In Pennsylvania, making the “finger gun” gesture is a crime. In Missouri — a constitutional carry state — you can use it to to stop a crime. Last week, Mark Dino Russo witnessed an auto accident and the driver attempt to leave the scene after hitting two pedestrians.
According to stltoday.com, Russo was stopped at a red light when he witnessed the crash.
“…I just saw this car, a black sedan, coming fast, with its lights off, north on McCausland. And it hit a curb, went up in the air and rolled, and I think it hit a telephone pole,” he said. (Police report that damage was done to an Ameren utility pole.)
Russo said right before the crash, while he was waiting at the light, he noticed a woman on a path near the park. “After the car crashed, there was all kinds of dust and debris flying in the air, and I wondered about her,” he said.
Russo drove across McCausland into the park’s lot, got out of his truck and saw the woman lying on the ground.
Russo noticed the driver attempting to slink away.
“I just had a feeling he was going to run away. And I just decided I wasn’t going to let him.”
Sure enough, Russo said, “when he got about 150 feet away, he started to break into a run.”
So Russo first yelled “hey” at the suspect, who stopped and turned to look at Russo. That’s when Russo, standing behind the open door of his truck, drew his deceptive digit and yelled his command.
That’s when Russo drew his digit.
…he raised an empty hand, pointed his index finger at the driver and yelled, “Stop, (bad person), or I’ll shoot.”
To everyone’s surprise, the fleeing driver stopped. At Russo’s command, he even hung around long enough for police to arrive and charge him with leaving the scene of an accident, careless and reckless driving, driving without a license, without insurance, and without valid license plates.
We know what you’re thinking. Russo took a chance in pretending to draw down on a fleeing suspect. He says that didn’t occur to him in the heat of the moment.
“I know, what if he’d had a gun? But I didn’t think of that at the time,” said Russo, who has a daughter.
“All I was thinking was if that’d been my daughter lying there, I wouldn’t want someone to let that guy walk away.”
All’s well that ends well. Though look for this incident to be included in the next batch of Giffords “gun violence” statistics.