WINSTON-SALEM, NORTH CAROLINA — Outside of the Hanes Mall, two men attempted to corral a mentally ill man after he attempted to flee from them. When Daniel Ray Brown saw the scene, he chose to interpret it as two loan sharks or drug dealers ganging up on a man. He drew his handgun from concealment and pointed it at the trio. He then demanded they show ID.
When the three men refused to do so, he fired a round into the ground before them. Because this was outside of a mall, there were a lot of bystanders who were understandably panicked by the sound of gun shots. With high-profile mall shootings making the nightly news, people were rattled.
Police quickly arrived on the scene. And, now in court, we hear this recollection of events.
via the Washington Post
Officer J.R. Huffman, a 17-year veteran of the Winston-Salem police and the first officer on the scene, testified that Brown’s gunfire “amped it up another level,” according to the Journal.
When the officer demanded to know who fired the gun, Brown answered that the gun was his and that he had a concealed-carry permit.
Huffman responded: “Where’d you get a concealed-carry license from? Kmart? . . . Warning shots? We don’t fire warning shots.”
Now a judge has revoked Brown’s concealed carry permit following an investigation into the case.
As it turns out, the two men he thought were ganging up on a third were actually health care workers trying to stop a mentally ill man from fleeing. But that’s not what Brown told police officers.
According to the Winston-Salem Journal, an officer testified that Brown told him “he saw two black guys ganging up on the white dude,” and “I’ve been told if I saw anything going on, I could use lethal force.”
Endangering the lives of those three men, firing a ‘warning shot’, and holding them all at gun point apparently didn’t sit well with the judge.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea for this gentleman to have a concealed-carry permit, so I’m going to revoke that,” the judge said in court, according to the Winston-Salem Journal’s Scott Sexton. “This is just not the kind of thing we like to see from people with concealed-carry permits.”
This is where situational awareness and proper escalation of force comes into play.
“He was under the mistaken impression that if he came across a situation like this he could use lethal force to break it up,” an incredulous judge told The Post. “I think he had a stand-your-ground-type defense confused and thought that he could just be a vigilante.”
Here’s a run down of where it went wrong:
A.) Brown sees two men putting their hands on a third one.
B.) Brown decides to take the initiative and involve himself in that affair by drawing his own gun and pointing it at them.
NOTE: If Brown, at this time, saw signs of assault and battery, he could have just as easily called police and reported it. Obviously these two men were not hitting the third. That’s something you pick up on when you’re paying attention to the situation.
C.) Brown demands to see ID. That isn’t a lawful request. He’s not an officer of the law and those men are under no duty to produce identification or even stop what they’re doing.
Think about it. If a stranger walks up to you and demands to see your ID, you’re free to tell him to go fly a kite and walk away. You’re not beholden to produce your government-issued identification to just some random passerby. And in this case, those two men were legally doing their job — stopping a mentally ill man from making poor life decisions.
D.) When these men refuse to comply to a stranger pointing a gun at them, he fires a ‘warning shot’.
Not only is that not called for — because he has no reason to believe another person’s life is in jeopardy or proof that a violent felony is taking place — but what if that bullet ricocheted and hit someone?
This guy lacked a lot of common sense and he endangered the lives of all three men. In this writer’s opinion, good riddance to that permit.