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http://www.eagletribune.com/punews/loca ... 810?page=0

(Mass.)

Published: March 30, 2007 12:00 am

Vigilante cabbie cleared of attempted murder charge

By Jim Patten , Staff Writer
Eagle-Tribune


LAWRENCE - A Lawrence cab driver, who took the law into his own hands and shot an alleged robber in the back, has been cleared of attempted murder charges.

Bienvenido Rodriguez shot the man with a semiautomatic handgun after being robbed at knifepoint on Parker Street in January.

Police disagreed with Rodriguez's vigilante action and charged him with attempted murder.

But this week, the Essex County grand jury in Salem declined to indict Rodriguez, 36, of Camden Street, Methuen.

However, the same grand jury indicted the man who was shot.

:lol:

Herman Irene, 36, of 25 Foster St., Lawrence, faces a charge of armed robbery, said Stephen O'Connell, spokesman for the Essex County district attorney's office.

"There will be no prosecution of Mr. Rodriguez," O'Connell said.

Yesterday, Lawrence police Chief John Romero said Rodriguez would have been facing less serious charges if he had pulled his gun while the robbery was being committed, instead of waiting until Irene was running away and no longer a threat.

Irene was running down Parker Street when Rodriguez drew his .40-caliber Smith &Wesson semiautomatic pistol and fired at him.
The bullet passed through Irene's body narrowly missing his spine and major arteries.

He was taken to Lawrence General Hospital then airlifted to Brigham and Women's Hospital were he underwent surgery.

Police charged Irene with armed robbery and assault with a dangerous weapon.

Rodriguez was charged with armed assault with intent to murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and discharging a firearm within city limits.

Rodriguez told investigators immediately after the shooting that he did not deliberately try to hit Irene and only shot to scare him, police said.

Romero said yesterday he was not surprised the grand jury did not indict Rodriguez, but said it would be up to Methuen police Chief Joseph Solomon to decide whether to restore Rodriguez's license to carry firearms. Methuen issued the gun license originally.

Solomon said yesterday his department will request all of the reports and other information the Lawrence police and district attorney's office have on the matter and evaluate them before deciding whether to restore Rodriguez's gun license.

"We will review all of the facts and make a decision based on them," Solomon said.

He said the department would even interview Rodriguez, if he wanted to talk to police.

According to police reports, Rodriguez picked up a customer at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday Jan. 28 headed to Haverhill on South Broadway in Lawrence. On the way, Rodriguez was waved down by Irene who asked if he could be taken to Lowell Street. Irene told Rodriguez he had $5, and Rodriguez agreed to drive him. Irene sat in the front seat while the other passenger was in the back seat of the Liberty Cab Co. car.

The passenger told police Rodriguez and Irene argued in Spanish and there was a brief struggle between the two.

Irene allegedly threatened Rodriguez with a knife and grabbed an unknown amount of money that had been stored on the visor.

It wasn't the last time a cab driver would use a gun on a robber in Lawrence. A month after the incident with Rodriguez, another driver working for the same company used a handgun to thwart a robbery. Driver Abel Ventura, however, never fired a shot, and no one was injured in the Feb. 25 incident.

The man who robbed Ventura dropped the knife he had used, and gave back the money he had taken from the taxi driver.
 

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Conflicted

Shot an escaping felon in the back? Not good. Told the police he didn't mean to shoot him, but only to fire in his direction to frighten him? Double Not Good.

I think it "ought to" be legal to shoot a fleeing felon (serious violent felonies only) in the back, if that's the only way to keep him from escaping and thus endangering the whole community again.

But what "ought to be" and what legally "is" aren't always the same.

Should this guy, the taxi driver who was robbed, get his pistol licene back? If he lives in a "shall issue" state, I guess he's got a right to it being restored. A mere arrest doesn't disqualify him, and there's no reasonable probability that he'll ever be convicted of anything over this incident.

If it's a "may issue" situation, maybe he ought to have to go before a Board or judge to explain the difference between shooting in anger and shooting while in reasonable fear of one's life. If he seems to understand the law, I'd sign-off on restoring his permit.
 

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Whatever happened to, "Police! Stop or I'll shoot!"

OK, I know.....

But I think it should be restored. Run from the cops, get your ass shot off. After a while, maybe, these young punks will stop running.

Same goes for people to try to elude cops in vehicles. Forget the spike strips and PIT manuevers, just shoot them. Again, after a while...

As for this guy. While I sorta agree with the Grand Jury and I'd probably vote not to indict, shooting the guy in the back was wrong. But, I wasn't there. Maybe, if I'd just been threatened with a knife and scared enough to wet my pants, I'd be in a shooting mood too.

I disagree with people who value human life over property. Especially if it's some scumbag thug who's too stupid or lazy to hold a job. It should be perfectly legal to shoot those bastids in order to prevent them from stealing stuff from others. Others who probably worked long and hard to acquire that particular stuff.

Once again, after a while, word will get out..........

:
 

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There's your bias in the newspapers. The headline "vigilante" is a judgment by the editors. However, the grand jury has now decided that in fact the fellow was not a vigilante. Why can't the headline just read, "Grand jury declines to indict cabbie"
 

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I look at it as the cabbie probably saved someone's life some time down the road. Have no sympathy for the robber. Too bad he's still breathing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Macktee said:
Whatever happened to, "Police! Stop or I'll shoot!"
Tennessee v. Garner happened to it in 1985 . . .
 
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