Crime Beat – July 19, 2012
By David Smith
In an apparent case of attempted vigilante “justice,” a 42-year-old Grants Pass resident was apprehended on the afternoon of Saturday, July 14 for allegedly threatening two men with a firearm.
The accused, who was in his vehicle at the time, pursued the two men (who were on foot) down 6th Street in the downtown area, pointing a handgun at them out of the window of his car. When the men fled toward 5th Street, he continued to follow them. Apparently he had been the victim of a previous theft, and believed the men he was chasing were the perpetrators.
Because of the reported use of a firearm, officers from the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety conducted a “high risk” traffic stop and apprehended the man. He was cited and released on charges of Unlawful Use of a Weapon and Second-Degree Disorderly Conduct. Charges of Pointing a Firearm at Another and Menacing were referred to the District Attorney’s office for prosecution.
The two men he was pursuing fled into a residential area and disappeared.
A reminder: regardless of any prior offenses an individual has perpetrated against you, it is against the law to point a firearm at another person, with or without malice. The use of a handgun in a densely populated area also carries significant risks to innocent bystanders. Vigilante “justice” is a serious violation of Oregon law, which does not justify the use of a firearm except in cases of self-defense where there is serious and immediate risk of death or grievous injury.