Wednesday, December 3, 2003

St. Petersburg, Florida

From the Sun-Sentinel, December 2, 2003:
A 71-year-old man was arrested for firing a gun at three men beating up his 63-year-old friend, striking one of the men in the arm, deputies said.

Melvin B. Spaulding held up his .22-caliber pistol and told the men to stop hitting and kicking his friend George Lowe. When they didn't listen, he fired the gun, Pinellas County Sheriff's spokesman Tim Goodman said.

``I'm sure he was concerned for his friend's safety...,'' Goodman said. ``The use of a weapon to stop a confrontation is not the right way. He would have been better off calling 911.''
Oh yeah, definitely. They could have arrived in time to draw chalk lines around both bodies.
James T. Moore, 20, was treated for the gunshot wound at Bayfront Medical Center and was arrested for an unrelated battery charge earlier the same night.
I am so surprised.
Lowe said the altercation began Sunday night when he heard loud noises outside his home and discovered a group of young men pounding on cars and shouting. When he told them to stop, they attacked him, he said.

Spaulding, who had no criminal record in Florida, acknowledged firing the gun, according to sheriff's records. He was being held without bail in Pinellas County Jail.
Oh this makes loads of sense! Maybe there is some good reason why Spaulding is being held without bail, but you sure wouldn't know it from the news story.

UPDATE: Spaudling is apparently out of jail.

UPDATE 2: All charges dropped, according to the December 17, 2003 St. Petersburg Times:
Prosecutors will not file an attempted murder charge against Melvin Spaulding, the 71-year-old man who shot a 20-year-old for allegedly attacking his friend in the street.

"That's good," Spaulding said after hearing the news Tuesday, as he smoked a Dutch Masters cigar in his mobile home.

Pinellas-Pasco Chief Assistant State Attorney Bruce Bartlett said evidence showed Spaulding was trying to prevent his friend George Lowe, 63, from being killed or suffering "serious bodily harm" as others attacked him.

The law allows people to intervene in such cases to protect others from harm, Bartlett said.

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