When Can You Use Deadly Self Defense?
Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - In the aftermath of the fatal shooting of a Rochester teenager by a man who had a permit to carry the gun, there has been a lot of talk about whether it was justified.
That was a question police and Olmsted County Attorney Mark Ostrem and his staff had to deal with before the decision was made to charge Alexander Weiss with second-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Muhammed Rahim. We sat down with Ostrem after the complaint was filed to get his thoughts on the issue of self-defense in Minnesota. We also broke out portions of the complaint to give the perspectives of Weiss and two witnesses:
According to a friend of Rahim who was riding in the car, “ Victim got very close to WEISS, puffing his chest out with his hands down, after Victim got out of the Cavalier. WEISS pulled out a gun and pointed it at Victim. Victim told WEISS, “I f***ing dare you to do it,” and WEISS shot Victim in the chest. Victim dropped to the ground. According to Witness 1, neither he nor Victim had touched WEISS before he fired his handgun at Victim. However, Witness 1 acknowledged that he and Victim were posturing and speaking aggressively toward WEISS.”
During his interview with police, Weiss said “ Victim made physical contact by shoving WEISS in his chest. At that point, WEISS pulled the gun out of his pocket and pointed it at the ground so that Victim would know that he had a gun. WEISS also told Victim, “Stop, I will detain you until the police arrive if I have to.” According to WEISS, Victim responded to WEISS pulling out the gun, saying “that’s not even a real gun” and spat at WEISS. In WEISS’s account, he backed up and told Victim to stop and Victim reached out to touch the gun. WEISS then cocked the gun by pulling back the slide and shot Victim at “point blank” range.”
A woman who witnessed the shooting said she ”stopped, briefly, and saw two men (WEISS and Witness 1) facing each other in the roadway, approximately two to three feet apart. Witness 2 then witnessed WEISS pull the gun from his pocket, raise the gun and fire one shot at Victim. According to Witness 2, Victim was not touching WEISS, nor was Victim raising a fist or advancing toward WEISS at the time WEISS fired a shot at Victim.”
Here's the interview with Ostrem:
Read the entire complaint here.
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