Do not talk to Reporters after a Shooting

By Dean Weingarten

Thomas Greer
Thomas Greer
Dean Weingarten
Dean Weingarten

Arizona – -(Ammoland.com)- Thomas Greer gained fame in July of this year by making some imprudent statements to reporters.

He had shot one of a pair of burglars that had assaulted him in his home. He said that the woman that he killed, Andrea Miller, had told him that she was pregnant as a ruse to gain advantage and prevent him from shooting her. Greer is 80 years old, and had his collar bone broken in the assault.

From the dailymail.co.uk:

‘Thomas Greer is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily injury,’ according to the report signed by Deputy District Attorney Janet Moore.

‘Greer exercised his legal and legitimate right of self-defense when he shot and killed Andrea Miller.’

The investigation makes it seem likely that Greer was “tough talking” to reporters, rather than clearly stating the facts of what happened.

His previous statement:

‘The lady didn't run as fast as the man so I shot her in the back twice. She's dead.. but he got away. She says “don't shoot me, I'm pregnant, I'm gonna have a baby” and I shot her anyway.

The statement did not hold up against forensic analysis.  Mr. Greer fired three shots, two of which struck Miller, once in the left side of the chest, and once in the right knee.  Neither shot is in the back, as stated by Greer.  The shooting happened inside of Greer's home, not outside, as was implied by early reporting. After being shot, Miller fled the home and collapsed in the alley outside.

Presumably, Greer told prosecutors a different version of events, one that was consistent with the physical evidence, probably on the advice of counsel.

The incident serves as an example of why it is a bad idea to talk to the media after a self defense shooting.  While you have no legal obligation to tell the media the truth, you will be tried in the court of public opinion.

Greer was widely accused of being a cold blooded murderer because of the ill considered statements that he made.  He would have been better served by refusing comment.

I have to give the prosecutor, Janet Moore, credit for thoroughly investigating this case and making the right decision.  It would have been politically correct to take the old white guy's braggadocio at face value and prosecuted him to the full extent of the law.

It would not have served justice, it would have been a waste of taxpayers money, but it would have been politically correct.

Gus Adams, who has been implicated as Miller's accomplice, is being charged with her murder, under the felony murder rule. Most states have a version of the rule. Its essence is that if you are involved in a crime where someone is killed, where the death would not have happened if the crime were not attempted or committed, you can be charged as the person responsible for the death.

From thefreedictionary.com:

A Rule of Law that holds that if a killing occurs during the commission or attempted commission of a felony (a major crime), the person or persons responsible for the felony can be charged with murder.

Generally an intent to kill is not necessary for felony-murder. The rule becomes operative when there is a killing during or a death soon after the felony, and there is some causal connection between the felony and the killing.

While Mr. Greer was finally found to have been justified in his actions, it could have cost him far more than it did.  His case serves as a strong example to others not to talk to the media.

c2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Link to Gun Watch

About Dean Weingarten;

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

  • 30 thoughts on “Do not talk to Reporters after a Shooting

    1. Do you have a source that says how the woman’s body was found and that he exaggerated his claims? I didn’t see it in anything provided here. Thanks.

    2. If involved in a self defense shooting, Hope the event gets caught on a security camera somewhere. So as to speed up the process of the investigation. If not, explain the basics as to what occurred, the second they place their jewelry on you your wrist (handcuffs), take that as your queue to clam up and wait for an attorney. Recommend you buy one that wont sell you out for a plea bargain. If they offer one of those, they lack evidence to fully prosecute the case. All a plea bargain does is put another notch on the DA’s belt that he can use for re-election when he can state how many convictions he has. Make them work for it.

    3. VERY BEST ADVICE!

      Call 911 and tell them only that there has been a shooting at your house and to have police and medics arrive–then hang up–calls are taped.
      When the police arrive, have your gun far from you and tell them where it is.
      Tell them who you are give them your license ID and answer questions about your ID only and that you were attacked, feared for your life (which you did, right?) and defended yourself and your family. Do NOT tell them you killed the person (if you did)–are you a doctor,did you examine the body (what the hell is wrong with you if you did?). The police will write down exactly what they THINK they heard you say — and that is evidence in court.
      Tell them you will file charges against the attacker(s), and you would first like to talk with your attorney. Be polite, and do NOT say anything (That means absolutely nothing) to family members, friends, neighbors, media or whatever. And, the 5th Amendment does NOT protect you absolutely as an individual in this type of matter–case decided a couple times by the Supreme Court.

      Be prepared to be arrested (procedure) and you will be handcuffed, etc. You will be probably taken and possibly booked (procedure) Say absolutely NOTHING IN ANY MANNER WHATSOEVER if you are put in a cell with others. They (jail house snitches) can take tiny bits of your info. and turn it into a story to get out of their mess. Just tell them your attorney (true or not) said to say nothing.

      When you talk with your attorney on the jail phone, tell him only you need to see him ASAP and you were involved in defending your life. Do NOT go into detail–if he is any good, he will get it. Also, you could call a relative and have them get the attorney.

      Violate these things and you make your problem worse

    4. I once had to report a murder-suicide in the home where I rented a room. Guess who was the initial suspect until they were able to take in the scene? The only thing to say, beyond “I was afraid for my life!” Is, “I would like to speak with my lawyer.”

    5. Big deal. The guy is 80 and he’s enjoying his fifteen minutes of fame. What are they going to do, lock him up for life?

    6. “I was in fear for my life & kept shooting until that threat was gone. I want to talk to my lawyer.” That is ALL you say. Any questions asked of you by the police will be used against you. The police are allowed to lie to you to get you to talk. You are not allowed to lie to the police. That is the one thing that TV & movies do get correct…I want to talk to my lawyer.

    7. The only one you should talk to after a self defense shooting is your lawyer. Your lawyer will make sure you do not unintentionally make statements that can be mistaken to imply incorrect information, they will make sure you do not accidentally incriminate yourself with things that can be construed to have more than one meaning.

    8. I keep seeing post where people are telling you what you can and can not say. I am about to provide everyone the best “free” advice that has ever been dispensed. Ready? Shut your fat piehole and say NOTHING. Call a good attorney and talk only to him, not the cops and never to the media. “I thought he was going to kill me” and other idiotic statements will land your ass behind bars so quick your head will spin. You are not there to provide assistance to the police or get your ugly mug on the evening news. Your attorney will take care to see that your rights are protected. And remember listen to him/her and follow their instructions, don’t go “rogue” and do your own thing, you are paying them for their expertise, get your money’s worth.

    9. i remember reading the story, it read as if she was no longer a threat and was shot in the back as she fled having exited the home and was already in the alley. How can the writer of that article not be guilty of libel? When I read the story, and knowing the elements of justifiable homicide and murder, I was sure he was guilty of the later.

      1. He should have just said they broke in and attacked him causing injury to him. He then got his gun to defend himself fro m further injury and death. He could then have said her death is due to her actions.

        His own statements portrayed him as a murderer. Remember that guy who set the trap for two burglars, had audio of his actions that showed him killing them as they lay on the floor being no threat, that he didn’t call the police until the next day? The people of his town were split 50/50 until they heard the audio recordings and that he didn’t call the police until a day later and that he moved the bodies since he didn’t want blood to stain his carpets. After that the mood of the town was that they didn’t want a psychopath in their town and they found him guilty of premediated murder.

        If he hadn’t set the trap, didn’t set up a cell phone jammer, shoot them, called the police and just let nature and the medics decide wheter the two burglars lived or died he would have been justified in self defense. Instead he planned this trap to get revenge on this two.

        Revenge is not self defense under the law.

    10. If you weren’t there. If you aren’t the investigator District Attorney or a firearms/forensics expert then you can have your opinion a right guareenteed by the Constitution. But it doesn’t mean you are correct in your assumption. Sometimes it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than open your mouth and remove the benefit of doubt.

    11. Why would you talk to the police? ALWAYS ask for a lawyer! You have that right. Especially if you kill someone. NO MATTER WHAT THE SITUATION…PERIOD!

    12. He had the perp. at bay. If it would have been law enforcement or a military ,there would be a trial. He did net kill that girl in self defense .those of you who think its alright ti lie in your own self defense should think again

      1. Ken Harrison,
        Forensic evidence stated the shots went to the left side of the chest and the right knee. Not in the back. Were you there? Do YOU personally have evidence to the contrary? No? Then standown and stfu.

      2. Here is a thought.Stop breaking the law and don’t break into someone’e home and you won’t get shot..Enough is enough.

    13. Call 911, tell them there was a home invasion at your address, the intruders need medical attention.
      tell them you are an armed citizen and will defended yourself.

      Give them your description, height weight, what handgun you are using.
      when you hear them arrive, place the firearm on the floor and step back.

      When they talk to you tell them you feared for your life and will talk more when you settle down,
      considering what you just went through and do not talk again until you have a lawyer by your side.

      1. 1) Some instructors at F.L.E.T.C. teach, “If more than one, go for your gun.”
        2) Refuse to say anything, other than, “I want to talk to an attorney.” (Article 5 of the Bill of Rights).
        3) In cases of home invasion, forensic evidence is more eloquent than any statement made under emotional pressure. Let the scene speak on your behalf.
        4) Any attorney working for you will belabor the “In fear for life and limb” concept to justify your action.

    14. The crucifixion of George Zimmerman in the Lamestream Media should be a good example of what happens when those weasels get their teeth into you.

    15. Add to this…Never…EVER say you shot to kill. You shot to STOP the individual and that’s it. IF you have to talk to the cops…and you will…be accurate, but keep your answers very short…do NOT elaborate on the event…then tell them you want a lawyer…who will, then, answer their questions. IF you talk to the media(you are stupid if you do)…you will be found guilty by the “court of public opinion”…which could carry over to court with the jury should it go to trial.

      1. You NEVER shoot unless you intend to kill. So your suggestion is misinforming, and plain wrong… All you need to sa is,, “I shot him because I feared my life””.. Or felt threatened.. Period… Every cop knows you only shoot to kill..

        1. Well if you are ever in front of a Jury of morons – Give that “I shot to Kill” statement and see what happens.
          They will have you pegged as a murderer who intended to kill before they leave the bench.

    16. The guy would have told to this to other people and it would have made the rounds anyway and potentially come up in court. You do not say anything except the person got the consequences of their actions.

      1. As a former LEO & instructor I teach my students that, God forbid, they are ever involved in a self defense shooting to only say the following; “I thought he was going to kill me.”. PERIOD!! Nothing else. If questioned further tell the officer(s)/investigators, “I don’t feel well, I need to go to the hospital”. You can make any further statements later — with your attorney by your side.

        1. sage advice but you can expand on that as well – when involved with the police in any matter where you might be on the “receiving end” just shut up and say nothing.

        2. I too advise my senior citizen trainees to state, “I don’t feel well,” which is a Clintonian truth: I would not feel well either if I had shot someone because of the waste of ammunition and the paperwork that follows even the lawful use of a firearm. Anyway, they are instructed to also state, “I was in fear for life and limb,” and then say, “I’m too confused, so I want to talk to my lawyer.”

    Leave a Comment 30 Comments

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *