Tuesday, May 1, 2012

“He was out of range to really kill him, but I wanted to put some pellets in him so they could catch him.”

The quote comes from Sam Bardwell, a Titusville, Florida criminal defense attorney.  Mr. Bardwell was quoted in Florida Today describing how he foiled an attempted burglary of his office.

Mr. Bardwell was sleeping in a "makeshift apartment" in his law office on Sunday/Monday morning when a motion-activated light woke him around 4 a.m.  Mr. Bardwell, who was afraid that there was an intruder decided that he "didn’t dare go get [his] cell phone to call 911 ’cause [Mr. Bardwell} didn’t know how much time [he] had."  Instead, Mr. Bardwell decided that the "first thing" he should do was get his gun.  In this case a "folding shotgun." 

Descending a stairway, Mr. Bardwell spotted an intruder (there were apparently two in the office but Mr. Bardwell only spotted one of them) and said "I’m going to kill ‘ya, because you’re coming toward me.”  In response to this information, the intruder fled out an unlocked door.  Mr. Bardwell fired at the man, for the reasons mentioned in the title of this post.  According to Mr. Bardwell, the shotgun's bullets "went wild" and hit a stop sign.  Although the article mentions that Mr. Bardwell was not wearing his glasses so there may be a different reason for why the bullets hit the stop sign instead of the intruder.  The stock of the shotgun, which Mr. Bardwell had not locked into place, kicked into Mr. Bardwell's chin and cut him.

Having injured himself, shot a stop sign, but missed the intruder, Mr. Bardwell returned to inside and called 911.  The police were able to catch both of  the alleged intruders.  Mr. Bardwell says he has not represented either of the suspects and doesn't believe he was targeted by them.

Perhaps because of his experiences as a criminal defense attorney, Mr. Bardwell describes himself as a "great advocate of people arming themselves."  Mr. Bardwell feels people should be armed everywhere, "even across from the courthouse."  This is because, according to Mr. Bardwell, "somebody will come in there and steal from you and kill you."

Mr. Bardwell notes that "some bad things could have happened had circumstances have changed a little bit.”  I understand him to mean that if the motion sensor had not awoken him, Mr. Bardwell might have been killed or perhaps the burglars could have gotten away with their loot.  However, another changed circumstance that Mr. Bardwell doesn't seem to have considered is that someone could have been standing by the stop sign when the bullets "went wild."

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