ATHENS, Ga. — Three people in Athens have recently used firearms to interrupt crimes, leading police to say it’s preferable to call 911 if possible.
“These and other recent cases involve very different facts, but one theme resonates as a common denominator: Citizens seem more ready these days to protect themselves or others who may be in mortal danger by using a gun,” Ron Carlson, a professor emeritus at the University of Georgia School of Law, told The Athens Banner-Herald.
Athens-Clarke police said people should call 911 in times of danger. Capt. Clarence Holeman said police are always on patrol and can quickly respond to problems so residents are not in harm’s way.
“I believe in the Second Amendment, but I wish people wouldn’t take the law into their own hands unless it’s a direct threat where they know their life is in danger or someone else’s is,” Holeman said.
On June 21, Dennis Terry said he was driving when he saw a man beating a woman who caught him breaking into her car.
Terry said he ran toward the man and threatened to shoot him.
“I got within about 15 feet of them and told him to ‘get down or I’ll shoot’ two or three times, and when he saw I meant business he turned her loose and ran,” Terry said.
Two weeks earlier, 75-
year-old businessman Raymond Penn confronted a man he found hiding in a storage room attached to his business.
Penn said he told the man to come out with his hands up. Penn said the man had a gun and fired at him, and he fired back.
“I had no option but to return fire and defend myself,” Penn said. “It’s regrettable, but he put himself
in the position and had the opportunity to step out of it.”
Willie Reed said he was awakened in his home June 18 by burglars who climbed through a window.
While investigating the noise, Reed said, he was confronted by a man who grabbed a TV and ran with an accomplice toward a van in the driveway.
Reed said he fired at the van as it backed out the driveway. The driver panicked and crashed into a retaining wall.
Police captured the suspects, who escaped briefly when officers told Reed to lower his weapon.