D.A.: Pennsylvania man acted in self-defense in cemetery shooting

CRIME SCENE DO NOT CROSS / @CSI:cafe" by [puamelia] is marked with CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED.

While many of the defensive gun uses we cover here at Bearing Arms take place in private residences or in commonly-visited settings like gas stations or convenience stores, the truth is that crime can happen anywhere… even in a cemetery, as one Pennsylvania man learned last month.


According to prosecutors, 33-year-old Arian Davis of Philadelphia was at a graveside birthday celebration for Tyrek Fairel, who was shot and killed ten years ago, when Davis was confronted by 29-year-old Daniel Hawkins. Both men were seriously injured in the exchange of gunfire, but Hawkins ultimately succumbed to his injuries while it looks like Davis will recover. Authorities have been investigating the circumstances that led to the shooting for the past several weeks, and now say that Davis will not face any charges in connection with the incident after determining that Hawkins was the initial aggressor.

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele has decided not to bring charges against the individual that took part in a deadly shooting that happened in March at the grave of a man who was killed by gun violence ten years prior.

“There is no doubt about who shot and killed Hawkins, so the legal issue to be analyzed is whether this was a justifiable killing,” Steele said in a statement.

Steele said that an investigation into the shooting determined that Hawkins was killed by Arian Davis, 33, also of Philadelphia, who was seriously injured in the shooting.

Steele said that police now believe the incident unfolded after Hawkins showed up alone at a birthday party at the grave of Tyrek Fairel — who was killed in a Norristown shooting in 2013 — in a stolen vehicle, armed with a handgun that had been illegally modified into a fully automatic weapon.

According to investigators, Hawkins found Davis, who he knew, seated in a car along with a friend. Steele said that Hawkins approached and began firing his weapon into the vehicle.


Davis was legally armed at the time and was able to fire back at his assailant; ending the attack saving his own life and possibly others as well. The local prosecutor says that evidence shows Davis only pulled the trigger of his own pistol after he’d been struck by Hawkins’ gunfire, and “was under attack and in danger of being killed when he fired his legally owned weapon to end the threat.” The legally-armed citizen’s actions were completely justified by the danger posed by Hawkins, and Steele says that Davis will not face any charges in connection with the shooting.

That’s definitely the right call, and I’m glad that the D.A. didn’t dither around for months before announcing his decision. Davis had every right to be at that cemetery that day, and was apparently minding his own business when he was attacked by Hawkins. I don’t know if Davis routinely carries a firearm for self-protection of he had particular concerns about who might show up at the graveside celebration of life on March 18th, but whatever his reasons the fact that he was able to fire back helped him live to see another day, and that’s the best possible outcome to the ill-fated attempt on his life.


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