Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Self-defense and lethal force on Seattle streets

An assault turned deadly in downtown Seattle this past weekend. One man assaulted another, and the second took out his gun and fired one shot. The first man, later identified as Daniel Culotti, age 25, died at Harborview Medical Center. The original victim (age 52) had a concealed weapons permit and was reported as very cooperative with the police. While the prosecutors' office will make a final determination, the second man was released by the police by reason of self-defense.

You can read the Seattle Time's original story here.

You can read the Seattle Time's follow-up article about the dead man's troubled past here. Towards the end of this article, there is a discussion on what constitutes self-defense, and the use of lethal force defending oneself and others.

This is doubly sad. Sad first because Mr. Culotti managed to fall between the cracks of the mental health and justice systems. Sad second because the unnamed defender was sufficiently endangered to kill his assailant, which probably was a highly traumatic experience for him. Hopefully there's more help available for him than there was for Mr. Culotti.

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