Moped rider nearly hit, uses sidearm legally

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Moped rider nearly hit, uses sidearm legally

Postby Micronaut » Mon Oct 09, 2006 8:02 pm

A man who was on a moped when another driver he had argued with tried to run him off the road.

The man on the moped pulled out a gun, and was arrested on an aggravated assault charge for threatening the driver. But prosecutors ultimately dropped that charge, Shiner said, because the man had a right to defend himself.
(larger article)

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/pbccentral ... html?imw=Y

Gunman firing into Jeep kills 2, hurts 1

Florida's controversial "stand your ground" law, which took effect a year ago, does not require a person to retreat before shooting when threatened or attacked outside his home. Whether that law will come into play in this case had yet not been determined, authorities said. "That's for the state attorney to maybe litigate later," Sgt. Pete Palenzuela of the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said.

According to investigators, Borden fired at least 14 shots from a short distance into a Jeep Cherokee driven by 19-year-old Christopher Araujo. Araujo died on the spot, as did his friend Saul Trejo, 21, who sat in the back seat, authorities said. Juan Mendez, 20, seated in the front passenger seat, was shot in the legs and remained in fair condition at St. Mary's Medical Center. Mendez, who was identified by authorities as Araujo's cousin, is expected to survive.

Borden was walking his dogs near Osceola Drive and Hiawatha Avenue in the hardscrabble community after 2 a.m. Sunday when the confrontation began, authorities said. He and a friend, James Stonehouse, had returned from a concert and were walking Borden's dogs near his Hiawatha Avenue home, one block from where Araujo lived.

Borden told detectives someone on foot threatened him, then, minutes later, the Jeep pulled up and words were exchanged.

Borden returned home in search of his Browning 9mm handgun. He later told detectives he considered calling authorities at that point, but did not.

Moments after the initial confrontation, Araujo's Jeep approached the intersection and slammed into a house's fence at the southeastern corner. Then came the shots: Investigators said Borden fired through the front windshield, then approached the driver's side window. A medical examiner later determined Araujo was shot in the head and chest, Trejo in the arm and left side of the chest.

Authorities say they're unsure whether Araujo intended to hit Borden with the Jeep. Borden said the Jeep hit him, but he did not show evidence of injuries, authorities said.

"He felt that the vehicle was driving toward him," Palenzuela said. "He may have been in some type of fear."

There appears to have been bad blood between Borden and those he shot, "some type of past neighborhood conflict," perhaps related to Borden's pit bull, Palenzuela said. "He's familiar with the vehicle and these individuals."

Floridians already had the right to protect themselves in their homes, but the new law means they don't have to retreat in any place they have a legal right to be.

The law, a top priority of the National Rifle Association, was meant to help potential victims fight off violent crime.

But critics call it the "Wild West" law, and say it can give overly aggressive people a license to kill.

Under the new law, Borden might have a defense if he was in imminent danger of being run over and shot the passengers while trying to stop the car, said Robert Gershman, a criminal defense attorney who does not represent Borden. But if he shot the passengers deliberately, at close range or once the danger had passed, Gershman said, it would be more difficult to mount a defense.

"There would have to have been real fear," he said.

Attorney Marc Shiner, like Gershman a former state prosecutor, said the self-defense law does give Floridians the the right to shoot to stop a car in some cases.

Shiner recently represented a man who was on a moped when another driver he had argued with tried to run him off the road.

The man on the moped pulled out a gun, and was arrested on an aggravated assault charge for threatening the driver. But prosecutors ultimately dropped that charge, Shiner said, because the man had a right to defend himself.

To convince a jury that these killings were justifiable self-defense, Shiner said, the defendant would have to prove that he didn't mean to hit the passenger, or that he "shot in rapid succession to save his own life."

Well into daylight, neighbors and relatives gathered at the scene Sunday, some commenting on their neighborhood, scarred too often by crime.

Among those who stayed were Barbara Garcia and her 13-year-old son, who she said was one of the last people to see Araujo alive. Garcia's daughter, Anastasia Bocanegra, lived with Araujo, who helped build pools for a living. "They were just childhood sweethearts" and planned to marry one day, the mother said.

"This was not supposed to happen. These guys were babies," Garcia said, trying to stifle tears. "I never knew (Araujo) to be arrested or be in any kind of trouble."

Garcia's daughter was visiting a sister in Chicago when the shooting happened. "She's in a state of shock," her mother said.

Earlier Saturday, Araujo and Garcia's son watched X-Men 3 and played video games, then went out with some of Araujo's friends to Clematis Street.

The boy later witnessed the initial confrontation, according to a sheriff's affidavit — it's not clear whether he was in the Jeep or another vehicle at the time — but he was dropped off at home before the shooting.

Records show Borden has been arrested numerous times since 1980 on charges ranging from battery on a law-enforcement officer to prowling, shoplifting and marijuana possession. Trejo had been arrested on charges including robbery and burglary.

Araujo had never been arrested, according to state records.

Staff researcher Angelica Cortez contributed to this story.
Micronaut
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