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Blood Ocean
06-23-2010, 4:08 PM
http://abclocal.go.com/kfsn/story?section=news/local&id=7511179

No jail time for farmer accused of assaulting deputy
Monday, June 21, 2010

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Corin Hoggard
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FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Fowler farmer won't do jail time after a partial victory in the trial against him for an incident where a Fresno County deputy shot him on his own property.

Related Content
STORY: Donnie Srabian not guilty of assaulting sheriff's deputy
STORY: Fowler farmer shot, accused of assault
When his trial started, Donnie Srabian was accused of pointing a gun at the sheriff's deputy, and faced as much as nine years in prison.

Now, he won't spend a day behind bars.

A judge gave Srabian a six-month sentence Monday, but he also found there were unusual circumstances and stayed the sentence.

Srabian won't talk on camera, but he told me he didn't do anything wrong: he was just protecting his property.

Donnie Srabian is a free man. A jury found him not guilty of the two most serious charges against him, including assault on a peace officer.

But even though he's free, the jury didn't find him completely innocent.

"Mr. Srabian is not very happy about it because he told you his side of the story and his side of the story is he wasn't guilty of anything," said his defense attorney, Sal Sciandra.

Three years ago, Fresno County sheriff's Deputy Frank Harper responded to a 911 call from Srabian's property in the country near Fowler.

It turns out, nobody called 911, but a malfunctioning phone triggered the emergency response.

Harper says when he got there he saw something that looked like this: Srabian came out of the home wearing a ski mask and holding a gun.

The deputy shot Srabian. From Srabian's standpoint, the incident played out a lot differently. He says he thought a prowler was on his property.

When he went outside to confront the person, he never lifted the gun from his side. He just got shot.

But the legal question for the charge of brandishing a firearm is whether he held the gun in a rude or threatening manner at anybody other than a crook.

"He didn't know if it was a pizza delivery, kids on a scavenger hunt," said prosecutor Ron Wells. "He jumped up, ran out and stuck a gun in somebody's face and unfortunately was shot because he had a ski mask on."

Srabian never got closer than 15-20 feet away from the deputy and says he was blinded by a searchlight. The jury believed he may not have known he was holding his gun on a deputy.

But they found him guilty of brandishing a firearm, and as a result of his conviction, he won't be allowed to hold any gun for ten years.

"I myself am a lifetime member of the NRA, a big Second Amendment supporter," said Wells. "I think the bits and pieces the general public have may lead to the impression that you can't defend your own property and that's absolutely not the status of the law. I think the jury's verdict sends the message, 'We don't care who it was, you can act the way the defendant did.'"

Sciandra challenged Deputy Harper's credibility during the trial and he got a different message from the verdict.

"I think it send to law enforcement that you better be prepared to testify in a manner that convinces a jury." He intends to appeal the conviction.

Srabian has also filed a federal civil rights suit against the sheriff's department and Deputy Harper.

He has a court date in that case coming up next month.

Blood Ocean
06-23-2010, 4:08 PM
This is exactly why you shouldn't have a land-line.

SkyStorm82
06-23-2010, 4:17 PM
I've been sent to 911 hang up calls to homes with no landline before. I'd imagine you would not need to have any phone lines whatsoever going onto your property to avoid that.

thayne
06-23-2010, 5:01 PM
Why was he wearing a ski mask?

stix213
06-23-2010, 5:02 PM
What I don't understand is why the guy came out of his house wearing the classic criminal attire of the ski mask

thayne
06-23-2010, 5:04 PM
Also, since when do prowlers come up your driveway in a squad car and shine a light at you. I'm calling BS. Sounds to me like he was looking for trouble...

Josh3239
06-23-2010, 5:07 PM
Came out wearing a ski mask :confused: he was almost a candidate for a Darwin award.

thayne
06-23-2010, 5:08 PM
Came out wearing a ski mask :confused: he was almost a candidate for a Darwin award.

suicide by cop?

grammaton76
06-23-2010, 5:10 PM
Also, since when do prowlers come up your driveway in a squad car and shine a light at you. I'm calling BS. Sounds to me like he was looking for trouble...

If a light's on you in the middle of the country, you WON'T SEE the squad car.

Most of Calguns lives in urban areas, so the error is excusible. But there are many places in CA and elsewhere, where light pollution hasn't infringed upon the night sky.

In urban areas, you can possibly make out that there's a squad car there even with a light on you.

In the country, nope. Jet-black, other than a blindingly bright white spot that obscures everything near it.

Doheny
06-23-2010, 5:11 PM
Why was he wearing a ski mask?

He went full-ninja.

Joe
06-23-2010, 5:12 PM
He still got shafted.

Shotgun Man
06-23-2010, 5:16 PM
Regarding the ski mask, this Fresno Bee article says that Srabian said that he had a ski mask, but didn't remember putting it on.

"Sciandra, however, said his client has a right to carry a gun on his property. "You can also wear a ski mask anywhere," he said."

Read more: http://www.fresnobee.com/2010/06/17/1974666/srabian-guilty-on-misdemeanor.html#ixzz0rj0pbdwH

stix213
06-23-2010, 5:25 PM
Regarding the ski mask, this Fresno Bee article says that Srabian said that he had a ski mask, but didn't remember putting it on.

"Sciandra, however, said his client has a right to carry a gun on his property. "You can also wear a ski mask anywhere," he said."

Read more: http://www.fresnobee.com/2010/06/17/1974666/srabian-guilty-on-misdemeanor.html#ixzz0rj0pbdwH


Even if you can wear a ski mask anywhere, that doesn't mean you aren't a total moron, like walking into a bank wearing one.

windrider
06-23-2010, 5:32 PM
Why was he wearing a ski mask?

maybe he was trying to hide his identity to "robbers" in case one got away, they would know where he lives but not who he is if something happened

thayne
06-23-2010, 5:33 PM
I'm with the deputy on this one. If I was responding to a 911 hang up, got there and some guy came out of the house wearing a ski mask and pointed a gun at me. Why would I assume anything other than a criminal?

sideshowhr
06-23-2010, 5:34 PM
Even if you can wear a ski mask anywhere, that doesn't mean you aren't a total moron, like walking into a bank wearing one.

except he was on his own property.

last i checked this was still a free country. let the man wear a ski mask in peace!

how do you expect the guy to know there was a false 911 call and that a car was that of a cops?

jb7706
06-23-2010, 5:44 PM
except he was on his own property.

last i checked this was still a free country. let the man wear a ski mask in peace!

how do you expect the guy to know there was a false 911 call and that a car was that of a cops?

The same way that folks here are able to skewer the man based only on the limited information posted: Use a crystal ball or just know everything. :rolleyes:

Shotgun Man
06-23-2010, 5:51 PM
Don't cops wear masks often enough when they're doing tactical operations such as executing search or arrest warrants?

There must be some tactical advantage to wearing a mask.

masameet
06-23-2010, 6:17 PM
I'm going to guess that Srabian wore a ski mask, or maybe was using it as a cap, because at 8:30 p.m.-ish on Feb. 16, 2007, it was friggin' cold. Just days before a cold front from the Pacific Ocean crossed over California, the Midwest and the Texas Panhandle to the East, and caused a massive winter snow storm (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/February_2007_North_America_Winter_Storm) (nicknamed the St. Valentine's Day Blizzard) along the way that really messed things up for a while.

Anyway here's another Fresno Bee story that gives more details as to both the officer and Srabian's POVs of that night's shooting:

Deputy testifies about Fowler shooting
Deputy says he saw farmer as a threat.
Posted at 12:43 PM on Thursday, Jun. 10, 2010
By Pablo Lopez / The Fresno Bee

A Fresno County sheriff's deputy testified Thursday that he shot and wounded a masked man outside a rural Fowler farmhouse because the suspect aimed a gun at him.

Sheriff's deputy Frank Harper also told a Fresno County Superior Court jury that he would have shot raisin farmer Donnie Srabian even if he hadn't pointed a gun at him because Srabian was a threat -- he was armed and wore a ski mask that only showed his eyes.

But in a demonstration to the jury, Srabian first wore the ski mask like a beanie cap. When prosecutor Ron Wells asked him to pull it over his face, Srabian did, but his eyes and nose were clearly visible through the single large hole in the ski mask.

It was a dramatic moment in a criminal trial in which jurors must determine who is telling the truth -- Harper or Srabian.

Srabian, 65, is accused of four felony charges, including assault on a peace officer with a semiautomatic handgun and brandishing a handgun in an angry and threatening manner. If convicted, he could be sentenced to as much as nine years in state prison.

On the witness stand, Srabian testified Thursday that he never pointed a gun at the deputy. Though he admitted to having a ski mask, he said he didn't remember whether he wore it over his face.

Harper was the first to give his account to the jury of six women and six men.

He said he was investigating a 911 call when he came across Srabian's rural family home, which is surrounded by vineyards, on the 7200 block of East Walter Avenue about 8:30 p.m. Feb. 16, 2007.

Harper testified that he was having trouble finding the address, so he aimed his spotlight at the home. When he couldn't find the address, he parked his patrol car and turned off the spotlight but left the headlights on. Harper said his intention was to make contact with the residents.

But that never happened, Harper testified, because a masked gunman burst out of the home and ran toward his patrol car. "I thought I had come across a home-invasion robbery," he told the jury.

Harper testified that he didn't have time to get out of his patrol car or identify himself as a sheriff's deputy.

Sitting in the driver's seat, Harper testified that he fired four rounds through the rolled-down window of his patrol car after the masked gunman took "a two-fisted shooting stance" and aimed a handgun at him.

"I thought if I didn't shoot, I would be shot and I would be seriously wounded or lose my life," Harper testified.

The suspect was about 10 yards away when he was shot in abdomen, Harper said. The suspect immediately dropped his gun and then took off his mask, he said.

He said that he later handcuffed the suspect after arguing with Srabian's 72-year-old brother, Martin.

But on cross examination, attorney Sal Sciandra, who is defending Srabian, pointed out that his client's gun and ski mask were on the front lawn about six to eight feet from where Harper said he shot the suspect.

Srabian then gave his account.

Srabian testified that his family has suffered from property crimes in the past, and that his older sister, Bev, complained of prowlers. In addition, a family friend, 81-year-old William Ivan Goble, who lived within a couple of miles, was killed in a home-invasion robbery in 1996.

About 8:30 that night, Srabian testified, Martin Srabian heard a noise outside, so he immediately grabbed his older brother's handgun and went out the front door. He said he didn't bother to look out the windows first or call 911 because he thought sheriff's deputies would be slow to come to the home.

As he left, Srabian said he didn't know whether the gun was loaded, but his intent was to get a license plate so he could report it to authorities. But soon after he left his home, Srabian said he was shot. He said he didn't initially see the sheriff's deputy or his patrol car because he was blinded by the patrol car's spotlight.

Srabian will resume his testimony today.

Doheny
06-23-2010, 6:22 PM
Don't cops wear masks often enough when they're doing tactical operations such as executing search or arrest warrants?

There must be some tactical advantage to wearing a mask.

It was the other guy...the farmer...who was wearing a mask.

gbp
06-23-2010, 6:47 PM
tough crowd here
if i lived in a rural area and someone told me how to dress, i'd tell them to go pound sand and get the f off my property. you can't even tell people in the city how to dress. how and what a person is wearing is not sufficient reason to shoot them, don't give a chit who you are

SteveH
06-23-2010, 6:50 PM
Trajic incident all around and i dont see any civil or criminal liability from the farmer or the cop. The farmer was protecting his property. The cop was acting in good faith responding to a 911 call.

Now the 911 sytem administrator on the other hand. There should be some civil liability there.

SteveH
06-23-2010, 6:53 PM
Don't cops wear masks often enough when they're doing tactical operations such as executing search or arrest warrants?

There must be some tactical advantage to wearing a mask.

Yes. Nomex masks to protect from burns from flashbangs, explosive breaching, meth lab fires and muzzle flash.

gemini1
06-23-2010, 6:53 PM
Its not mentioned what month the incident happened, may have been freagin cold thats why he was wearing a ski mask.

pullnshoot25
06-23-2010, 6:59 PM
I am with the farmer on this. His property, his right to exist. Just because cops have no obligation to protect life doesn't mean they should have free reign to take it.

Any case law on what cops are allowed to do on private property?

JimWest
06-23-2010, 7:03 PM
What I don't understand is why the guy came out of his house wearing the classic criminal attire of the ski mask

Kinky wife and forgot to take it off?

YubaRiver
06-23-2010, 7:29 PM
I am with the farmer on this. His property, his right to exist. Just because cops have no obligation to protect life doesn't mean they should have free reign to take it.

Any case law on what cops are allowed to do on private property?

Reminds me of that women who was accidently killed by a deer hunter in
New England. She was hanging clothes on the line while wearing white mittens.

The hunter got off as "everyone knows not to wear white mittens
during deer season".

stitchnicklas
06-23-2010, 7:43 PM
i side with the farmer,the ski mask matters not when you are on your own FARM.............I smell a appeal and exoneration coming

Colt-45
06-23-2010, 7:59 PM
I'm going to guess that Srabian wore a ski mask, or maybe was using it as a cap, because at 8:30 p.m.-ish on Feb. 16, 2007, it was friggin' cold. Just days before a cold front from the Pacific Ocean crossed over California, the Midwest and the Texas Panhandle to the East, and caused a massive winter snow storm (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/February_2007_North_America_Winter_Storm) (nicknamed the St. Valentine's Day Blizzard) along the way that really messed things up for a while.

Anyway here's another Fresno Bee story that gives more details as to both the officer and Srabian's POVs of that night's shooting:

VERY valuable information.

He had some very bad luck that night. Wearing a ski mask at the wrong place at the wrong time. He's a farmer, if he has some type of orchard he could have been out irrigating that night to prevent frost damage, a common practice.

Fowler is 15 minutes from me, it doesn't snow here but it gets really cold in the winter.

To me this is just a series of unfortunate coincidences. A cop responding a 911 call at night a guy comes out with a ski mask and gun, I would have also thought he was a burglar or up to no good. The farmer shouldn't have to be punished. I'm not a cop hater, Fresno and Tulare County cops are my favorite cops.


This is all just a big misunderstanding. They were both at the wrong place at the wrong time. Lets not forget the main purpose of the ski mask is protect your face from the cold, criminals misuse it to commit crimes. Had this been in the summer this would've of been entirely different. I would be on the cops side.

Note to self: Never wear a ski mask in the winter while irrigating for frost damage.

Theseus
06-23-2010, 11:45 PM
I still don't see how he got convicted of brandishing.

But he also made many tactical mistakes. Lucky he isn't dead. I agree that it was a series of unfortunate mistakes, and that everyone should have been happy that no one died and left it at that.

bigstick61
06-24-2010, 12:02 AM
I still don't see how he got convicted of brandishing.

But he also made many tactical mistakes. Lucky he isn't dead. I agree that it was a series of unfortunate mistakes, and that everyone should have been happy that no one died and left it at that.

Yeah, it almost seems like the jury felt he should just get something for the incident, but not get reamed due to the circumstances. I mean, if the other accusations were found to be okay due to the circumstances, given that they were of a more serious nature, I don't see why his action of "brandishing" would also not be excusable. It just isn't logical.

Josh3239
06-24-2010, 2:32 AM
Okay, lets stop getting hung up on the ski mask. The officer responded to a 911 call and got a gun pointed at him so he shot the guy. I would have done the same thing, it is pretty simple. ID your target and your target is never a cop. It was on his property? Big F'n deal, you don't point guns at cops. For all I care it could have been in Afghanistan on top of a mountain, don't point guns at cops. The fact that he was wearing a ski mask just made him look mroe dangerous to the officer.


Any case law on what cops are allowed to do on private property?

Sure there is, don't point guns at cops or you get shot. LE can get away with a lot of stuff when their lives are in immediate danger.

except he was on his own property.

last i checked this was still a free country. let the man wear a ski mask in peace!

how do you expect the guy to know there was a false 911 call and that a car was that of a cops?

How do you expect the responding officer to know it was his property? Are you telling me if you were responding to a 911 call and some guy burst out the front door wearing a ski mask and pointing a gun at you, you wouldn't shoot him?

tough crowd here
if i lived in a rural area and someone told me how to dress, i'd tell them to go pound sand and get the f off my property. you can't even tell people in the city how to dress. how and what a person is wearing is not sufficient reason to shoot them, don't give a chit who you are

i side with the farmer,the ski mask matters not when you are on your own FARM.............I smell a appeal and exoneration coming

Are you telling me if you were responding to a 911 call and some guy burst out the front door wearing a ski mask and pointing a gun at you, you wouldn't shoot him?

What if you were walking down the street CCWing and as you were walking a store some guy in the store wearing a ski mask points a gun at you? Would you shoot him? What if it is his store, does that mean he didn't do anything wrong?

Whiskey84
06-24-2010, 7:13 AM
Kinky wife and forgot to take it off?

This. :chris:

sideshowhr
06-24-2010, 7:58 AM
How do you expect the responding officer to know it was his property? Are you telling me if you were responding to a 911 call and some guy burst out the front door wearing a ski mask and pointing a gun at you, you wouldn't shoot him?



i don't! this is one of those rare cases where no-one is really at fault. the cop is just doing his job, and the guy is just trying to protect his property.

i'm just glad the guy didn't die.

also, i haven't watched any of these videos... but does anyone know if he was wearing the mask as a beanie (folded in?).

gunsmith
06-24-2010, 8:10 AM
Its not mentioned what month the incident happened, may have been freagin cold thats why he was wearing a ski mask.

One of the articles notes "8:30 p.m. Feb. 16, 2007."
February is known as one of the coldest months, also the ski mask is one of those that don't hide the face, just the head ears neck. I sleep with one like that on when its cold out & also ride a motorcycle in the winter wearing one.

The farmer made a tactical error in leaving his house.
Have a plan, have several plans- just having a gun isn't the only answer.
If you do not understand tactics and strategy then you're really better off staying in the house and calling the cops.

If he understood tactics and strategy and practiced ( trained ) the shooting would have never happened.

jerryg1776
06-24-2010, 8:29 AM
Make note - Always wear a bullet proof vest with my ski mask when I go running out the door. Ok now that I have that plan revised.. heres my only issue.

The article says that the deputy was reacting to a "home invasion" situation which is understandable given the scene and how it unfolded. My question, which does not seem to be properly addressed, is did the deputy properly identify himself to the farmer as a police officer and allow him the opportunity to disarm himself or retreat prior to shooting three rounds.

"Harper testified that he didn't have time to get out of his patrol car or identify himself as a sheriff's deputy."

Isn't it a basic tenet that one should identify not only your target but clearly identify yourself as police officer to avoid these types of incidents. If the officer clearly identified himself prior to engaging the "target" then the target may have stepped down or the threat level would have diminished.

I am not cop bashing.... I just do not see how it is the farmers fault if he did not know or was not informed that the blinding lights belonged to an LEO. If the situation were otherwise and the lights belonged to a home invader then he might be getting praised for taking out a threat or we might be mourning his tragic death at the hands of home invaders. I think the article stated that the headlights were on, spotlight off and made no mention at all about the cruiser lights flashing, which would have been a clear indication that the car belonged to an LEA.

Bhobbs
06-24-2010, 8:32 AM
If the farmer couldn't see the guy was a cop then he couldn't see where he was. Seems like the cop shot without identifying himself.

Corbin Dallas
06-24-2010, 8:44 AM
I find a few of these facts a bit disturbing, maybe it's just me.

Fact 1 - The 911 call. When was the last time an officer responded to a 911 call without dispatch in contact with the RP?

If the call was dropped, why didn't dispatch attempt to reconnect? Where are the transcripts of the call and the conversation between dispatch and the responding officer?

I'm not accusing anyone of any wrong doing, but something is missing here.


Fact 2 - The defendant was wearing a ski-mask and originally "Pointed" a firearm at the officer while blinded by the spotlight.

a) Have your buddy shine the brightest flashlight you can find in your face while holding up playing cards. Then identify each playing card while that flashlight is in your face. Now multiply that by 100...

b) Why did the officer NOT IDENTIFY him/her self when approaching the residence?

Assuming the defendant did wear a ski mask and was brandishing a firearm, why did the officer not use their vehicle as cover, identify themselves as a law enforcement officer and demand them to drop the firearm.


I want to give the officer the benefit of the doubt, but there seems to be more to the story than what has been released to the public.

There are two sides to every story and then there's the truth...

Am I the only one who is having trouble with this???

Bhobbs
06-24-2010, 8:46 AM
I find a few of these facts a bit disturbing, maybe it's just me.

Fact 1 - The 911 call. When was the last time an officer responded to a 911 call without dispatch in contact with the RP?

If the call was dropped, why didn't dispatch attempt to reconnect? Where are the transcripts of the call and the conversation between dispatch and the responding officer?

I'm not accusing anyone of any wrong doing, but something is missing here.


Fact 2 - The defendant was wearing a ski-mask and originally "Pointed" a firearm at the officer while blinded by the spotlight.

a) Have your buddy shine the brightest flashlight you can find in your face while holding up playing cards. Then identify each playing card while that flashlight is in your face. Now multiply that by 100...

b) Why did the officer NOT IDENTIFY him/her self when approaching the residence?

Assuming the defendant did wear a ski mask and was brandishing a firearm, why did the officer not use their vehicle as cover, identify themselves as a law enforcement officer and demand them to drop the firearm.


I want to give the officer the benefit of the doubt, but there seems to be more to the story than what has been released to the public.

There are two sides to every story and then there's the truth...

Am I the only one who is having trouble with this???

No. I feel the same way.

freespool
06-24-2010, 9:04 AM
The part that bothers me is the seeming presumption that if the guy is armed, the cop can shoot him - no other conditionals other than the officer's sense of personal vulnerability. If the cop's story of being rushed and targeted while in a vulnerable position is true, it's a lot more understandable that he would shoot. I loathe the apparently growing acceptance that shooting to pre-empt any developing threat is warranted. The cop's statement, if that's indeed what he testified, that he can shoot a person for being armed and, what - intimidating - is just wrong.

sideshowhr
06-24-2010, 9:13 AM
The farmer made a tactical error in leaving his house.
Have a plan, have several plans- just having a gun isn't the only answer.
If you do not understand tactics and strategy then you're really better off staying in the house and calling the cops.

If he understood tactics and strategy and practiced ( trained ) the shooting would have never happened.

the guy's a farmer... not SWAT :laugh:

tactical and farmer do not belong in the same sentence.

N6ATF
06-24-2010, 10:24 AM
I still don't see how he got convicted of brandishing.

Have a gun pointed in ANY direction, go to jail. No witnesses, go to the hospital for a GSW.

E Pluribus Unum
06-24-2010, 10:51 AM
We covered this in our use of force training....


You cannot point a gun at someone unless you are justified in shooting them. Strictly speaking, legally, he probably would have been better off if he shot at the cop. Not to say that it would be a good idea, but legally, if he pointed his gun but did not fire, then he was not justified in shooting, so he was not justified in pointing it either. The mere fact he did not shoot points to the idea that there was no reason to shoot and he should not have been pointing his gun in the first place.

This is what "low ready" is for. :)

shark92651
06-24-2010, 11:44 AM
Isn't this something we can resolve with a beer summit?

anhero
06-24-2010, 11:50 AM
Isn't this something we can resolve with a beer summit?

:rofl2:

bigstick61
06-24-2010, 12:31 PM
We covered this in our use of force training....


You cannot point a gun at someone unless you are justified in shooting them. Strictly speaking, legally, he probably would have been better off if he shot at the cop. Not to say that it would be a good idea, but legally, if he pointed his gun but did not fire, then he was not justified in shooting, so he was not justified in pointing it either. The mere fact he did not shoot points to the idea that there was no reason to shoot and he should not have been pointing his gun in the first place.

This is what "low ready" is for. :)

He probably didn't have use of force training and probably didn't know what a "low ready" was. He was just responding to a potential threat on his property. If I recall correctly, he didn't actually point the gun, though, just was holding it at his side. While the cop should have tried to identify himself and the farmer maybe should have gotten some training, other than that, I don't think either did anything wrong enough to justify civil liabilities or criminal punishment. It's just one of those unfortunate situations. I hope the farmer has his conviction overturned on appeal. That would be the only just outcome for him. I still think it's BS that California would sentence people to a 10-year loss of his RKBA over a misdemeanor. Anyhow, the one thing which I find odd is what someone pointed out over the 911 call.

gunsmith
06-24-2010, 12:43 PM
the guy's a farmer... not SWAT :laugh:

tactical and farmer do not belong in the same sentence.

fuddy fud fudder.

Most farmers know enough about tactics not to rush out the door into a blinding spotlight with an unloaded gun.

Gun owners who do not understand strategy and tactics whether they're urban or rural get themselves shot, & are future darwin awards candidates.

You're mistaking tacticool with tactical- if a gun owner prefers to keep them selves totally ignorant on basic strategy and tactics they have that right. They're ignorant candidates for an early death but whatever, like cigg smokers and needle users- they prefer ignorance and early death.

Some buffoons think an unloaded gun will stop an intruder, our farmer here might be one of them. IDK.
I do know that I consider an unloaded gun to be an expensive paperweight.
& I would never rush out the door to confront an intruder with one.

My plan is to sneak out the back door with a loaded RIFLE, identify my target and what is beyond it, and once I'm behind cover and concealment THEN deal with intruder.

The farmer with his ill thought out plan and unloaded gun was asking for trouble.

Oh well, I guess his magic talisman ( the unloaded gun ) isn't quite as powerful as shown on TV.

SteveH
06-24-2010, 1:23 PM
I find a few of these facts a bit disturbing, maybe it's just me.

Fact 1 - The 911 call. When was the last time an officer responded to a 911 call without dispatch in contact with the RP?

Every single day. The radio code for an incomplete 911 call of 911 hang up is 927H and its a very common call.

SteveH
06-24-2010, 1:28 PM
Any case law on what cops are allowed to do on private property?


Yep. They are allowed full access to the curtalage, just like the mail man, UPS delivery driver or meter reader. Unless the homeowner has taken a proactive steps to limit access to the cutalage such as installing a fence that completly surrounds the property with a locked gate and signage. Even with the fence the cop would be clear entering the property under the community caretaker doctrine in response to a 927H.

In a 927H the cop is not only justified in entering the curtalage. He's expected to. To include looking for broken windows, checking locks, looking for signs of fire, listening for sounds of someone in medical distress inside, ect.

NightOwl
06-24-2010, 4:35 PM
Yep. They are allowed full access to the curtalage, just like the mail man, UPS delivery driver or meter reader. Unless the homeowner has taken a proactive steps to limit access to the cutalage such as installing a fence that completly surrounds the property with a locked gate and signage. Even with the fence the cop would be clear entering the property under the community caretaker doctrine in response to a 927H.

In a 927H the cop is not only justified in entering the curtalage. He's expected to. To include looking for broken windows, checking locks, looking for signs of fire, listening for sounds of someone in medical distress inside, ect.

How's that justification if the cop freely admits he couldn't find where he was supposed to go, so just wandered onto some other random property? You caught the part where the the 911 hang-up wasn't at the farmer's house, but a different address that the officer was having trouble locating, right?

Bottom line, the fault belongs to the officer for creating a situation where none existed by approaching a house that he had no cause to be at. I'm a little stunned that the court found that it was okay, since he couldn't find the correct address, for him to wander up to whatever house he felt like and have no liability for shooting someone defending their residence against an unknown and unidentified trespasser.

John-Melb
06-24-2010, 5:12 PM
Deputy Harper screwed up badly when he lied to the court, he claimed that Srabian came out of the house wearing a "ski mask" with only his eyes showing. It appears that the item in question was a "balaklava", which showed Mr Srabian's whole face, and may have been being worn as a "beanie" at the time anyway.

From this point on, anything Deputy Harper says has to be taken with a grain of salt.

Dr.Lou
06-24-2010, 5:59 PM
except he was on his own property.

last i checked this was still a free country. let the man wear a ski mask in peace!

how do you expect the guy to know there was a false 911 call and that a car was that of a cops?

I have been an LEO for 26 years and have never had the pleasure of meeting a good guy exit a building wearing a ski mask. Given the totality of the circumstances, he's lucky he's still breathing. Chances are the officer's crystal ball was in the shop for repair. Definitely a candidate for the Darwin Award.

Also, it is illegal to wear a mask or disguise in the commission of a crime - 185 PC.

N6ATF
06-24-2010, 6:32 PM
Is it also illegal to wear a hat and scarf while not pointing a gun at anybody if you can still identify the person without their hat and scarf on, later, in a lineup? Because at the worst, that's what seems to have happened. I wasn't aware that was a summary executable offense.

Shotgun Man
06-24-2010, 7:11 PM
Okay, lets stop getting hung up on the ski mask. The officer responded to a 911 call and got a gun pointed at him so he shot the guy. I would have done the same thing, it is pretty simple. ID your target and your target is never a cop. It was on his property? Big F'n deal, you don't point guns at cops. For all I care it could have been in Afghanistan on top of a mountain, don't point guns at cops. The fact that he was wearing a ski mask just made him look mroe dangerous to the officer.



Sure there is, don't point guns at cops or you get shot. LE can get away with a lot of stuff when their lives are in immediate danger.




There are situations where you cannot fully ascertain your possible target because it dark. You illuminate the potential target while simultaneously pointing your gun at it.

advocatusdiaboli
06-24-2010, 7:44 PM
Regarding the ski mask, this Fresno Bee article says that Srabian said that he had a ski mask, but didn't remember putting it on.

"Sciandra, however, said his client has a right to carry a gun on his property. "You can also wear a ski mask anywhere," he said."

I call BS--his excuse has a certain smell of fertilizer. I don't think he should have been charged, but why a ski mask and a gun. Why not a a watch cap and a gun? Especially if he' need his peripheral vision because he's running out in the dark into danger--he sensed danger since he thought he needed a pistol. Why didn't he have a flashlight? Why just a pistol and a ski mask? I think the jury had the same trouble with that as I do.

I agree it's a tragedy, but I can hear the uproar if he was a member of a home invasion group who shot the officer and then robbed, raped, and killed the family and got away.

He's also free to dress up like a zombie and run at an officer with a knife or pistol--and the officer is free to shoot at a threat to him if he believes deadly force is being presented and directed at him.

Cops have to be dead-on perfect in every situation in split second or they or someone can die and it's always their fault. "I was a legitimate ski-mask wearing home owner exercising my freedom to run out into my yard with a ski mask and loaded pistol and point it a an LE answering a 911 call where the caller never responded which usually mans real trouble, judge!" . Even when nut jobs run at them with ski masks and pistols when they are answering a 911 call--somehow they are supposed to know, telepathically I guess, the persons intent and identity. Man, what's the life expectancy of an LE who does that in gangland Fresno?

Theseus
06-24-2010, 7:49 PM
Have a gun pointed in ANY direction, go to jail. No witnesses, go to the hospital for a GSW.


You cannot point a gun at someone unless you are justified in shooting them. Strictly speaking, legally, he probably would have been better off if he shot at the cop. Not to say that it would be a good idea, but legally, if he pointed his gun but did not fire, then he was not justified in shooting, so he was not justified in pointing it either. The mere fact he did not shoot points to the idea that there was no reason to shoot and he should not have been pointing his gun in the first place.

This is what "low ready" is for. :)

Well, he was "blinded" by the spotlight, so by not shooting he was observing the rules of knowing your target.

We can second guess this until the cows come home, but I don't believe that either the officer nor the farmer should have done anything other than accept that it was an unfortunate turn of events.

This posturing and charging the farmer is, in my opinion, mostly to stall or prevent a legal suit. Especially in having dealt with my situation, until the legal issue is settled, his civil suit will go nowhere.

If he is convicted it is likely to help the city and officer win in the civil suit. (At least from what I understand).

tyrist
06-24-2010, 8:52 PM
I find a few of these facts a bit disturbing, maybe it's just me.

Fact 1 - The 911 call. When was the last time an officer responded to a 911 call without dispatch in contact with the RP?

Everyday all the time. If 911 is dialed there will be a police response whether you call back or not.

If the call was dropped, why didn't dispatch attempt to reconnect? Where are the transcripts of the call and the conversation between dispatch and the responding officer?

I'm not accusing anyone of any wrong doing, but something is missing here.

Nothing is missing this is completely normal and happens everyday.

Fact 2 - The defendant was wearing a ski-mask and originally "Pointed" a firearm at the officer while blinded by the spotlight.

a) Have your buddy shine the brightest flashlight you can find in your face while holding up playing cards. Then identify each playing card while that flashlight is in your face. Now multiply that by 100...

b) Why did the officer NOT IDENTIFY him/her self when approaching the residence?

Due to the nature of the call you are not going to announce your presence until you get eyes on the location and can gather some additional information.

Assuming the defendant did wear a ski mask and was brandishing a firearm, why did the officer not use their vehicle as cover, identify themselves as a law enforcement officer and demand them to drop the firearm.

There is no time, and there is no legal requirement when the situation is already at a deadly force level.

I want to give the officer the benefit of the doubt, but there seems to be more to the story than what has been released to the public.

There are two sides to every story and then there's the truth...

Am I the only one who is having trouble with this???

Responding how you seem to indicate you would like is tactically unsound and there are so many reasons my post would go on for pages. This is a very quick response.

bigstick61
06-25-2010, 12:45 AM
I call BS--his excuse has a certain smell of fertilizer. I don't think he should have been charged, but why a ski mask and a gun. Why not a a watch cap and a gun? Especially if he' need his peripheral vision because he's running out in the dark into danger--he sensed danger since he thought he needed a pistol. Why didn't he have a flashlight? Why just a pistol and a ski mask? I think the jury had the same trouble with that as I do.

I agree it's a tragedy, but I can hear the uproar if he was a member of a home invasion group who shot the officer and then robbed, raped, and killed the family and got away.

He's also free to dress up like a zombie and run at an officer with a knife or pistol--and the officer is free to shoot at a threat to him if he believes deadly force is being presented and directed at him.

Cops have to be dead-on perfect in every situation in split second or they or someone can die and it's always their fault. "I was a legitimate ski-mask wearing home owner exercising my freedom to run out into my yard with a ski mask and loaded pistol and point it a an LE answering a 911 call where the caller never responded which usually mans real trouble, judge!" . Even when nut jobs run at them with ski masks and pistols when they are answering a 911 call--somehow they are supposed to know, telepathically I guess, the persons intent and identity. Man, what's the life expectancy of an LE who does that in gangland Fresno?

The man was not committing a crime while wearing the mask, and from the sound of it the weather justified the use of the mask, although that doesn't seem to stop people on this page such as yourself from attacking him for wearing it. Have you not been in cold weather? When I was in sub-zero temps I really wish I had had a balaclava. Even at the temps he had to deal with, if there was any wind at all, the feeling would not have been pleasant. As it is he may have been wearing it as a watch cap, also justifiable, especially on HIS own property. As for a flashlight, who knows? He may not have had one handy, the batteries may have been dead, or perhaps due to the rush of feeling threatened by potential home invaders, it slipped his mind. Either way, he was in the right to respond to what appeared to be a potential threat on his property, i.e. the cop. Likewise, the cop was in the right to shoot at an apparent threat when responding to something in a manner which is lawful, i.e. the 911 issue. Both the cop and the farmer made mistakes. However, the point here is that the farmer should not have been charged, much less convicted of any crimes. Since the farmer had the balaclava and failed to get a flashlight, do you think that by itself justified a conviction for brandishing, even after acquittal on all related charges? I think not. What say you?

glockwise2000
06-25-2010, 12:58 AM
No. I feel the same way.

same thing here.

thayne
06-25-2010, 1:46 AM
I call BS--his excuse has a certain smell of fertilizer. I don't think he should have been charged, but why a ski mask and a gun. Why not a a watch cap and a gun? Especially if he' need his peripheral vision because he's running out in the dark into danger--he sensed danger since he thought he needed a pistol. Why didn't he have a flashlight? Why just a pistol and a ski mask? I think the jury had the same trouble with that as I do.

I agree it's a tragedy, but I can hear the uproar if he was a member of a home invasion group who shot the officer and then robbed, raped, and killed the family and got away.

He's also free to dress up like a zombie and run at an officer with a knife or pistol--and the officer is free to shoot at a threat to him if he believes deadly force is being presented and directed at him.

Cops have to be dead-on perfect in every situation in split second or they or someone can die and it's always their fault. "I was a legitimate ski-mask wearing home owner exercising my freedom to run out into my yard with a ski mask and loaded pistol and point it a an LE answering a 911 call where the caller never responded which usually mans real trouble, judge!" . Even when nut jobs run at them with ski masks and pistols when they are answering a 911 call--somehow they are supposed to know, telepathically I guess, the persons intent and identity. Man, what's the life expectancy of an LE who does that in gangland Fresno?

I agree. I'm usually pretty tough on cops, but under the circumstances I think he had every right to think he was in immediate danger of being shot. If you were him what would you think? Responding to a 911 hang up, get there and some guy wearing a ski mask and armed comes out at you? Granted, its not illegal to wear a ski mask, but come on...

pullnshoot25
06-25-2010, 7:56 AM
Cops have to be dead-on perfect in every situation in split second or they or someone can die and it's always their fault. "I was a legitimate ski-mask wearing home owner exercising my freedom to run out into my yard with a ski mask and loaded pistol and point it a an LE answering a 911 call where the caller never responded which usually mans real trouble, judge!" . Even when nut jobs run at them with ski masks and pistols when they are answering a 911 call--somehow they are supposed to know, telepathically I guess, the persons intent and identity. Man, what's the life expectancy of an LE who does that in gangland Fresno?

I am going to let out a hearty chuckle since you seem to think that cops are ALWAYS at fault for someone's death.

You are a funny, funny man.

mcholak
06-25-2010, 8:34 AM
I grew up about 2 miles from Donnie. I don't know him really other than knowing who he is. He always wore a ski cap in the winter, I guess it must have been a mask that was rolled up. Either way, every deputy out there know that every house is armed. My dad has made a point of telling the deputy's who patrol that area that, I have done the same, as have a few of our neighbors. The typical response time is 5-10 minutes unless they have to be driving by, we all know that we can't rely on them in an emergency. That's not a slam on the FCSD it's just the way it is.

Did it look suspicious? Maybe. Was it handled the right way by the deputy? Hell no. He could have turn on his lights, he could have identified himself, he could have anticipated that someone would come out to see what happened when he hit the garbage cans. A whole lot went wrong that night, there is blame to go around. Probation was the right call.

mcholak
06-25-2010, 8:35 AM
On a somewhat different note, the Fresno Bee kept referring to the charges "with a semiautomatic weapon". Am I missing something? Is there an enhancement for a pistol over a revolver?

tuolumnejim
06-25-2010, 8:44 AM
Why was he wearing a ski mask?

Who are you to ask that of someone who was on their own land?

Big E
06-25-2010, 8:48 AM
I understand the two versions of the story (farmerís and LEOís). Appears to me to be an unfortunate situation in that neither side knew who the other was. I do believe the farmer likely raised his gun to some level. I do believe the officer was in fear that this was a bad guy. Considering all the circumstances I can see this as a horrible mistake that luckily did not end in the death of the farmer. I do not think either party should had to of endured any kind of penalty including future civil action by the farmer (i.e. against the police department). It is unfortunate that the DA and the Jury did not see it that way. Had the farmer not been held at partial fault, or not ended up in court in the first place, maybe the civil action would not have been mentioned. I wasnít there or on the jury so Iím just throwing out some thoughts. But I also wonder if more could have been done to avoid the whole thing to begin with when it hit me.

Okay, Iím not a LEO so I donít know the answer to these questions. However, in addition to responding in a marked police car with a bright light shining on the house (headlights or spotlight); why werenít the little red and blue lights flashing? Canít those be seen even with the bright lights on?

My thought is that maybe had the farmer seen this. The scenario would have ended differently. Please keep in mind, that while I do realize LEOs respond to scenes in different ways (lights & sirens, lights only, no lights or sirens) I donít know which is appropriate for a given circumstance (i.e. 911 hang ups). I also donít know how visible these features are when you have a light in your face, but since these do shine 360 degrees I think one would get the point real fast.

I await further education on the matter from those that know.

tyrist
06-25-2010, 10:14 AM
I understand the two versions of the story (farmerís and LEOís). Appears to me to be an unfortunate situation in that neither side knew who the other was. I do believe the farmer likely raised his gun to some level. I do believe the officer was in fear that this was a bad guy. Considering all the circumstances I can see this as a horrible mistake that luckily did not end in the death of the farmer. I do not think either party should had to of endured any kind of penalty including future civil action by the farmer (i.e. against the police department). It is unfortunate that the DA and the Jury did not see it that way. Had the farmer not been held at partial fault, or not ended up in court in the first place, maybe the civil action would not have been mentioned. I wasnít there or on the jury so Iím just throwing out some thoughts. But I also wonder if more could have been done to avoid the whole thing to begin with when it hit me.

Okay, Iím not a LEO so I donít know the answer to these questions. However, in addition to responding in a marked police car with a bright light shining on the house (headlights or spotlight); why werenít the little red and blue lights flashing? Canít those be seen even with the bright lights on?

My thought is that maybe had the farmer seen this. The scenario would have ended differently. Please keep in mind, that while I do realize LEOs respond to scenes in different ways (lights & sirens, lights only, no lights or sirens) I donít know which is appropriate for a given circumstance (i.e. 911 hang ups). I also donít know how visible these features are when you have a light in your face, but since these do shine 360 degrees I think one would get the point real fast.

I await further education on the matter from those that know.

Appropriate response is code 3 to the location with lights and siren but you turn them off a couple of blocks away so the people at the location don't know the police are coming. A 911 hang up can be a mistake or an extremely dangerous situation so you want to maintain the element of surprise for as long as possible.

grammaton76
06-25-2010, 2:13 PM
A bit late to point this out, but I believe this is a good example of why everyone should at least wear level 3a soft armor if they're going to insist on checking out things that go bump in the night.

thayne
06-25-2010, 2:23 PM
A bit late to point this out, but I believe this is a good example of why everyone should at least wear level 3a soft armor if they're going to insist on checking out things that go bump in the night.

Im looking at blackhawk armor and its all restricted to military, LE and security personnel only? WTF is up with that?
http://www.blackhawk.com/catalog/Tactical-Armor,90.htm

Veggie
06-25-2010, 2:40 PM
The dumb cop said he would have fired his weapon even if the farmer hadn't pointed his gun at him. Isn't that illegal?

bluerider
06-25-2010, 3:18 PM
flashing lights turned on, confusion avoided. or is this too simple?

In a rural area if a car pulls into your driveway you either know who it is because you are expecting them or it is a threat, and out there every house has a gun, and it is kept loaded.

pnkssbtz
06-25-2010, 5:57 PM
How may people have lived in fresno during the winter?

It gets so cold that your water lines for your sprinkler/garage can burst over night. I totally understand wearing a ski mask in fresno.

Colt-45
06-25-2010, 10:39 PM
How may people have lived in fresno during the winter?

It gets so cold that your water lines for your sprinkler/garage can burst over night. I totally understand wearing a ski mask in fresno.

I do.:D Weird how it frosts over, all white outside but it doesn't snow, too deep in the valley I guess. I love those foggy days. Summers are too long here:(

Hoop
06-25-2010, 10:59 PM
I love all these responses about how the guy should be tossed off a cliff for wearing a beanie. Think about that the next time you go outside in the wintertime to see what that noise was.

I live in a rural area and I installed lights all around the house to one switch by the door, if I hear a noise outside I can see what it is. And yes I've turned it on at 10:30 and saw a sheriff's deputy parked in my driveway (he was lost rofl thought they had GPS but I guess not).

fleegman
06-26-2010, 12:00 AM
and as a result of his conviction, he won't be allowed to hold any gun for ten years.

Well, not lawfully anyway. There is no way I would permit the Gummint to totally disarm me under these sort of bogus circumstances.

Paul S
06-26-2010, 12:27 AM
On a somewhat different note, the Fresno Bee kept referring to the charges "with a semiautomatic weapon". Am I missing something? Is there an enhancement for a pistol over a revolver?

The Fresno Bee has long had an anti-firearm editorial position. A semiautomatic weapon to those uneducated and opposed to firearms, sounds considerably more sinister than simply saying the farmer was armed. The Bee reporter may also have been quoting a phrase used by the prosecution. Regardless, trust me when I write the Bee is not a friend of gun owners.

The farmer is lucky to be alive. I hope the department doesn't through Harper under the bus and I also hope the Federal Case goes nowhere.

Paul S