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Newspaper carrier -- a concealed weapons permit holder -- shoots and injures man to stop a violent, 5-person attack

Originally ran here as:
"Newspaper carrier shoots, injures man"
by CATHI CARR and KATHY CIOTOLA
Gainesville Sun staff writers
Sunday, July 22, 2001

FLORIDA -- In the second such incident this week, a Gainesville resident with a concealed weapon feared for his life and shot an attacker.

Derek Messer, a newspaper carrier for the Florida Times-Union, shot and wounded a 20-year-old Gainesville man early Saturday morning, after the man, along with four other suspects, dragged Messer from his car and beat him, according to Gainesville Police.

Messer was driving in the 3800 block of NW 39th Avenue at 3:15 a.m. when he noticed a car being driven erratically.

After calling police, Messer pursued the car for about seven blocks while police units were en route. Once the driver - who is unidentified - realized he was being followed by Messer, he pulled over, said Gainesville Police Cpl. Keith Kameg.

Messer tried to put his car in reverse to get away, but it stalled.

"Five guys get out and start running toward Messer," Kameg said. "All five guys converged on him, breaking the windshield and beating up his car."

As the suspects continued their attack, they pulled Messer from the car, which is when Messer pulled his gun and shot, Kameg said.

Michael K. Coombs escaped serious injury after Messer shot him in the side of the chest in the Valley subdivision on NW 39th Avenue.

Within minutes of the shooting, police arrived and captured the wounded Coombs and Austin M. Reed, 20, following a short foot chase.

"Mr. Coombs is extremely lucky because the bullet caused very minor damage," Kameg said. "He's very fortunate."

Coombs, of Merritt Island, was later booked into the Alachua County jail on charges of battery, burglary of a conveyance, felony criminal mischief, resisting arrest without violence and possession of marijuana of less than 20 grams.

All five suspects were arrested and charged with battery for their roles in the incident, Gainesville Police said.

Messer suffered facial trauma in the incident but was not seriously injured. Kameg said Messer had a valid concealed weapons permit and will not be charged in the incident.

"If you have a concealed weapons permit, that's what it's for," Kameg said. "In this case, it very easily saved Messer's life."

Reed, of 949 SW 56 Terrace, also was charged with battery, felony criminal mischief, resisting arrest without violence and burglary of a conveyance.

The other suspects included Richard L. Baker, 21, of Oxford Manor at 2777 Archer Road; Adam M. Smith, 21, of Cocoa Beach; and Joseph F. Haney, 20.

They were each arrested and charged with battery, burglary of a conveyance and felony criminal mischief. Damage to the car was estimated at more than $1,000, Kameg said.

"They didn't realize the person they were beating had a gun until he shot at them," Kameg said.

"The police aren't going to comment either way on whether citizens should carry and use their weapons. But as far as criminals go, when you're thinking about committing a crime, people may be carrying weapons and this is a definite result of what could happen."

Exactly one week ago, a longtime friend of a clerk at the Shell Food Mart at 3850 Newberry Road shot and killed a 27-year-old Gainesville man who was attempting to rob the store.

Richard Connell, 63, was not charged in the incident, which resulted in the death of Channing Michael Page, who was shot three times in the upper torso by Connell.


NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed, without profit, for research or educational purposes. We do our best, as well, to give credit to the original news source who published these Guns Save Lives stories out of respect and appreciation for their willingness to spread the word that Guns Save Lives -- and when an original link is available, we ALWAYS send all our visitors to read the original article on the original site where it was posted. God Bless the Americans that publish these stories - for assisting Americans in hearing the truth about guns saving lives.

 

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