Justice is served on the SRT
To recap, on July 22, Joseph DePaul was riding his bike on the Schuykill River Trail in Plymouth Township. He was approached by a couple of kids, a 15-year-old and a 17-year-old, who then kicked him in the ribs. DePaul, who had been a vicitm of a similar crime previously, was armed. He pulled his weapon and fired six shots at the retreating juveniles, hitting the bike tire of the 17-year-old’s bike.
Though DePaul had a permit for the gun, he was initially charged with criminal attempt at murder, criminal attempt at voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault and related offenses and was held in Montgomery County Prison on $250,000 cash bail.
DePaul’s bail was reduced over the weekend and on Monday, D.A. Ferman held a press conference on Monday, revealing that the county’s investigation had uncovered a “bike chop shop” apparently being run by the 17-year-old SRT rib kicker out of his basement. His bike of choice? Mongoose. DePaul’s bike? Mongoose.
Since the press, having already succeeded in driving up the anti-gun hysteria over a man shooting at two unarmed kids on the trail, has since been distracted from the original story by the discovery of the chop shop, I wanted to know what happened to DePaul. D.A. Ferman was happy to fill in the blanks:
I directed that the original complaint charging attempt murder, etc. againt Depaul be withdrawn today. That was done. Depaul will be charged tomorrow with recklessly endageringly another person. This is a misdemeanor. In my judgement, the REAP charge best fits the circumstances here where the man recklessly fired multiple shots towards a fleeing target 200-250 feet away in a location where other people could have easily been hit. Depaul could very easily have shot and killed a totally innocent bystander on the trail by his actions that night.
IMHO, this seems appropriate and fair. While many of us can certainly sympathize, and even understand DePaul’s reaction, I think we can all agree that DePaul over-reacted; he was in no immediate danger when he fired off the rounds–after all the two yutes were retreating. Ferman continues:
This is the practical problem we face right now on the trail; how do we handle citizens exercising their constitutional right to bear arms and protect themselves who either (a) do so recklessly and endanger the lives of other innocent people, or (b) are not legally justified in using deadly force. There is no bright line test or answer. We will have to evaluate each situation like this on a case by case basis, review the specific facts, apply the law, and decide what is right and fair under the circumstances. Bottom line, we have to do the right thing in each case.
In this case, justice was served. And hopefully other would-be SRT thugs are paying attention.