Divine Intervention Takes Out Scum Bag
Mr. Cook's wife ran to the neighbor's home to get help, while Mr. Cook quickly located his .22 caliber handgun. While confronting Frenceschini, Mr. Cook thought he saw something in the criminal's hands. He fired one shot into the ceiling as a warning shot.
“I went to get my .22 caliber gun that I keep in the hallway. I had it in my hand, and I asked him what he was doing. He turned around, and I saw that he had something in his hand. I didn’t know what it was, so I fired a warning shot up into the ceiling,” Cook said.
That's when Divine Providence stepped in. A fragment of the single .22 caliber bullet ricocheted and struck the intruder in the forehead, knocking the fight out of him. Cook then held the intruder at gunpoint while he dialed 911 for assistance. “I wasn’t aiming for him. I’ve handled guns since I was 12, and was a sharpshooter in the Army. If I wanted to hit him, I would have. If he’d moved, the next shot would have stopped him,” Cook said. “I stood to the side of him until the police got there.”
Frenceschini was subsequently arrested and charged with first degree burglary. He was hospitalized for the bullet fragment in his skull and a fractured hand he injured during the break-in, officials said. Mr. Cook was not arrested. As usual, the local constabulary advises against legitimate self defense.
Still another link.
And one more link.
I rarely second guess a person after a self defense shooting, but this account is ripe for discussion. I cannot avoid it.
First, there is no duty to retreat in North Carolina if one is within their own home. There is no need to make excuses, or God forbid blast ceilings in North Carolina. There is, however, a need for law abiding citizens to effectively defend themselves and their homes against criminal attackers.
Mr. Cook's statement, "If I wanted to hit him, I would have. If he'd moved, the next shot would have stopped him," although well intentioned, speaks volumes of his ignorance. Hitting moving targets is very demanding shooting, especially when one's life is on the line. It's a hell of a lot more demanding than hitting the ceiling of the room you are in. Former Army sharpshooters may have a lot of experience shooting rifles at stationary bullseyes at the range. That does not equate to life saving marksmanship with a handgun. As far as I know, the US Army has no job description of "sharpshooter". This designation is likely a marksmanship ranking, between "marksman" and "expert", a common and non-distinquishing ranking attained by farm boys and city boys alike who never held a rifle prior to military service.
The belief that a .22 caliber handgun will "stop" anyone is an fallacious belief bordering on the belief in magic. If a .22 caliber slug should stop an advancing assailant, it is because he wanted to stop. Yes, the lowly 22 kills more people than any other round. This is not a credit to the round's effectiveness, but rather a bow to it's overriding prevalence compared to other calibers, especially among untrained shooters. Unless the 22 slug penetrates into the CNS, the criminal will simply bleed slowly while he decides whether to flee or snuff the life from the defender.
And now, tactics. Warning shots are never a good idea. First, they deplete life saving ammunition in a life threatening encounter. The bullet you shoot in the air may be the one you need to save your life.
Warning shots are often fired in the hope that the aggressor will retreat at the sight of the firearm, and the defender will not have to take a life. This is the "Magic Talisman Presumption" that one often hears parroted off by those new to firearms. The truth is, introduction of a firearm into a conflict will escalate the conflict if the protagonist is not willing to utilize the gun effectively.
By their very nature, warning shots are often not aimed fire. As unaimed gunfire, they inherently place others at risk. Truth be told, Mr. Cook could have been struck by a stray bullet fragment just as easily as Frenceschini. If the warning shot is aimed, then the shooter has taken his eyes off the aggressor, making himself vulnerable while trying to save the criminal's life.
If a person is justified in firing a warning shot, they are justified in shooting the threat. Shots fired into the ceiling are as much an application of lethal force as shots fired center of mass. They are just a warm fuzzy touchy feelie excuse for not believing one's life is worth defending. They are a last plea for the criminal to stop his activities.
Finally, as in this case, if the "warning shot" should somehow find it's target, the shooter is then wide open for a civil suit. The warning shot will be interpreted and presented as empirical evidence that lethal force was not yet necessary, yet the shooter negligently injured the poor tortured soul who just happened to find himself in the wrong house. Yes, the civil suits are coming........Frenceschini is in the hospital, alive, with medical bills mounting. Meanwhile, Mr. Cook is going on record saying he fired a warning shot, which through Providence probably saved his life. Of course, Frenceschini will say he never threatened the old man, and a lawyer sleazier than John Edwards will produce a plethora of character witnesses who will paint him as a recently misguided choir boy almost killed by the evil old man with a gun.
I wish Mr. Cook the best, but he needs to stop speaking. He may soon learn that a warning shot between the eyes is preferable to one in the ceiling, and a caliber that starts with a four is preferable to a .22. Good luck Mr. Cook. God saved your ass a few days back. Don't place it on a silver platter for the attorneys to devour.