Cleveland councilman applauds two residents after they shoot armed attackers in separate incidents

by Chad D. Baus

WEWS (ABC Cleveland) reported recently that a Cleveland man is being praised by a city councilman for shooting an armed intruder at his Pawnee Avenue home.

From the article:

"Whoever shot this dirt bag ought to get a medal," Ward 11 Councilman Mike Polensek said. "I might get a proclamation for him.”

It all started when Jacquella Lattimore left the house to take her children to camp. Police say she was accosted by three men who were trying to force her back into the house at gunpoint. What the intruders apparently didn't know is that Lattimore's fiancé, Johnny Bridges, was watching from the window with his gun.

"They walked her out of the garage and when they got to the door, I shot," Bridges said.

Bridges' bullet hit one of the suspects. All three gunmen ran. The injured suspect was taken into custody at Euclid Hospital. The other two were stopped a few blocks away after police noticed they looked suspicious.

Fifth District Commander Wayne Drummond said they face charges of aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, kidnapping and felonious assault.

Bridges said one of the gunmen was in the garage with his children and two nieces. Tuesday was his 8-year-old daughter's birthday.

"Right now I don't consider myself a hero," Bridges said. "I just wanted to make sure my family was alright."

Under Ohio's Castle Doctrine law, which took effect in 2008, if someone unlawfully enters or attempts to enter the owner's occupied home or temporary habitation, or occupied car, citizens have an initial presumption that they may act in self defense.

In a separate incident this week, The Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that a concealed handgun license-holder was able to defend himself and another person when two armed robbers attacked them as they were getting into their car.

From the article:

A homeowner fatally shot an armed robber early today during an attack in the homeowner's driveway in the 900 block of East 178th Street.

Police were called at 12:30 a.m. and found the robber with multiple gunshot wounds. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.

The homeowner and a woman were leaving the home and getting into a car when two men wearing masks and gloves walked up to them, Sgt. Sammy Morris said.

"One of the males was in possession of a handgun and the other male was in possession of a crowbar," Morris said. "The male with the handgun struck the homeowner in head with the handgun and attempted to pull him out of the vehicle."

The homeowner grabbed a handgun in his car and fired multiple times, striking the robber in the torso. The robber fired once, but the bullet missed the homeowner, Morris said.

"During the shooting, the second suspect stole the female victim's purse and fled the scene," Morris said.

According to the article, the homeowner, who has an Ohio concealed handgun license, was treated at St. Vincent Charity Hospital for a laceration on his head. The woman was not injured.

Jim Irvine, chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association, said this shooting is not the common outcome when a concealed-carry permit holder is confronted by someone who would do him harm.

"The most common result is the person with the permit pulls out a gun and the suspect runs away. No shots are fired, as the suspect realizes, 'I picked the wrong person,'" Irvine said.

In this case, it may have been too dark for the robber to realize the homeowner had grabbed a gun, Irvine said.

And if Irvine had the opportunity to talk to the homeowner he would say, "I'm sorry for the situation and glad you were prepared and able to survive it."

It sounds like a justified shooting, Irvine said, but "if it bothers you, get some counseling. There's no shame in it. The vast majority of permit holders don't want to shoot someone."

According a separate article, also by The Plain Dealer:

Cleveland Councilman Mike Polensek, who lives near Peak, said he has known him and his family for years. He said Williams and his partner were wearing masks, "and you know they weren't there trick-or-treating."

"As far as I'm concerned, Waymone Williams got exactly what he deserved...lead poisoning," Polensek said. "If he hadn't had that gun, we'd be reading about him in a two paragraph story in the paper as another innocent victim of violent criminals looking to prey on him like jackals. (Williams) picked on the wrong man this time."

A complete list of known incidents involving Ohio CHL-holders defending themselves is available here.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Vice Chairman.

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