Skip to comments.Farmington homeowner doesn't regret firing gun: Though he might take different approach(NH)
Posted on 02/21/2012 5:33:43 AM PST by marktwain
FARMINGTON While he may be facing a felony charge, Dennis Fleming said he does not regret firing his gun Saturday when he stopped and detained a burglar who had entered his home and at least one other on Ten Rod Road.
Still, the 61-year-old grandfather of 14 said he might go about stopping the burglar a little differently next time.
"I should have called police and I recommend that everyone does," he said. "That aside, I'm glad I caught him."
Fleming was arrested late Saturday night after turning himself into police and charged with felony reckless conduct, alleging he put others at risk of serious bodily injury when he discharged his firearm into the ground near 27-year-old Joseph Hebert in a residential area where people had gathered to watch the ordeal unfold.
Though shots were fired, no one was injured. Fleming was released on personal recognizance bail soon after his arrest.
Fleming related Saturday afternoon's events to Foster's on Monday, saying it began when he arrived at his 1826 farmhouse, which has been in his family for decades, at approximately 1:45 p.m. and found drawers opened and his belongings scattered around the house.
He said he couldn't tell right away if anything from his home was missing, and that after about 10 or 15 minutes of checking his house for damage and stolen items, he noticed a man walking down the street with a backpack.
"I said, 'That can't be him,'" Fleming said Monday, but decided to see if it was, driving his truck down the road.
After he did not find the man, Fleming said he went back to his house, grabbed his gun, and decided to walk down the street to talk with neighbors and find out if they had seen anyone suspicious in the area.
It was on this walk that he saw the man with the backpack, later identified to be Hebert, again, coming out of a neighbor's back window.
"I heard, 'Crash, bang boom!', and he came flying out the back window," Fleming said. It was later determined Hebert had left Fleming's house in a similar fashion, jumping from a second-story window about 15 feet down to the ground.
What happened next Fleming said was a result of him acting on an instinct to not only stop the man, but protect himself.
"I had drawn my gun ... I had a bypass last year, I have a bad knee, bad back, I don't want this guy to come at me," he said Monday. "I yelled, 'Freeze!' and fired my gun into the ground."
Fleming held the man at gunpoint until police arrived to help. Found in the man's backpack were a number of items, including old pocket watches that belonged to Fleming's father and silver coins, taken from another residence.
After he fired the gun, Fleming said, the alleged burglar was not only calm, but apologetic.
"He felt bad," Fleming said. "I told him if he's got a problem, get help. I feel bad for the guy, but not that bad, he was in my house."
It was Saturday night, when Fleming called local police to find out if Hebert had been released on bail, concerned he might try to come back to the house, that he learned he himself was going to be charged in the incident.
While he said he knows he broke the law by firing his weapon, he said the charge, a Class B felony punishable by 31⁄2 to 7 years in prison, still came as a shock.
"I got read my rights for the first time in my life," he said. "I'm sick to my stomach. I don't know what's going to happen to me now. I'm pretty nervous, I don't want to go to prison."
Fleming said his weapons, including a number of hunting rifles and antique guns once handed down through his family were taken away after his arrest. Now, Fleming, who is not scheduled to be arraigned on his charge until March 20, said he has to wait and see what will come of his arrest.
County Attorney Tom Velardi said Monday that he will be reviewing the case and will work to determine if the charge against Fleming is appropriate.
Velardi said his office was consulted over the weekend about whether to charge Fleming, adding the state statute regarding what constitutes self-defense or defense of property is clear and that he would be reviewing the statute and the facts of the case.
"We'll review all circumstances, including where the person was when he fired, why he fired, to determine whether we will proceed with the charge," Velardi said.
Farmington police, too, are continuing their investigation into the case, looking into whether Hebert could be involved in a number of other recent burglaries in town.
While Sgt. Scott Ferguson said Monday that there is no new information on whether Hebert was involved in other break-ins, he did say he expects more charges to filed against the man in the future.
Hebert will appear in Rochester Circuit Court this morning via video to be arraigned on his charges stemming from the situation, including two counts of burglary, both Class B felonies punishable by 31⁄2 to 7 years in prison, and one felony level count of possession of controlled narcotics.
In the meantime, while Fleming is not scheduled to be arraigned on his charge until March, he said he is nervous about what will come of the situation but does not regret what he did.
"I think I did right," he said Monday afternoon. "I stopped a guy who stole and kept him from doing it again."
This is in the liberal homosexual Northeast. He’ll go to prison and be raped, probably by the guy who burglarized his house.
The guy who burglarized his house will never go to prison.
charged with “ felony reckless conduct, alleging he put others at risk of serious bodily injury”
Take them on and call bullshit!
“My actions were deliberate and well practiced, and NOBODY ELSE was at “risk”.
“Our presence in this courtroom today it the result of some jive@$$ attorney, applying reckless, unsubstantiated theories, which place our constitutional liberties, and right to self defense at serious risk.”
A better statement is, "He started to come at me, and I was in fear of my life."
Where was Sgt Jim Chee?
Never, EVER....fire a warning shot. EVER.
Gun Ownership 101.
If you pull your weapon, be prepared to use it as deadly force.
“...and one felony level count of possession of controlled narcotics.”
Probably an expired 1/4 bottle of Vicodin from his wife’s old surgery that he hung onto for the pain in his knees when it flairs up.
Poor guy. I hope he gets a jury of his peers. The law in my state he would be fine even if the guy wasn’t threatening him. Although just to be sure one might want to phrase it like you said - he was coming at me, and I fired a shot that missed him, but then he stopped so I just held him for police.
Followed by ,"he reached into his backpack and now he is dead"
“I should have called police and I recommend that everyone does.”
When seconds count, the police are minutes away.
So true! Warning shots are for the movies and are a waste of precious ammo. The assailant could think that you can’t hit him (you did miss) and be encouraged to press an attack.
If you fear for your life, you must shoot to kill with the first shot!
Followed by ,"he reached into his backpack and now he is dead"
Amen! Can't add anything to this other than another ... Amen!
He'll never see them again. They will mysteriously disappear during police custody.
In FL or Texas they’d give him a freaking medal and make him an honorary deputy.
When I started reading this, I was sure I was reading about the UK. or maybe even a satire article. Then there was the sickening realization that this is the US and real.
He started to come at me, and I was in fear of my life.”
Followed by ,”he reached into his backpack and now he is dead”
Amen! Can’t add anything to this other than another ... Amen!
And I’ll add my Amen!
Typical police jealousy as he was caught doing their job and made them look bad. That’s the problem with police reliance - they’re always there after the fact. Hope the NRA throws some support his way.
As soon as he discovered his house was broken into he should have called the police.
Going on his own manhunt was illadvised, especially in his state.
This is utterly sickening.
I don't see why civilians can't claim the same latitude to fire weapons as the police do. The only reason police EVER give for firing is self-defense, concern for their safety, etc. Even compliance is never attributed to shooting, it's always resisting arrest and thereby putting hte officer in fear for their lives. So we're always talking about a person's fear for their life. Therefore, the legal argument is the same, unless the court wants to actually rule that an officer's life is more valuable than a civilians - and that would be the day of the start of CW2, when THAT ruling came out.
No, there needs to be legal parity between police and civilians in firearm liability - that's the part of the second amendment that has yet to be applied. Human life is human life, whether you're wearing a badge or not. There can be no valid difference in allowance of self-defense before the court - criminal OR civil.
Dang.... Vermont Alaska Texas Florida .... I didn’t fire a warning shot I missed the SOB with the first shot before he stopped his threatening behavior....
Stop the threat....never scare the threat.
Stay Safe Travis.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.