Thursday, January 16, 2014 8:18 pm
Gun owner claims self-defense in TV crew shooting
By KEN RITTERAssociated Press
Carlos Enrique Barron, 43, said he panicked and armed himself with a 9mm handgun after being awakened by his car alarm. He testified that he warned the men who emerged from a black van bearing the "Repo Games" logo that he would kill them.
Barron said he fired three shots in the air as people scattered during the April 2011 confrontation on a suburban cul de sac named Vigilante Court.
No one was wounded. Police later found a bullet hole in the van.
Later Thursday, jurors began deliberations to determine if Barron is guilty of felony assault with a deadly weapon, attempted murder, discharging a weapon into a vehicle and other charges. He could face a sentence ranging from probation to decades in state prison if he is convicted.
"I was cussing him out. He was cussing me out," Barron said about the encounter under questioning from his attorney, Richard Tannery. "He said, `What's your (expletive) problem?'"
"I told him he's not that tough," Barron said.
Barron said he had stayed home sick from work the day of the shooting and took antidepressant, anxiety and blood pressure medications. He was asleep while his wife and children were out of the house.
He said he was awakened after 9 p.m. when his car alarm paged his cellphone, and armed himself with the gun he kept under the bed before going outside in the dark to confront the men in the van. He said he had another vehicle stolen from his driveway several months earlier.
Barron said he was upset that the van blocked his driveway while a crew filmed a vehicle repossession scene down the street. He said he wrestled at the passenger window with a man inside the rolling vehicle before the driver put the van in park and both men got out.
As he backed away up his driveway, Barron said he pulled out his gun and fired two shots into the air.
"I was scared for my life," Barron said, standing in the witness box before the jury to demonstrate how he racked a bullet in the firing chamber before shooting.
He said he fired a third shot moments later, fearing crew members in a tow truck might run over him as they drove out of his neighborhood.
Police found a bullet casing in the middle of the street.
"You didn't really have anything to be afraid of," prosecutor Michael Radovcic said as he cross-examined Barron. Radovcic invoked an image of Barron standing alone and firing a needless shot after people scattered for cover.
Radovcic and prosecutor Alexander Chen cast Barron as the aggressor and asked jurors to remember the bullet hole in the van.
Barron was arrested several hours after the shooting when police SWAT officers surrounded his house and a police K9 attacked him as he jumped over his back wall near the spot where a police jail van was parked.
Barron had a registered Glock 9mm handgun. But the gun used that night was never found.