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News & Editorials

The Self-Defense Files, February, 2001

by Robert A. Waters

Every day, we see stories of gun violence on our television screens. Here's the other side of the story--a few of the many cases in which citizens used firearms to defend themselves and others during the month of February, 2001.

February 3, Cherese Belin returned to her Charleston, South Carolina apartment to find jewlery and money missing. She called police, who determined that a thief had entered the home by removing an air conditioner from the bedroom window. Police searched the apartment, but failed to find the intruder. After investigators left, Belin asked her neighbor, Shermaine D. Whitley, to search the house a second time. Arming himself with a handgun, Whitley peered beneath the homeowner's bed and found the burglar hiding there. He ordered the man to come out. Instead, the thief fired two shots at Whitley, striking him in the leg. The armed neighbor then returned fire, killing the burglar. Whitley will not be charged. "The suspect fired first, and the victim returned fire," a police spokesman said. "He was defending himself."

Lisa Liev, owner of Johnny's Cut Rate Liquor in Dallas, was working the afternoon shift on February 9 when a man entered the store. He pulled a gun and demanded money. Liev dove to the floor and grabbed her own pistol from beneath the cash register. As the man jumped the counter, she shot him. Liev then ran outside and locked the robber inside the store before calling police. Still wearing a bandage on her head from a previous robbery attempt, she said, "I'm lucky to be alive. This is the second time they try and rob and hit me." The robber died at the scene, and police ruled the shooting justifiable homicide.

On February 12, a fourteen-year-old boy was alone in his Dayton, Ohio home when he heard someone breaking out a window in the back bedroom. The teenager yelled for the intruder to leave, then ran to his father's bedroom and armed himself with a shotgun. "He told the person not to come through the window, to back out, and that didn't happen," a police spokesman said. The teenager then loaded the gun and fired. A few minutes later, police found a man riddled with buckshot wandering the neighborhood. He was arrested. The fourteen-year-old was not expected to be charged.

On February 14, three members of a Suffolk, New York rock band fought back when when two armed invaders kicked in the front door of their home and attempted to rob them. Two of the band members grabbed shotguns. The first intruder had enough sense to flee when he saw the armed homeowners. Wesley Jones did not--he was killed with a shotgun blast as he held a gun to the head of the third resident. Investigators stated that the shooting appeared to be justified.

On February 17, three men forced their way into an upscale Atlanta home. One intruder pushed the homeowner's mother into a back bedroom while his accomplices pistol-whipped her son. A police spokesperson said, "Two males were on top of him, kicking and beating him." When the assailants attempted to remove his coat, the homeowner broke free and retrieved a handgun. He opened fire, killing one of the invaders, later identified as Nedrick Taylor. The resident was not charged.

At about 2 a.m., February 18, Jose Antonio Herrera and Rodrigo Castaneda burst through the door of an apartment near Three Points, in Tucson, Arizona. The assailants used duct tape and "tie wraps" to bind the two female occupants. As the intruders ransacked the house, eighteen-year-old Amelia Gamboa broke free and ran to her bedroom. She retrieved a pistol from beneath her mattress and confronted Castoneda. When he pointed a rifle at her, she shot and killed him. Herrera was charged with first-degree murder. Gamboa was not charged.

On February 19, Kyung Choi and his wife Sung let two customers into their Chicago jewelry store. Almost immediately, one of the men pulled a handgun and shot Sung Choi in the left shoulder. Kyung grabbed a shotgun and fired a single shot at the robbers who quickly fled.

On February 20, Rhonda Darlene Hand was in the kitchen of her Nashville home when she heard someone open her unlocked back door. Anthony Ray Krantz, holding a handgun, entered the kitchen, but was met by Hand who had armed herself. Police believe Krantz fired one shot at her, and Hand fired five shots at the invader. Krantz, who police speculated was there to rob Hand, died at the scene. Hand was not charged.

Other self-defense stories that occurred during the month of February include a stepson in Galveston, Texas who shot and killed his step-father as the angry man attacked his estranged wife; the Pikeville, Kentucky storeowner who shot it out with two armed robbers and drove them from his business; and the Homosassa, Florida homeowner who used a shotgun to capture two of five burglars who had broken into his home.

None of these accounts were reported by the mainstream media.

Robert A. Waters is author of The Best Defense: True Stories of Intended Victims Who Defended Themselves with a Firearm, Cumberland House Publishing, Inc., 1998.


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