TEMPE, AZ - Tempe, Arizona, police say a group of skateboarders came to a woman’s rescue after she was assaulted by a man early Sunday morning.
But did those good intentions go too far? One of those “Good Samaritans” is now behind bars, accused of shooting and critically injuring the attacker.
Arizona law does allow you to defend someone. The law uses what’s called a “reasonable persons test” to decide if the amount of force used was justified, or excessive.
“You can’t just pull out a gun out and start shooting somebody for what they did,” said Lieutenant Michael Pooley with the Tempe Police Department.
Police say the group of skateboarders initially tried to protect a group of women from the man – who appeared to be intoxicated and was harassing the women outside of a Jack in the Box.
But things got ugly when the man punched one of the girls in the face, and the skateboarders took off after the suspect.
“That’s where the stories become different,” said Lt. Pooley. “Some of them say they never caught up to him, some of them say they started swinging their skateboard at him.”
One of the men pulled out a gun and shot twice – hitting the attacker in the chest.
“With Arizona law you can defend someone who is being physically attacked,” said criminal defense attorney Anthony Knowles. “However, the law requires you only use the force necessary to stop the attack.”
Knowles says there’s a fine line between defending and attacking.
“It sounds like the guy retreated and they chased after him,” said Knowles. “So at that point, I don’t know that they would be preventing the attack any more, it would seem that they’re now on the attack.”
Knowles admits he would like to get the entire police report before making any further speculations.
Two of those skateboarders are behind bars; one for the shooting and a second on outstanding warrants. More arrests could happen, including the man who was shot, for attacking the woman on Mill Avenue Sunday morning.