One man is dead after a fatal shooting and another is walking free, not likely to face charges.
Police say 37 year old Wallace Jones got into a traffic accident with another man near Godfrey and Day streets early Saturday morning. Investigators say Jones then threatened the other driver with a baseball bat. Then, the other driver pulled a gun and killed Jones. Now, police say they will not file charges against the shooter, instead sending the case to the grand jury.
You may wonder how and why police came to that conclusion. The short answer is; self defense.
It's not that uncommon a scenario. Police have declined to file charges at least three times in the last year.
It's safe to say whatever the circumstances, Wallace Jones miscalculated by a wide margin. Officers say Jones was the first to make a violent move. That opened a door for the other driver.
Bob Whetstone sells weaponry in Wetumpka.
"Somebody comes at me with a knife, baseball bat, something I consider that could take my life, I think we are, as citizens should be able to protect ourselves under those circumstances," he said.
He says more people are coming to his shop. Many feel there's more crime.
"And a good bit more confrontation going on one on one between individuals," Whetsone said. "I think we have to be very careful that we identify a threat before we just simply start shooting at one another."
It appears people are making that distinction. In October, police declined to file charges against a man after he shot and killed Charles Shuford after a fight at a party. About a year ago one man pulled an unloaded gun on another outside Bumpers pool hall. The second man emptied his pistol and killed the first man. Police declined charges there also.
Whetstone says the key to legal self defense is training.
"You only have seconds to make that determination," he said.
One excellent example of what not to do: two weeks ago, a man drove his car into Foxcroft Apartments. The person living inside got into a dispute with the driver, pulled a gun and shot him three times. Police charged the apartment dweller with assault.
Whetstone also sells non-lethal defense products like pepper spray, but those have some obvious drawbacks, such as blowing back in the user's face, the fact that some people can tolerate those sprays and continue an attack.
Whetstone says you can get some of the best training of when to use a weapon and when not to from police and sheriffs in our area. Many have firearms and weapons training programs, all free to the public.