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Reader 2ASux writes:

Many may know we have been backing and forthing about the number of people killed due to negligent gun handling. Now we have a news report of a firefighter killed by a gun owner. Firefighters were executing a forced entry to perform a “welfare check.” According to the story, “a source told WTTG that the man awoke to the sound of the first-responders and thought they were intruders.” Given what we know from the news report (which is still probably incomplete), the gun owner was at great risk of a diabetic coma, or loss of clear thinking and controlled faculties due to diabetes . . .

Any one here want to meet the family of the dead firefighter and tell them that life is tough and stuff happens, because guns? That they should ignore the shooting, because statistically his death is insignificant?

No? Didn’t think so.

The dead firefighter is not a member of your family, he’s simply one of the dismissable 500 who will be killed this year due to a gun owner not responsibly handling his firearm. Life’s a bitch, then you die.

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354 COMMENTS

  1. 1. Why are we platforming a troll?
    2. Please explain how a “wellness check” justified breaking and entering into someone’s home.

      • Wellllll technically speaking you can’t discover granny has shuffled off this mortal coil without beating in her door. But, this is a splendid way to circumvent the 4th amendment.

        Police will be sent as “backup” when the goal is actually to break and enter the house without a warrant (kinda like EMTs go through people’s pockets looking for “clues” to help decide on treatment while the cops hover overhead like vultures looking for a loose joint, and leave once they discover there is not profit for the department).

        This has to happen every once in a while if you want firefighters to think twice before acting as a constitutional bypass for the police. They sure won’t take the initiative to protect anyone from police abuse. That has been proved beyond discussion.

    • 1. 2Asux is a troll, everyone knows it. He parrots the asinine talking points of anti-freedom talking heads and therefore gives us a glimpse into the thought process of an anti-gunner.

      2. As a firefighter, I am authorized by force of law to enter a private residence if there is reasonable suspicion a life is in danger. I don’t care, let alone have authority to act, if you are doing anything, legal or illegal, in your own home. I am there to try to save your life. I do not need your permission to do so, simply for the fact a person in need of help usually cannot grant permission for me to help them.

      You asked, I answered honestly. It is a damn shame my brothers were wounded and killed in the line of duty. They knew the risks of the job and showed up anyway. It is a reality of the world we live in, I mourn the death of the fallen firefighter. The homeowner did not handle his weapon irresponsibly, he was suffering a medical emergency and thought he was in danger. It is tragic, and regrettable, but that’s the world we live in. To those who blame guns, shame on you. To those who blame the firefighters, go to hell.

      • On 2:

        Fair enough, but if you are breaking down a door of a house that isn’t on fire, you better be announcing who you are and why you’re there loud and proud. The shooter in this story was obviously not close to a diabetic coma or an insulin reaction because people in that condition are not capable of shooting straight. Ergo, entry was unwarranted. It would be nice to know how the entry took place, was there any announcement immediately before or after the entry, etc.

        • “As a firefighter, I am authorized by force of law to enter a private residence if there is reasonable suspicion a life is in danger.” (DaveWI says)

          FoxNews:
          “…first-responders, who were responding to a call for help at the home in Temple Hills, …”

          “After arriving on the scene and receiving no answer to knocks on the door…”

          Officials doing wellness checks do not arrive and immediately kick-in a door.

          Wellness check visits are not “unwarranted”.

        • They are when they require forceful entry. That’s a clear violation of the 4th amendment. No visible emergency? Go wake up a judge.

        • Clearly you have not dealt with many diabetics. Hypo or hyperglycemia symptoms are not immediately obvious in their presentations but rather usually take a great deal of time to set in. Some Hypoglycemic persons in particular are notorious for being incredibly combative and violent and are often not only capable of communicating, but also able to perform most skills they have learned, such as use of firearms and knives. They simply arent in their right mind if you will. Eventually, they will be completely obtunded. But that is obviously not what happened here.

        • The 4th protects against unlawful searches and seizures.
          A welfare check is neither searching for your property nor seizing it.
          If your health has degraded to the point you cannot convey your wants or needs its considered implied consent to do everything to help you.
          Almost nobody ever says “if the door to my house is locked, just let me die”

          Just as breaking and entering only applies when its done for an unlawful purpose.
          Hard to prove it was unlawful when you’re not EMS and its the middle of the night.
          Easier if you are EMS sent there by 911 dispatch.

          To everyone claiming its a rights violation.
          That is as dumb as calling the police for help and then trying to sue them for trespassing when they knock on your door.
          Good luck with being stupid.

          • A welfare check is neither searching for your property nor seizing it.

            I’m fairly certain that the courts would disagree with you regarding the fourth-amendment implications of non-consensual home entry for the purposes of a “welfare check”.

            If your health has degraded to the point you cannot convey your wants or needs its considered implied consent to do everything to help you.

            Making such an assertion requires evidence to support probable cause of its veracity. A brother phoning the police to say that someone is not answering his phone does not establish such probable cause. Failure to answer a knock on one’s door does not establish such probable cause.

            To everyone claiming its a rights violation.
            That is as dumb as calling the police for help and then trying to sue them for trespassing when they knock on your door.

            Straw Man FTW

            It was not the homeowner who called the police. It was the homeowner’s brother, who did not live with the homeowner, and did not have authority to consent to the police breaking into the home.

        • Chip –

          There are two angles to this.

          1) the need to enter for purpose of a wellness check. While the FD will be required to announce its presence before entering (and we are required to have the po-po observe we are doing so) for a wellness check, my understanding is that dispatch confirms the caller and relationship before proceeding. I can’t call a wellness check on Farago just for the joy of waking him up at 3am.

          2) the wellness check is not a home search. As mentioned before, we are not there to conduct a search of the premises. That joint you were smoking isn’t my problem as long as it doesn’t set your home on fire. Anything we do find, especially in a forced entry situation, would be inadmissible anyway. In a voluntary entry, I seem to recall I can tell the cops, but I have no interest in doing so – but I may be wrong about that (telling them).

        • Phone calls had been made (unanswered), firefighters attempted to raise the shooter by knocking and shouting; no response. What part did they do wrong?

        • We may have identified the rotten smell at the heart of this discussion.

          Nobody here believes the firefighters enjoy bursting into people’s homes uninvited. The firefighter higher up in the comments said

          “As a firefighter, I am authorized by force of law to enter a private residence if there is reasonable suspicion a life is in danger. I don’t care, let alone have authority to act, if you are doing anything, legal or illegal, in your own home.”

          Ok, sure thing. He sounds like a great guy…just trying to suit up every day and save lives right? Well he might be a good person, but he can’t bury his head in the sand and pretend that he and his department act in a vacuum. They will be used by less scrupulous departments (who also have badges, hint hint) to bypass constitutional protections. They ARE used by those badges to violate the constitution already.

          If police are following these guys, they will not be doing so because they want to see another stiff. They will deploy on “welfare checks” with the firefighters when they think they have a decent chance of finding one alive, one with no medical problem, one who simply doesn’t want their door kicked in. One who has something valuable behind that door, and isn’t answering the phone.

          10/10 times says it will be in the hopes of stealing some cash via civil forfeiture, or catching someone doing something that was made illegal before any of our parents were born so as to jail the person and justify their department’s existence.

          “I don’t care, let alone have authority to act, if you are doing anything, legal or illegal…” —-We know you don’t, but it isn’t you we’re worried about. It’s the Gestapo 2.0 who will be riding your coattails, sneaking in under the 4th amendment.

        • “no response. What part did they do wrong?”

          The part where they need a warrant, supported by oath or affirmation, before they are to kick doors in? The part where there must be an OBVIOUS probable cause(like fire coming out of a window!) BEFORE forced entry? The problem is; so many have been suckered in by the “I must help everyone” media line that now the ones to be ‘helped'(whether they want it or not!) are now forced to shoot the ‘helpers’ in self defense!
          Please explain to me in what way that is not a sign of a society in the last throws of self destruction….
          Bye, Bye. ‘Murica. It was nice knowing you, WHILE you were still alive.
          🙁

        • You are an idiot and need to understand what we do. If thIs is what you think don’t bother calling when you can not reach your granny. I am sure the neighbors will appreciate the wonderful smell after a few days. Btw, go f ur self!

        • Hey, KR, you don’t need to be coming to my house with that asshat attitude. Meanwhile, the first thing which is really, really obvious, here, is that waiting to break down the door until 9 AM would give opportunity to get a warrant, AND to let me recover from the bottle of Jack I finished at 9 PM. Breaking down a door at 3 AM? You may have the authority, but you should realize that the resident also has the authority to kill you for it. Less smartass and a trifle of actual thinking would be a good plan.

      • I did not blame guns, I blamed the wild proliferation of guns in the hands of people not truly qualified to safely operate them.

        As to the use of the gun being nothing more than a frightened homeowner responding to a break-in, the fact the shooter did not respond to phone calls and shouted inquiries at the door indicates the shooter was possibly not in full command of his mental condition, not capable of determining what was going on, and used a gun in a muddled mental state. If such was the case, the shooter acted irresponsibly (people with diabetes are not left unaware of the consequences of not staying on top of their medication for diabetes; they are drilled in what to do, and what happens if they don’t).

        I definitely do not blame the firefighters. A member of my family was in a diabetic stupor for several days before we decided rescue was needed. Sheriff sent a car, and the deputy broke open the door. Family member thought the deputy was the newspaper delivery boy. A muddled mental state explained the inability to recognize that the phone was even ringing over the previous two days. Fortunately, no one in the family has firearms, so there was no way for our situation to end as did this recent event.

        So what I am saying is we have yet another unnecessary killing resulting from an inadequately prepared gun owner. But the pro-gun crowd will simply tsk, tsk, and slot this firefighter’s death into the “statistically insignificantf” category. But no one wants to go and tell the family that. Why?

        • I don’t see any portion of that article saying the firefighters announced themselves. I do see one very adequately prepared gun owner, prepared to defend himself when someone kicks in his door.

          Plus, your precious State seems to admit that he was in the right, what with the lack of charges and all.

        • “I did not blame guns, I blamed the wild proliferation of guns in the hands of people not truly qualified to safely operate them.”

          “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

          Excuse me, but where, exactly, in the above verbatim quote of the Second Amendment to The Constitution of the United States of America, do you see ANY reference to qualifications for safe handling? Much less any authorization of any government agency to determine those qualifications.

          The Constitution, in its body, describes what the government may do and how it should go about doing it. The Bill of Rights specifically enumerates those things the government IS NOT ALLOWED TO DO. This is not complicated.

        • @Cliff

          Almost there… the BOR enumerates SOME of the things the government is not allowed to do. Not All of them.

          (Maybe that’s what you meant, but it didn’t come across clearly to me, if you did.)

        • “I blamed the wild proliferation of guns”

          There was more than one gun? Because otherwise this is nonsense. You’re talking rubbish, wishing for unicorns. There was no wild proliferation, there was one person with one gun, defending his home from an invading and violent stranger in the middle of the night.

          • “There was more than one gun?”

            No. The comment I was replying related to an ongoing proposition that there are too many guns in the hands of too many people. The direct statement presented in a reply to me indicated I blame(d) an inanimate object for having a mind and capability of its own, devoid of human involvement. I do not find tools to have lives, spirits, moods, or intentions, most assuredly guns.

      • Not sure I can +1 here since in not a firefighter, but if you don’t have the cred to speak on it im not sure who does. Good answer, im sorry about your brother firefighter, much respect.

      • Not sure I can +1 because im not a firefighter, but if anyone is qualified to speak on this it seams you are. Im sorry about your fallen brother, much respect to him and you for giving such a candid answer.

      • Not answering the phone or door does not constitute reasonable suspicion of a medical emergency.

        Multiple people breaking down a door DOES constitute reasonable suspicion of a home invasion.

        I appreciate the hard, dangerous work you do to keep your community safe, but if you break into someone’s home without direct, first-hand evidence that their life is in danger, you should EXPECT to get shot.

        • When one is lying unconscious on the floor bleeding out from an unintentional injury, or in a coma from misused drugs, or suffering electric shock, or hundreds of other possible injuries, and one does not respond to phone calls and people outside shouting for you to open the door, will you be content to just die because there is no “direct evidence” you are dying?

        • His brother called emergency services because he had diabetes and did not answer the phone. You’re a prick. I hope someone shoots you next time you attempt to help someone.

        • waldengr: If the homeowner didn’t invite you inside, and you don’t have direct first-hand evidence of an emergency, you shouldn’t break into the home.

          Not answering the phone, or the door, or shouts outside, is not evidence of an emergency.

        • Poop said “I hope someone shoots you next time you attempt to help someone.”

          Unlikely, as I DON’T BREAK INTO PEOPLE’S HOMES.

        • “will you be content to just die because there is no “direct evidence” you are dying?”

          Will YOU be content to die because you just could not wait until morning?

          • “Will YOU be content to die because you just could not wait until morning?”

            Not finding the connection here.

            My question was whether one would be satisfied to simply die unattended, unassisted because 2A, 4A and related laws. There are real, live incidents where a family member is in capable of assisting themselves, family become distressed at lack of contact, and ask for someone to be sent to check on whether the incapacitated family member is literally dead or alive. Thus the question is would you (given you are an unreachable family member with medical problems) rather your 2A/4A rights be strictly respected, even if it means you dying when otherwise you might have been rescued?

        • Hi Power Toter –
          Not answering calls or your door does constitute exigent circumstances, when emergency responders are called to your resident with reasonable expectation of an emergency:

          Johnson v. City of Memphis – 2010 – 6th Circuit Court
          Stricker v. Twp. of Cambridge – 2013 – 6th Circuit Court

          The patient does not even have to be the one to call 9-1-1, nor does the caller have to speak with the 9-1-1 calltaker; a hang up can be considered a contributing factor to the existance of an exigent circumstance.

          Emergency medical professionals are not specifically called out in case law or statutes, as they are not law enforcement personnel. However, the reasonableness of the 4th Amendment is often interpreted that a reasonable person would want emergency medical personnel to enter their residence and treat them in the event the reasonable person were unable to open the door on their own; in short, implied consent.

          The other extreme: http://www.wisn.com/news/ems-crew-waits-for-police-before-entering-stabbed-womans-home/31124066 Fortunately, the patient did not die in this instance.

      • “I am there to try to save your life. I do not need your permission to do so.”

        I usually save a bit of venom for LEO’s, but now I’ll direct it to fireman. What a load of if vile bile infested crap. By that argument you can be directed by your higher to violate any number of constitutional rights. Frankly it none of your business what I’m doing in my home, what my condition is, or why I’m not responding to my door.

        And finally if your “brothers” we’re sooo concerned about protecting life and property, why did they stand down and watch Hoodlums burn Baltimore. Oh yeah, firemen were concerned for their safety. Got it…bust a door down get shot (not concerned about safety). Hoodlums chucking rocks, no go.

        • You miserable, shortsighted, arrogant, fool. I sincerely hope and pray you never require assistance from police or firefighters. I swore an oath to protect life, preserve property, and conserve the environment – in that order. I also swore an oath to uphold the Constitution. I will not stand for your defamation of my BROTHERS, or myself. Please kindly take a long walk off a short pier.

        • Ok Dave, please explain how a warrantless intrusion into a private residence without readily apparent exigent circumstances does not constitute a violation of the 4th amendment.

        • If a person is conscious, you need their permission to give aid. Unconscious, you have implied consent.

        • He clearly wasn’t unconscious. I feel bad that firefighter died. I feel even worse that society has convinced cops and firefighters that a flashing lights, a badge, and matching outfits magically makes them immune to the consequences of breaking down someone’s door in the middle of the night.

        • PwrSurge –

          Any evidence would clearly be inadmissible in that case, and thus the forced entry not a 4A violation.

          DaveWI –

          I expect protocol to change to having the police be part of any forced entry and take point. As they should always have been – if entering into a scene you cannot confirm is safe, especially involving potential altered mental status, you let the guy in the vest with a gun take point.

          You guys are discussing from different perspectives.

        • pwrserge – demonstrate again your asshatedness.

          As a Fire Chief (volunteer) I can, lawfully, do damn near anything (a reasonable person would do) to:
          – Put out a fire/resolve an emergency on any property. The law/gov’t/courts assume that that you are not the only party with a financial interest in a property (as a bank, insurance co, spouse, etc). If you light the house then sit in your lazyboy while it burns, I am REQUIRED to make my best effort to put it out. This includes an abandoned structure
          – Prevent your structure fire from spreading to your neighbors property. This is the main area of interest. The world assumes your emergency will get bigger/worse until someone fixes it. Demonstrated over and over thru history (see any number of huge urban fires of the 1800s).
          – Prevent your wildland fire from spreading to the neighbors property. Still a frequent BIG problem in sprawling suburban areas.

          You don’t have to like it or consent. As time is of the essence, I don’t have to get a warrant as I’m not there on a popo/law enforcement task. We are lawfully exempt in doing whatever may be required (that a reasonable person would do) to accomplish our mission.

          I can confiscate ANY equipment, property, and put you to work, as required to accomplish my mission. And I get to define the extent of this mission. As a Constitutional Conservative I’ll be very careful when/how I would do such. I’ll ASK you to help me by bringing your tractor/disk to the burning corn field but I’ll tell you what to do and how to do it. When I do so I’m adding you and your to my equipment insurance policy and you work for me. But I WILL put the fire out. I will call in any and all assistance from other FD and agencies going as far out as needed until the fire/problem has gone away.

          As FD have picked up the EMS business (typically because no one else would do the BS) the same rules have extended to this mission. Some conflict between fire and EMS, at least in rural area, as FF are typically rather conservative and EMS focused people are of the warm squishy handholding types. I’d certainly prefer NOT be in the EMS business.

          Our tour of you property is limited to the areas concerned with the mission we were sent to perform. We aren’t to open doors, drawers, or containers or go to other areas unless it is relevant to our mission. If you have an electrical fire I’ll go looking for the overload and likely I will find you idiot pot operation. BUT nothing I saw on your property will be admissible in a court other than as it might relate to your fire/medical emergency BUT if you’re a moron or PITA who gets in the way of completing my mission, then I might mention to the local cop that some funny looking vegetation I stumbled across. Shit does roll down hill.

          The FD is called when someone is having a bad day and we will do whatever we can to improve things. Same is not true when you call a cop. Call a cop if you want something shot or arrested those are the only tools they have. FD has all kinds of trained people and a Big Red Truck (BRT) full of tools and equipment to be used for problem solving. Any we know lots of other people with additional equipment and training. A FD operates much like an infantry unit – people + equipment on a mission. When I got out of the Infantry I signed up as a vol FF not a cop for this reason.

          Unfortunately, there are MANY cops that dislike/hate FD. Basically jealous that aren’t FF, don’t have the have the cool BRT and people general like the FD. Popo thought if they got MRAPs and Rambo style uniforms/equipment etc they would be all military like too. Hasn’t lead to more public love/respect though has it?

          So keep in mine that FF are NOT cops. In general FD get along with cops as long as the cops stay out for the way while men are working (vs doing whatever it is cops do when not eating donuts). If you’re a pain in the ass and getting in the way of my mission I’ll have the cop arrest you and haul you off to jail.

          That said, Prince Georges Co FD (and popo) have a nationwide reputation as marginally under control cowboys. Various FD is actual races to get to fires with occasional hand to hand fights over who is going to fight the fire (shades of 1800s). The PGC cops be statist thugs (the local Cedar Rapids Iowa Police Chief being an alum of PFC).

          Don’t equate ME with a cop. And if possible don’t be an asshole. We’ll consider you may be having a really bad day if we are talking to you but you might consider we just might also be packing (concealed). I certainly don’t care if my FF are (see the 2nd).

          A side note from a recent call – I may put the cop to work helping to carry the backboard with your fat ass on it out of the kitchen to the ambulance (just standing with his thumb up his …… get to work). I don’t know how something he might see would be treated.

        • @neiowa

          That’s sort of my point. No actual emergency was objectively apparent. They broke into somebody’s house on the word of a person who had no legal right to consent access to the property.

          The right to be secure in your property is not limited to searches and seizures and you damn well know it.

          Nobody is questioning what you have to do when exigent circumstances are objectively present. But in this case, all they had was the word of some guy and no real apparent emergency. For all they knew, the subject of the “wellness check” was not even home.

        • What he says is not necessarily true. If you are unconscious, we have implied consent.

          If there is an emergency at your house or property that creates a risk to life and property we are required to mitigate the situation. In doing so we will certainly weigh risk vs results. Baltimore and issues such as that are in a different category. You know you are going to a hostile environment. Welfare calls are ran every day by the FD with a far different outcome.

          But it is true, once we are on scene for fire’s and similar incidents we OWN the scene. We are responsible. We control it and if one doesn’t comply, police will get involved. To take it one step further if a crime was committed or believed to have been committed we must keep someone on scene for the entire investigation. If we (fire and police) leave the scene without keeping someone there, we have to have a warrant to go back on the property. Proper chain of custody.

      • It seams odd that there are not better protocols in place to prevent this. I mean it wasn’t a building on fire. This was a wellness check. They certainly announced themselves and had time to go a little slower.

        Of course if the guy has a diminished capacity , not much else you can do. He may have mishandled the weapon considering he likely shot at a target he could not identify.

    • When someone is in danger of falling into a coma, it is a medical emergency. When someone is in a raving stupor (not the case here) and fully incoherent, it is a medical emergency. When someone alone at home is at grave risk of injury or death, it is a medical emergency. When someone with a debilitating illness does not respond to phone calls and or door knocks, that someone may be in danger of serious, permanent or deadly injury; it is a medical emergency. This is what “wellness checks” are all about. The alternative is to tell family members, “Meh, stuff happens, let him work it out; we are busy”. Then the family loses a loved one because no one local (family may be in another state) would bother to see about the “at risk” person.

      • That’s called “freedom”. In a free country, you don’t have the right to bust down my door just because you “think” something is wrong. That’s what sirens and lights are for.

        • Yes, they do, just as the homeowner had the right to defend himself. How about identify the threat before pulling the trigger, huh? I wasn’t there but I would bet my life they identified as firefighters before and during entry.

        • No search or seizure, and the brother of the shooter affirmed there was reasonable cause to enter the home. They did not violate the 4th A rights of the shooter. See yourself out now.

        • I’d consider breaking and entering looking for a non-crime to be an unreasonable search. Oh, and the brother had no authority to give consent. It was not his home.

        • I would advise you take it up with any of the 50 states or their counties that allow firefighters and police to enter a residence when they have reason to believe an emergency is taking place. Life always takes precedence over property. If you don’t answer a door and there is reason to believe you may be having an emergency the responders have implied consent. Look it up. It applies to both medical emergencies and entering a residence. Sorry that the world doesn’t fit into your little box.

        • a temporary and minor deprivation of freedom is better than a permanent and foolish loss of life. I have had several patients whose lives have been saved by either police or friends breaking into their homes. Diabetics, alcoholics, depressed patients, psychotic patients, or elderly dementia patients etc often have a temporary loss of rational thought due to temporary medical conditions that result in them making decisions that they will completely regret when they regain rational thought. For example, such patients will sometimes refuse minor medical treatment when such a refusal would result in permanent disfigurement or life-changing disability. In such cases, we uniformly ignore the patient’s drunken/confused/delirious demands to refuse treatment. When they eventually return to a sound state of mind, they uniformly thanks us for ignoring their ridiculous demands to be free to leave the hospital.

        • Pwrserge –

          (Un)fortunately, the US courts, up to and including the US Supreme Court, disagree with you. Reasonable expectations of an emergency situation existing constitute exigent circumstances, allowing public safety officials to enter a private dwelling with out a warrant. I cited two cases from the 6th District Courts alone in another response; there are plenty more to choose from.

          If it not carte blanche “whenever we want” permission to enter your home. Like most things, it is based upon what a “reasonable person” would do or want done, in the eyes of the court. There are certainly incidents and cases where the courts determined that exigent circumstances did not exist, and evidence or testimony was suppressed because of it. There is no clear-cut line in the concrete to go with here.

          Based on the last update (April 20th); the shooter has been subpeonaed to appear before a grand jury, so charges may still be pressed. And the families could file civil suits for wrongful death, especially if evidence shows the shooter was in fact medically or mentally altered and fired recklessly. It will probably be a year before we have all the information in this case, if ever.

          I say this is fortunate for you because should you ever find yourself incapacitated in your home from a medical emergency, current case law allows responders to enter your home to treat you and try to save your life.

          Unfortunately for you, your current position is rather short sighted, and you come off like an uneducated baffoon.

      • When crimanls break into an occupied home, that is an attack. Women women are raped while walking home or beaten by an ex, that is an attack. It is unreasonable and inhumane to require these people to defend thier lives with lessor weapons. It is unfortunate that mistaken identity happens and a good man dies, but there are two points i would like to make. First, mistaken identity leading to a shooting is extremely rare and there are many other cases of mistaken identity that leads to similarly horrible outcomes such as false imprisonment. Yet, in these cases we don’t try and ban trials. Second, you are right that no one wants to go to this man’s family and say meh, stuff happens. Fortune has horrible endings for all of us but for some it is just unbearable to speak of to thier loved ones. With that said I’ll make you a deal. You appologise to Carol Bowne’s family on the behalf of the anti-self defense crowd and I’ll apologize to this fsmily for thier loss.

      • Question: Who reported the emergency? How was the report verified? If the man inside was alone and did not respond to loud noises at his door other than to shoot intruders, how did the responders know or suspect that they had probable cause to break down the door in the first place?

        As a former Army Medic and EMT I know the mindset that some medical personnel get into that they have the right and responsibility to “save” someone in a medical emergency, come hell or high water. I also know that sometimes you can’t save them. At some point you have to get over the hero complex and take the time to think things through at the scene.

        If you really think it is necessary to break the door down, break the door down, then call from outside to announce yourselves BEFORE bursting into the building. If the victim is conscious he will respond and everyone will be safe. If he is unconscious you can go about your mission.

        Carry one.

        • “If the victim is conscious he will respond and everyone will be safe.”

          In the instance of my family member requiring a “wellness check” confusion was so complete that phone calls went unanswered for days, the inability to connect with reality was on display when the sheriff deputies broke into the house (after much door banging and shouting). My relative was conscious and could not respond, and, no, everything was not alright.

          The firefighters were doing the right thing.

        • @2asux. Your family member was obviously in a state where they could not hear a forced entry, retreave a weapon, aim and fire it. That is most definitely deffierent from these circumstances. But none the less your point of misidentification shootings still theatrically holds true. So lets cut the crap and you appologize for every rape victim, domestic abuse case, assault, and murder where the victim wanted a gun but couldn’t have one and I’ll apologize for every negligent discharge and misidentification shooting. Lets see who finishes first.

          • “…you appologize for every rape victim, domestic abuse case, assault, and murder where the victim wanted a gun but couldn’t have one and I’ll apologize for every negligent discharge and misidentification shooting. Lets see who finishes first.”

            Deflection, again. “You solve every other problem, then maybe we will maybe get around to the one you are interested in.”

            You’re better than this, Steve.

        • There is no problem here smart one. The issue was not the gun, it was the idiot firefighter who decided that a “wellness check” with no objective evidence of an actual emergency justified him pulling a Kool-aid man on someone’s front door.

      • “When someone is in danger of falling into a coma, it is a medical emergency.”

        Great. Was there *any* evidence that was the case, here? If I call your fire department at 3AM and tell that story about *YOU*, do you expect your door to be broken down by application of jackboots?

        • Initial caller being the brother reported diabetic history. Sounds from recent news they pounded and pounded to wake the occupant. Along with making known who they were and what they were there for. When you throw the relative on the scene it compounds the problem. It adds emotions to the equation the firefighter’s usually leave at home. In my experience I would have cleared the scene if there was no evidence pointing to a emergency. We can only assume being none of us were there.

        • Read beyond the print on the page. The condition of the unresponsive homeowner was unknown, other than being non-responsive to attempts to contact, before and during the episode. The unresponsiveness was cause for alarm and action. The possible reasons why an unresponsive person might constitute an emergency were what I was outlining. If one objects to a forced entry in such circumstances, the remaining course is to allow an unresponsive person to likely die unnecessarily.

        • “Initial caller being the brother reported diabetic history”

          I saw that. Says who? Was this brother present at the scene with ID showing him to be somebody’s brother, or was that just a story he told over the phone? If he was present, why didn’t the firefighter hand him a crowbar and tell him to have at it? Something here is terribly wrong. You can tell any story at all on the phone, you can spend weeks making up a good story, what makes anybody think it is true? If nobody has noticed before, there seem to be a lot of people who just do not open their door for anyone, ever, including children who have been instructed to never open the door until a parent is home. There was an instance last year where a 13-year-old girl refused to answer the door because she was home alone. When the people beating on the doors and windows finally broke down the door and entered, she killed them both with a shotgun. In that case, they were career criminals, not giving and caring public servants, but the actions were precisely the same.

          • Last time I checked career criminals don’t show up in front of your house with $500,000 fire apparatus. But then again I wouldn’t expect you to see that. Perhaps if you would cut the eye holes bigger in your foil hat you would see the big red ding ding out front.

    • “2. Please explain how a “wellness check” justified breaking and entering into someone’s home.”

      Paramedic here. Because a majority of the time when a family calls a welfare check, it’s for a specific reason: They have a history of a health issue that can leave them incapacitated (diabetes, etc) and they haven’t been heard from in a while, which is not normal for them. I’d wager about 50% of the welfare checks we go on we find a body or someone in need of medical assistance. The other 50% is either they were deeply sleeping (rare) or no one home.

      We know how dangerous it is entering a house uninvited by the person inside, for this very reason. As such, unless we see a body on the ground through a window, we spend a good length of time pound on every door and window, shining lights in every cranny, and generally making a raucous. Even then, the unwritten rule is PD is generally the first through the door because they’re the ones with the vest on.

      99/100 I’m having PD or FD break down the door (unless I see a body right away). If nothing else, they’re the ones blamed for being jerks and breaking a door frame.

      • Do you embark on any of those courses at 3 AM? Cuz I’m sorry, that is just stupid, even in a nice, gated community.

    • I am a firefighter in Kansas. When we preform a wellness check on someone it generally falls into two categories: we don’t know them or we run that address all the time.

      If we don’t know them, we generally won’t force the door unless we truly believe there may be something inside that needs our attention like a person with a history of epilepsy who’s gone into status epilepticus before, which is a seriously life threat for the patient or if there is the strong smell of smoke, or we can see smoke.

      If we do know the address, then we have no problem with forcing the door if we have to. Generally, once we begin to run the person repeatedly we will ask the person if they keep a spare key in a lockbox or hidden somewhere, and if they feel comfortable telling us, then we will give that information to dispatch so it will pop up on our CAD reports for the call on our mobile data terminals in our trucks. If it’s someone with a history of hypoglycemia, or a similar condition that can kill someone, we have no hesitation in forcing the door to try and help. It’s generally advised to leave the truck running, with all emergency lights on, in easy view in the driveway or in the street in front of the house, and announce yourselves as firefighters and announce that you are there for a medical call.

      Even following those precautions, me and my crew have been shot at twice before. Both times were before we even tried to force the door. Both times were people in a stupor from having a medical emergency (one was just after a seizure and one was someone who had hypoglycemia)

    • I’m retired from a neighboring county.

      Our county and PG County have performed “Welfare Checks” since there has been organized fire departments as far as I know. Sometimes with the police, sometimes without the police. The call taker decides that when taking the call. The 30 years I was involved with fire and rescue I’ve forced entry on quite a few welfare checks as well as left without entering the dwelling. It’s all about information you have and what you find when you get there. If you have a car in the driveway and mail piled up on the porch, an odor, haven’t showed up for work in a few days, we will push further to make sure you are not inside with an emergency.

      Information is slowly coming out. It’s not clear what exactly happened. Knowing the experience someone obtains in PG County over a 13 year career, I’m sure they were VERY vocal about who they were and why they were there.

      At no time was the police trying to concoct work for them. That’s paranoia. You can’t get people to swap information on property damage accidents when an officer isn’t needed. The police are over burdened with BS. Period!

      I personally feel (without any proof) the brother seeking help swayed the firefighter’s to make an entry they normally may not have made. If a family member is adamant his brother is in there and having an emergency we are going in. It’s who we are and what we do.

      Charges can still be filed. MD does not have a Castle Doctrine to my knowledge. Just this year House Bill 252 was to rectify it and it failed unfavorably.

      Unfortunately my friend shared his recruit class with the young man who lost his life. So it hits home hard. Truly horrific.

      Rest in peace brother!

      • How does a voice on a phone gain such influence as to cause a forced entry? That could have been a prankster, or a competing drug gang. Or a cop attempting a new way to collect evidence.

        • It was the guys brother. He was also on scene. When a call comes in the call taker processes the call as quick and efficient as possible. Adding and updating as the call continues sometimes. The call taker has to take the caller information as reliable until proven otherwise. Phase 2 cell information probably put the brother on scene. If it were you having the medical emergency and your family called 911, I’m sure you’d like them to be taken as credible callers and provide you help.

        • Thanks for the additional info. As for what I would want, that would be for government personnel to stay out of my home unless I invite them. If they are going to break into my home, whether I am present or not, on the word of someone else, I would hope they have that person’s identification rock solid, like if he’s calling from another location, go to the police and present ID, and have them confirm that for you before you do anything at all to “help” me. Because if it is a bogus call, someone should pay for it, preferably by breaking some rocks behind bars. The concept is not amusing to me.

          • I ran a call mutual aide to Howard County. We were using map books provided by them. None of the houses or mailboxes were numbered. I forced entry on a $800,000 home because the homeowner wasn’t answering. After I force entry the Howard County Ambulance drove up the street and made a left turn away from us. We were at the wrong house! Call was a cardiac related emergency.

    • Because you are an idiot you moron. All this killer had to do was shout out in reply to his brother.

        • Chip, old bean, just because you don’t like an action does not make it “unlawful”, or even “illegal”. When the voters permitted (or voted for) the local government to make “wellness checks”, and included the provision that lack of response to multiple, loud entreaties constituted “implied consent” to do whatever it takes to get to the distressed person, that made the action “lawful” and “legal”. No law is absolute, ever. Provisions exist for “exigent circumstances” permitting the temporary and immediate suspension of whatever law or “right” might otherwise prevent that action. In the case here, the choice is between rendering aid, or allowing the possibility that the distressed person will die unassisted. The majority of voters of the municipality decided it was inhumane to simply shrug their collective shoulders and let the man die.

          BTW, if I had not had this subject posted, we would not be having a quite useful discussion amongst ourselves about when and if a government agency should intervene in an attempt to save a life. Discussions about guns can never be proper in a vacuum.