to order them to do anything but freeze.

Quartus
December 17, 2003, 11:41 AM
No, buzz, he didn't just "move". He made a "threatening gesture". What that gesture was, we don't know. IF he opened the door of his car, I wouldn't call that a threatening gesture. If he quickly reached under his jacket, I probably would.

It all hinges on WHAT the movement was, not just the fact that he moved.


Of course, in the cop's position, I'd probably have ordered him to freeze, and had someone else call in the Cavalry. Having been threatened already, and having him show up on my property, AND continue to threaten me, would be reason enough for me to want to press whatever charges I thought might stick. Even if he just gets a $50 fine, at least his conduct is well documented.


And none of this has anything to do with his job, except that it's possible that the trespasser's animus is due to having been on the wrong end of the officer's actions in the line of duty at some point in the past. But it could as easily have been a parking space disagreement at Wally World that set this chain of events in motion.

buzz_knox
December 17, 2003, 11:44 AM
When the man made what the officer perceived as a threatening gesture by reaching for his glove compartment, he opened fire. He fired several shots, striking and killing the suspect.

You defend your stance on our lack of knowledge of what the gesture was. We know what it was: he reached into his glove compartment. Whether he was reaching for his gun or his keys, the officer didn't know. That lack of knowledge means that it was at most a potentially threatening gesture, and you aren't allowed to shoot on those. It must be reasonable, and I don't believe a reasonable person would agree to allowing you to shoot another human being where it is just as likely the suspect was trying to comply with your orders.

TheeBadOne
December 17, 2003, 12:34 PM
buzz don't forget this was not joe blow, but a criminal who had threatened the Officer previously and now had tracked him down at his house, continuing to threaten him. Adds a little more to the scenario.

Edward429451
December 17, 2003, 02:51 PM
Edward, as I said before, it is not legal to prevent trespass with deadly force in Texas.

Nah, I wasn't arguing that. Legal slegial, it happens is the point. I don't know about you folks, but I take posted signs very seriously irregardless of the law.

And if, like TBO said, the man made previous threats to him, the homeowner owed him nothing. The moral of this story? Take signs seriously and do be polite to people when you're on their land.:uhoh:

Nickotym
December 17, 2003, 03:04 PM
How many people drive up to someone's driveway, then park the car and throw thier keys in the glovebox?

It also doesn't matter if no weapon was found in the glove box. If the shootee was dumb enough to make a threatening gesture he goes away in a pine box. If he was doing something legitimate he should have vocalized what he was doing.

I would be willing to bet the shootee had a rap sheet a mile long or else should have been on meds in a hospital.


Edited to add after further thought: If I have someone at gunpoint and tell them to back away and drop their gun, there are only two motions they should do BACK AWAY and DROP THEIR WEAPON. If they come towards me or raise their weapon, they will get shot.

Since the guy in the car was not reaching for the gearshifter, it is pretty safe to guess his plan wasn't to drive away.

Quartus
December 17, 2003, 03:09 PM
You defend your stance on our lack of knowledge of what the gesture was. We know what it was: he reached into his glove compartment.


:what: My bad, buzz - I spaced that part and only noticed the "threatening gesture" part. Comes from reading too quickly while at work.



Whether he was reaching for his gun or his keys, the officer didn't know. That lack of knowledge means that it was at most a potentially threatening gesture, and you aren't allowed to shoot on those.


My further comments still apply. A glove box is a common place to keep a gun, and reaching into one is NOT the action of a person who is complying with an order to leave the property. It IS reasonable to shoot someone under those conditions. buzz, you ought to know by now that I'm NOT one to defend bad shootings by LEOs. If you don't, just ask TBO. ;)


But I don't think that the fact this guy is a LEO really matters here. What matters is the pattern of threatening (for whatever reason - he could have been a banker who denied a loan) and the fact that this pattern was escalated to the point of coming to the man's home and threatening him there, even to the point of refusing to leave when confronted with a gun. That spells "imminent danger" to me.


Hmmm. We don't know if he was in or out of his car. But who puts thier keys in a glove box? Maybe some do, but in this officer's position, I wouldn't wait to see what he pulled out of that glove box.

rayjay
December 17, 2003, 03:51 PM
Quartus

Very well said. If the guy in the drive way was complying to leave he would have left.....period.

A man threatening a banker then reaches into his glove box, the banker might think that he's reaching for paperwork(loan papers)

A man threatening a LEO then ordered to leave AT gun point, then reaches for his glove box, LEO's should take that as a sign of danger. If he was on the side of the road.....WAIT for a weapon to appear then react. Man is in a LEO's drive way threatening him then reaches for something after being told several times to leave at gun point......he's not reaching for a X-mas card folks.

BluesBear
December 17, 2003, 04:27 PM
Was the guy attempting to comply and was reaching into his glove compartment for the keys he'd tossed there? :rolleyes:
That statement sounds just as stupid now as it did when I first read it. :rolleyes:

I'm just waiting for some one to suggest that perhaps the gear shift for reverse was in the glove box? :scrutiny:

Steve in PA
December 17, 2003, 05:42 PM
Any update as to what if anything was found in the glove compartment?

Sure seems to be alot of people with itchy trigger fingers around here :(

TheeBadOne
December 17, 2003, 05:51 PM
Does it really matter? You could then say; "The cop put it in there after"... ;)

Quartus
December 17, 2003, 06:41 PM
I matters as much as finding out that the "gun" was a toy gun.


IOW, you can't judge the reasonableness of the act based on information that the shooter didn't have. You have to look at what HE knew at the time.

fiVe
December 18, 2003, 03:55 PM
There is no way we can know all the facts, but I know this:

If I'm ever in a situation where---
1. I'm in another guy's driveway
2. He thinks I am a threat to him
3. He has drawn a gun & ordered me to leave

I'm leaving........and I will tell him so, "OK! Don't Shoot!
I'm leaving now."

Then I will keep my hands visible, STAY AWAY FROM THE
GLOVEBOX, and make my exit post haste.

TheeBadOne
December 18, 2003, 04:05 PM
I suspect the situation evolved this way:

Man is home and notices that a car has driven down his long driveway up to his house and is sitting there looking out of place. Man doesn't recognize car so goes out to see who/what it is (nothing suggesting a threat at this point, so the man is just going out to see what's up, lost, need help, etc).
Man walks up to car when TSHTF! Man recognizes driver as criminal who has made personal threats against Man and now has stalked him to his home (had to stalk/follow as phone/address is unlisted for privacy).
Man tells criminal who has threatened him previously to leave now. Criminal makes more threats and refuses to leave. Man feels threatened. Options, turn and go back inside (crazy driver making threats can do what he wants). Second option, Man is legally armed, produces pistol, tells man to leave again. Whether man begins to back away toward house or not is unknown. Criminal makes threatening gesture reaching toward glove box (quickly? comments made? etc) and Man responds in fear of his own life and that of his family inside the home behind him.

As ususal, no where near enough information in a media article to make a judgement, but nothing I've read so far has a bad odor to it.

JMHO

Quartus
December 18, 2003, 04:16 PM
Yup. And it plays the same way whether the shooter is a cop or not.



ONE POSSIBLE BAD SCENARIO HERE:


As you suggested, with the following variation:


Officer orders trespasser to leave. Trespasser smiles a nasty smile, says something like, "Sure, I'm going. But maybe I'll be back when you aren't home. Maybe when your wife or daugher is home."

Cop knows he can't always be there to protect his family, and this guy knows where he lives. Shoots trespasser to death, makes up story about threatening gesture.


Of course, there's no evidence of that, but it IS a possibility.

And I wouldn't convict him if I were on the jury. That's justifiable homicide in my book. The threat is clear and credible. The fact that it's not imminent makes a legal difference, but not a moral one in my book.

magnumjim
December 18, 2003, 11:56 PM
In Texas it don't matter what happened. The guy is dead and they will take the cops word as to what happened. The cop is home free. I lived in Houston for 15 years and have seen this happen many times.

12 Volt Man
December 19, 2003, 12:33 AM
I agree with the not enough info thing. I do know that if a bad guy ever reaches for his glove box in a situation where I have found it necesary to produce my weapon, it will probably be his last move.

A similar thing happened here in Utah 10 years or so ago. Teenagers run into a grocery store, run out with stolen beer. Hop in to get away car. Cop steps in front of car with weapon drawn. Tells them not to move and keep hands up. Kid reaches down for gear shifter or other unknown reason and gets shot in the head.

You never know with cops. If I am ever pulled over, I will keep my hands on the wheel and advise the officer of every move I am going to make. Especially if I am packing.

XLMiguel
December 19, 2003, 08:41 AM
Looks like a good shoot to me, on the surface, If someone who had previously threatened me in front of witnesses showed up at my place, (the one with clearly posed "No Trespassing" signs) I'd be inclined to believe he was there to act on the threats.

In my VERY limited experience dealing with nervous cops (i.e. one with a drawn gun), it's a real good idea to keep both hands in plain sight, announce your intentions before you do anything, and move REAL slowly and deliberately after the cop agrees to your announced intention to move.

BluesBear
December 19, 2003, 09:32 PM
Bear's Third Law Of Life;

Never Argue With Someone When Your Life Is In Their Hands.

Steve in PA
December 20, 2003, 11:56 AM
http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/front/2302116


Accused stalked killed by officer was unarmed

Copyright 2003 Houston Chronicle

A Montgomery County man accused of stalking a Houston police lieutenant was unarmed when the off-duty lieutenant shot him to death Monday, detectives said Wednesday.

A search of the car in which 25-year-old Kevin Leonard Lunsford was sitting turned up no weapons, said Montgomery County Sheriff's Lt. Rand Henderson. Detectives would not say, however, where or how many times Lunsford was shot.

Lt. Eric D. Hillman, assigned to the Houston Police Department's Kingwood station, shot Lunsford after he disregarded a "No Trespassing" sign and drove on to the officer's property in Cut and Shoot around 6 p.m. Monday, sheriff's detectives said. They said Hillman, who had told Lunsford he was under arrest for trespassing, fired after Lunsford moved toward his glove compartment.

Hillman, who also is a lawyer, had been harassed in recent days after Lunsford's wife sought legal advice from him about ending her marriage or pursuing criminal charges, said a source familiar with the investigation. Hillman had contacted several agencies for help, his attorney said, although Lunsford had no arrest record or restraining orders in Harris or Montgomery counties.

Lunsford's family could not be located for comment.

Hillman, a 21-year HPD veteran who previously served as a legal adviser in the police chief's office, has a clean record. His personnel file contains numerous letters of commendation, many praising the courses he taught on cultural diversity and racial profiling.

Hillman's attorney, Brett Ligon of the Houston Police Officers Union, said Hillman and his wife were in their truck when Lunsford arrived and were unable to back up because of a ravine.

"He's at this point where he can't back up, his wife is with him, and this stalker he's trying to get protection from is right there on him," Ligon said.

BluesBear
December 20, 2003, 12:16 PM
... drove on to the officer's property in Cut and Shoot ...
Perhaps he should have threatened someone who lived in Scream and Run.
:neener:

P95Carry
December 20, 2003, 12:23 PM
As ever - I do wonder just how good or truthful the reporting was - but be that as it may ..... it seems more justified than not.

Surely .................. anyone, and I mean anyone ... when covered by another's gun (unless BG's gun in which case you do whatever you can) .... is able to avoid injury or death by not being stoopid. That means .... hands in clear view ..... NO threatening gestures.

I sure as hell, if I wanna get home in one piece - will do everything possible to make it totally clear, that my hands are nowhere near - anything!! If I really needed to get something like wallet .. I would ask ...... and be VERY deliberate and careful in so doing.

Or is this paranoia?? Not to me, when it's my a$$ on the line.

Steve in PA
December 20, 2003, 12:24 PM
LOL.......oh thats bad......:neener:

Steve in PA
December 20, 2003, 01:02 PM
We could pick apart this story in the comfort of our homes, which is a good thing, because we all should use this as a learning tool. Which is why I post and respond to these types of threads. Everyone can learn something.

Do I think the shooting was justified??? Mmmmmm.....maybe because I'm a LEO Firearms Instructor I see a few holes (no pun intended) in the shooting. Again, I have that option sitting here reading the medias reports.

The latest article says the officer and his wife were in their truck and had no where to go. SHould the guy have come onto the property? Hell no. Should he have left? Hell yeah.

I don't know what laws or requirements are taught in Texas for the use of deadly force, especially for a LEO. But I don't think they were met, had this happended in PA.

Did the guy have the ability to cause death or serious bodily injury? Don't think so since he had nothing in his hands, even before he made the threatening gesture towards the glove compartment.

Did the guy have the opportunity? Ditto

Immediate fear of death or SBI??? Ditto

Alot of emphasis is being placed on this threatening gesture. Ok, maybe he was in fear because of the movement, but that in itself doesn't give you the green light to fire. Was the guy reaching for his keys? Doubt it. A camera......a cell phone??? Maybe a weapon. But I'm not going to shoot someone not knowing whether or not there is a weapon in their hands. Am I going to have my weapon drawn and pointed at this guy? You better believe it.

Which is why we do shoot/no shoot scenarios. Have targets pop up with a weapon in their hand.....then have targets pop up holding a cell phone, beer can......anything but a weapon. Stress is induced....decisions must be made.....and you better be right.

Being that the guy ws unarmed, I feel bad for the LEO. I'm sure every civil attorney in the book is dialing up the dead persons family right now. Being sued civilly doesn't mean you did anything criminally wrong of course. Its a crappy situation for everyone involved.

bfason
December 20, 2003, 02:20 PM
They'll run it past a grand jury, the officer will be given the benefit of any doubts, and it will be filed away under DSAF (Did Society A Favor). After all, this *is* Texas.

Carlos
December 21, 2003, 11:18 AM
The clown is exactly where he should be:

TAKING A DIRT NAP!!!!

:neener:

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