He may have just been trying to keep a thief from stealing his car. But that didn’t give the Atlanta man the right to fire shots, killing the would-be suspect, a gun rights advocate said Monday.
“It was not a case of ‘Stand your ground,’” Jerry Henry, executive director of Georgia Carry, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “If you catch someone stealing your car, you can try to contain him, but you just can’t shoot them.”
But that’s what Raheem Scott allegedly did Saturday night, according to Atlanta police. He had planned to stop at a gas station before visiting his mother in the hospital, but Scott never made it, his mother said.
Scott left his car running when he went inside the Exxon near The Mall West End. And when he came back outside, another man was in the front seat, according to Atlanta police. Scott then allegedly fired multiple shots, killing William Blackwell, 50, of Goodlettsville, Tenn.
Scott then went back inside the store and asked an employee to call 911. He was arrested and charged with murder, according to police.
“He was on his way to come see me when all of this happened,” Scott’s mother, Debra Bryant, told The AJC on Monday.
Bryant, diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in October, spent the weekend in the hospital. Scott had never been in trouble, his mother said. Both Bryant and Scott carried guns for their safety, she said. But Bryant couldn’t speculate on what may have prompted her son to shoot.
“When you’re trying to protect yourself and your property, you have to do what you have to do,” Bryant said. “There’s too many people trying to take what you’ve worked hard for.”
Georgia’s “Stand your ground” law has been effect more than 100 years, but the 2012 death of Trayvon Martin in Florida brought national attention to the self-defense law. In that case, neighborhood watchman, George Zimmerman, was acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges after shooting the teen.
The Georgia law makes a distinction between whether someone is in your house, as well as the degree of threat.
“The use of force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to prevent trespass on or other tortious or criminal interference with real property other than a habitation or personal property is not justified unless the person using such force reasonably believes that it is necessary to prevent the commission of a forcible felony,” the law states.
Scott waived his first court appearance Monday morning. He was being held without bond at the Fulton County jail. Scott’s next court date is scheduled for April 4.