Special Report

Second Call Defense Member Incident

by Trent Marsh

"I just shot a kid."

Words nobody wants to say.

When a 72-year-old man we'll call “Gary Russell,” left work on his bicycle to go home, I doubt he thought he would be saying those words. Sean Maloney of Second Call Defense certainly wasn't expecting to hear those words when his phone rang at five that evening, but that's how the call started.

"I just shot a kid."

As Gary was riding home, a group of "kids" saw an easy target. A victim. Although they were in their late teens and early twenties, to 72-year-old Gary, everyone was a kid. When Gary passed them one of them punched him in the head, knocking him to the ground.

Lying on the ground, Gary looked up in time to see them form a semi-circle around him. Then they began kicking him. The kicks stopped as one of the kids approached Gary as he lay on the ground, fearing for his life.

It was in this split second that Gary had the opportunity to draw the Ruger LCP he carried every day as he rode his bike to and from work. He had just a moment between the beatings. He drew and fired at "the one in the middle."

After that shot, the assailants scattered. Gary picked himself up off the pavement and in a panic, rode home. Acting under the psychological effects of a threatening encounter, his first call was to Attorney Sean Maloney at Second Call Defense.

"I just shot a kid."

After Gary explained to Sean what had happened, they called 911 together. Sean stayed on the line the entire time, making sure the officers understood that Gary had been assaulted. That he had acted out of fear for his life. The police in Gary's inner-city neighborhood informed them that "someone would be right over."

Sean and Gary continued to talk on the phone while they waited for the police. Nearly an hour passed before anyone arrived to talk to Gary, enough time for Sean to contact a local Attorney and apprise him of Gary's situation. This local Attorney would be able to assist Gary, should the need arise.

After restating the facts of the incident, the cops asked Gary to meet them at the precinct. He had done nothing wrong, he had only protected himself, but it was Gary who the police wanted to appear at the precinct "for a few more questions."

The local Attorney who Sean had contacted, advised Gary not to go. Sean acknowledged the police request for Gary to meet them at the station but advised Gary to follow the advice of his local counsel. Gary told Sean that he wasn't going anywhere.

Sean knew this wouldn't be the end of it. After hanging up with Gary, Sean contacted the local attorney, and had him talk directly to Gary as soon as they hung up.

At 2:30 in the morning, the need arose for Gary to talk with the local Attorney.

Sean's phone rang once more and Gary explained that the police were back, in the middle of the night. Sean could hear them on the other end of the line. They informed Gary that he was "coming downtown one way or another."

Sean asked Gary to hand the phone to the officers so he could ask a question.

Sean asked the officers, "Is Mr. Russell under arrest?" The officer responded, "No but he's coming down to the station with me one way or another." Sean clarified, "Just so I'm clear, Gary Russell is not under arrest, but you are taking him down to the station against his will in violation of his constitutional rights?"

"Yes, that's right," responded the officer.

Immediately Sean contacted the local Attorney he had spoken to earlier. Gary was on his way to the police station and he would need the help of experienced, local legal counsel. This is exactly the type of situation Gary hoped he would never be in, and exactly the type of situation that made him become a Second Call Defense member.

By the time the local Attorney arrived at the precinct, someone with a little more sense had taken charge of the situation. Gary had been released and had his possessions returned to him — except for his gun.

The assailant who Gary thought he shot was never found. The police searched the area and monitored the local emergency rooms for gunshot victims. No victim was ever identified. Even without a victim, the police had been adamant, Gary needed to surrender his firearm and come with them.

Sean Maloney and Second Call Defense looked into the appeal process for getting the firearm back. After a few days, it was clear that the Police Department had no intention of returning the firearm to Gary, regardless of the fact that no crime had been committed and they had no right to hold the gun. In the end, it was more expensive to have the gun returned, because of the expensive fees required to file the appeal for return of Gary's gun. Gary was able to take advantage of the gun replacement benefit from Second Call Defense, and Second Call Defense simply paid Gary to purchase a replacement firearm.

There might be nothing worse than having to say, "I just shot a kid." Even when it is justified, the toll it takes on someone defending oneself is tremendous. But the stress is just beginning. Without qualified legal help to inform you of your rights and ensure that you are treated fairly by the system, it's easy to be overwhelmed and possibly make bad decisions that can affect you for the rest of your life.

Gary didn't have to worry about that, because his first call was to Second Call Defense.

Trent Marsh is a husband, soon-to-be-father, and lifelong Hoosier. An NRA member and marketing professional in the shooting sports industry, he also serves as the Gear Editor at WildIndiana.com and as a freelance writer for titles such as Whitetails Unlimited and Shooting Sports Retailer.