Patterico's Pontifications

12/15/2007

The Joe Horn Ripple Effect (Updated x2)

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 4:51 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Once is a fluke.

Twice could be coincidence.

But three times suggests a pattern:

“The owner of a small Texas City mom-and-pop grocery store shot and killed a gunmen during a robbery Friday night, authorities said.

A man, whose identity was not available, entered Jones Grocery in the 600 block of 9th Street North around 8:30 p.m. dressed in black and armed with a shotgun, Texas City Police Department Captain Brian Goetschius said. An employee outside smoking a cigarette was able to alert store owner Joe Kainer Jr. before being ordered away by the gunman, Goetschius said.

The gunman entered the store and demanded money at Kainer’s back counter, police said. After putting the cash in a bag, he demanded more money from the front register. At the front counter, Kainer was able to pull his gun out, police said.

“As (the gunman) was opening the door to leave, which is within arm’s length of the counter, still in possession of the shotgun and money, he was shot,” Goetschius said.

[T]he robber was pronounced dead on the scene.”

Authorities believe the owner acted within his rights under Texas law and do not plan to file charges.

I suspect many Houston-area robbers and burglars are thinking seriously about a career change.

UPDATE 1 – 12/15/2007: Here’s number four. The Houston Chronicle published this report regarding a botched robbery at a Houston grocery store that killed 68-year-old Janette Dominguez, “who was caught in the crossfire Friday night between the would-be robbers and the store’s security guard.” A 27-year-old man believed to be one of the gunmen also died from a gunshot and the store security guard was seriously wounded:

“At the Fiesta at Fulton and Patton, two men — one armed with a shotgun and the other with a handgun — entered the store about 9 p.m. Friday, said Sgt. Robert Odom with the Houston Police Department’s homicide unit. Wearing hoods and ski masks, the gunmen threatened a male employee to try to gain access to the store’s courtesy area. “They apparently walked in and grabbed the nearest employee and demanded to be let into the courtesy booth,” Odom said.

The armed security guard was taking a break in the coffee shop near the back of the store when he heard the disturbance and went to investigate, Odom said. When one of the suspects saw the security guard come around the corner, he opened fire, said Odom, noting that the guard’s uniform closely resembles an HPD uniform.

The gunmen and security guard exchanged gunfire. Dominguez, who was waiting to check out in the first express lane near the entrance, got caught in the crossfire, authorities said.

“There was a bottle of cold medicine still sitting there,” Odom said.”

How very sad, especially in the death of Ms. Dominguez. It will be interesting to see if this case changes public opinion regarding the use of deadly force in a robbery.

UPDATE 2 – 12/16/2007: The bullet that killed Ms. Dominguez did not come from the security guard’s gun:

“Janette Dominguez, 68, was buying cold medicine at the supermarket in the 4100 block of Fulton about 8:45 p.m. when she was caught up in the crossfire between the robbers and a security guard, police said. She later died at Ben Taub General Hospital. Police said an autopsy report showed that the bullet that struck Dominguez did not come from the security guard’s gun.”

This is small comfort for Ms. Dominguez’ family but I’m sure it matters to the security guard.

— DRJ

Beldar Ruminates on Huckabee’s Foreign Policy Platform

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 2:41 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

I’ve missed Beldar’s posts while he’s taking a blogging sabbatical and I’m sure others have, too. Today he posted an analysis of Huckabee’s kumbaya foreign policy platform.

He is not impressed.

— DRJ

New Jersey Bans Death Penalty

Filed under: Constitutional Law — DRJ @ 2:29 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

New Jersey has banned the death penalty and the New York Times’ editors think it’s about time:

“It took 31 years, but the moral bankruptcy, social imbalance, legal impracticality and ultimate futility of the death penalty has finally penetrated the consciences of lawmakers in one of the 37 states that arrogates to itself the right to execute human beings.”

Leave it to the Times to be the best at everything. It’s hard to write a more arrogant and condescending sentence than that.

— DRJ

LSU Shootings Spark Concerns; Anger (Updated)

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 1:04 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

UPDATE 12/15/2007: I want to express my condolences to the families and friends of the LSU students who were murdered.

Two LSU Ph.D. students were murdered in campus housing yesterday, apparently in connection with a robbery, and the murders have caused understandable concerns about safety:

Authorities Friday were searching for three men seen rushing Thursday night from the area of the LSU apartments where two doctoral students were shot to death. The bodies of Chandrasekhar Reddy Komma, 31, of Hyderabad, India, and Kiran Kumar Allam, 33, of Kurnool, India, were found late Thursday evening.

No arrests had been made by Friday night, and no suspects named. But a task force of several law enforcement agencies was trying “to identify and locate three young black men who were seen hurriedly leaving the vicinity,” Baton Rouge Police Department spokesman Sgt. Don Kelly said in a news release Friday evening.

The men got into a small to midsize four-door car, possibly occupied by a fourth person acting as the driver, Kelly said. The car was seen leaving the complex with its headlights off, headed south on Gov. Claiborne Drive, he said, and the lights were turned back on as it turned west onto Aster Street.

Komma and Allam were slain at the Edward Gay Apartments, near West Roosevelt Street, LSU Chancellor Sean O’Keefe said at a news conference Friday morning. Both were shot in the head.

They “appeared to be targeted for reasons unknown,” O’Keefe said. “This does not appear to be a random event.”

There have also been reports of anger at how LSU handled the notification of students that an event had occurred on campus:

University officials sent out an emergency text message to the 25 percent of LSU students, faculty and workers who had registered their cell phones with the university’s emergency text-message system, O’Keefe said. But some of those people did not receive the message, he said. The company that runs the service is trying to find out what the problem was, he said.

University officials also sent out a broadcast e-mail to people at LSU and posted a message to the LSU Web site.

Gerard Braud, a crisis communications specialist who runs Mandeville-based Braud Communications, said LSU failed to properly practice its emergency communications systems. Braud said his daughter is an LSU student who is supposed to receive the text alerts but did not. “She’s pretty upset because she and her whole sorority house didn’t get any notification,” Braud said. “My daughter was freaking out this morning because she didn’t know what to do.”

Students were first notified via e-mail of the shootings more than 90 minutes after police responded. Braud argued that warnings to students should have been sent out within the hour. Braud took particular aim at one university e-mail that read, ‘The tragic homicides that took place on campus Thursday evening provided an opportunity for the university to test its new emergency text-message system.’ “The system should have been tested the week it was installed,” Braud said, “not on a day when it needed to potentially save lives.”

LSU spokeswoman Kristine Calongne said in an e-mail response to the criticism about the testing that “There had been some small-scale tests, but this was the first time the entire system had been tested.”

It makes sense that LSU’s notification system might have problems the first time it was used. Colleges frequently use the emergency notification system to warn of weather and security problems, and I’m surprised LSU hasn’t used its system before now.

— DRJ

Bleccch

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:40 pm

Will President Hillary mean Justice Bill?

Robbery Witnesses identify Santa Claus

Filed under: Crime,Law — DRJ @ 11:57 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Some witnesses provide reliable information but witnesses in stressful situations can produce unreliable versions of events. Here’s a good example from New Hampshire:

“LONDONDERRY (AP) – Santa is off the hook in a bank robbery.

Initially, the man who robbed St. Mary’s Bank on Tuesday was described as wearing a Santa hat and beard. Close, but not exactly accurate. A second look at surveillance photos shows the hat was a blue Santa hat with the words “Red Sox” on the front and the beard was a long scarf.

The man got away with cash after claiming he had a weapon.”

I think security cameras not only help capture offenders but probably help protect innocent people, too. Or, as in this case, innocent Santas.

— DRJ


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