A Nurse with a Gun

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Warning Shot to the Head

A motorist who shot and wounded a belligerent hitchhiker Wednesday at a highway rest area acted in self-defense, police say. The shooting happened just before 7:30 p.m. at the Nason Creek rest area on U.S. Route 2 near Lake Wenatchee and just west of Leavenworth.

The man who was shot, Jay Anthony Kneer, 45, was taken to Harborview Medical Center, where he was in the intensive care unit in serious condition Thursday. He is listed as a Renton resident, but Chelan County Sheriff Michael Harum said Kneer spent much of his time in Eastern Washington.

Kneer has a criminal record going back 20 years, with more than 50 arrests in that time and multiple convictions for theft, trespassing, drug violations and robbery in King, Snohomish and Chelan counties. He was released last month from the Chelan County Regional Justice Center, where he had been since his arrest in January on suspicion of second-degree robbery. He was well-known to Chelan County deputies, Harum said, and was typically combative with them. He said that when deputies had to handle a call involving Kneer, "you made sure you had a second person there."

Before the shooting, Kneer had been hanging around the rest area. Harum said volunteers who handed out coffee and cookies to passing motorists told deputies that Kneer had been harassing them. The volunteers left at about 7 p.m., shortly before the shooting, so Kneer was the only person around when Dennis Shaw, 66, of Lynnwood, and his wife pulled into the rest area.

In the restroom, Kneer asked Shaw for a ride, but Shaw refused. Kneer followed him, yelling at him and demanding a ride, police said. Kneer's demeanor and aggression began to scare the motorist, Harum said, adding that Kneer had a reputation for aggression and, at 6-foot-2, could be intimidating.

Once he was back at his pickup truck, Shaw retrieved a 9 mm handgun. This only made Kneer angrier, Harum said, and he pulled out a quart-size bottle of whisky and swung it, missing Shaw, who was able to duck behind his truck's door.

Shaw told deputies he pointed the gun at Kneer and fired when Kneer did not back off, telling them he meant it as a warning shot. But the shot struck Kneer in the head. Harum said it appeared to be a clear case of self-defense and he does not expect the motorist to be charged with any crime. "He was pretty upset, and from what the deputies tell me, remorseful," Harum said. "It's pretty sad."

By Hector Castro
Seattle PI.com

It's my belief that warning shots are usually not a good idea. They deplete ammunition reserves, and often serve to escalate conflict. The shot you wasted may be shot you needed to save your life. This is one example where they stopped the threat, however. Whether Mr. Shaw will suffer civil proceedings as a result is yet to be determined.

This encounter could also be cited as an example of raw, instinctive point shooting with a focus on the threat. Godspeed Mr. Shaw.

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Blogger Who is..... Carteach0? said...

This is why good people carry weapons.

11:41 AM  
Anonymous zoom said...

Agreed on "warning shots". It would be pretty bad karma to take out an innocent while trying to "warn" the goblin.

12:12 PM  
Anonymous cranky said...

I wonder if the shot that hit the offender was really a "warning shot," or if that's what the worried defendant told the police.

If you're aiming to miss someone and you hit them in the head by mistake, then you are truly a bad shot :-)

12:47 PM  
Anonymous Drewskers said...

Why not simply get into the car, lock the door, and drive away? Then call 911. Make for a much more pleasant day than a "clean shoot". Sheesh.

4:31 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

Unless I'm mistaken, in Washington If your actions are found to be within the frame work of our laws no civil action is possible.

6:11 PM  
Anonymous root@localhost.localdomain said...

"Why not simply get into the car, lock the door, and drive away?"

That's a valid option, if you feel you can pull it off. Another concern is taking your eyes off of your attacker (at close range) and not knowing what his next move will be (blind sided by what you're not watching for). This defensive shooting was completely valid, legal and reasonable. The better question is; Why the HELL was this criminal on the streets as a habitual offender??? If you're worried about people using guns in self defense, simply keep the damned criminals locked up and we won't have to shoot them when they attack us.

Oh, and um.... Sheesh.

9:14 PM  
Blogger Vinnie said...

This guy should have still been in jail. I blame gun control. If the cops, judge, jury, and parole board were CERTAIN that that people like this had easy access to guns they would keep them in jail where they belong.

9:25 PM  
Anonymous mia said...

"Why not simply get into the car, lock the door, and drive away?"
Perhaps his wife was still in the loo.

10:53 PM  
Blogger Last Chance Safari Company said...

in Masaad Ayoob's book, "In the gravest extreme" he points out that the firearm is a weapon, not a warning device, the verbal command, i have a gun, I will shoot, it will kill you, is about as close to the point as you can get... a warning shot is a miss, does this further encourage the attacker that you wouldn't dare shoot a person? a round in the front of an attacker reinforces the argument about who is the agressor

9:46 AM  
Blogger Jared McLaughlin said...

I don't agree with warning shots because I think it blurs the use of force continuum. All shots should be shoot to kill, not shoot to warn or injure. I see that there's a marked progression towards deadly violence and that there needs to be a clear line in that decision. Part of this is because of the burden of explaining the decision making process to whoever must decide the "rightness" of your actions later. If there is a clear line, it is easier to defend your decision making process. It's also easier to make the decision under stress.

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hm....Now lets see....50 arrests and convictions in 20 years. Thats 2.5 incarcerations a year. Some for tresspassing (minor amount of time spent in jail) and some for robberies (longer time in jail). So this duuddde some how passed through our great court system for 20 years and never learned his lesson?!!?!?
All this time he has shown an aggressive behaviour with no indication of being contrite about his past disagreeable behaviour. Even the officers knew enough to take extra people when they had to deal with him.
So when should the courts have ordered him to remain in a halfway home, receiving daily medication and remedial social training?
Hm, wonder what is more expensive? The hospital stay or the halfway house?


7:51 PM  
Anonymous Mark in AZ said...

Warning shots are never a good idea. Much of the Harold Fish case centered on the fact that he fired a warning shot before dropping his assailant.

"I was in fear for my life so I fired a 'warning shot'" never looks good to a jury or grand jury.

11:15 AM  

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