As armed citizens, it is our job to defend ourselves and others if necessary. As much as we’d like to see crime stopped in it’s tracks, it is never our job to take on the roll of a police officer and actively go after the bad guy unless our lives are in danger. Ever.
This armed citizen, while his heart was in the right place, is learning that lesson the hard way.
Decorated veteran 60-year-old Norman Reynolds, who served 24 years in the Army and Air Force, was handed down a sentence of 18 months in prison and 18 months reporting probation, although the prison sentence was suspended. In effect, the judge laid out the sentence, but Reynolds will not have to serve any time in prison. This will likely, however, remain on public record.
What actually happened? Read the original story here.
The charges for Reynolds came after he pursued two men who were observed exiting the Big R store on South Main Street in Elkhart with unpaid merchandise Oct. 12, according to Elkhart police. Several employees as well as Reynolds saw the men enter a small truck and began to pull away.
According to police, Reynolds produced a semi-automatic handgun and fired once at the truck, striking the exterior of the vehicle. No one was injured during the encounter and Reynolds had a license to carry a concealed handgun.
After an investigation by police, Elkhart County Prosecutor Curtis Hill filed the charges stating: “The investigation shows an alleged crime was in progress when Reynolds took action and his alleged conduct was unreasonable and created a significant risk of harm.”
Reynolds felt that he was doing good, of course. Although in reality, he created a dangerous situation for others in the area. If the bad guys are getting away, let them go. It’s better to be a good witness and retain any information that will help police catch them, than to fire a gun while they’re fleeing. What if they were also armed and had started firing back?
In the end, Reynolds is stuck with 18 months of probation and will have to report on a regular basis. As a citizen with no prior records, I’m confident that he’ll stay squeaky clean during the probation period, and likely for the rest of his life.
“That weapon is there to protect yourself or others,” Sgt. Chris Snyder, Elkhart Police spokesman told ABC 57. “And somebody that’s running away from you, getting in a car to even go further away from you, does that really pose a risk to you or to anybody else?”
Just remember; the armed citizen is not a police officer and while we may have a hard time sitting idly by during a crime in progress, we don’t carry firearms to stop those types of crimes.