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As reported by TwinCities.com:

They robbed him; he's in jail
Man faces possible charges after wounding attacker

BY MARA H. GOTTFRIED
Pioneer Press

Article Last Updated: 05/09/2007 11:43:52 PM CDT

Donald Hurd says he was just standing up for himself when he pulled a gun and fired after three young men attacked him and ran off with his wallet Tuesday night in St. Paul.

One of his shots hit an 18-year-old robbery suspect, and now police say Hurd, a 68-year-old handyman from Bigfork, Minn., may have broken the law when he opened fire.

Hurd initially told officers he didn't shoot his gun - a lie he later said he blurted out because he was scared. Officers arrested Hurd, not the robbery suspects.

The 18-year-old was taken to Regions Hospital. Police said he was expected to survive the gunshot wound to his shoulder.

On Wednesday, Hurd was locked up in the Ramsey County jail on suspicion of assault and facing possible charges. He said during an interview he was still shaken and unable to eat because "my stomach's full of knots."

It was shortly before midnight Tuesday when Hurd stepped off a Metro Transit bus near Snelling and Como avenues and began walking to pick up another bus at a nearby stop.

Hurd said the robbers approached silently and attacked him.



"At first, I was shocked. I didn't know what was going on," said Hurd, an Army veteran and grandfather of three with no criminal record. "It dawned on me when I hit the ground. I thought they might kill me."

Tuesday night wasn't a normal one for Hurd all around. He calls himself a jack-of-all-trades who often comes to the Twin Cities to do various jobs and usually doesn't ride Metro Transit buses. But he took the bus Tuesday because his pickup truck was being fixed.

He said he normally doesn't carry much cash, but he had $350 in his pocket because he was going to pay for the repairs and get his truck.

And he said he usually doesn't take a pistol with him, but he did that night because he wanted to be able to scare anyone off who might bother him about the money.

"I read about crime in the paper every day," Hurd said.

Hurd said he has had a gun permit in the past but wasn't sure whether it was still valid. Police said it wasn't known Wednesday whether Hurd had a permit to carry the gun.

Hurd set out from downtown Minneapolis and got off the bus about 11:45 p.m. to transfer to another bus. Though there have been recent high-profile crime incidents on buses, Hurd said he felt safe on the bus itself, knowing Metro Transit had boosted security.

The area where the robbery occurred is generally a quiet part of the city and isn't a focal point of Metro Transit police patrols, said Bob Gibbons, Metro Transit spokesman.

Hurd noticed a group of young men near the bus stop, but he figured they were getting on the bus. He began walking under the Snelling Avenue bridge to a nearby bus stop, where he intended to board a bus to Roseville and wait until the repair shop opened so he could get his truck.

Suddenly, the men he had seen at the bus stop were there and attacking him, Hurd said.

"I was scared, frightened, mad - everything you can think of," he said.

Hurd said he fired two shots in the air and one in the direction of the fleeing men, intending to scare them. He said he didn't know anyone had been hit.

Hurd said he believed his actions were justified.

"I couldn't let them go after what had happened to me," Hurd said. "I couldn't let them get away with it without trying to stop them. I was trying to defend myself."

Hurd's wallet hasn't been found, Walsh said. Walsh said police are still investigating the robbery. He said the suspects - whose identities police know - could be charged.

Self-defense cases usually revolve around victims protecting themselves during commission of a crime on their property. Hurd's case may not hinge on self-defense, said Earl Gray, a St. Paul criminal attorney who has not been retained in this case.

Still, what Hurd did is "very defensible," Gray said.

If someone is trying to make a citizen's arrest, which Gray said Hurd was doing by firing shots in the air and shouting at the robbers to stop, "reasonable force" can be used, according to state law.

"If a felony is committed against you, you don't have to take that," Gray said.

In 2001, a St. Paul shopkeeper was convicted of second-degree assault and sentenced to six months in the county workhouse for shooting a 15-year-old shoplifter in the back after the boy ran from the store.

Mara H. Gottfried covers St. Paul public safety. She can be reached at [email protected] or 651-228-5262.

The story can be found at; http://www.twincities.com/searchresults/ci_5858573?nclick_check=1

- Janq
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Out of jail with nowhere to go, mugging victim spends night in truck

As reported by TwinCities.com:

Out of jail with nowhere to go, mugging victim spends night in truck
BY MARA H. GOTTFRIED
Pioneer Press
Article Last Updated: 05/11/2007 10:03:04 AM CDT

Donald Hurd spent last night in his truck.

The 68-year-old man was released from the Ramsey County jail Thursday, but he had no wallet, no cash and nowhere to go.

Hurd, of Bigfork, Minn., was mugged Tuesday night in St. Paul, and officers arrested him after he shot one of the suspected robbers.

Readers contacted the Pioneer Press today, offering to help Hurd - they said they'd like to give him money, a place to stay, or take him out to a meal. When told about the offers this morning, Hurd said, "Thank you, but no."

"I don't like to ask for help," said Hurd, who is retired but comes to the Twin Cities to do odd jobs. He is divorced, and his relatives live out of state. "If you get into a situation, it's up to you to get out of it."

Hurd was taking the bus Tuesday to pick up his Chevrolet truck from a repair shop and was attacked between stops, in the area of Snelling and Como avenues. On Thursday, he made it to the Roseville shop, but his truck wasn't ready.

Hurd thought the jailers would return $100 in cash the robbers hadn't found. He was going to use it to stay in a motel Thursday night. As it turns out, when the jail returns inmates' property, they trade cash for a check. Hurd didn't know what good a check would do him because his driver's license had been stolen.

Hurd's truck isn't drivable and is parked at the shop. That's where he spent the night. He was planning to go to a bank to see if he could get some money. He's going to try to get a new driver's license, too.

Hurd's problems might not be over. Though he was released from jail, he could yet face criminal charges.

He might be a hero in the court of public opinion, but whether Hurd broke the law is a different story.

Hurd said he was only trying to scare the three young men who attacked him. Legal experts said Hurd's case doesn't seem to meet the self-defense standard in Minnesota. The 18-year-old man who Hurd shot in the shoulder is expected to be fine, police said.

"You would think somewhere between the letter of the law, there's some space there for some consideration and understanding," Hurd said. "It is an injustice."

The robbery suspects weren't arrested. The investigation into the robbery and the shooting continues, police said.

Hurd was born in St. Paul and raised in San Francisco. He came back to St. Paul when he was 15, after his mother was killed in a car accident, and he lived with his father.

On his 17th birthday, Hurd enlisted in the Army and worked as a military police officer. He was stationed in Germany, what is now Fort McCoy in Wisconsin and at Fort Dix in New Jersey.

After leaving the Army, Hurd returned to Minnesota, where he and his wife raised a family. He worked different jobs over the years - driving trucks and school buses, working as a plumber and an electrician, and being a security guard.

He's a quiet man and said he's embarrassed by the attention his case has received. He said he would have done the same thing if he came across someone in his situation.

"I would give up myself to destroy evil," he said Thursday. "It's just the way I am."

Hurd doesn't have a criminal history, but he acknowledged some problems with the way he handled things Tuesday night. He lied to police at first about the shooting, which he said he did because he was scared and confused. He doesn't have a permit to carry the pistol he had with him.

If he could go back to when he fired his gun Tuesday and change things, he's not sure he would.

"God only knows," Hurd said. "I don't want to say yes and I don't want to say no because you have a different frame of mind in that situation. I felt like I was violated. You look for some justice for yourself."

State Rep. Tony Cornish, who sponsored a bill this legislative session to give citizens more leeway in using deadly force to defend themselves, said he was outraged by what happened to Hurd.

"Maybe if these scumbags that were beating and robbing our old people had some doubt in their mind if they were going to survive their own crime, they would have some doubt about committing it in the first place," said Cornish, R-Good Thunder.

Cornish's bill, which he called "Stand Your Ground" legislation, didn't get a committee hearing. Though it might not have applied directly in Hurd's case, Cornish said, the law would have offered clarity about when and how citizens can defend themselves.

Current Minnesota law says it's justifiable to kill someone if you are "resisting or preventing an offense" that you "reasonably" believe could lead to "great bodily harm or death" for you or another person. If you are in your own home, deadly force can be used to prevent someone from committing a felony.

Even so, local attorneys think an argument could be made for Hurd's actions. If he is charged and the case goes to a jury, he'll likely come across as a sympathetic figure, they said.

"These aren't cases prosecutors like to take to juries," said Richard Frase, a University of Minnesota law professor.

Mara H. Gottfried covers St. Paul public safety. She can be reached at [email protected] or 651-228-5262.

The story can be found at; http://www.twincities.com/allheadlines/ci_5872729?nclick_check=1

- Janq
 

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"You would think somewhere between the letter of the law, there's some space there for some consideration and understanding," Hurd said. "It is an injustice."

aint that the truth. too bad its so damn hard to define that space between the letters.
 

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Hurd thought the jailers would return $100 in cash the robbers hadn't found. He was going to use it to stay in a motel Thursday night. As it turns out, when the jail returns inmates' property, they trade cash for a check. Hurd didn't know what good a check would do him because his driver's license had been stolen.


How convenient, trading cash for check.
 

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Bullshit. He should be charged with aggravated assault or its Minnesota equivalent.

He fired at them after they left him. At the moment he fired, he was not in danger. He's not a cop, and if he was making a "citizen's arrest," he didn't even have the elements of Tennessee v. Garner, which governs police officers' use of deadly force to stop a fleeing felon. The meat of Garner reads:
SCOTUS said:
The use of deadly force to prevent the escape of all felony suspects, whatever the circumstances, is constitutionally unreasonable. It is not better that all felony suspects die than that they escape. Where the suspect poses no immediate threat to the officer and no threat to others, the harm resulting from failing to apprehend him does not justify the use of deadly force to do so. It is no doubt unfortunate when a suspect who is in sight escapes, but the fact that the police arrive a little late or are a little slower afoot does not always justify killing the suspect. A police officer may not seize an unarmed, nondangerous suspect by shooting him dead. The Tennessee statute is unconstitutional insofar as it authorizes the use of deadly force against such fleeing suspects.

It is not, however, unconstitutional on its face. Where the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a threat of serious physical harm, either to the officer or to others, it is not constitutionally unreasonable to prevent escape by using deadly force. Thus, if the suspect threatens the officer with a weapon or there is probable cause to believe that he has committed a crime involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical harm, deadly force may be used if necessary to prevent escape, and if, where [471 U.S. 1, 12] feasible, some warning has been given. As applied in such circumstances, the Tennessee statute would pass constitutional muster.
I don't see the elements satisfied here. The victim came out relatively unscathed. It sounds like they roughed him up a little, pushed him down, and took his wallet. This is not to be confused with having your head pounded, losing teeth, or being held up with a weapon.

Is it right that he got robbed? Hell no. The three should all get felony robbey/assault charges and possibly enhancements for their actions leading to someone being shot.

Did they deserve to get shot? Possibly during the assault, or if they returned to continue the assault. But after they were leaving the area, he was no longer justified in killing one of them, which is what he almost did.
 
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