No one is disputing that Tamon Stapleton was shot and killed while pointing a gun at a convenience store clerk in Knoxville, Tennessee.
That isn’t keeping his mother from insisting that the man who shot him should have called 911 instead, and shouldn’t have gotten physically involved.
Stapleton’s mother held a candlelight vigil Monday night at the store where he was killed. Family and friends gathered in front of the Breadbox store on Asheville Highway for prayer. They also held signs saying they want justice. Joy Stapleton says two wrongs don’t make a right and she feels Scruggs should be charged for killing her son.
“Of course it hurts my heart. My son is dead when easily 911 could have been called and he could possibly be in jail right now. I’m hurt. I’m hurt,” she said.
It seems quite obvious that Joy Stapleton is a failed parent that is part of the thug culture that is responsible for so much violent crime in this country.
That allowed, Joy Stapleton’s complaint that her son’s killer should face charges would seem to have some merit, because the man who shot and killed her armed robber son was also a criminal with a record of violent crime dating back more than two decades.
Isaac Scruggs is a convicted felon with a long criminal history, including two convictions each for unlawful weapons possession and aggravated assault, but Tennessee’s self-defense laws are so strong that they retroactively protect Scruggs for his actions, after the fact:
A previous felony conviction would ban Scruggs from carrying the gun he used, but Tennessee law says the fact he protected someone else means the gun charge doesn’t matter.
“It trumps any other firearms charges that might exist per statute. Now, the only thing that could come in play is it doesn’t preclude the federal government,” said Knoxville attorney Don Bosch, who is not directly connected to the case.
Knoxville Police and prosecutors consider the case closed, and the while they confiscated Scruggs’s gun, the only legal threat the convicted felon faces is if the Department of Justice steps in with federal weapons charges, which is highly unlikely.
I have mixed feelings about the outcome of this incident.
I don’t want anyone with a long history of criminal violence being able to carry a weapon. At the same time, even violent felons like Scruggs are capable of acting to to help others, and he did put his life on the line to intervene in this situation where he thought that the clerk’s life was in danger.
In this instance, do you think justice was better served by shielding Scruggs after the fact from what would be his third illegal weapons possession conviction?