Man Shot During Robbery on Monroe Road

By Amanda Chan
achan@charlotteobserver.com
Posted: Thursday, Jul. 29, 2010

A man was shot during a robbery attempt on Monroe Road Wednesday afternoon.

The victim received non-life threatening injuries in the robbery, which happened near North Sharon Amity Road, according to police.

Police did not have a good description of the suspect.

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Published in: on July 29, 2010 at 3:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds The Right of Individual Citizens to Keep and Bear Arms

McDONALD v. CHICAGO (08-1521)

561 U.S. ___ (2010), REVERSED AND REMANDED, June 28, 2010

Question Presented:

Whether the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is incorporated as against the States by the Fourteenth Amendment’s Privileges or Immunities or Due Process Clauses.

Issue:

May a state or local government ban possession of handguns in light of the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms?

Facts Of The Case:

The Second Amendment reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” U.S. Const. Amend. II. In District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S.Ct. 2783 (2008), the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment secures for individuals the right to keep and bear arms, including handguns, for the purpose of self-defense. See id. at 2821–22. Although the Heller Court held that the right to bear arms was not unlimited, the Court did strike down two Washington D.C. gun control laws in effect at the time. See id. The Washington D.C. laws did not ban handguns outright, but effectively reached that result by making the possession of an unregistered firearm a crime, and making the registration of handguns illegal. See id. at 2788. The Heller Court also struck down a Washington D.C. law that required that all lawful firearms kept in the home be either disassembled or trigger-locked. See id.

On June 26, 2008, one day after Heller was decided, Petitioners, McDonald, et al. (“McDonald”), brought lawsuits in the Northern District of Illinois against Respondents, City of Chicago and Village of Oak Park (“Chicago”), challenging municipal laws similar to the federal laws struck down in Heller. See McDonald v. Chicago, 2008 WL 5111112 at *1 (N.D. Ill. 2008). Like the laws struck down in Heller, Chicago and Oak Park’s laws prohibit the possession of most handguns. See Nat’l Rifle Ass’n v. Chicago, 567 F.3d 856, 857 (7th Cir. 2009). Chicago law accomplishes a virtual ban on handguns by prohibiting the possession of unregistered firearms. See Chi. Mun. Code § 8-20-040. Chicago law prohibits the registration of most handguns. See Chi. Mun. Code § 8-20-050. Similarly, Oak Park law prohibits the possession of handguns. See Oak Park Ill. Vill. Code §§ 27-2-1, 27-1-1. In his lawsuits, McDonald argued that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms should apply to states and municipalities through either the Due Process Clause or the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. See Complaint at 6, 9, McDonald v. Chicago, 2008 WL 5111112.

The district court dismissed McDonald’s lawsuits with a cursory opinion. See McDonald v. Chicago, 2008 WL 5111112. McDonald appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. See Nat’l Rifle Ass’n v. Chicago, 567 F.3d 856 (7th Cir. 2009). The Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissals. See id. at 857. In explaining its reasoning, the Seventh Circuit stated that “Heller dealt with a law enacted under the authority of the national government,” while the Illinois laws at issue were enacted by Chicago and Oak Park, “subordinate bodies of a state.” See id. at 857. Additionally, it noted that the Supreme Court has refused to incorporate the Second Amendment against the states in the past. See id. at 857. Finally, it asserted that the question of whether the right to bear arms should be incorporated against the states through the Fourteenth Amendment was a question that the Supreme Court, not a court of appeals, should decide. See id. at 857, 860. The Supreme Court granted certiorari on September 30, 2009. See Docket No. 08-1521.

Discussion:

The Supreme Court’s decision in this case will determine the power of states and municipalities to control the possession of handguns. Furthermore, should the Supreme Court choose to reach the issue, a decision reestablishing the Privileges and Immunities Clause as a meaningful check on State action by overruling the Slaughterhouse Cases will have far-reaching effects on longstanding conceptions of American constitutional law and federalism.

Self-Defense and Personal Safety
Petitioners, McDonald, et al. (“McDonald”), argue that the right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right that protects an individual’s inherent right to self-defense, and as such, states should be prohibited from infringing this right. See Brief for Petitioners McDonald, et al. at 69–70. The Rutherford Institute, citing the high crime rate in Chicago itself, urges that limiting state and local governments’ ability to restrict the right to bear arms is necessary to allow citizens to protect themselves against violent crime, especially in urban areas. See Brief of Amicus Curiae Rutherford Institute in Support of Petitioners at 11, 13–14. Several California district attorneys add that handguns, in particular, are especially useful to average citizens in defending themselves or their property against criminals, making handgun possession an important component of the individual right of self-defense. See Brief of Amici Curiae Thirty-Four California District Attorneys, et al., in Support of Petitioners at 25–28.

Organizations committed to protecting the public’s health, safety, and well-being argue that increased gun ownership leads to increased violence. See Brief of Amici Curiae Organizations Committed to Protecting the Public’s Health, Safety, and Well-Being in Support of Respondents at 8–9. These organizations cite research showing an increased risk of being murdered in areas with prevalent gun ownership. See id. at 14. Finally, the organizations state that there is a high, disproportionate risk of injury to women, adolescents, and children when guns are kept in the home. See id. at 18, 23. The Association of Prosecuting Attorneys argues that in urban areas, in particular, strict gun regulation allows law enforcement personnel to better maintain peace and reduce crime. See Brief of Amicus Curiae Association of Prosecuting Attorneys and District Attorneys in Support of Respondents at 6–7.

Balance of State and Federal Power

Chicago argues that incorporating the Second Amendment against the states would disrupt the balance between state and federal power. See Brief for Respondents at 8. For example, the United States Conference of Mayors emphasizes greater need for strict gun regulation in large urban areas with crime problems as opposed to rural areas and cites the success of strict gun regulations in reducing crime in large cities such as New York. See Brief of Amicus Curiae United States Conference of Mayors in Support of Respondents at 13. Chicago also worries that if the Second Amendment is incorporated, control over gun policy will move from local governments, who have an intimate understanding of local problems, to the federal courts, which are more detached from local conditions and will have to proceed with little to no case law on the subject. See Brief for Respondents at 18.

A number of states in support of McDonald argue that federalism concerns are misplaced because the right to bear arms is a fundamental right. See Brief of Amici Curiae Texas and 37 Other States in Support of Petitioners at 23-24. They reason that just as states do not have the authority to experiment with other fundamental rights, such as freedom of speech, states should not be allowed to experiment with the right to bear arms. See id. at 22-23. The Goldwater Institute notes that the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment altered the balance between state and federal power and that concerns of federalism should not outweigh the protection of individual liberties that the amendment was designed to ensure. See Brief of Amicus Curiae Goldwater Institute, et al., in Support of Petitioners at 26–27.

Finally, Illinois, Maryland and New Jersey argue against reestablishing the Privileges and Immunities Clause as a check on state power, because it would throw a significant amount of state law into question. See Brief of Amici Curiae State of Illinois, et al., in Support of Respondents at 27. For example, they argue that the Fifth Amendment right to a grand jury and the Seventh Amendment right to a jury in civil cases — neither of which are incorporated against the states through the Due Process Clause — would have to be incorporated against the states through the Privileges and Immunities Clause. See id. This, they argue, would wreak chaos on long established state court practice. See id.

Analysis:

The first major Second Amendment case since the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S. Ct. 2783 (2008), concerns a number of Chicago gun control laws, including a general handgun ban and various registration requirements. Petitioners McDonald, et al., were each in violation of one or another of the gun control laws, which ultimately rendered certain firearms incapable of registration. Bringing suit against the City of Chicago, et al., Petitioners McDonald, Orlov, Lawson, the Second Amendment Foundation, and the Illinois State Rifle Association (referred to collectively as “McDonald”) allege violations of their Second and Fourteenth Amendment rights. In particular, they are asking the Court to re-examine its “Privileges or Immunities” jurisprudence and to overrule the Slaughterhouse Cases—the Court’s 1873 case of first-impression interpreting the Fourteenth Amendment as affecting only the rights of United States citizenship and not those of State citizenship.

I. Privileges or Immunities

McDonald’s primary argument is that the Second Amendment is among the privileges or immunities of American citizenship that states may not abridge. See Brief for Petitioners, McDonald, et al., at 9; see also U.S. Const. amend. XIV, § 1. In so arguing, McDonald examines the circumstances surrounding the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment following the Civil War. See Brief for Petitioners at 10. In particular, McDonald focuses on the systematic oppression of freed blacks in the South following the Civil War, which led to frequent deprivation of their right to keep and bear arms. See id. at 11. Such injustice, McDonald argues, led to the need to adopt an amendment that would secure “basic civil rights . . . [including] those memorialized in the Bill of Rights, within the protection of federal citizenship.” Id. at 14. To support their argument, McDonald moves through the popular understanding of the terms “privileges” and “immunities” during the early republic and the antebellum South, as well as the meaning ascribed to them by the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment. See id. at 16–26. In examining the evolution of the terms’ meanings, they argue that the privileges or immunities “of American citizens include two sets of overlapping rights:” so-called fundamental rights securing by Article IV, Section 2 of the Constitution, and those enumerated in the first eight amendments. Id. at 26.

Rather than focusing on the original intent of the Fourteenth Amendment’s framers, Chicago and Oak Park urge the Court, instead, to uphold rejecting incorporation of the Bill of Rights under the Privileges or Immunities Clause. See Brief for Respondents, City of Chicago and the Village of Oak Park at 42. Chicago and Oak Park point to the Slaughterhouse Cases, where the Court held that the Fourteenth Amendment’s Privileges or Immunities Clause includes only those rights that “are dependent upon citizenship of the United States, and not citizenship of a State.” Id.; see also 83 U.S. (16 Wall.) 36 (1872). Such rights would include, for example, the freedom to petition the government, to run for political office, to become a citizen of any state through residence; however, such rights did not include those enumerated in the Bill of Rights, including the right to bear arms. See id. at 43. Chicago and Oak Park also point to the seminal cases of United States v. Cruikshank, which held that the Second Amendment did not apply to the States, and Presser v. Illinois, which held that the right to keep and bear arms is not a privilege or immunity of United States citizenship. See id. at 44. They thus argue that the Court should use the doctrine of stare decisis to uphold cases that explicitly reject incorporation of the Second Amendment through the Fourteenth Amendment’s privileges or immunities clause. See id. at 45.

McDonald responds by arguing that stare decisis can be overcome when a case is clearly erroneous. See Brief for Petitioners at 57. They argue that the Slaughterhouse line of cases meets this bill for the four considerations enumerated in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 854 (1992). First, McDonald argues that Slaughterhouse is an impractical opinion that results in the virtual elimination of the Privileges or Immunities Clause. See id. at 60. Second, in response to the argument that stare decisis protects legitimate reliance interests, McDonald argues that depriving individuals of their constitutional rights cannot be a valid interest. See id. at 61. Third, McDonald argues that the Slaughterhouse line of cases is anachronistic, insofar as it dealt with the problems of freed slaves. See id. at 64. Finally, McDonald argues that modern factual understandings compel the Court to treat this case as one of first impression, i.e. as if looking at the scope of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Privileges or Immunities clause for the first time. See id.

Chicago and Oak Park, however, argue that the four Casey factors weigh in favor of applying stare decisis to the Slaughterhouse line of cases. See Brief for Respondents at 46. First, they argue that the cases offer a workable jurisprudence that is easy to apply. See id. They argue that if the Court accepts McDonald’s argument, “it would also make applicable to the State unenumerated fundamental rights of uncertain scope,” which is arguably an unworkable and uncertain. Id. at 49. Second, they point to the fact that the cases have been good law for 137 years, which they argue compels the highest deference. See id. Third, they argue that there are substantial reliance interests created by the century-old precedent, including the systems of criminal and civil law. See id. at 51. Finally, Chicago and Oak Park argue that the facts of the Slaughterhouse cases have not been eroded and that a modern approach would not render the original holding anachronistic. See id.

II. Due Process

Chicago and Oak Park argue that the Second Amendment is not incorporated through the Due Process Clause. Brief for Respondents at 8. In order for a right to be incorporated through the Due Process Clause, they argue that such a right must be “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.” Id. (quoting Palko v. Connecticut, 302 U.S. 319, 325 (1937)). They argue that the considerations for determining whether a right fits within the concept of ordered liberty are the protections provided by the right and whether those protections are necessary in a system of ordered liberty. See id. at 10. They argue that this standard is exacting and that the considerations of federalism must play a role in determining whether a right is incorporated. See id. Arguing that federalism allows for a state to try novel social experiments, Chicago and Oak Park portray their cities as two of many laboratories of democracy and their gun regulations to be but a few of any permissible approaches. See id. at 11.

McDonald, on the other hand, argues that the Due Process Clause does incorporate the Second Amendment. See Brief for Petitioners at 66. Agreeing with Chicago and Oak Park that the standard for determining whether a right is implicit in the concept of ordered liberty, McDonald argues that the modern incorporation test asks whether a right is fundamental to the American scheme of justice. See id. at 67. McDonald argues that the Court should consider three factors: (1) the historical acceptance of the right in our nation, (2) its recognition by the states, and (3) the nature of the interest secured by the right. See id. McDonald goes on to analyze each factor. First, McDonald argues that the historical acceptance of the right to bear arms was inherited from our English ancestors and is fundamental in the United States. See id. at 68. Second, McDonald points to the fact that forty-four states protect the right to bear arms in their respective constitutions. See id. Finally, McDonald makes the argument that the right to bear arms and to defend oneself is an aspect of liberty deserving of incorporation. See id.

Holding of the Court:

The Supreme Court reversed the Seventh Circuit, holding that the Fourteenth Amendment makes the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms for the purpose of self-defense applicable to the states. With Justice Samuel A. Alito writing for the majority, the Court reasoned that rights that are “fundamental to the Nation’s scheme of ordered liberty” or that are “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition” are appropriately applied to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court recognized in Heller that the right to self-defense was one such “fundamental” and “deeply rooted” right. The Court reasoned that because of its holding in Heller, the Second Amendment applied to the states. Here, the Court remanded the case to the Seventh Circuit to determine whether Chicago’s handgun ban violated an individual’s right to keep and bear arms for self-defense.
Justice Alito, writing in the plurality, specified that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the Second Amendment right recognized in Heller. He rejected Justice Clarence Thomas’s separate claim that the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment more appropriately incorporates the Second Amendment against the states. Alito stated that the Court’s decision in the Slaughterhouse Cases — rejecting the use of the Privileges or Immunities Clause for the purpose of incorporation — was long since decided and the appropriate avenue for incorporating rights was through the Due Process Clause.

Justice Antonin Scalia concurred. He agreed with the Court’s opinion, but wrote separately to disagree with Justice John Paul Stevens’ dissent. Justice Clarence Thomas concurred and concurred in the judgment. He agreed that the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the Second Amendment against the states, but disagreed that the Due Process Clause was the appropriate mechanism. Instead, Justice Thomas advocated that the Privileges or Immunities Clause was the more appropriate avenue for rights incorporation. Justice John Paul Stevens dissented. He disagreed that the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the Second Amendment against the states. He argued that owning a personal firearm was not a “liberty” interest protected by the Due Process Clause. Justice Stephen G. Breyer, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, also dissented. He argued that there is nothing in the Second Amendment’s “text, history, or underlying rationale” that characterizes it as a “fundamental right” warranting incorporation through the Fourteenth Amendment.

Published in: on July 28, 2010 at 11:52 am  Leave a Comment  

MS-13 Gangmember Sentenced to Death In Charlotte

July 27, 2010

U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
(202) 514-2007/TDD (202) 514-1888
For Immediate Release

Defendant Shot and Killed Two Brothers in December 2007 in Guilford County, N.C.; 2 Men in July 2005 in Los Angeles, CA; Aided & Abetted in the Death of Yet Another Los Angeles Man in September 2005

WASHINGTON—A 12-person federal jury in Charlotte, N.C., today voted unanimously to impose the death penalty against Alejandro Enrique Ramirez Umana, aka “Wizard,” 25. Umana was convicted by the same jury on April 19, 2010, for the murders of Ruben Garcia Salinas and his brother, Manuel Garcia Salinas, on Dec. 8, 2007, in Guilford County, N.C. The jury also found that Umana was responsible for other murders: on July 27, 2005, in Los Angeles, the defendant killed Jose Herrera and Gustavo Porras; and on Sept. 28, 2005, in Los Angeles, the defendant participated and aided and abetted the killing of Andy Abarca. That sentence will be formally imposed by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Conrad Jr., at a later date.

The conviction and sentence were announced by Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina Anne M. Tompkins; Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in North Carolina, Owen D. Harris; and Rodney Monroe, Chief of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

On April 19, 2010, the jury found Umana guilty of conspiracy to participate in racketeering; two counts of murder in aid of the racketeering enterprise known as MS-13; two counts of murder resulting from the use of a gun in a violent crime; possession of a firearm by an illegal alien; one count of extortion; and two criminal counts associated with witness tampering or intimidation. The jury reached its guilty verdict after a week-long trial in U.S. District Court in Charlotte, which began on April 12, 2010.

“Today, a jury of North Carolina citizens imposed the most severe punishment available under the law against a defendant who has inflicted violence and pain on numerous communities,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “In courtrooms from North Carolina to Texas and Maryland to Tennessee, the Criminal Division’s Gang Unit and our partner U.S. Attorneys’ Offices are targeting the most dangerous gang members and taking these violent offenders off our streets.”

“This outcome, a sentence of death, is appropriate because our citizens, represented by this jury, have spoken to their community, particularly to young people who would engage in unlawful gang-related activity,” said U.S. Attorney Anne M. Tompkins. “This investigation and prosecution has had a substantial impact on disrupting gang activity in Charlotte. The actions of this defendant have had a devastating effect on the family of his victims and upon our community. We are grateful to those involved in bringing the case to this conclusion, and believe justice has been done.”

“Gangs have no place in our communities,” said Owen D. Harris, Special Agent in Charge of the Charlotte Division of the FBI. “The jury’s finding today sends a message to those gang members who think they can avoid responsibility for their deeds. We will not stop going after them. The people and agencies that took part in this investigation and prosecution prove perseverance and commitment pay off.”

“The decision today shows how willing this community is to punish gang members for wreaking havoc in our city. My Department and our law enforcement partners won’t stop until we round them all up,” said Rodney Monroe, Chief of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. “This should also send a clear message to any gang member who thinks he can escape justice–we’re not going to stop, and we’re going to always seek the toughest penalties.”

According to testimony presented during the trial, Umana, a former resident of Greensboro, N.C., was a member of a Charlotte-based cell of the La Mara Salvatrucha, also known as MS-13. The gang is composed primarily of immigrants, or descendants of immigrants, from El Salvador, with members operating throughout North Carolina, and elsewhere, inside and outside of the United States.

Witnesses testified at trial that Umana was a veteran member of the MS-13 who had illegally traveled from El Salvador, to Los Angeles, New York, and eventually, to Greensboro. Testimony established that in the fall of 2007 he was asked by MS-13 members in prison in San Salvador, El Salvador, to assist in re-organizing the Charlotte MS-13 members so that they could better control the drug trade, as well as extort and attack rival gang members in North Carolina.

Additional testimony revealed that on Dec. 8, 2007, while in a restaurant in Greensboro, Umana used a gun to shoot Ruben Garcia Salinas fatally in the chest and Manuel Garcia Salinas in the head after they “disrespected” his gang signs by calling them “fake.” Umana fired three more shots as restaurant patrons scurried for cover, with one witness running to protect her infant child. One other individual was injured by the gunfire.

According to evidence introduced during the trial, Umana later escaped to Charlotte with the assistance of other MS-13 members, where he was arrested on Dec.12, 2007, in possession of a loaded Ruger, later determined to be the murder weapon.

The jury found that, based on the evidence presented at trial and during the penalty phase, Umana shot and killed Ruben Garcia Salinas, a mason, and his brother, Manuel Garcia Salinas, a bricklayer, in aid of the racketeering enterprise known as MS-13. According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, Umana attempted during his term of pre-trial incarceration to kill witnesses and MS-13 members who had become informants. During the first day of jury selection, during a pat down at the jail prior to removing the defendant to the federal courthouse in Charlotte, U.S. Marshals recovered a knife, which Umana had concealed by attaching it to his penis.

Umana was also found by the jury at the sentencing phase to have been responsible for three other murders in Los Angeles. One of these, a double murder, occurred in July 2005 on Fairfax Avenue. The third murder, and injury of two others, occurred at Lemon Grove Park in September 2005.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina, and Trial Attorney Sam Nazzaro from the Criminal Division’s Gang Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Don Gast, Adam Morris and Kevin Zolot, all of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina, were also members of the government’s trial team.

Evidence presented at trial also showed that the long-term investigation of MS-13 activity in North Carolina was initiated by the FBI’s N.C. “Safe Streets” Gang Task Force. Specifically, a witness came forward through the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s “Gang of One” program and explained how the killings were part of the violent operation of a single MS-13 cell operating out of the Charlotte, N.C., area.

The investigation of the wide-sweeping enterprise led to the successful federal prosecution of 26 MS-13 members. In addition to Umana, six defendants were convicted at trial in January 2010, and 18 other co-defendants have pleaded guilty to the racketeering charges related to MS-13 activities in North Carolina. One defendant remains in custody in El Salvador.

The Task Force is composed of the FBI; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department; and the Gastonia, N.C., Police Department. The FBI’s MS-13 National Gang Task Force played a significant role in coordinating the international aspects of the overall investigation, and additional critical assistance was provided by the Transnational Anti-Gang (TAG) Center. Additional law enforcement investigative support was provided by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, as well as the Greensboro Police Department and the Durham Police Department. Substantial assistance has been afforded, especially during the trial, by the U.S. Marshals Service for the Western District of North Carolina.

For further information about FBI’s “Safe Streets Task Force” program, visit http://www.fbi.gov . For further information about the “Gang of One” program of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, contact Fran Cook at 704.432.4264.

Published in: on July 27, 2010 at 5:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

Woman 2, Thugs 0 After Home Invasion

FIGHTING BACK
Oklahoma break-in turns deadly when ‘victim’ pulls gun and fires

Posted: July 24, 2010
By Bob Unruh
© 2010 WorldNetDaily

One gun isn’t enough.

That was what Linda Smith (a pseudonym) was thinking after two thugs broke into her Oklahoma apartment. One was holding a weapon (she initially thought it was a knife but it turned out to be a screwdriver) at her throat, and the other was pacing back and forth while holding her purse and demanding her money and valuables. She screamed, and was told if she screamed again, she’d be dead.

She was doing as police recommend in robberies – comply with a robber’s demands. But her Lady Smith & Wesson .38 special, which she carries by permit, was hidden in her purse – and the purse was being held by one of the attackers.

Then the situation, suddenly, got much, much worse: One of the robbers demanded that she take off her clothes.

“Come on, what are you waiting for?,” he told her as he started to yank on her sweatpants, trying to take them off.

Smith pleaded for her safety and distracted the attackers by telling them she would get her money, which was “in my purse.”

The robbers inexplicably allowed her to drop to her knees and crawl across the floor to her purse, which the second attacker had dropped.

She reached inside, and the first shot was clear of the muzzle and into the torso of one of the attackers before she even pulled the weapon clear of the purse. Four more shots followed shortly and, in the end, one of the attackers was dead and the second was hospitalized facing a murder rap for having participated in a felony in which someone died.

Smith, in an exclusive interview with WND, explained she comes from a family that believes in self-reliance and courage.

“I choose to carry a concealed firearm, because even though I am immensely grateful for the protection from our police departments, I realize they’re not God, so they can’t be everywhere at once.

“Deadly situations can happen in the blink of an eye,” she said. “If you are not proactive … you are a vulnerable target.”

Smith, an Endowment member of the National Rifle Association, said she’s carried a gun for almost half a decade, but never dreamed she’d be in a situation where she’d have to use it to defend her life. But she’s glad the training she’s had over the years kicked in at a time when it saved her from injury, or possibly much worse.

“Ironically, I thought I was really prepared,” she told WND. “I remember that night and saw my life flash before my eyes. Darreon Carter, the man who was attempting to rape me, had me pinned down to my couch, with a knife at my throat. I knew I didn’t have access to my gun. I thought to myself, I really need to have a firearm for my home, and directly on my person.”
Mess left by two attackers shot when they invaded Oklahoma woman’s apartment and she shot them. One died. (Photo by Steven Conrad of Conrad Images)

Rachel Parsons, an official for the NRA, said, while Smith’s case is among the more dramatic, there are similar scenarios that have been reported. But even more, there are many crimes that simply are not carried out because of the possibility that a “victim” is fully armed, she said.

“We see every day in newspapers across this country times when law-abiding people are able to protect themselves because they have concealed-carry permits,” she said.

“Numerous studies [show] having a concealed-carry permit, having a firearm and the ability to use one, has thwarted crime without the firearm ever having been fired,” she said.

“The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

All the gun laws, regulations, rules, restrictions, plans and advisories in the world are not going to change the fact that criminals have guns, she pointed out.

“By definition, criminals break the law. All of these regulations do absolutely nothing [to stop] criminals,” she said.

Jason Willingham, a public-information officer with the Tulsa Police Department, told WND that officers encourage people to cooperate with robbers if they find themselves in the situation of losing a wallet or cash.

“However, if it’s a situation where a rape is going to take place, or a kidnapping, we definitely encourage people to fight,” he said. “You do not want to go willing. Scream. Make people wonder what’s going on.”

“Obviously, in this situation she did exactly … the right thing,” he said.

While the prosecutor had not yet made a formal decision regarding her case, Willingham told WND that Oklahoma not only has a “make my day” law allowing residents to use deadly force inside their homes, but also a “stand your ground” law allowing force to be used against an attack outside the home.

He said the surviving attacker probably will face a murder charge under a state law allowing that charge when a person embarks on a felony and someone dies.

He said the two perpetrators are “well-known” to the Tulsa police “for criminal activities.”

He said he had reviewed the 911 tapes made of Smith’s call to police after the shooting.

“It’s amazing. She’s calm and collected. You always wonder what would happen in such a situation,” he said.

According to records, the attack happened early on the morning of July 15, and one of the intruders, Darreon Carter, 18, died hours later in a hospital in Tulsa. The other, Daniel Holman, 23, was facing charges while still in critical condition.

Capt. Travis Yates of the Tulsa Police Department told the Tulsa newspaper it seemed to be an “opportunity crime.”

“Somebody saw a woman walking up to an apartment, and they decided to commit a crime, and here we are,” he said.

The attack developed only about 24 hours after another home invasion was reported in the area – and that one left a resident dead. Willingham, however, told WND it was unrelated to the Smith ordeal.

On the Tulsa World forum page, Smith came in for virtually unchallenged praise:

“The scumbags got what they deserved and I hope it is a lesson for the rest of them out there.”

“God bless this shooter.”

“Pay attention to this one. This is what is going to have to start happening to let all these no good punks [know] that you won’t stand for it and are taking your freedom back. … You come to take whats [sic] mine ‘I will shoot you.'”

“KEEP SHOOTING!!!”

“Buy a gun. Learn how to use it. Kill intruders. Any questions?”

“A perfect example of why we need the concealed carry! this is my kind of woman! fight crime! shoot back!”

“Lock and load people, it’s a different world out there.”

“I love the great equalizer.”

“This story makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.”
Smith told WND she had come into her apartment after a late-night run for errands – she keeps unusual hours because of shift work at a hospital. She had one more item to fetch from outside but never got the chance because, within 20 seconds of her entering, the suspects followed.

She recalled with clarity the five shots, including those in which she picked out the attackers even though her boyfriend, black like the attackers, was struggling with them. He had been visiting and came in from the next room after the shots rang out.

He reported to Smith later that one of the attackers actually had a headlock on him when she fired, knocking the assailant off of him.

He had jumped into Smith’s defense as both attackers were beating Smith’s face and head, trying to knock her out to break her “death grip” on the weapon.

“We need to stand up and we don’t have to be victims,” Smith told WND. “We don’t have to passively stand by and allow criminals to overtake us.”

Published in: on July 26, 2010 at 1:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

Break-In Suspect Arrested After Car Chase

From The Charlotte Observer
By Ely Portillo

Wednesday, Jul. 21, 2010

A man was arrested Wednesday after police say he led them on a car chase from a home burglary in Charlotte, up U.S. 29 and into Concord.

Andre Deleon Glover, 19, is charged with breaking into an occupied house just before 8 a.m. on Dashiel Drive in northeast Charlotte. One of the residents called police to say a man had broken in through the front door.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police arrived to find a man driving away in a dark green Toyota Camry. Officers attempted to stop the car, which sped north on U.S. 29.

The six-minute chase averaged 85 miles per hour, police said.

Concord police were waiting across the Cabarrus County line. They punctured the car’s tires with a spike strip, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg police arrested Glover.

He is charged with breaking and entering, larceny, possession of stolen goods, fleeing to elude arrest and reckless driving.

Glover has been arrested a half-dozen times since 2007. Court records show he’s been convicted of conspiracy to sell cocaine, speeding to elude arrest, possessing a stolen vehicle and felony hit-and-run.

He was released from an N.C. prison May 19 after serving about six months for breaking and entering and larceny convictions.

Published in: on July 21, 2010 at 6:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

Police: Man with Criminal History Forces His Way into Elderly Couple’s Home

FromThe Shelby Star via http://www.ten8.wordpress.com

Tuesday, Jul 20 2010

Graham Cawthon

SHELBY – Police say a man with a lengthy criminal history recently burst through the backdoor of an elderly couple’s home.

Cleveland County Sheriff’s Capt. Alan Norman said Douglas Christopher Corson Jr., 28, was charged Sunday with breaking and entering and assault on a female after he forced his way into the home of a couple on Pleasant Drive.

911 Called

Norman said it was about 9:30 a.m. Sunday when Corson began beating on the back door of the house.

“The occupants attempted to keep him out but were unable to do so,” he said.

It was during that time, he said, Corson shoved the wife. 911 was called and Cpl. Mike Fussell arrived within minutes.

Corson told authorities he was trying to avoid a man who was chasing him with a gun. But police found no sign of anyone matching the description Corson gave.

Charges

Corson is charged with breaking and entering and assault on a female. He remained in jail Tuesday with bond set at $2,500, according to the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office website. His next court appearance is scheduled for Friday.

This isn’t the first time Corson, of 1865 E. Marion St., has been behind bars.

Since 2001, Norman said, Corson has been arrested on numerous charges.

According to the N.C. Department of Corrections website, Corson most recently spent almost two years in prison for attempted first degree burglary and malicious conduct by a prisoner. He was released from custody Jan. 29, 2009. Earlier convictions include DWI, failure to report an accident and possession with intent to sell a controlled substance, according to the website.

Published in: on July 20, 2010 at 1:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Resident Holds Burglary Suspect at Gunpoint Until Police Arrive

By Steve Lyttle
slyttle@charlotteobserver.com
Tuesday, Jul. 20, 2010

Larry Whitmore got a surprise when he pulled into his driveway Saturday in south Charlotte’s Park Crossing neighborhood and saw his garage door open, and his pickup truck starting to back out.

Nobody was supposed to be home, so Whitmore guessed right – someone was trying to steal his vehicle, according to police.

Whitmore pulled his Jeep to the garage door, blocking the person in the truck from getting away. Then he got a shotgun and held the man at bay in the garage until police arrived about five minutes later.

The man who police say was in the truck, Terrell Marcus Webber, 19, has been charged with several burglary cases in the Park Crossing area – including two others Saturday. Police say he confessed to the other burglaries in Park Crossing, and to another case July 2, when two guns were stolen from a house.

Police say Webber was trying to leave Whitmore’s house with a television set, jewelry and other items. He had placed them in Whitmore’s truck and was preparing to flee when Whitmore arrived, according to police.

“When I cocked the gun, he put the truck in park and knew the game was over,” Whitmore told WCNC-TV, the Observer’s news partner.

“Police came up and shook my hand and said, ‘Congrats, you stopped three robberies in the neighborhood,’ ” Whitmore told WCNC. “I said, Really?’ ”

Police say Webber has been charged with four counts of felony breaking and entering; four counts of larceny after breaking and entering; and larceny of an automobile. He is being held under $105,000 bond, and police say he will be placed on electronic monitoring if a judge decides to release him before trial.

Webber has a lengthy record of arrests, mostly on drug and burglary-related charges.

WCNC-TV contributed.

Published in: on July 20, 2010 at 1:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

4 Tips to Protect You From ATM Thieves

From: http://www.finance.yahoo.com
Constance Gustke, On Wednesday July 14, 2010

ATMs are under siege more than ever from skimming. Skimming, where ATM thieves steal your PIN and account number using remote devices, is increasing dramatically. Often done by sophisticated crime rings from the Eastern bloc countries, ATM skimming is becoming a high-tech art that’s hard to detect.

That’s bad news for consumers. Experts say that losses from skimming are approaching $1 billion. Nearly one in five fraud victims reported having their credit card PIN or debit card ATM PIN information stolen in 2009, according to Javelin Strategy & Research. And Robert Vamosi, an analyst handling risk, fraud and security at Javelin, sees ATM skimming continuing to rise this year and next.

“Consumers aren’t aware of ATM tampering,” he says. “ATMs have 40 years of trust.”

Skimming isn’t new. It’s been around for at least 10 years. What has changed is that the “technology of the bad guy is getting better and better every year,” says Robert Siciliano, a security expert based in Boston. “It’s up to consumers to watch their own backs.”

Typically, ATM thieves use two devices to capture your PIN and card data. One device sits near where you swipe your card and reads the magnetic stripe on your card with your account number. Even more confusing, the device mimics the card slot. “The technology has evolved to a point where the molded plastic fits like it belongs there,” says Siciliano. Devices are even readily available over the Internet for as little as $300.

A camera, hidden from view, captures the PIN. “You can get the data in real time,” says Siciliano. “You can be in your car with a laptop remotely accessing the device.”

Thieves then burn the data onto a blank card to access your money.

U.S. Secret Service spokesman Max Milien wants consumers to be warned. “The public is notified after an event,” he says. And don’t take bank security for granted. Fraud can occur at any bank in any part of the country. Thieves are even sending out false text alerts to get consumer data.

Banks, they say, are slow to adopt anti-skimming measures. When Javelin surveyed 25 banks, four stood out, though, for their anti-theft measures. They are Bank of America, Chase, Citibank and Wells Fargo.

Experts add that debit card users are most at risk. Typically, consumers must report fraudulent charges within two days, limiting your liability to $50. If you report ATM skimming fraud within 60 days, you’re liable for the first $500 of any transaction. Siciliano adds that thieves carefully orchestrate ATM withdrawals, maxing out cash withdrawals one day and waiting until after midnight for the next stash, which quickly adds up.

Here are four tips to help you protect your account.

1. Cover your password with your hand
Hidden cameras are disguised so they can pick up your password. By protecting it, ATM thieves can’t access your account.
2. Use familiar ATMs and limit your visits
ATMs in dimly lighted spots or used late at night could be more susceptible to fraud, while ATMs under video surveillance can be safer. Stay away from ATMs at retail stores or restaurants, adds Siciliano. Recently, skimming devices were found on ATMs in a popular grocery store in central Florida. Airports, convenience stores or kiosks are equally vulnerable to ATM thieves. Still, even highly trafficked ATMs outside a bank branch have been targeted by thieves.

Also, try to limit your visits to the ATM. “With frequency, there’s risk,” says Siciliano.

3. Check bank balances frequently

Given the two-day window for reporting fraud, it pays to check your account frequently. If you don’t report fraud within 60 days, you have unlimited liability. “Sign up for alerts and notice unusual withdrawals,” says Vamosi.

With credit cards there are more protections in place, and you can dispute charges.”You have at least a billing cycle,” says Siciliano.

4. Observe the ATM
Vamosi cautions consumers to look at an ATM to make sure a card slot is “legitimate and not tacked on.” Look for things that strike you, he says. “Some people have felt that when they inserted their card, something went awry,” he says. In that case, try another ATM.

When protecting your account against ATM thieves, “it’s all about awareness, paying attention and understanding risks,” says Sicilano. “There are 400,000 ATMs and every one of them is susceptible to fraud. The speed and convenience of technology has replaced the security of technology.”

Published in: on July 15, 2010 at 1:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

Coyotes Reported in Stonehaven

July 13, 2010
A few Stonehaven residents have reported seeing coyotes in the past few days.
According to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (www.ncwildlife.org) people who see coyotes should simply try to stay clear of them and that coyotes rarely approach or attack humans. In addition, the Commission says that coyotes rarely contract rabies.
However, again according to the Commission, coyotes may look at domestic cats & small dogs as prey so residents may want to try to keep an eye on their pets when they are outside the home. They also say that coyotes consider larger dogs to be predators and will try to avoid them unless they feel the dogs are a threat to a pregnant female or new born pups.
The Commission’s information about coyotes can be accessed at http://www.ncwildlife.org/Trapping/Documents/CoexistingWithCoyotes.
In addition, the Commission can be contacted by phone at 919-707-0010 and by U.S. Mail at 1717 Mail Service Center in Raleigh, NC 27699.
Anyone seeing a coyote should report the sighting to the Commission as well as the Animal Control Division of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Dept. by calling 311.
Also, please report the sightings to us by calling 980-297-8446 so we will know where in the community the animals have been seen should we answer callsfor assistance in those areas.

Published in: on July 13, 2010 at 1:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
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