A story which probably won't make your paper

Clayton Cramer links a story that seems certain to go largely unreported, in which a college student shot and killed an armed home invader and scared another armed invader away -- in the process preventing what would have been horrendous carnage:

Bailey said he thought it was the end of his life and the lives of the 10 people inside his apartment for a birthday party after two masked men with guns burst in through a patio door.

"They just came in and separated the men from the women and said, 'Give me your wallets and cell phones,'" said George Williams of the College Park Police Department.

Bailey said the gunmen started counting bullets. "The other guy asked how many (bullets) he had. He said he had enough," said Bailey.

That's when one student grabbed a gun out of a backpack and shot at the invader who was watching the men. The gunman ran out of the apartment.

The student then ran to the room where the second gunman, identified by police as 23-year-old Calvin Lavant, was holding the women.

"Apparently the guy was getting ready to rape his girlfriend. So he told the girls to get down and he started shooting. The guy jumped out of the window," said Bailey.

A neighbor heard the shots and heard someone running nearby.

"And I heard someone say, 'Someone help me. Call the police. Somebody call the police,'" said a neighbor.

The neighbor said she believes it was Lavant, who was found dead near his apartment, only one building away.

Bailey said he is just thankful one student risked his life to keep others alive.

"I think all of us are really cognizant of the fact that we could have all been killed," said Bailey.

The student with the gun is a true hero.

Yet as I say that, I realize that many liberals would consider him a villain -- and many more think he should not have had a gun.

I'm not suggesting all liberals think that way, but something is very wrong with those who do.

(The problem is that their influence is out of proportion to their numbers.)

MORE: A commenter below takes issue with my characterization of the armed student as a hero, and speculates that the forensic evidence might show that the victims were not victims of an invasion, but were all making the story up. I suppose that is possible, but I called him a hero based on the story I read, and as it was apparently reported to the police.

The police issued a warrant for and arrested the second suspect, and I'm assuming they did so based on some sort of investigation which confirmed the witnesses' statements.

If the home invasion story turns out to have been made up by the witnesses, I will update accordingly.

MORE: Michelle Malkin has a post about this same case, and at least one commenter there is speculating that the victims may have been "gang bangers."

What is going on here? Is there an attempt to blame the victims?

posted by Eric on 05.06.09 at 11:19 AM










Comments

Don't think we'll ever see this kind of story on the evening news. It flies in the face of the liberal vision that only words solve problems.

Words are what Obama rode to victory in November, so the country will have to endure more of this dangerous philosophy. Obama has talked world peace to death - so much so that the Taliban are poised to overrun Pakistan. AlGore is no longer getting much traction with his Global Warming message.

Obama in particular has overused certain words - like 'inherited.' There is a list of overused 'Obamawords' at:
http://firstconservative.com/blog/top-ten/obamas-words-or-obamawords
might be a laugh in there somewhere.

MAS1916   ·  May 6, 2009 11:54 AM

I think the average liberal would say, "Posessing a gun worked in this case. But if more people owned guns there would be more tragic deaths than there would be stories like this."

Dom   ·  May 6, 2009 1:42 PM

The one thing that doesn’t add up is

A neighbor heard the shots and heard someone running nearby.

“And I heard someone say, ‘Someone help me. Call the police. Somebody call the police,’” said a neighbor.

This is a neighbor’s account – someone with an independent point of view than the party goers’ – to me is less likely to be exaggerated or made up. My question is “Why would someone who’d just tried to ROB 10 people at gun point be calling for the police when what he needed most immediately was medical attention?” Wouldn’t it make more sense for him to say call the paramedics or simply 911? My thoughts are that this could have been a college prank or initiation gone awry and more likely the guy’s girlfriend was caught in the act of doing another guy and he shot the dude and the rest of his friends helped him make up a good story to cover his @$$.

Questions to ask:

Did the slugs in the girl match the gun of the "hero"?

Was there a gun found on the now dead suspect? If so did the caliber match the slugs in the girl that was shot? Also was the suspect's finger prints found on the gun?

GSR on the dead suspect?

Why would somone who'd just committed a felony be calling for the cops instead of paramendics as he lay on the ground dying?

Please don't get me wrong, I am a gun-toting conservative bitter American but if this story doesn't hit my local newspaper it is probably because was not well reported. Too many questions left un answered that should have been eaily answered if someone were asking them.

John   ·  May 7, 2009 12:05 PM

My thoughts are that this could have been a college prank or initiation gone awry and more likely the guy’s girlfriend was caught in the act of doing another guy and he shot the dude and the rest of his friends helped him make up a good story to cover his @$$.

The other invader has been arrested:

http://www.cordeledispatch.com/local/local_story_126194441.html

***QUOTE***

CORDELE — A local man is on his way to face charges for his part in a home invasion near Atlanta over the weekend.

Officials with the Crisp County Sheriff’s Department and Cordele Police Department arrested Jamal Hill on a warrant from College Park.

Hill is accused of participating in a home invasion that ended in the death of his alleged accomplice and injury to a female victim, according to www.wsbtv.com.

Hill and 23-year old Calvin Lavant of College Park allegedly burst into an apartment located in the Southern Lakes apartments on Lakemont Drive in College Park around 3 a.m. Sunday.

***END QUOTE***

I'm not seeing any evidence that this was a prank or initiation gone awry, but I'm sure the surviving suspect will be given an opportunity to elucidate.

Eric Scheie   ·  May 7, 2009 12:36 PM

And NOTHING in what you posted says that anything has been proven yet. Only that another ALLEGED gunman was arrested. I'm not saying these two guys didn't do just what the original "report" said they did. I'm just saying that all they have is the comments of some college students and a neighbor who heard someone call for help and a request to call the police. Evidence would be the answers to the questions I posted with forensic science to back it up. My comments were more that the story as written wasn't credible enough to be printed to start with let along the accusatory stand it took with only the words of a couple of people to back it up.

Please don't mistake my views. I firmly believe in the 2nd Ammendment. I think if more law abiding citizens carried guns everywhere, there would be fewer criminals getting away with crimes.

John   ·  May 7, 2009 2:39 PM

all they have is the comments of some college students and a neighbor who heard someone call for help and a request to call the police. Evidence would be the answers to the questions I posted with forensic science to back it up.

These weren't comments; they were accusations made to police, and they are evidence -- just as much as what you say to the police is evidence if your house were to be invaded with you there.

In this and in many cases, evidence consists of statements made by witnesses. Forensic evidence is also evidence, but it is not the only evidence. Presumably, the police interviewed everyone present, and examined the crime scene. Otherwise, why would they have issued an arrest warrant?

Where is the evidence that the witnesses made up the story as you suggest?

Eric Scheie   ·  May 7, 2009 3:16 PM

No sir, a statement is a statement, evidence is what supports it. Doesn't matter if 1000 people say they saw a flying saucer land in a field. If there is no physical evidence to support it, it didn't happen.

If someone shoots someone else there should be evidence to support it such as gunshot residue on the shooter.

You again read too much into my original post. I merely proposed an alternate version of events that frankly is more plausible than a person who'd just committed a felony asking someone to call the police. It was NOT an accusation, just a theory. And until a forensic team gathers evidence to support this case, that is all anyone has is a theory.

So what you are saying is that we only bring the guilty to trial? I suppose these would be the first 'witnesses' to every make up a story to blame someone else for a crime - if that is in fact how it turns out? What about the Duke Lacrosse incident?

http://news.duke.edu/lacrosseincident/

Here was a case of of a person lying about an incident and those innocent of the charges having their lives disrupted and futures sabbotaged as a result.

Again, I've made no accusations of any kind, just stating what OUGHT to be obvious by now, the subject of the post is "HERE'S A STORY WHICH PROBABLY WON'T MAKE YOUR PAPER" so my comments were to explain WHY it won't make my local paper. It doesn't have any eveidence - physical eveidence - that won't change with time - LIKE SOMEONE's TESTIMONY - to back it up.

John   ·  May 7, 2009 3:54 PM

No sir, a statement is a statement, evidence is what supports it. Doesn't matter if 1000 people say they saw a flying saucer land in a field. If there is no physical evidence to support it, it didn't happen.

I think you have a misunderstanding of evidentiary law. Statements by witnesses, victims, and accused suspects are evidence, and are routinely considered and evaluated as such. If two men get in a fight, and one says the other started it, both statements are evidence, and it is up to the trier of fact to determine who is more credible.

If 1000 people say they saw a plane fly over a skyscraper, that would be evidence that a plane flew over a skyscraper. It could be rebutted, say, by 1000 other witnesses who said they saw nothing, or a video camera which showed nothing, but it would still be evidence.

There is no such rule that "if there is no physical evidence to support it, it didn't happen."

In the Duke case, the physical evidence (and the statements of the team) rebutted the contradictory testimony of the woman who claimed to be a victim. What she said was nonetheless evidence; just not credible evidence.

Many people have been convicted on the mere word of another, while many others have been similarly acquitted. It is the nature of our legal system.

Eric Scheie   ·  May 7, 2009 4:16 PM

Now you are digressing to arguing symantecs. Of course testimony is considered evidence, but only in open court, under oath and under penalties of perjury. Until these party goers actually appear in court it is just a statement to assit in the investigation of the crime.

I am not trying to say events went one way or the other. I believe what I can prove not what someone says. If someone shot someone else, it can be proven without having to take the word of anyone. If someone burst into a room univited forceably, there will be evidence to prove that too, again no need to take anyone's word for it. Report to me what you have (as you put it) "credible evidence" to back up. If it is not credible, then it is not evidence, and will not be taken into account by either a jury or a judge. If it were, the defendant will win on appeal.

case an point, Florida, a man in FL stole a generator that was only a year old. Forget the specifics of the case but the generator was big enough to power the house and that much was know by the make and model which escapes me at the moment. Clearly worth more than $500 even at a year old. The woman whom it was stolen from produced a receipt showing the thousands of dollars she paid for it. The man was convicted on her testimony that she recognized him as someone who'd done some lawn work for her and she got his license plate number as he was driving away with the generator. He was caught with the generator. He was convicted.

The precendence for this lawa states that $499.99 or less is a misdemeanor putting the burden of proof on the state to establish that the generator was fairly valued at $500 or greater. The receipt only proved what she payed for it a year ago. The state never got anyone to appraise its fair market value at the time it was stolen so his conviction was overturned. I wish it weren't so late in the day. I'd like to google this and provide you with a link to the case I'm referencing. I research all the Judges running for reelection in FL before I voted. Needless to say, I voted against this judge. It seems to me she left behind the whole notion of the "reasonable person". A resonable person knows that someone stealing a generator from a house he worked at would not be stealing one that didn't work. A resonable person doesn't need an appraiser to tell him or her that a generator that is only a year old and purchased for umteen thousand dollars was well worth more than $500.

I stand by my statement that a statement is just that a statement. Evidence is what supports it.

Nice chatting with you. If you care to research the case I referred to If you Google FLORIDA ELECTION 2008 JUDGES and read the recent cases heard by the female judges, I'm sure you will stumble across it. I'll try to find it myself and post a link here tomorrow.

John   ·  May 7, 2009 4:52 PM

Why would someone who’d just tried to ROB 10 people at gun point be calling for the police when what he needed most immediately was medical attention?

The malefactor was afraid of the armed citizen prepared to defend himself and wanted police protection?

Police respond faster? They have priority with emergency services?

He was severely wounded and wasn't thinking straight?

He was none too bright to begin with?

M. Simon   ·  May 7, 2009 6:21 PM

John,

Semantics are very important in our legal system. Words have meaning you know. Our President says so.

Now Eric being of a lawyerly sort goes for the legal definition of evidence. Which is rather more exactingly defined than the loose way terms are used in general conversation.

And in fact when you found what seems to be a discrepancy Eric explained exactly what he meant by evidence. And you know - since he wrote the piece it would appear that how Eric (and the legal system) define evidence clears up the point rather well.

For you to go on that Eric's meaning is not your meaning is rather pointless when it comes to communication. After all Eric told you where his idea of evidence came from.

You map is not Eric's map. But since Eric wrote the piece it is his map that is important. If communication is the object.

M. Simon   ·  May 8, 2009 2:38 AM

You guys all seem to want to give me a lesson in the legal system. I assure you I understand the law. I'm related to enough lawyers and I pay attention to what is going on in the world. My remarks were to respond to the topic "A story which probably won't make you paper." My only point was to answer that statement and attempt to explain why I believe it shouldn't. It is not because I am anti-gun/pro-gun control but I do believe in RESSPONSIBLE JOURNALISM. This was not journalism it was editorial comment. It takes s a firm stance on what happened with nothing but heresy and statements from a few "witnesses." This article has someone tried and convicted while he is still in the car on the way to the police station. It is "journalism" like this that is the reason the GUILTY sometimes walk - because they can't get a fair trial. I'll be watching this case very closely.

John   ·  May 8, 2009 8:40 AM

Evidence in criminal cases is governed by rules of evidence in the legal sense, and it is not a mere exercise in semantics to say that it should be analyzed that way.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evidence_(law)

Excerpt:

***QUOTE***

The law of evidence governs the use of testimony (e.g., oral or written statements, such as an affidavit) and exhibits (e.g., physical objects) or other documentary material which is admissible (i.e., allowed to be considered by the trier of fact, such as jury) in a judicial or administrative proceeding (e.g., a court of law).

***END QUOTE***

I understand the argument that statements are not evidence, but it is simply not the legal standard. Statements made to police (whether orally or as signed statements) are often vitally important, and are routinely admitted as evidence -- precisely why the police have to give warnings to suspects. Furthermore, false statements made to police can result in criminal prosecution.

However, even if we use the "reasonable man" standard (propounded above as applicable to the case involving a generator theft), isn't it more reasonable to assume that the victims here are telling the truth than to speculate that they are making up a story about a home invasion? Sure, it is possible that they made it up, but wasn't it also possible that the generator might have so depreciated in value that an appraisal was needed?

Eric Scheie   ·  May 8, 2009 8:59 AM

Eric,

Thank you for making my point for me. Statements are valuable tools used to investigate a crime that are LATER, in COURT, where it is subject to the scrutiny of cross-examination, admitted as evidence. No one has been tried yet.

So why is it that you see it one way for one case and another way for the other one?

You understand why the burden of proof is on the state to prove the value of the generator but you don't see why the burden of proof is on the state in case of the home invader? You are presuming that the accuser is telling the truth rather than the way the law is written. The burden of proof being on the state to prove its case with the PRESUMTION of INNOCENCE on the accused until that proof is submitted and accepted by the court.

Seriously, if the guys are guilty of this crime I hope the survivor hangs from the highest tree in GA. But like any American citizen I want that punishment to be the result of a fair trial by an impartial jury. Call me deluded but I still believe in the founding principles of this great nation of ours which is based on rule of law.

John   ·  May 8, 2009 9:36 AM

Eric,

Thank you for making my point for me. Statements are valuable tools used to investigate a crime that are LATER, in COURT, where it is subject to the scrutiny of cross-examination, admitted as evidence. No one has been tried yet.

So why is it that you see it one way for one case and another way for the other one?

You understand why the burden of proof is on the state to prove the value of the generator but you don't see why the burden of proof is on the state in case of the home invader? You are presuming that the accuser is telling the truth rather than the way the law is written. The burden of proof being on the state to prove its case with the PRESUMTION of INNOCENCE on the accused until that proof is submitted and accepted by the court.

Seriously, if the guys are guilty of this crime I hope the survivor hangs from the highest tree in GA. But like any American citizen I want that punishment to be the result of a fair trial by an impartial jury. Call me deluded but I still believe in the founding principles of this great nation of ours which is based on rule of law.

John   ·  May 8, 2009 9:36 AM

John,

If the "gentlemen" in question were not home invaders why didn't the one not killed run and why did he also avoid going to the police to report the altercation? Why did the police have to hunt for him?

Now did the police find the right person? That remains to be seen.

But the fact that there was a runaway suspect who didn't report his involvement to the police is fairly strong evidence that a home invasion occurred.

M. Simon   ·  May 8, 2009 12:47 PM

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