Urbin Report

Saturday, August 02, 2003

Somewhere to the South of us...

Southern homeowner gets tired of drugster firefights in his front yard. From the Charleston Post and Courier:


Roused from his sleep by the sound of gunfire about 4:30 a.m. Friday, the 67-year-old Gates took up his 12-gauge Browning automatic shotgun, stepped out onto his front porch and fired three blasts at men he said were drug dealers having a shootout in his front yard.

When the shooting stopped, three men lay wounded. Gates is said to have hit two of them, and the third is thought to have been hit during the initial shootout.

Gates, a semi-retired brick mason who drives a battered blue Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck with an airbrushed tag on the front bumper that says "Godfather," said Friday afternoon that he was only protecting his wife and house from what he describes as out-of-control neighborhood thugs in their teens and 20s who drink beer and sell and take drugs in his yard. He said gunshots fired near his house during drug-related disputes are a common occurrence.

"I had had enough," he said. "If I have to go to jail, so be it."

While police did not publicly approve of what Gates did, they filed no charges against him Friday.

"We have no plans to arrest him," Charleston Police Chief Reuben Greenberg said. "We can't see from where we sit where a crime's been committed. People have the right to provide for their safety, and we believe that is what he was doing."