View Full Version : Question regarding self defense, apartment complex, defending another person's life

08-14-2010, 12:29 AM
There are some known Bulldog gang members that have moved into our apartment complex.

Tonight the police came because the gang guys came over to this side of the building to harass/threaten my neighbors life. I doubt anything is going to happen, but let's just say the bangers decide they want to come over here with a couple of buddies and inflict death or serious bodily injury on my neighbor? He's a good guy, working man, family man, and I want to know what, if anything, I am legally allowed to do in terms of intervening. I do not want to see him shot, knifed or bludgeoned to death because of some banger guy's hurt ego. If I am witnessing a crime, and believe the perp is going to greatly injure if not kill my neighbor, besides calling the police, what am I allowed to do? I know what I should do.

Keep in mind there is a possibility I'd have to actually step out of my apartment into the common area to do so much as throw a shoe at an attacker. Even if I never left my home, the fact of the matter is the perp would almost certainly be outside of it; use your imagination there.

I really don't want this to sound like tough guy crap, I am not the kind of person to just jump out and get involved in something. I am not a tough guy and I would prefer any hairy situation to end without violence. I am just concerned and trying to be prepared in case things get really "real" over here.

San FranPsycho
08-14-2010, 12:49 AM
Teach your neighbor about the Second Amendment.

08-14-2010, 2:47 AM
Understand the law..
From the California Penal Code...

§197. Homicide is also justifiable when committed by any person in
any of the following cases:
1. When resisting any attempt to murder any person, or to commit a felony, or
to do some great bodily injury upon any person; or,

2. When committed in defense of habitation, property, or person, against one who
manifestly intends or endeavors, by violence or surprise, to commit a felony, or
against one who manifestly intends and endeavors, in a violent, riotous or tumultuous
manner, to enter the habitation of another for the purpose of offering violence
to any person therein; or,

3. When committed in the lawful defense of such person, or of a
wife or husband, parent, child, master, mistress, or servant of such
person, when there is reasonable ground to apprehend a design to
commit a felony or to do some great bodily injury, and imminent
danger of such design being accomplished; but such person, or the
person in whose behalf the defense was made, if he was the assailant
or engaged in mutual combat, must really and in good faith have
endeavored to decline any further struggle before the homicide was
committed; or,

4. When necessarily committed in attempting, by lawful ways and
means, to apprehend any person for any felony committed, or in
lawfully suppressing any riot, or in lawfully keeping and preserving
the peace.

§198. A bare fear of the commission of any of the offenses mentioned
in subdivisions 2 and 3 of Section 197, to prevent which homicide
may be lawfully committed, is not sufficient to justify it. But the
circumstances must be sufficient to excite the fears of a reasonable
person, and the party killing must have acted under the influence of
such fears alone.

Now, keep in mind that if those gang members come over and break windows and/or doors down and start beating on your neighbor several things come into play.
a) They have in a violent, riotous or tumultuous manner, entered the habitation of another for the purpose of offering violence to a person therein;
b) Their entry in order to commit great bodily injury is a felony as First Degree Burglary under §459 & §460 PC.
c) Prior threats were made & documented by police, including a threat to "............"

If I am witnessing a crime, and believe the perp is going to greatly injure if not kill my neighbor, besides calling the police, what am I allowed to do? I know what I should do.

You called it. A felony is being perpetrated in your presence. Based on your own experience, discussions of what occurred, and the fact that you believe the perp is going to greatly injure or kill your neighbor, then do what you should do as a good neighbor.

1. Call 911 first - you do it while preparing or get your wife/gf/roomie to do it.
2. Stop - Look - Listen
3. Look for weapons and stationed "look-outs".
4. Listen and remember - phrases like "Kill the mo-fo!" or "Stop you're killing him!" give a sense of conditions inside.
5. If multiple thugs are present, you're not going to be the Lone Ranger® with a white hat. In that situation, I might have more of an Audie Murphy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audie_Murphy) mindset.
6. Make sure you select the proper tool. If he has kids, a shotgun probably isn't a good choice.

08-14-2010, 2:54 AM
Tell him get a gun or two.

08-14-2010, 2:57 AM
Thanks very much. Great and detailed response. Could not have asked for more. I'm up this late because the police were back again, this time one of the thug guys did come back, but luckily nothing serious went down. They escorted him back to their residence, and arrested one of their buddies for getting disruptive. I am keeping eyes and ears open basically. I am not afraid of one gang member ***** as they are usually cowards, but I am afraid of 5-12 ego hurt gang member *****s coming back to pick a fight. Or worse shooting up the whole building and ruining everyone's day.

I don't want to over-exaggerate. My gut is telling me everything will be okay and won't come to any serious violence, but at any rate I've got my phone/firearm/flashlight within an arms reach and everything's locked up really tight around my house. I got a chance to talk to my neighbor and recommended he do the same. With this and my previous knowledge of the law I feel comfortable. Not too comfortable of course, a person never should be, but at least I can get some sleep.

Again thanks for the great response, Bill.

08-14-2010, 7:31 AM
inform the landlord.. time to evict.. an time for tentant to get mace an gun an ????

08-15-2010, 8:17 PM
Looks like you and him have some stuff to think about. If you're concerned about a major gang battle, I would probably have a 90db jogger's alarm that you can pull the pin on, and when you talk to the other neighbors, let them know that if they hear a siren, they need to hit the deck as bullets may start flying, and we all know how well gang members aim.


Josey Wales
08-15-2010, 8:32 PM
Have him document every utterance, occurence, and contact with dates and times of said bangers. Present these notations to the property owner/manager and the local PD. If the owner does nothing, have your neighbor withhold rent because of lack of habitability. Keep on the PD to force them to declare that the tenants are creating a public nuisance and get them evicted. If these remedies do not rectify the problem, blow the bastards away if he feels threatened.:D

Maestro Pistolero
08-15-2010, 8:43 PM
I would probably have a 90db jogger's alarm that you can pull the pin onWhat a great idea. That would be an excellent distraction as well as a way to communicate to the neighbors what is happening.

When I hear about this kind of thing, the 10 round mag limit BS boils my blood. It could literally get you killed if defending against multiple dick-heads. Here in Nevada, I would be yanking the charging handle on my AR with a couple of spare 30s in my back pocket.

Keep the incident report number handy when calling in subsequent activity. And make sure your wife or whoever calls has that, and gives a good description of you and your intentions. Good luck.

08-15-2010, 8:46 PM
Try to convince him to take advantage of Fresno County's very nice CCW policy.

Be careful man, and good luck.

08-16-2010, 8:35 AM
Be very careful with this. When you are defending your own life, you have all the facts right there in front of you. When you are defending someone else, not so much.

I'm sure that your neighbor is a great guy and that he is being truthful with you; however you really have no way to the full story.

After you shoot someone defending his life; he could turn to you and loudly say, "Why did you do that, I had it under control" or he could suddenly disappear right when you need him to speak on your behalf in a civil suit or criminal prosecution. It could be that your neighbor incited these guys and he was the one that went to their crib and threatened them. You know what to say when the cops arrive, but does he (“Yeah officer, we were waiting for these punks to come back so that we could teach them a lesson”)?

I will always defend myself or my family, I will probably defend my neighbor, and I may defend a stranger. Just be aware that the situation gets more complicated the further you move away from YOU.

Always do the right thing, just think it through and plan.