(from CBSNews.com) UNIONDALE, N.Y. (CBS 2) – He was arrested for protecting his property and family.
But it’s how the Long Island man did it that police say crossed the line.
He got an AK-47 assault rifle, pulled the trigger and he ended up in jail, reports CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman.
George Grier said he had to use his rifle on Sunday night to stop what he thought was going to be an invasion of his Uniondale home by a gang he thought might have been the vicious “MS-13.” He said the whole deal happened as he was about to drive his cousin home.
“I went around and went into the house, ran upstairs and told my wife to call the police. I get the gun and I go outside and I come into the doorway and now, by this time, they are in the driveway, back here near the house. I tell them, you know, ‘Can you please leave?’ Grier said.
Grier said the five men dared him to use the gun; and that their shouts brought another larger group of gang members in front of his house.
“He starts threatening my family, my life. ‘Oh you’re dead. I’m gonna kill your family and your babies. You’re dead.’ So when he says that, 20 others guys come rushing around the corner. And so I fired four warning shots into the grass,” Grier said.
Grier was later arrested. John Lewis is Grier’s attorney.
“What he’s initially charged with – A D felony reckless endangerment – requires a depraved indifference to human life, creating a risk that someone’s going to die. Shooting into a lawn doesn’t create a risk of anybody dying,” Lewis said.
Grier said he knew Nassau County Police employ the hi-tech “ShotSpotter” technology in his area and that the shooting would bring police in minutes. Cops told Guzman he was very cooperative.
Grier also said he was afraid the gang outside his house was the dreaded MS-13. And Nassau County Police Lt. Andrew Mulraine, head of the gang unit, said MS-13 has 2,000 members in the county.
“They’re probably the most organized. They almost have a military hierarchy within the gang, so they are the most organized gang we encounter on a daily basis,” Mulraine said.
You may think a person has the right to defend their home. But the law says you can only use physical force to deter physical force. Grier said he never saw anyone pull out a gun, so a court would have to decide on firing the gun.
Police determined Grier had the gun legally. He has no criminal record. And so he was not charged for the weapon.
That ShotSpotter technology pinpoints where a gun has been fired within 35 feet. Police said it also detected two other shootings in nearby Roosevelt that night.
Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from CBSNews. Visit the website at newyork.cbslocal.com.
1. Why did homeowner George Grier of Long Island, New York shoot four warning shots into the grass on Sunday night? Be specific.
2. What did Mr. Grier believe would happen after he fired the warning shots (regarding the “ShotSpotter”)?
3. What crime was Mr. Grier arrested for committing?
4. How does Mr. Grier’s attorney refute the charge made against him?
5. What did Police Lt. Andrew Mulraine say about the MS-13 gang in Nassau County?
6. What important questions does this news report leave unanswered?
7. The police determined Grier had the gun legally, and he has no criminal record, so he was not charged for weapon possession. But they did confiscate Mr. Grier’s gun.
a) If you were George Grier’s neighbor, what would you think about the police taking his gun? Explain your answer.
b) Do you think the charges against Mr. Grier should be dropped, or should he be brought to trial? Explain your answer.
c) The law in New York says a person can only use physical force to deter physical force. Do you think that law should be changed to permit a homeowner to protect his family when threatened in such a manner? Explain your answer.
FOLLOW-UP ON GEORGE GRIER’S STORY: (from cbslocal.com/2010/09/07/uniondale-family-afraid-after-weekend-dispute)
- Ylana Grier said her husband was merely protecting her and their two young daughters – ages 2 and 1 – from the men. She said the family did not know who the men were or why they swarmed the lawn.
- Grier was arrested on reckless endangerment and weapons possession charges. He was released on $10,000 bond after his arraignment Monday.
- A FedEx worker, Grier is the grandson of a local minister and is a church deacon himself, his sister, Caprice Rines said.
- Grier bought the rifle for self-defense amid concern about recent shootings in the area, Rines said.
- The family is now relying on surveillance cameras and a pit bull for protection.
BACKGROUND ON MS-13: (from fbi.gov/page2/jan08/ms13_011408.html)
- Members of Mara Salvatrucha, better known as MS-13, are mostly Salvadoran nationals or first generation Salvadoran-Americans, but also Hondurans, Guatemalans, Mexicans, and other Central and South American immigrants [many of whom are illegal immigrants].
- MS-13 operates in at least 42 states and the District of Columbia and has about 6,000-10,000 members nationwide.
- MS-13 members engage in a wide range of criminal activity, much of which is exceedingly violent. And while most of the violence is directed toward other MS-13 members or rival street gangs, innocent citizens often get caught in the crossfire.
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