Don’t pursue a fleeing perp

Article: “Father shoots intoxicated man that was allegedly spying on his daughter and touching himself outside her window

I’m a little mixed about this. Now before any of you think I’m about to defend a peeping tom, sit down, calm down, and hear me out.

Thankfully despite the headline making it sound otherwise, the father didn’t just shoot the bastard on sight. That would’ve gotten the father rightly arrested, and the castle doctrine or any other claim to self defense wouldn’t have helped him since you still have to first establish that the person is a threat and articulate why. Existing on someone else’s property uninvited isn’t enough.

Instead the father tried to detain the guy, later identified as 44 year-old Jorge Ramos, so they could call police. And they were absolutely in the right there. (Side question: why wasn’t the wife getting pictures of the guy using her cell phone?)

Where the parents went wrong was when the perp left his property. You don’t have much leeway to pursue a fleeing perp, and it often is not in your best interest to do so. Being a licensed CCW won’t help you. Your CCW is NOT a badge. It does not confer any new powers you did not otherwise already have under the law.

And it doesn’t matter what you allege they did. Certain allegations don’t suddenly make it okay for you to pursue someone. Though way too many people think that certain allegations mean the suspect loses their rights entirely, and that mentality needs to end.

Once they leave your property, your ability under the law to pursue them is severely diminished. Doesn’t matter the perp just went across the street. Once he left the property, he is no longer considered any kind of threat or active perpetrator unless it can be demonstrated otherwise.

This means, in short, the best thing that you can do in this situation is… more or less nothing more than they were already going to do. Call the police, relay a description of the perp and what they were doing, along with pointing out where they went. If you took pictures of the perp, hand those over as well along with anything the perp may have left behind.

Legalities aside, again, pursuing a fleeing perp is often NOT in your best interest. Especially since, in the above situation, both parents left their 10 year-old daughter alone. That isn’t really an age where she can aptly defend herself against an adult perpetrator.

So the parents’ desire to pursue the perp may have left their daughter worse off because, quite simply, she was no longer foremost in their mind. They couldn’t know if the perp they pursued was the only one around. They presumed such, and pursued with that in mind over letting him go and calling it in.

And their desire to pursue the perp set the stage for tragedy after Ramos managed to wrestle the gun away from the wife and the husband was forced to shoot him. A person needlessly shot because the parents were being careless in how they responded to a situation.

Again, don’t pursue a fleeing suspect unless you are a police officer. Instead see to yours and your family’s safety first. And call it in and let the police deal with it. After all, that’s their job, not yours.