Last July, David Serbeck and the [unnamed] president of his Home Owners’ Association were driving around their Bluffdale, Utah neighborhood as part of a neighborhood watch. A recent wave of automobile burglaries in the neighborhood had them in condition orange. The two men encountered a group of teenage girls walking through the ‘hood. They questioned the girls and let them go on their way. A short time later, the men encountered a vehicle matching the description of one connected with the car break-ins. They followed the car to get a license number. Unbeknownst to the men, the same group of girls they’d seen walking through the neighborhood earlier that night were in the car. The girls drove to the home of Reggie Campos. Reggie’s daughter told her father they were being stalked by two strange men in an SUV.
The neighborhood watchmen had long since driven off. In a classic case of “rage . . . taking . . .over,” Campos grabbed his pistol and his daughter and jumped into his car. A short time later, Campos’ daughter identified the SUV in question. After flipping a U-turn, Reggie cut in front of the men’s car and blocked them in.
Campos exited his vehicle with pistol in hand, screaming at the men in the SUV. At the sight of the enraged, pistol-waving Campos, Serbeck drew his own legally concealed pistol. He tired to de-escalate the situation by placing his pistol on the ground and kicking it away.
That’s when Campos, in his own words to the 911 operator, “Let him have it.” He fired twice, severing Serbeck’s spinal cord, paralyzing him for life.
Campos claimed self defense. The jury would have none of it. They deliberated less than four hours before convicting the 44-year-old accountant of first degree attempted murder, and two counts of aggravated assault. Campos now faces a sentence of three years to life in prison.
A man with a concealed carry permit is permanently paralyzed from the chest down. Another man faces a lengthy prison sentence. Two families are devastated. On top of it all, the smug, self-righteous advocates of gun control have the ammunition they need to rail against the evils of gun ownership and concealed carry.
There is plenty of irresponsibility to go around.
Campos provided a textbook example of what NOT to do in a situation like this. By arming himself and leaving the safety of his home, by taking his daughter back out onto the street to hunt down those he claimed were “threatening” his little girl, Campos became the aggressor.
Campos compounded his error by forcing a confrontation and introducing deadly force into a situation where no threat existed.
Serbeck also played his cards wrong. Either he should have A) escaped in his vehicle (if he wasn’t completely blocked ) or on foot B) not drawn his weapon and run for cover or C) drawn his weapon while running for cover and fired.
The last thing Serbeck should have done: disarm himself in the face of enraged aggressor. Only surrender your weapon to a member of law enforcement.
As for the idea that no citizen should have gun because anyone could lose control of themselves and take the law into their own hands, that train left the station a long time ago. Mutually assured destruction kept the world safe for democracy. Even when it didn’t.