Saturday, April 08, 2006

You Shot Someone In Self Defense Should You Call 911?

Decades earlier the only person allowed to answer emergency phone calls at a police agency was a trained cop. The cities learned they could save a lot of money by hiring civilians to do that job. It was not a good move because the operators had little training and were never up to the task. Frankly too many of these people lack enough basic intelligence to do the job.

Here is how it all works these days. You call 911 and an operator answers the call. The operator then types in basic address information for the dispatcher and the officer’s digital mobile terminal (car computer). The operator tells the dispatcher what’s going on. The dispatcher then tells the officers in the field the information from the operator. The officers only get third hand information to do their job.

The 911 operators are trained to give the simplest of first aid instructions but the juiciest part of the job is drawing out the excited utterances of the callers as well as full confessions. Miranda and the Fifth Amendment don’t apply in this area.

They record every call and those recordings are often a large part of the evidence used to put someone in prison. The 911 operators are rewarded for quickly asking those 20 incriminating questions. Unfortunately the intrigue of this part of the job changes the focus from helping people to encouraging them thoughtlessly babble their way to jail during some crisis.

This 911 call came from young a Phoenix Arizona woman who was living with a local violent felon. The goon made a habit of beating her and threatening her and her children with his Chinese SKS rifle and several handguns he illegally possessed.

A Phoenix homicide detective was investigating the thug for a murder. This frightened woman wanted to tell the detective what she knew but was legitimately afraid to do so.

This night the thug was high on methamphetamine, violent while waving his rifle at this woman and her two children. It ended when the rifle wielding drunken felon was shot in the chest. The woman called 911 asking for that homicide detective and help.

Before it was over the victim lost her job, apartment, car, clothing, all belongings and children while sitting in jail for a year waiting for her murder trial. She was acquitted and set free with only the dirty clothes she was arrested wearing a year earlier.

Sit back and relax as you listen to her call to 911 and ask yourself if making that call was a good idea…


Anonymous said...

I don't know who I hate more the douchebag operator of the goofy women who'd live with a felon...

Anonymous said...

And what is the alternative.....getting a shovel and digging a hole?

Anonymous said...

I noticed "Call 911 and die" listed on your links. This is yet another example.

This is our tax dollars at work and it's frightening. I'd have let the bum lay where he was and lawyered up in a hurry!

Anonymous said...

bravo to the 9:09pm poster. well said.

Anonymous said...

Of course you have no real idea of what the "douchebag operator" is up against. That explains why you posted anony(mouse)ly. U R N AZZ. Operators are trained by the PD maybe if uniforms wised up they would support those that support them. Know your enemy. Dick.

Anonymous said...

wazzup with this detroit dispatch?

Anonymous said...

If you have a 1911, why call 911?

This woman should have simply called for garbage removal! The problem was solved before the woman call 911...

Anonymous said...

she says this has been going on for days... he shot at her... What action did she take? Did she call police for being shot at? Did she have police remove the illegal guns? As far as the tape, she seems to have done nothing to to stop this situation. What law allows you to do nothing to prevent this situation but shoot some one. She could have had him arrested for domestic, had the guns removed, etc. And his side of the story? Oh ya, he don't have one. He's dead. What did the operator do wrong. Seems she didn't even call 911, as the operator indicates. seems your trying to start something that aint there. For the record, I'm a Chicago Detective and would have locked her up too.

Paul Huebl Crimefile News said...

This was a battered domestic partner, and a not so bright one at that.

The dead man was a murder suspect on the run. I offer no real criticism of the 911 operator other than classifying the victim/caller as a “suspect”.

As for the prior history the homicide dick testified for the woman as a defense witness.

Let’s go back to the question I posed? You shot someone in self-defense, should you call 911?

I would make the call on one very cold day in Hell! I will call my lawyer and he can call 911 if he thinks it’s a good idea.

The offender was dead and she needed someone to remove the body. As someone commented, let the garbage man do it!

Anonymous said...

911 after hearing that tape hell no!

The average citizen under duress would proably not think lawyer, my thought anyway.

This woman must have been real calm when she called for the dick, what's missing here? No tellin who routed the original call.
As a routed call police stay on the line on a 911 transfer, multi task extract info. it's called police work. Problem was not just the dispatcher although, it's apparent her skills were very weak. There was a break down during call route. Someone needs to say it, this was a (crime scene) and the dispatcher tells the (suspect) put the weapon away more than once? I think the woman said she laid it on the table/stove?

Without a doubt the offender/victim turned offender/suspect talked over the top. You heard the saying today's victim is tomorrow's offender. This woman went full circle.
The dispatcher played police and her playing was heard.

Anonymous said...

Its sounds like she didnt call 911..
sounds like she called the non emergency either case,
her she made the mistake of saying too much. I understand she was under alot of stress, so for anybody, ihope this never happens but for anybody under this situation should say i shot someone IN SELF DEFENSE and thats it.
Its clear to me that she shot her boyfriend in self-defense. She just said way too much.

Anonymous said...

I don't see the problem with this call taker or the offender's subsequent prosecution.

As you well know, a person is entitled to use deadly force to protect themself from the threat of imminent death or great bodily harm. In this case, it appears there was no such threat. While she was undoubtedly a battered woman, the beatings and shooting indicent she suffered at the hands of her boyfriend were all in the past. It appears to me that she just had it with him and decided to take him out during the course of a heated argument.

Paul Huebl Crimefile News said...

The call does not give enough information to tell us whether or not the shooting was justifiable. His SKS rifle was found outside near his body. I’m not really looking to find fault with the subsequent arrest of the woman since there may well have been probable cause. As for the operator, she was way too quick to classify the caller as the “suspect” and influencing the investigation.

This entire post is really about the wisdom of calling 911 after a justifiable shooting. I say making the call yourself and having that kind of an exchange may well bring you the results this woman got or worse.

I say don’t call 911 and when the police respond and they will give them four simple words, I want a lawyer.”

Anonymous said...


What you refer to has been classified as the battered victim sydrome, hence the directives on domestic violence and victim notification documentation for various organizations and depts. It appears she ways already in that cycle. Your also right, she was fed up. Knowing that, she would be perceived as having a change in state of mind possible intent which would be angle for an attorney.

Now Crime File: I have to chuckle, regardless of the 911 call it does come down to a lawyer in the end. The basis is, regardless of the 911 dispatcher and the poorly trained lure, how will the police respond without a 911 call? Are you saying call a lawyer first then have the lawyer make the call, or are you saying let someone else call 911? I'm not chuckling at you just at the angle. I think I might know where your going with this. Which goes back to my response to 1052 the syndrome as well as added word to tie in frame of mind psychology to eradicate intent.

If this were to become a standard of pratice attorney's would love you, now police on the other hand would not be happy campers, as Real Police love sinking their teeth into homicides.

In reality she actually was the suspect but in real life terms she was the offender, regardless of her syndrome. Yes, she was also a victim of the classified term battered spouse. Was this a job in the end as it always is for an attorney, natch. Could she have saved herself an added horrible experience with an attorney up front, possibly. Least we forget, the 911 call has to be made for an ambulance as well. Regardless of the man in this issue and his past history even if he has a rap sheet, someone has to render aid to the injured.

In the end, one would have to be really unbalanced emotionally or one pissed off person for a 911 call not to be made.

Have you ever heard the saying by attorney's, if there ever was a revolt lawyer's would be the first to be thrown from the windows? LOL

You gave food for thought, good blog. Police issue's will get you responses. I'm sure you can handle the rhetroic. Congratulations on your blog, you have a creative package.

How did the weapon go from the table/stove on the tape to outside in the end? Ahhh what tangled webs we weave.

Paul Huebl Crimefile News said...

Which gun? One of his several handguns? The SKS rifle? The dead miscreant’s SKS was outside near the body. His handgun was used by the woman to stop the attack was left on the stove as instructed.

No matter how you look at it, this story was a tale of doom, deceit and debauchery. Too many women are attracted to “bad boyz” and may ultimately pay the price.

I say don’t make the 911 call. If your house is on fire or you need police to save your life go ahead and make the call. If you shot someone in self-defense call a lawyer, NOT 911…

If you call 911 and hear yourself saying confused or incriminating words, don’t say Crime, Guns and Video Tape did not warn you.

Anonymous said...

Ahhh several guns, his rifle outside with him, now that is where good police work would come in hand. The working police would know exactly how to handle the scene and it does not have to make the victim/suspect aka offender without justification. No experienced cooper would allow themselves to be influenced by a dispatcher during the investigation, let the attorney's pull the tapes.

911 info. should be balanced out by the officer. Initially this is a split second decision. Safety first and foremost. You have a call of guns involved you better go in with yours safely drawn.

The written paper also helps the end all product. The tape was incriminating for her, the officer's paper could have helped her. Your right the least said is more of an assist than not. Good preliminary investigation was needed in the stituation. I have no idea how the paper was written up, nor what she said to the officer's when they responded, maybe their paper did help. I know this is not the blog issue but it comes into play and consideration.

Again it does come down to the immediate need for an attorney. One could refer that to anyone whether it was justified or not, that is where problems will and do arise. Experienced offenders already know the roll, which is B.S. None the less everyone has a right to an attorney.

Anonymous said...

It is interesting that the woman's story changed from her first call to the second conversation. During her first call she said that she'd shot the man because he'd pushed her too far, however, during the second call she mentioned all the abuse and claimed he'd threatened her. I wonder if she had reflected on her situation and the possible charges she could face in the time between the two calls. Clearly the man was a nasty individual but my experience is that women who live with these scumbags are not that pleasant either. The old saying about "Birds of a feather flock together" may be appropriate in this case. The woman sounded beligerent rather than frightened during both calls.

Anonymous said...

I think you're putting too much importance on the operator's use of the word "suspect." She also refers to the woman as the "complainant" and the injured/dead man as the "subject."

What I hear is an operator trying to find out the nature of the man's injuries. Just because the woman *believed* she killed him doesn't mean he *is* dead; in fact later she says he ran outside after she shot him. The conversation about the gun is the operator trying to ensure that the woman doesn't approach arriving police officers while holding a gun, and maybe get herself shot by them.

The fact that the woman called a non-emergency number looking for a homicide detective, *instead* of calling 911 to get help for the man she'd just shot, was probably used against her. Now, it might have been smarter to have one of those family members who could see the injured man call 911 instead of calling herself, but I suspect that *not* calling 911 for medical assistance in this kind of situation is actually a very bad idea if you're planning to argue self-defense instead of intent to kill.

Paul Huebl Crimefile News said...

I don’t really care what the operator did or didn’t do here.

The fact is clear that the operator gave misinformation to the dispatcher including a bad guess as to the race of the caller. The operator was a dim bulb who was NOT helpful. That really makes no difference.

The call went first to the number on Det. Chuck Gregory’s business card. He was looking for the dead thug for a double homicide.

I suggest she should have NEVER made a call to anyone but a lawyer. There were other people (neighbors) who came by after the shooting. The caller would have been far better of asking someone else to make the call.

Listening to the call and knowing how these calls are handled will make anyone think twice about making a call to report a shooting they’re involved in. That’s why I posted this story and tape.

You can call 911 and talk to “Sharon”. Thanks anyway but I’ll call my lawyer!

Anonymous said...

Call 911

911 - is this an emergency

I have used my firearm in self defense. The attacker is " laying on the ground not moving."

My loacation is " 111 main street"

I am wearing "black shirt jeans"

I will remain on the line until the police arrive.
Do not say anymore than this.

When police arrive give them a general description of what happened. I was attacked by this man with a knife and used my firearm in self defense, ---I want to speak with my lawyer after this point----

Paul Huebl Crimefile News said...

Yet another spontaneous confession recorded by the 911 system! Do not pass go. Go directly to jail!

Anonymous said...

I say don’t call 911

I would make the call on one very cold day in Hell!

The offender was dead and needed someone to remove the body. As someone commented, let the garbage man do it!

Would be interesting if you had to go to trial and this brought up by the prosecutor to the jury.

Paul Huebl Crimefile News said...

To get to a trial the cops and prosecutors need to establish probable cause that the shooting was unlawful and the suspect/defendant did the shooting.

Go ahead and give them the probable cause. After you lose your job, house, wife and children while waiting to go to trial in the one to three years you may be acquitted.

It’s difficult for a prosecutor to bring this up at all unless he has the probable cause to force you to stand trial.

Calling a lawyer instead of 911 may well save you from all of that.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I understand how you can incriminate yourself by saying certain things. I agree with calling a lawyer first if you shoot someone because they egged you on to do it and had no justifiable cause for it. It is apparent she didn't and the prosecutor also felt this way or she wouldn't have been in jail for a year even if the tape was off base.

If you own a gun, carry one or are in contact with any you should have previously contacted a lawyer well versed with firearm law and self defense. You should discuss what they would want you to do in a shooting situation.

It's notthat you should call 911 to look better in a jurys eyes, but it's the right thing to do.

I guess it all depends on the circumstances of who else is around that are able to contact 911 and what your lawyer has advised you to do.

Bottom line, I think is to have a lawyer that you can call in case of situation like this and have a pre disclosed plan on what the lawyer wants you to do in a situation of self defense with a firearm.

Paul Huebl Crimefile News said...

I don’t give a rat’s ass how things look! I live in a great country that does not compel anyone to incriminate him or herself. Why would anyone in their right mind want to talk to the cops when the stakes are so high?

Call a lawyer and confess your deed to him and he will advise!

The cops and prosecutors use any excuse to charge shooters using valid self-defense as a way to allow a jury to decide. That means pre-trial confinement huge legal costs and a ruined life even if the jury does the right thing.

When you walk willingly into a police interrogation room you’re TOAST. How can I make that clear?

Anonymous said...

911: 911.
Caller: I am the resident of {address}. There has been a shooting in my home and a man has been seriously injured. Please send an ambulance and the police right away.
[hang up]

This is enough to get the police and an ambulance to come, and you have not incriminated yourself. Then you call your lawyer while you wait for the police to arrive. Then when they arrive, simply say you must speak to your lawyer before saying anything, at which time you would probably be placed under arrest and read your rights (which you've already exercised anyway) and taken to the station where you await your attorney. Getting arrested is no big deal. It's simply a means of the police being able to lawfully detain a person while they sort out the facts.

You have carried out your responsibility as a "good citizen" to first call for help, and you have not incriminated yourself in the process. Like it or not, perception IS important in a situation like this.

Crimefile, what is wrong with handling it this way???