Two NBC staffers were following up on a burglary story in Lehigh on Wednesday, when a man pulled up, got out of a car, and pulled a gun on them. The man was Jeremiah Mayo. the brother of the burglary victims. He told cops that he had a couple of friends killed recently, and says he was spooked by the burglary the night before. Mayo and his sister claim that while he had the gun out, he didn’t point it at the reporters. Both reporters say he pointed the gun at them until they drove off.
This is going to be a fascinating case. Mayo does not have any local history of violence or felony charges, and he was presumably in lawful possession of the firearm. Due to the break in and friends who had been killed, the fear that the strange vehicle in his driveway could have been someone wanting to hurt him may have been reasonable. Since he didn’t fire the gun, he did not rise to the level of using deadly force. Plus there is a fact question about whether he pointed the gun at the vehicle. His argument will be that he had a reasonable fear of harm, and was justified in using minimal force to scare off the unknown subjects. On the other hand, since the reporters were not making any threats, he may not have been justified.
Just because someone is on your property is not legal justification to pull a gun on them. Reporter Meaghan Smith and her cameraman were certainly afraid for their lives and had no ill will prior to being threatened. There has to be some actual threat so as to give someone a reasonable fear of harm. It requires more than having a car parked in your driveway. Mayo may be able to demonstrate that fear due to the crimes that had recently affected him.
I urge everyone that if there is a reason to be afraid, the last thing they should do is confront someone. Mayo may ultimately be found to be justified in his actions, but right now he is out on a $30,000 bail and facing 2 second degree felonies. He would be far better off if he had just kept driving and called the Sheriff’s office.