“I didn’t think I could handle this guy physically, so I fired into the ground,” Fleming told FoxNews.com. “He stopped. He knew I was serious. I was angry … and I was worried that this guy was going to come after me.” That’s how Dennis Fleming describes what got him arrested after finding his home had been burglarized. Grabbing a gun, he went outside only to see Joseph Hebert climbing out his neighbor’s window. And that’s when . . .

Fleming, a 61-year-old grandfather decided he need to announce his presence with authority and put one in the dirt.

“I didn’t know it was illegal [to fire into the ground], but I had to make that guy realize I was serious,” Fleming said. “I’ve got a clean record. I really don’t want to be convicted.”

Fleming held Hebert at gunpoint until the police arrived. Hebert was arrested for burglary and drug possession. And Fleming was taken downtown (or what passes for downtown in Farmington, NH) on a felony reckless conduct charge. They also confiscated his seven rifles and a .38 revolver.

“This homeowner fired at the ground, from all accounts, in a safe direction and held a burglar for police and did things correctly,” [Gun Owners of New Hampshire spokeswoman Penny] Dean told FoxNews.com. “The fact that this man would be charged is an outrage. Burglars in New Hampshire must know it’s open season, since homeowners cannot defend themselves, as evidenced by this case. This is charging the victim.”

We’re willing to wager a box of Hornady .38 JHPs that upon further review, County Attorney Tom Velardi will find a misdemeanor charge that Fleming will be able to plead to as a way to make this thing go away. We certainly hope so. But let this be a lesson to you kids out there. Keep your powder dry unless you’re threatened. And let your attorney talk to the media. Or not.

31 Responses to Self Defense Tip: Don’t Pull the Trigger Unless You Have To

    • NH is a REALLY gun friendly state. As close to Texas friendly as youll get.

      This is not the norm. Lets just see how this plays out.

      • It’s going to play out just exactly as it is presented in the article because we have shit for brains prosecutors who want to be somebody (maybe governor!) and they don’t give a tinker’s damn about anything but themselves and their careers. In their world, the constitution and bill of rights are simply “toys” to be played with, as are the people they harm on their way to the governor’s mansion.

        In early times these people would have been treated to a tar and feathering at the edge of town. Nowadays you would have to buy much more tar and a few more pillows because all these people think the same way and are supported by the local media as well as the intellectuals in the area.

        I’ll chip in!

  1. A good citizen hold a criminal until the police arrive, and the citizen gets arrested and his guns taken away. That is an outrage.

      • Standard government response: because fuck you, that’s why.

        Seriously, they do what they want. Who’s going to stop them?

    • I feel sad to say the man who robbed the house is my dad. I’m his only child and when I saw this a few years back I broke down.. he has problems tho too

  2. “And let your attorney talk to the media. Or not.”

    This should be the takeaway, as always, for us reading this hear. The real evidence that the DA will try to charge him with is his own statement. Without it, it could have been argued that it was an ND, or any number of things other than a purposeful use of that gun for intimidation.

  3. The shooter said “I was angry … and I was worried that this guy was going to come after me . . . .”

    That was the wrong thing to say. He should have said (and I think it’s probably true): “I was scared for my life. He was coming after me.” That would have put him right in the heart of the stand-your-ground law. But by his own admission, he wasn’t under attack and none was threatened against him. He wasn’t on his own property, so even brandishing could have been treated as a crime. Since a shot was fired, it’s not surprising that the poor guy is in hot water.

    Yeah, he’s should get a plea deal at worst, and a dismissal at best. But his own words will be used against him, and if he takes a plea he’ll probably have to say buh-bye to his guns. Ward Bird went to prison for doing less.

    New Hampshire recently enacted a strong “stand your ground” law that was opposed by some LEOs and DAs. I guess they’re opposed to anything that cuts into their business.

    Now the real question: where did Tom Velardi stand on stand-your-ground? Will this be handled like real case or an episode of prosecutorial spite?

    • “The shooter said “I was angry … and I was worried that this guy was going to come after me . . . .”

      That was the wrong thing to say. He should have said (and I think it’s probably true): “I was scared for my life. He was coming after me.””

      Perfect example of STFU !

      Lawyer are expensive for a reason.
      It is not even having a lawyer, at least somebody else to help out. I suppose that is why even a lawyer need lawyer.

    • The REAL issues here are the conduct of the prosecution and Law enforcement, who is in charge of government and if constitutional law still applies to anything any government agency does. Their actions PROVE that these people cannot be trusted in their positions, nor as protectors of the rights of the people. The fact that they consider their actions “normal” is a HUGE, burgeoning problem which is enjoyed by many other jurisdictions because the federal courts, are used to support such actions and attitudes which in turn are used to destroy those rights.

      The prosecution and law enforcement do not get a pass because a judge states that an apple is actually in fact an orange, when the rest of us can clearly see that an apple is really an apple. Such a judge is both a liar and a traitor to the constitution and the people of this country as are those who enforce his opinions on those matters. We stopped pardoning people for “just doing their job” and “following orders” right after the holocaust, when we realized that it was just an excuse to justify the individual’s participation in wholesale murder etc. And yes the two are exactly the same because when you disarm or cause to be disarmed, a person in front of their enemies or assailants and they are subsequently killed, you are guilty of that murder because you made it possible.

  4. Citizen displays conviction that most police lack, citizen harms no one and apprehends a criminal, citizen reminds people that they are indeed their own protectors and need not rely on the authoritarian police state for protection, thus citizen is punished by statist tyrants.

    That’s modern America.

  5. Nothing to do with this story, but this brought a smile to my face this morning.
    AN ACTUAL CRAIG’S LIST PERSONALS AD

    To the Guy Who Tried to Mug Me in Downtown Savannah night before last.

    Date: 2011-11-27, 1:43 am. E.S.T.

    I was the guy wearing the black Burberry jacket that you demanded that I hand over, shortly after you pulled the knife on me and my girlfriend, threatening our lives. You also asked for my girlfriend’s purse and earrings. I can only hope that you somehow come across this rather important message.

    First, I’d like to apologize for your embarrassment; I didn’t expect you to actually crap in your pants when I drew my pistol after you took my jacket.. The evening was not that cold, and I was wearing the jacket for a reason.. my girlfriend was happy that I just returned safely from my 2nd tour as a Combat Marine in Afghanistan .. She had just bought me that Kimber Custom Model 1911 .45 ACP pistol for my birthday, and we had picked up a shoulder holster for it that very evening. Obviously you agree that it is a very intimidating weapon when pointed at your head …. isn’t it?!

    I know it probably wasn’t fun walking back to wherever you’d come from with crap in your pants. I’m sure it was even worse walking bare-footed since I made you leave your shoes, cell phone, and wallet with me. [That prevented you from calling or running to your buddies to come help mug us again].

    After I called your mother or “Momma” as you had her listed in your cell, I explained the entire episode of what you’d done. Then I went and filled up my gas tank as well as those of four other people in the gas station, — on your credit card. The guy with the big motor home took 153 gallons and was extremely grateful!

    I gave your shoes to a homeless guy outside Vinnie Van Go Go’s, along with all the cash in your wallet. [That made his day!]

    I then threw your wallet into the big pink “pimp mobile” that was parked at the curb ….. after I broke the windshield and side window and keyed the entire driver’s side of the car.

    Earlier, I managed to get in two threatening phone calls to the DA’s office and one to the FBI, while mentioning President Obama as my possible target.

    The FBI guy seemed really intense and we had a nice long chat (I guess while he traced your number etc.).

    In a way, perhaps I should apologize for not killing you … but I feel this type of retribution is a far more appropriate punishment for your threatened crime. I wish you well as you try to sort through some of these rather immediate pressing issues, and can only hope that you have the opportunity to reflect upon, and perhaps reconsider, the career path you’ve chosen to pursue in life.. Remember, next time you might not be so lucky. Have a good day!

    Thoughtfully yours, Semper Fi,

    Alex

  6. I think the real story here is that we have a life-long gun owner who appears to be completely ignorant about his own state’s laws. I’m a NH resident and as I saw this story on my local news my first thought was, “this guy is in trouble”, before they even mentioned the legal action against him.

    If you are going to be armed then you should ensure that you are completely familiar with the laws regarding DGU in your area.

    I don’t disagree with those who think the law flawed, but at this time it is the law and this guy should have known better. Failing that he should have STFU.

    • Why? The cop is paid by his community to enforce the laws, no matter how unjust they may be; he merely did his job (and probably didn’t have much choice about it if he wanted to keep his job). It’s not the cops fault the guy was ignorant and chose to break the law (again, no matter how stupid that law may be).

      The real authority here is the DA; he will decide whether or not to prosecute. It should be interesting to see how this plays out now that it’s getting so much media attention.

      • Agree with Tank03, basically. The laws are structured as a sort of IQ + Fake Humility test. Professional criminals and attorneys know what to (not) say. For the rest, the question is “do they have any idea what the laws say in such a matter?” The answer for this guy is clearly no. Tell them you went outside armed because you were angry? Use lethal force when the perp is not in the midst of a violent act and you aren’t quite sure he’s intending to maim or kill you? Pull the trigger just for emphasis? So he flunked the basic test, and they’ll now have time to dig deeper into his existence, and show him mercy or not. Buy a gun? Learn the laws. Can’t learn the laws? Don’t buy a gun. Buy better locks, alarms, or dogs.

        • Cops everywhere engage in very selective enforcement everyday, from the FBI to the local beat cop, they have a huge amount of discretion. The FBI chooses to target certain groups – Muslims, “Eco-terrorist,” “right wing militias,” whatever. I agree in this case, with a shot fired, the local cops had less discretion, but the DA is basically a cop with a law degree.

  7. Truly, from a tactical or legal standpoint, this guy should not have gone outside with his gun. But he’s no Joe Horn (hero to some, not to me).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Horn_shooting_controversy

    I think he comported himself quite well. He did not summarily execute the junky in question. He held the offender for the police. No one was injured. This is vigilantism at its best.

    I agree with Ralph’s comment:

    “New Hampshire recently enacted a strong “stand your ground” law that was opposed by some LEOs and DAs. I guess they’re opposed to anything that cuts into their business.”

    Most cops, more than anything else, can’t stand to look bad. Also, they want to keep their monopoly on the use of force.

    This guy was stupid, but he’s my kind of stupid. I hope he gets some BS “illegal discharge” fine and keeps all his guns. I’m sure he’s learned his lesson.

    • He would have made that a slam dunk if he’d kept his mouth shut and left it for his lawyer to do the talking. His lawyer could probably have spun it as a negligent discharge or something and the guy would have very little to worry about, since no one was hurt and no property was destroyed.

  8. The only with this issue was he did not shot the SOB and claim self defence…..
    So much fro Live Free or Die in NH

    Jack

  9. Gun owners should not be ignorant of the law. How irresponsible is that, to own guns and not know whether or not you can fire a warning shot?

    If this guy is as innocent as he claims, as opposed to being a hothead that shoots too quickly, which of course he would never admit, it’s a damn shame he’s gotten himself in trouble.

    By the comments, it sounds like you guys have only been paying lip service to the basic idea of only using your defensive weapon if there’s a serious threat. Now, all of a sudden it’s OK in order to get a guy’s attention and show him how serious you are.

  10. Which would be better?
    ” I fired into the ground a warning shot to show him I meant business and was willing to shot him”
    or
    “The firing was accidental, I slipped on the grass while holding it and it went off. I have respect for life and was merely holding it to protect myself, but i had the best intentions.”

    You decide. But this comes from your attorney, not you through the media.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *