BURTON – A Burton man is facing a weapons charge in a case that’s bound to raise plenty of questions about how far people can go to protect their property and their home.
Lawrence Russell Manzer, a 45-year-old military veteran who grabbed his unloaded shotgun before stepping outside in the middle of the night last March to check on prowlers, was charged Monday in Burton Provincial Court with possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
In an interview after he was formally charged, Manzer recalled how his wife Denise jolted him awake after their phone rang in the wee hours of the morning last March 28. On the other end was a neighbour warning that three prowlers were in the neighborhood.
“I understood that they were in the neighbours’ backyard,” Manzer said.
He wondered if his car or shed had been broken into and decided to investigate. Then he thought of the neighbour who lives across from him.
“I’m thinking his safety, my safety – everything kind of hits you at once. It escalates.”
Manzer said with a rash of petty thefts and vandalism on their small unlit street near the St. John River, the shotgun was nearby.
“It was always ready, just in case. With the amount of people causing damage and the goings on in the neighbourhood, I thought I have four kids, a wife to protect, neighbours, neighbours’ property. I didn’t know who it was, if they were armed or if they’d try to break into the house.”
“I just put my pants on, that’s all I had on, I go out to the steps, hear shouting see two people running across his lawn and people in front of my house.”
Manzer, who took restricted firearms training during his time in the military, said he knows he can’t use potentially lethal force to protect property and kept the gun pointed at the ground throughout the brief incident. …”
“…He said Mounties arrived on the scene 15 minutes later, took the three youths into custody and confiscated a near-empty liquor bottle.
When a Mountie showed up at his door six days later on Good Friday, Manzer assumed they were coming to take a statement.
Instead, he says he was arrested in front of his wife and kids. Then the Mounties seized his shotgun and hunting rifles.
The neighbour who nabbed the youths was also arrested and told he was being charged with assault. That charge was not approved by the Crown prosecutor’s office.
Manzer, who said he was photographed and fingerprinted, has trouble digesting the turn of events.
“For 45 years I’ve been a good model citizen. I’ve never had a need for a lawyer until now,” said the federal employee, a retiree from the Canadian Armed Forces. ...”
So a man defaults to his basic level of training, executes his character traits of voluntarily going into harm’s way when there is trouble and then gets jumped on by the system for being a good citizen?
What a pantload.
It takes a week for the RCMP to be dispatched to arrest him, his property to be confiscated and legal hassles and bills for doing the right thing?
An unloaded long gun was carried, not brandished or pointed, unloaded while the threat level is assessed and the problem contained while criminals are detained, lawfully, awaiting the arrival of the police, so that the detained persons can be delivered forthwith to the police.
I am detecting the odour of an activist in the Crown Prosecutors office.
I’m not leveling anything against the RCMP for this one. I have this feeling that they were caught in the middle and had to do the dirty work.
A man decides that there is an unknown threat in the area, defaults to the training he received in his role of keeping harm away from Canada, and then chooses (an honourable and laudable choice) to get between a possible threat to his wife and children to keep harm away from them.
And then he’s persecuted for it. Seemingly so at the word of some criminal punks and apparently without benefit of a proper investigation.
Yep. There’s REMF’s on civvy street. Their expression of “gratitude” sure seems to scream for a purging of the ranks from the civil service.
When I receive word as to whether a fund is set up on Mr. Manzer’s behalf? I’ll post it for your decision to support a Veteran that’s receiving friendly fire from a REMF.
Bravo Zulu. You’re welcome to reside in my neighbourhood.
ETA: The National Post is also carrying the story. http://www.nationalpost.com/news/canada/charged+pointing+unloaded+trespassers/3880006/story.html
Lawrence Manzer in trust of Blair McKay
c/o Blair McKay (Attorney)
291 Restigouche Road