Hennepin County makes the right choice in Good Samaritan shooting

Give some credit to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, even if the outcome of the Evanovich case was nothing more than common sense. Darren Evanovich and his sister participated in an armed robbery outside of a grocery store in Minneapolis last week, which they concluded by pistol-whipping the middle-aged woman they robbed. A Good Samaritan chased after Evanovich, but Evanovich pulled the gun when he turned the corner. Unfortunately for Evanovich, the Good Samaritan had a carry permit and a handgun of his own — which he drew and fired after Evanovich drew first. Evanovich died almost immediately, and the question became whether the police and/or the DA would charge him with homicide.

Not only did Freeman decline to press charges, he commended the Good Samaritan for responding to “his fellow citizen in need”:

No charges will be filed against the “Good Samaritan” who shot and killed a robber two weeks ago in the parking lot of a Cub Foods store in Minneapolis.

That word today from the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office….

According to witnesses, the man drove up to the spot where he saw Evanovich going through the victim’s purse and asked him if he wanted to give the purse back.

Witnesses say that’s when it started to turn ugly–Evanovich pointed his gun at the “Good Samaritan,” and moved towards him.

The man in the vehicle pulled out his handgun and shot Evanovich.

Authorities say after they reviewed the circumstances, they determined that the man “acted in self-defense.”

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said today in a press release, “While this man is to be commended for helping his fellow citizen in need, a note of caution is appropriate. We prefer that armed citizens do not chase after criminals. Too much can go wrong with deadly consequences.”

That’s actually good advice. As the late Joel Rosenberg wrote and taught, a carry permit is not a Junior G-Man badge. In those circumstances, people would be better advised to call 911 and let the police deal with the situation rather than confronting an assailant known to be armed. However, it was clear from the beginning that the Good Samaritan didn’t initiate the deadly threat, and that the perp was a dangerous person.

If all you knew about this case came from the local media, however, you’d never know that. My radio partner and carry-permit activist Mitch Berg has followed this case closely at Shot in the Dark, and has blasted the coverage this case received from local print and TV. That includes KSTP, which produced today’s much more balanced report, and WCCO, which gave Evanovich’s mother a sympathetic interview that made the claim that Evanovich was the victim. The Star Tribune printed a lengthy article that focused on Evanovich’s dedication to his community, which unsurprisingly left out a few details about Evanovich’s last few moments of life, and made it sound as if the Good Samaritan had just hunted Evanovich down like a dog.

In fact, here’s a great look at Matt McKinney’s “reporting” on this story:

The investigation ensnared Evanovich’s sister, Octavia Marberry, this week when she was jailed on allegations of fraud and aggravated robbery. She had been with Evanovich the night he died, and according to their mother, held him in her arms as he took his last breath.

She was “with Evanovich the night he died,” all right — she was an accomplice in the crime:

Authorities say they believe 20-year-old Octavia Marberry of Minneapolis has possibly been involved as an accomplice in this and two other store parking lot robberies.

According to the criminal complaint, on Thursday, October 20th, a 53-year-old woman was robbed just before 10:00 p.m. outside the Cub Foods on 26th Avenue and struck in the head by a gun held by the robber, 23-year-old Darren Evanovich.

Minneapolis Police say their investigation showed that at least two other people were with him and one of them was Marberry.

In fact, in the new KSTP report above, it sounds as though Octavia Marberry may have been the ringleader of this gang. The investigation didn’t “ensnare” her, as the Strib tries to frame it — Marberry was always at the center of it.

Given the kind of pressure that the local media tried to put on Freeman, his decision to do the right thing is all the more remarkable. Kudos to him, and jeers to the local media that tried to turn a victim into a criminal and the criminals into victims. They should be ashamed of themselves. They won’t be, but they should.

You can bet that Mitch and I will be discussing this on today’s NARN, so be sure to tune in.