Local News


When chasing a suspect could mean breaking the law

Posted at 8:22 PM, Jan 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-26 23:22:58-05

A valley man was arraigned this week on several felony charges stemming from a shooting outside a Target store last June.

According to the arrest report, it appears to be a case of someone trying to do the right thing by helping store security. But police on scene said he may have broke the law.

Police said Stephen Howard was taken into custody after chasing a shoplifter who broke away from two security guards and then fired two shots at the suspect's pickup truck as it sped away.

Not only did Howard not have a permit to carry a concealed firearm in the first place, but police say he also discharged a weapon where someone might be a danger and fired at an occupied vehicle.

"When it comes to witnessing a crime, I don't teach my students to become police officers," said Maggie Mordaunt, a concealed weapons instructor. "If you witness someone stealing something or breaking into a home, again call the police."

13 Action News Crime and Safety Expert and retired Las Vegas police Lt. Randy Sutton says police officers are trained to think about the consequences of firing a weapon when innocent bystanders are nearby.

"Before a police officer uses deadly force, not only to they have to worry about hitting the target, they have to worry about the backdrop, where is that bullet gonna go because that bullet's going somewhere," he said.

If people own firearms, Mordaunt strongly suggest finding an accredited instructor and getting the proper permits.

"We can't all the sudden because you have a CCW be the person who's gonna now start policing," she said.

Mordaunt says people have the right to defend themselves but knowing how and when will help make sure they stay on the right side of the law.