January 31, 2007

My Old Hood

Via Nicki at The Liberty Zone (who is still deployed in Kosovo) comes this story about a man stopping a robbery.

"An armed McDonald's employee shot and killed a would-be robber Thursday in a gunbattle inside the west Charlotte restaurant, police and witnesses said."

I would suppose he's a former McDonald's employee now as he surely violated their weapon policy.

But the story is doubly interesting to me because I used to go to that McDonald's a lot when I was a kid. My grandfather liked hitting it for breakfast & later on it was close to a few places me & my friends would hang out.

The neighborhood was always between medium & high crime. In the early 80's cocaine replaced heroin as the drug of choice around there & things started to go to hell pretty quickly. It's because of growing up there that I always thought self defense was important & that mind altering substances weren't generally a cool thing. But before I start digressing too much I'll just say that a robbery in the old neighborhood doesn't surprise me. Neither does a robber getting shot.

But the man who defended his store may be prosecuted. I get into that in the extended entry.

"It's unclear how many customers were inside during the shootout shortly before 10 p.m. A second employee, a 42-year-old woman, was hit in the crossfire and treated for a gunshot wound to the arm.
Killed in the shooting was Donte Antonio McFadden, 20, who police say attempted to rob the store with a handgun.
McFadden was featured in a 1995 Observer story about his youth baseball team, organized to keep kids out of trouble in one of Charlotte's most violent neighborhoods."

When he was 8 he was on a baseball team? That's significant how?

"Police would not name the 25-year-old shooter Friday because he has not been charged. Detectives are investigating and will ask prosecutors to decide whether charges are appropriate.
Records show the employee has a history of drug-related arrests and was convicted in 2001 of felony cocaine possession. It's against N.C. law for a felon to possess a gun."

Actually it's against a felon to possess a gun outside the home according to N.C. law. It's federal law that proscribes bearing arms entirely for felons, which is constitutionally a bit on the shady side considering the commerce clause's intent - though the courts have disregarded any such arguments to date about felons in possession of arms. I believe N.C. law may also allow a felon to possess a firearm at his own business but I don't think it'd apply to possession as an employee, especially when the employer forbade possession as McDonald's does.

But it appears a non-violent felon used a proscribed item to stop a violent felon. I'm glad he cared more about his own safety than obeying a constitutionally questionable law.

"McFadden's cousin, Crystal Steele, was working at McDonald's during the shooting and told the Observer that McFadden used her gun. She said she kept the gun in her car for protection and didn't know how McFadden got it."

Under the circumstances I'd just be glad he did find it.

"Friday, Steele walked into a living room full of McFadden's grieving family and friends and sobbed: 'It was my fault. It was my fault. You all feel what you feel -- and blame me."

Um, no; it was McFadden's fault. He was the one who walked into a place of business with a firearm & the intent to rob &/or harm folks. He's the one to blame for this incident.

"McFadden graduated last spring from Hopewell High School and planned to attend college. Then, in November, he shot and killed his stepfather in a domestic dispute.
His mother, Hattie McFadden, said her son was protecting her. Authorities hadn't decided whether to press charges."

Now it is very possible that he shot his stepfather in a legitimate case of self defense. But considering his actions of late I'd say that adds even more credibility to the idea that his getting shot was justified.

"Gordon Thorton, owner of the McDonald's on Freedom Drive near Alleghany Street, refused to discuss the shooting but said in a written statement: "I take matters concerning the safety and security of my customers and employees very seriously. This was a truly unfortunate incident that occurred at my restaurant yesterday evening."
Records show an attempted robbery at the restaurant last month.
Thorton wouldn't say whether his employees are allowed to carry guns at work, or whether he conducts criminal background checks during hiring."

Unless it's a franchise then that McDonald's is bound by corporate policy & the corporate policy is guns are verboten.

"Witnesses told police McFadden entered the restaurant wearing a hooded sweatshirt and sunglasses and walked to the counter where his cousin, Steele, was working.
'I looked at him and I shook my head, no,' Steele said.
McFadden asked her: 'Cuz, are you ready?' she recalled.
McFadden then took out the gun and tapped it on the counter, Steele said.
A McDonald's employee pulled out a gun and attempted to intervene, police said, and both men fired numerous times.
McFadden, who worked as a custodian, was pronounced dead at Carolinas Medical Center."

Again I don't see how this is anyone fault but McFadden's & it appears to be a justifiable shooting.

The rest of the article focuses on McFadden's family & the efforts of the aforementioned baseball team to keep kids out of trouble.

Don't get me wrong; I'm sure the family is tore up about the loss of McFadden & I won't say it's not a shame that he didn't choose a different path. But his actions led to his demise. I'm sure he didn't intend to die but when you threaten people with force it's not an unreasonable consequence to have force used against you.

I just wish the paper had showed as much sympathy for the young man who had to use a firearm in defense of himself & his store. Hopefully the DA will not press charges but considering the man's past record it's likely they'll try to get him for unlawful possession.

Posted by Publicola at January 31, 2007 03:24 PM | TrackBack

I love the blog that you have. I was wondering if you would link my blog to yours and in return I would do the same for your blog. If you want to, my site name is American Legends and the URL is:


If you want to do this just go to my blog and in one of the comments just write your blog name and the URL and I will add it to my site.


Posted by: J. Mark English at January 31, 2007 04:51 PM

There were, conversely back in the '60s, neighborhoods where the drug of choice shifted from heroin to marijuana, and things there tended to get better.

Posted by: triticale at February 1, 2007 09:11 PM