Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Indiana: Road rage shooting being called self-defense

Jeffersonville, Indiana

From WAVE3 of June 17, 2008
Road rage shooting being called self-defense

Police are calling it a case of violent road rage after a man is shot at a Jeffersonville, Indiana intersection. WAVE 3's Scott Harvey reports on the incident that happened at the corner of Allison Lane and 10th Street around 3 p.m. Tuesday.

It is a case of road rage with a twist. Detectives working the case tell us the shooter hasn't been charged, because it appears to be a case of self defense.

It's not the sort of thing you normally see on your commute home from work.

"People were standing in the parking lot. Nobody was doing anything, but talking on cell phones, so I told my girlfriend I was going to walk over and see what was going on," said Robert Bagshaw. "As I got closer the guy was talking about he'd been shot."

Investigators say it started as an altercation between a man riding a motorcycle and a woman driving a SUV behind him.

"He said they came flying up on him when he was getting ready to turn," said Bagshaw. "So he slowed down on his turn, next thing you know they rolled up a little bit more. They had a few words. He jumped off his bike."

"She never got out of the vehicle and that is where the shooting occurred," said Det. Todd Hollis with the Jeffersonville Police Department.

Bagshaw says the man had a single gunshot to the chest. He waited with the motorcycle rider until EMS arrived. He told us the man kept talking about the argument at the car.

"Supposedly she thought he had spit at her, but he said his false teeth fell out, so she shot him," explained Bagshaw. "So, I mean, there may be a little more to it than what the other guy is saying of course."

And investigators say there is. No charges have been filed against the woman, because police say at this point it appears to be self-defense.

"Exactly what he said or what his actions were, how threatening they were, will be determined through the investigation," said Det. Hollis.

Det. Hollis told us the woman was completely cooperative. So much so she called 911 from the scene. Police say she does have a permit to carry the snub-nosed .38 caliber revolver used in the shooting.

"It does belong to her," said Det. Hollis. "We ran a check on it to make sure it's wasn't stolen. She does carry it in the car for her protection. She told us that."

Regardless, Det. Hollis says this should be a lesson on how not to deal with road rage.

"If someone cuts you off or if someone acts aggressive on the road, the best thing to do is get away from it," said Det. Hollis. "If they are acting aggressive to a point to where they are dangerous, call police."

The man was taken to University Hospital in Louisville and at last check was in surgery. His condition is unknown at this time.

Police say they will continue to investigate, but ultimately the Clark County Prosecutor's Office will have the final say if charges will be filed.

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