RVer Safety: What if you protect yourself but are then arrested?

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By Mike Sherman

We have discussed this before. It happens: You protect yourself but end up under arrest.

Direct from the news this week:

A 64-year-old New York state man who fatally shot a pair of prowlers rooting through his home Tuesday afternoon reportedly ended up in handcuffs after police said the weapon he used in self-defense was illegally owned.


Ronald A. Stolarczyk was charged with felony possession of an illegal handgun, New York State Police said in a news release.

At about 2:40 p.m., officials say Stolarczyk interrupted a man and woman burglarizing his home in Deerfield, New York, located about four hours north of New York City. Stolarczyk then shot the two suspects, according to police.

But the 64-year-old was later arrested after authorities said they determined the handgun used in the shooting was illegally owned.

One of the alleged burglars, identified by state police as 57-year-old Patricia Anne Talerico of Utica, was pronounced dead at the scene. The second alleged intruder, 27-year-old Nicholas Talerico of Utica, was transported to a hospital and died of his injuries.

Authorities said the investigation into the incident is ongoing.

The news article above is vague, lacking in any specific details other than “2 people shot, 1 man arrested.” I thought there had to be more to this story so I did a little digging and here is what I came up with:

MUGSHOTS: TWO KILLED IN DEERFIELD SHOOTING INCIDENT HAD CRIMINAL HISTORY
The incident on Walker Road turned deadly after the homeowner, 64-year-old Ronald Stolarczyk, shot and killed the intruders.

Posted: May 29, 2019 2:16 PM
Updated: May 29, 2019 3:04 PM
Posted By: WKTV

UTICA, N.Y. – The mugshots of the two people killed after an alleged attempted robbery in Deerfield have been released – meaning they both had a criminal history. Authorities are also investigating if the intruders had been in the house prior to Tuesday afternoon.

The incident on Walker Road turned deadly after the homeowner, 64-year-old Ronald Stolarczyk, shot and killed Patricia Anne Talerico, 57, and her nephew Nicholas Talerico, 27, after they entered his home.

Police found items belonging to Stolarczyk in another home Tuesday night. Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara says police are trying to determine if the two robbed Stolarczyk’s home about a week ago.

“A truckload of evidence was seized last night. At this point, we have to determine whether or not that was evidence that had been taken from this residence on a prior occasion,” McNamara said.

The Oneida County Sheriff’s Office released past booking photos of Patricia and Nicholas, saying that both have criminal records.

Patricia Talerico had been arrested more than 20 times in the past, and Nicholas Talerico was arrested on more than one occasion.

Both suspects were Utica residents, although they lived at different addresses.

Stolarczyk is facing charges for using his deceased father’s gun to kill the two, which he never registered to himself. He is currently being held at the Oneida County Jail.

WKTV will have more information as soon as it becomes available.

So, now we know there is more to the story. You might be asking the question,”What does this have to do with safety & security for RVers?” Well, you return to your campsite and discover people inside your RV ripping you off. What would you do? If you are armed, would you shoot them? I can’t determine if the suspects were armed but it does not matter. They could arm themselves quickly with items in the home and use it against you.

If you are unarmed, your best bet is to back off. However, even if you are armed, you might consider before you take offensive action. Remember how I speak about each situation requires its own custom reaction? And we know you will rely on your life experiences, fear factors and a host of other emotions.

There are still a lot of unanswered questions concerning this shooting. On the surface, it appears unfair that the homeowner is in jail when he was the victim. However, if the suspects immediately tried to flee (as opposed to attacking) and you advanced towards them, even inside your own home, then you might have some legal problems. Perhaps the authorities are using the gun charge as a preliminary factor and he will face additional charges after further investigation.

Without having all the facts, would you care to come to any conclusions?

Note: We know what we discuss in this column may be controversial. While we invite your polite, constructive comments, inflammatory remarks will be immediately deleted.

Mike Sherman is a retired street cop and investigator with 30+ years of RV experience as a traveler, camp host and all-around advocate for the joys of living on the road. His articles are for general discussion purposes only – you should always consult your local authorities or legal counsel for specific answers if necessary. Write him at MikeShermanPI@gmail.com if you have questions, or leave a comment below. 

Read more RVer Safety articles here.

##RVT899


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Dpsdebi

Heck, in New York a gal can’t even have a little pink stun gun in possession….been there, done that. So glad I live in Texas!!

SolarSteve

Its not necessary to kill someone to stop them from breaking and entering, shoplifting etc. Killing is worse than the offender’s crime. Usually being caught n the act is enough to make them flee. Thus avoiding a more severe additional crime of manslaughter.

Billy Bob Thorton

Ummm.. is he right. It appears that his ” crime” was possession of a firearm, which was not his. I didn’t read where shooting the two was an issue. You could however ask the criminals, but oh yeah, they are both dead.

So, your analysis is flawed. Oh, and throwing in ” shoplifting” doesnt make sense, since they were not ” shopping” . Your whole arguement needs editing, based on the facts presented in the article. Stay within the confines of the facts, as presented. Then there will be a meaningful discussion.

Billy Bob Thorton

I like the ” alleged” part. Both are dead, so that becomes a moot point. As for the good guy being charged with a gun violation, let’s analyze this shall we. He should take this one to the Supreme Court of the United States. Someone please chime in and tell me where any state has jurisdiction to supersede a constitutional right, to forfeit his right to bear arms. The second amendment was not put there by the founding fathers for hunting, it is there for personal protection of self and country (settled law). So, where does any state have the… Read more »

Marc Mularz

Doesn’t say he can’t own a gun Billy…just says that the state requires that a handgun is registered in NY. That has been upheld by the courts and passed by the state of NY.

KellyR

I was trained on every weapon the Army had at the time, from side arms to rocket launchers and everything in between. I keep a can of wasp spray by my bed and front door. It shoots 20 feet and if you can get near the face, I really don’t know what it feels like but don’t think I want to find out. Oh, it is also nice to have wasp spray handy when camping out. It kills other bugs too.

J Burt

In some jurisdictions using the wasp spray for protection is considered an assault with a deadly weapon.

Billy Bob Thorton

Probably New York!

Ken

YARTNLINY. Yet another reason to not live in New York.

Don Kostyal

He was already robbed once (articles of his found in another location–perps abode???) Being that they were in the home and not breaking in, I’d shoot them, My story is they rushed me. NY is better off! If they were trying to break in I tell them I have a gun and provided they turned around and left I would call the authorities and report an attempted break in. As for the “illegal gun” get a good lawyer and fight that to the end–it was a family heirloom. Not registering it was a technicality but unless he is prohibited from… Read more »

ken Meaker

It’s too bad one cannot protect his own

Don Peterson

That’s NY for you. Come to TX where a man’s home is HIS castle and it would be imminently legal to do what he did.

Dan

For now, the way it’s been going lately is not looking good for law abiding Americans.

MrDisaster

Sigh… owner apparently was in fear for his life and took action. His crime…a handgun that was not registered to him. Unfortunately the cops and prosecutor had no real choice but to charge him with that crime. I don’t know what the penalty will be, but I suspect that he will either surrender the weapon or be ordered to pay a fine and register it. Maybe the judge will defer the fine and place him on probation. Please follow-up on the case to let us know what the outcome is!!

Billy Bob Thorton

Boulderdash, they have the authority not to prosecute. But unfortunately for this sorry dude, the current climate in his State would never allow common sense to prevail. Take it to the supreme court already. Do you really think this guy would loose. Self protection case, DO IT.

Tom Fitch

I’m not a gun guy by any stretch, Mike, but I sure do enjoy your column. Keep ’em coming. One over riding take-away I get from your writing is there are a lot of gray areas when it comes to using firearms to protect yourself or your property. And that it varies so much between states is simply mind boggling. A solution to this conundrum would indicate Federal laws so that everyone everywhere can know the law with little ambiguity. Do you think this is possible? Doubtful!

Wolfe

Federal possession and carry has long been requested by CCW. Even if more restrictive than your current state, CONSISTENT if you travel. We have ALL the tools to be safe and rational about licensing RIGHT NOW. Charge a tiny fee for a Federal “owner” license, which shows that person is trained and OK according to a proper criminal/psyche check. With that card, they can buy or carry unrestricted in all states …because they are OK to do so. If they later become criminals or nuts, revoke the card and have someone else with a card sign off they took possession… Read more »

Tom Champagne

“Federal possession and carry ” never existed. We needed it desperately in the armored car industry and were told it doesn’t exist and if it did we couldn’t get one for each associate who traveled through many states delivering money from the mints to the federal reserves . In reality we were ( and still are ) breaking the state laws by not being licensed in the states and boroughs we travel thru . For this reason we ( as a group ) refused to even bid on work being asked of us to transport these shipments for several months.… Read more »

Billy Bob Thorton

Exactly, that’s why there is legislation in the weeds to stop all this modification to a second amendment right. It’s all timing boys!

Gordy

As has been said know the laws where you are traveling.
Use only the amount of force necessary to resolve the situation. If all you are able to do is use gun, you should really think about what your actions will be. Unless your life is truly threaten you should not be pulling the trigger.
Cops have to make these same decisions and its not easy for them with training and experience.
Do not think going to the range 1 time is all you need.

Mark

With 40,000 gun laws on the books in the U.S., if in ANY way your gun becomes “noticed” by the authorities, you have probably broken a gun law. I live in New York State, I’m retired law enforcement, and (outside the home) I wouldn’t draw my gun until I thought it was needed immediately to save a life; inside the home I wouldn’t SHOOT until then. New York State would so rather prosecute you, than allow you to defend yourself. Absolutely true. My feet itch more and more every day to leave this state. In New York State you need… Read more »

James. Richaed

I am with Mark on this one. I am former state and retired federal law enforcement. I would only use my weapon as a last resort from bodily harm to me and or my family. With that said, I am glad I don’t live in New York.

Bob Godfrey

The good news is that the bad guys won’t be around to testify against him.

Tom Champagne

But their relatives will be there to defend them. It was for this reason that the conglomerate of insurance companies that insure all armored car companies in this country ( Lloyds of London being the main one ) offered a cash reward to each member of the armored car crew that prevented a robbery and they were offered a larger cash ( tax free ) reward of $2,000.00 for each person that they killed .

Steve Flippo

Gee, as if I needed another reason not to live in New York. Your father bequeaths you a firearm and it must be registered? Last decent person to leave new york, turn out the lights.

Wolfe

You NAILED it. I live in NY, and operate(d) a personal defense training business relocated from NoVA. Since NY-SAFE, I’m about bankrupted because NY is >>>HOSTILE<<< to any expression of personal defense rights. I can't train you until you have a permit, and you can't get a permit without training. Chicago now has much better rights than I do, and IL was notorious before NY tried to exceed IL overreach. After $1500 permit applications, it WAS a lifetime permit — now it's a 5-year with re-registration "checks" of your complete inventory. "It's not a total ban, but we can it… Read more »

John Whitney

I think one point that you must take away from this is this: you must know the law in your state of residency, then be sure you are in compliance. Then if you travel, you must know the law in every state you travel to or through. Generally I travel with a pistol in the bedroom of my Motorhome. After reading Mike’s column, I purchased the book covering gun laws in all 50 states. After reading it, I got a CCW permit. I also realized that I couldn’t possess a handgun located any where in my vehicles while traveling to… Read more »

Jeff Arthur

Only way to be a out of state rv’er in NY state is you can’t stop . Only for food and fuel NOTHING ELSE! Even then gun must be locked away empty with ammo locked away at different location. As John stated you need to know the laws or not possess weapons. New York State is a May issue state so the bill of rights is no good here it’s sad because theirs some beautiful places there

Wolfe

NY has prosecuted people exercising Peaceable Journey on many occasions. I keep a copy of the federal law on me traveling just to educate overzealous cops. Yes, legal at source and destination, gun locked, ammo locked separately, out of reach of ANY occupant, and do NOT stop to sleep or take one minute too many cruising border to border. Eating and fuel are debatable stops.

Jeannie

That points out a huge problem with this country. Every State, County, City, etc. has its own set of laws, many which conflict with each other and Federal laws. We are supposed to be ONE UNITED country but the reality is the exact opposite.

Pam S

The fellow was arrested because the gun was illegal. Maybe there will be other charges later, but he was not arrested for protecting himself. The headline is deliberately misleading.

Denise

I agree but, do you think there would have been no charges had the gun been registered? I doubt that. Involuntary manslaughter perhaps? You never see the statistics of murder during home invasion. These people don’t break into your house and say pardon us we will be done in a minute when discovered.

John

If someone is in your house or RV – they are there to do you harm

STEPHEN P Malochleb

So you make a very good point here. If he had fired a warning shot first and they tried to flee it could be considered murder. When using a weapon if you decide to chase the suspects and continue to fire you become the criminal. As you mention you must use some common sense and have some life experience. Taking an armed self defense course is probably the best decision you can make if you plan to be armed. It will help you make the right decisions. Thank you Mike for continuing to address these issues. I’m sure you know… Read more »

Wolfe

DO NOT EVER fire a warning shot.
DO NOT EVER pursue the criminal.

Joe

We need to realize that no matter how justified we may feel using a firearm, it becomes a roll of the dice on the legal consequences, and a big determination of the outcome will be in which state the action took place. Most gun owners involved in a shooting will probably not have adequate training/experience when making that instant judgment to shoot in the midst of a confrontation. So it’s probably going to be reviewed by a prosecutor, who may or may not agree with your actions. AND that’s presuming you have a legal right to possess the firearm in… Read more »