The Republic Magazine reports:
The police did nothing to prevent the robbery of Dennis Fleming’s home in Farmington, New Hampshire, or to catch the burglar – but they may succeed in sending the 61-year-old grandfather to prison for using a handgun to apprehend the man suspected of several local break-ins.
On February 19, Fleming discovered that his home had been robbed. Spying a suspicious-looking man with a backpack, Fleming grabbed his handgun and strode off in pursuit.
Shortly thereafter, Fleming heard a loud crash and saw the same suspicious man jumping out of a neighbor’s rear window. Holding out his handgun, Fleming ordered the intruder to freeze, firing a single round into the ground. He detained the suspect until the police arrived.
The suspect, 27-year-old Joseph Herbert, was found to be in possession of a number of stolen items, including antique watches and silver coins. There is evidence that the same suspect had been involved in a string of robberies elsewhere in town.
A few hours later, Fleming called the police to find out if the suspect had been released on bail. To his amazement, Fleming discovered that he because he had harmlessly discharged his firearm into the ground, he was going to be charged with reckless conduct – a Class B felony that could result in a prison sentence of the same length confronted by the robber he had detained.
“I didn’t think I could handle this guy physically, so I fired into the ground,” Fleming told a local Fox News affiliate. “He stopped. He knew I was serious. I was angry … and I was worried that this guy was going to come after me.”
If Fleming had been wearing a government-issued costume, he could have justified shooting the suspect – or even an innocent bystander — in the name of “officer safety,” without facing criminal charges. Furthermore, New Hampshire’s recently expanded “Castle Law” recognizes that Fleming – like all other citizens of the Granite State – has an unqualified right to armed self-defense. As Judge Andrew Napolitano points out, Fleming’s action reflects a “uniquely American way to protect his property and to protect his neighbor’s property.”
Fox News reports on the sentiment of the locals:
Penny Dean, a spokeswoman for the Gun Owners of New Hampshire, said her organization is “absolutely outraged” by Fleming’s arrest.
“This homeowner fired at the ground, from all accounts, in a safe direction and held a burglar for police and did things correctly,” Dean told FoxNews.com. “The fact that this man would be charged is an outrage. Burglars in New Hampshire must know it’s open season, since homeowners cannot defend themselves, as evidenced by this case. This is charging the victim.”
Rick Pelkey, Fleming’s longtime neighbor, said he’s now worried how the “straight-forward, working-class guy” will pay legal fees associated with the arrest.
“I think it’s outrageous,” Pelkey told FoxNews.com. “He did the community a service here. We ought to thank him for it.”
He sounds like a dangerous terrist to me.
Of course, the reason why Fleming was charged was because he completely undermined the need for a police force. If everyone ran around arresting criminals on their own, pretty soon people might figure out that they don’t need to pay through the nose for a completely ineffective police force that robs them at gun point for going 10 over the speed limit.
Listen to economist Robert Murphy explain how the private market could deal with these situations.
The county attorney’s office is dropping charges against a man who tracked down a burglary suspect and held him at gunpoint until police could arrive.
“The facts available at the scene on Saturday supported the charge of felony reckless conduct, but subsequent facts discovered since have led me to believe that such a charge under these circumstances would be unjust,” the Strafford County attorney said in a statement.
Apparently the local outrage was enough to prevent the State from caging Dennis.