Sunday, December 20, 2009

Roderick Scott Acquitted reports on the not guilty verdict of Roderick Scott in the killing of the unarmed Christopher Cervini.

Cervini, his 15-year-old cousin, James Cervini, and friend Brian Hopkins, also 15, stayed overnight beginning the evening of April 3 in the basement of James Cervini’s home on Fireweed Trail, within sight of Scott’s two-story colonial home at 58 Baneberry Way. But after drinking purloined gin while James Cervini’s parents were asleep, they went out to walk loudly around the neighborhood about 3 a.m. during an early spring storm.

After taking a circuitous route down Buttonwood Drive and over to Baneberry, and trying to get into cars along the way, they walked up to the garage of Scott’s home. Scott and his girlfriend, Tracy L. Allen, who were sleeping separately because of an argument the night before, both heard voices outside and got up to check.

Both said they saw three people walk from their driveway to a driveway directly across the street at 57 Baneberry and try to open the door of a truck. Scott told Allen to call 911, got his legally permitted .40-caliber pistol from the top of an armoire, and went outside in what he said was an attempt to stop a possible theft and hold the people responsible until police arrived.

When he got outside, the three people had moved west one house to 39 Baneberry. One person continued walking on the sidewalk toward Manitou, but Scott said he found two others between a pickup and a sport utility vehicle. The dome light of the SUV was on, indicating that someone had just entered it, he said.

Scott said he ordered the two people — Christopher and James Cervini — to hold still, warning them that his wife had just called 911 and telling them he had a gun.

But both bolted, he said. One ran around the front of the pickup and escaped toward Manitou and the other ran at him, shouting “I’ll get him!” or “I’ll get you!”

He said he fired twice because he feared for his life, not knowing if the person running at him was armed or would try to take away his gun and use it on him.

The person ran past Scott and collapsed in the street, where he said, “I’m just a kid” as he bled into the gutter, according to Scott’s testimony.

It would be hard to find a better example of a legitimate gun owner facing that split-second life-or-death decision. In spite of what the jury decided, I find the idea that Roderick feared for his like incredible. He was a big man with a gun facing teenagers. He shot and killed an unarmed 15-year-old. How that can be justified is beyond me.

The escaping cousin described the scene totally differently. He said the two cousins were obeying orders with their hands in the air when the first shot was fired. That sounds a bit incredible too, but if the truth is somewhere in between I think it was probably closer to that than the ridiculous assertion that an unarmed 15-year-old was charging and had to be stopped with bullets.

What's your opinion? Do you think Mr. Scott was right to leave his house, gun in hand to investigate car theft? Isn't that kind of thing the duty of organized neighborhood watch groups or the police themselves? Was it his duty to protect the neighborhood from vandals?

Whether the jury was right or wrong, I believe this story perfectly illustrates the problem with legitimate gun owners and their attitude towards criminals. In so many cases these armed citizens are not up to the task of differentiating between a tense and dangerous situation and one that is truly a lethal threat. If Roderick Scott had not owned a gun or had stayed in his own house and waited for the police, what's the worst that could have happened? For sure, whatever would have happened would have been a lot better than this.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.


  1. They are always "just a kid" after they get shot.

    Funny... When I was "just a kid", I wasn't drinking, walking around the neighborhood at 3am, and trying to break into cars. Even as an adult, I didn't do those things.

    Seems like a case of Darwin cleaning out the gene pool.

  2. AztecRed, You must have been a very good kid. I was somewhere in between you and these kids in the story. I contend that shooting him dead in order to clean the gene pool is a bit severe. Lots of teenagers do stupid things and grow up to be good adults.

  3. and the other ran at him, shouting “I’ll get him!” or “I’ll get you

    Sounds like a clean shoot. If someone tells you not to move, that they've called the cops and that they are armed you've got to be a total moron to run TOWARDS the armed man yelling "I'll get you!"

    He told him not to move, told him he'd called the cops and was armed. He shot the guy because he moved aggressively towards him screaming "I'll get you."

    What are you supposed to think in that situation? The end of that sentence wasn't "some cookies"

  4. Yeah, it sounds like a clean shoot if you believe Scott's description of events. If you believe the surviving cousin, if doesn't. If it's somewhere in between, which is what I suggested, it's less than clean too.

  5. "I contend that shooting him dead in order to clean the gene pool is a bit severe."

    It is, but the reality is that stupidity often hurts. The victim in this case was engaging in a stupid activity and he paid the ultimate price.

    As for the actions of Scott, when you're confronted with someone who is already breaking the law, when they say "I'll get him!", you can't assume they are up to any good. And trying to decide whether they are a lethal threat or not is just going to add a dangerous delay to your reaction. And people who delay often end up dead.

    So I can see that factoring into his acquittal. Most people are familiar with the concept of fight-or-flight. At that split second. Scott apparently chose "fight" and the jury understood that.

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  7. Merely saying "I'll get him!" in that situation wouldn't justify a defensive shooting on its own.

    If he'd yelled that while backing away or staying where he was he'd have been fine, but he didn't. He ran towards the man with the gun while yelling it.

    A cop with his gun drawn on a suspect would have done the same thing in such a situation.

  8. Scott was not on his property or in his home. He is a large man who fired twice in the dark without properly identifying the threat the teens represented. One of the shots entered the back of the victim. I find Scotts rendition of the events not entirely credible. At some point that night he crossd the line from concerned citizen to vigilante.

  9. Yes indeed, V, that was an act of vigilantism if there ever was one. But my favorite part is how it perfectly illustrates my proposal that many DGUs are nothing of the sort.

  10. If it was "vigilanteism" then why was he acquitted?

    Even after facts prove you wrong you still have the need to crucify gun owners on this blog.

    Why is that MikeB?

  11. RuffRidr asked who's more likely to lie. "Is it one of the teenagers who admittedly was committing theft? Or is the homeowner with the clean criminal history?"

    If those were the two choices, I'd say the teenager. But you left out one important thing about the homeowner with the clean record. He just shot and killed an unarmed kid. When you throw that in there I say he's much more likely to lie, he has much more to lose.