Drunk Driver Gets Shot in Flagstaff By Vigilantes
The City of Flagstaff has a unique investigation ahead of them, one that probably nobody on the force has seen before. Two men were arrested Monday on State Route 87 after they allegedly tried to take the law into their own hands and ended up shooting at a man who they suspected of driving drunk. The two men were driving on the 87 when they saw a swerving driver and called the police. After the driver drove into a ditch, the vigilantes used their car to block the driver from fleeing, shot at the engine of his car, and then shot at the man himself. The man suspected of driving under the influence was not seriously injured.
Shooter Charged With Attempted Murder
Flagstaff police now have to figure out the entire story, and ensure all the right people are charged correctly and fairly. Both men have been charged with aggravated assault and disorderly conduct with a weapon, but that is not the worst of it. The man who pulled the trigger on the driver has also been charged with second degree attempted homicide. While it can (and will) be argued that the men had the best intentions and were attempting to minimize the potential damage a drunk driver can cause, the case is a difficult lesson to learn about taking the law into your own hands. The police encourage citizens to be vigilant and aware, using the slogan “if you see something, say something.” It is helpful that regular people in the community call the local law enforcement if they suspect a crime is being committed. However, a phone call is as far as any police agency would want you to take it. Getting involved in crime prevention is not safe for the witness, surrounding citizens, the suspect, or the responding officers, particularly when there is a weapon involved.
Know The Law About Discharging A Weapon
As a criminal defense attorney in Arizona, I have seen instances where a person has used their weapon for what started as an honest well-intentioned purpose. I can tell you that it can quickly add fuel to a fire, increasing the likelihood of being hurt, or charged with a crime yourself (like disorderly conduct, aggravated assault, and misconduct involving a weapon). Arizona police want everyone to be safe and they take their jobs very seriously. Be vigilant but also take care to avoid a criminal charge yourself.