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I Don’t Need The Police
by Ron Davis

An intruder who walked into a Maryland shopping center while carrying a loaded rifle may have years in prison to regret his actions.

That loaded-rifle incident occurred at Eastover Shopping Center in Maryland’s Prince George’s County. And the intruder was carrying the weapon because of an incident that he said had occurred moments before in the center’s parking area.

As the intruder later described that incident, he had gone to Eastover Shopping Center to meet with friends. At one point, he said, he left his friends because he had to urinate. He added that he chose to do so outside the center in an alley. But he added that once outside, he was accosted by two men, neither of whom he knew.

He said one of the men carried a rifle that he pointed directly at him, and the other man, he added, demanded, “Give it up.” A tussle then supposedly occurred and resulted in the two men fleeing the scene but with their adversary’s money, though not with their rifle. The winner of the alleged altercation, he said, had his pants pockets ripped open with a knife that one of the intruders was carrying.

A short time later, the local police received a call that a man carrying a rifle was inside the shopping center and that shoppers had heard gunshots. Policemen hurried to the scene and soon encountered a man carrying a rifle. One officer said he ordered the gunman to drop the weapon, which the gunman eventually did. The policeman said he then handcuffed their suspect and took him to jail.

At the resulting trial, the suspect’s lawyers explained that their client may have been robbed of a significant amount of money and he was simply attempting to find the robbers to re-claim it. The lawyers added, “Because he’s a man of the streets, his masculinity was challenged…. He’s got to be hard. He just got robbed. Now he’s embarrassed. He’s talking about all the stuff he’s going to do. ‘I’m going to take care of my s--t. I don’t need the police. I always come out on top’”

Added his lawyers, “With the recovered rifle, while still stunned and just regaining his orientation (from the fracas that occurred outside the shopping center), that’s when the police arrived and spotted him with the rifle.”

A jury found the shopping center rifleman guilty on several counts. The judge hearing the case then explained, “When arrested, the armed man was indeed where he was: bent on retribution…. When asked ‘If you were a victim of crime, did you call the police? He answered, I don’t need the police. I’ll handle it myself.’”

“He may indeed have suffered a robbery with a significant loss of cash, but he was in the shopping center armed with a rifle to redress his grievance and was not just recovering his senses.”

(Smallwood v. State, Not Reported in A.3d, 2015 WL 7224829)

Decision: November 2015
Published: December 2015



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