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.