Thursday, September 27, 2007

CSI: Tampa Parking Lot

Thank you all for your support and concern regarding my last post. I understand where many of you are coming from. However, this is a very sensitive topic which requires making a decision after all angles have been thought of. Let me first clarify like I did through some emails and phone conversations that he was shooting with either a pellet or BB gun, not an actual firearm. If he were shooting a firearm in my apartment complex on at least two separate occasions, there is no doubt the cops would be called by several residents.

Still, this guy scares me. There are very few people in this world that the instant I see them give me the chills. He is one of those people. I am very hesitant to go to police on this matter because I don't know how likely it is he would actually be prosecuted for killing a stray cat. I'm worried it would make him just more angry and do more harm to the cats. I'm also worried that since he lives near where the cats live, he would know I am their primary caretaker and retaliate against me as well. Things might be different if either he or I lived in a different complex. But I think involving law enforcement without the guarantee of consequences is a large risk that I don't feel I am willing to take at this point. He was already confronted by the witness and threatened. If that doesn't keep him from hurting more cats, a "talking to" by police isn't going to stop him. It might make things worse.

Also, in order for charges to be filed the witness would need to talk to police. I don't know if he is willing to do that, given that the shooter could easily counter that the witness threatened him. Furthermore, the witness is his neighbor. If I feel weird about living in the same complex with this guy, imagine how the witness would feel if the case wasn't pursued. More than anything I would like to see this guy punished for killing one of the dumpster kitties, but the reality is that not everyone feels the same way about feral cats as me. I have heard of cases like this getting prosecuted simply because it has been shown that killing animals is a psychopathic behavior that is linked to a future of harming other living beings including people. To me, it seems like a long shot that would be the approach actually used. Given the odds, at this point it is more important to cover my own ass and the little kitty asses that live under my care. It might just be my cynicism of the legal system.

In my opinion, the fact that after this incident I saw him shooting bottles in the parking lot is a management problem. There are several families living in the complex and kids often ride bikes around the parking lot. I could easily imagine a situation where a kid could come out of no where while this guy is shooting stuff and get seriously injured. That's why I feel like it was my duty to at least let management know about this situation. Unfortunately, work has prevented me from being home during the hours where the leasing office is open. Luckily though, my crazy cat friend already told management the whole situation. I talked her out of immediately going to the police arguing that she doesn't live in my complex with the psycho guy like the witness and I have to. She went to management and told them everything I told her, which is what I told you.

Management said that simply shooting any kind of weapon on the premises is in direct violation of the lease and grounds for immediate eviction if they deem it appropriate after talking to him. They need a witness to him shooting bottles in the parking lot before the confront him. I plan to go to them and tell them that I can verify this. I plan to off the record tell them how sure I am that this guy killed the cat. If the witness' wife hadn't told Dean what she saw, and I would have seen the guy out there shooting anyway, I would have without a doubt known immediately what happened. They also said they would be willing to press charges for the cat shooting but only if the witness comes forward. If I see the witness, I will let him know where things stand and if he is willing to talk, management will go forward with charges. I don't plan to pressure him, simply inform him and let him make the call. He is the only one to have had direct contact with the guy and knowing him on a casual basis I trust his judgment.

So that is where things stand now. As I mentioned above, work has been crazy, this of all weeks is the week where I'm working 11 or 12 hour days so my time is already at a premium. The not so surprising part of all this is that when management heard the whole story, they knew exactly who the suspect was.

UPDATE: I spoke with management. I was scared I had waited too long. As it turns out, one of the witnesses spoke up on their own just this afternoon. Kelly, the assistant manager said she was serving him an eviction notice tomorrow and would contact their lawyer to see if it makes sense to prosecute. I'm so relieved that the witness did the right thing. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of me. I almost cried out of relief and out of sadness at the reminder of what brought this all about. Of course, I'll post any more updates.


Hot4Teacha said...

I totally support your decision, Nat. I want you to do what's best for YOU, especially if it concerns your safety. This guy sounds super scary and I want to come down and Mace him (I have some!). Hopefully mgmt. will kick his ass out and you'll never have to worry about him again. Keep us updated, would ya?

lefty_grrrl said...

I forgot what it's like to have a leasing office instead of a slumlord. You've obviously taken the right path here. Good luck, and I hope the psycho gets evicted and convicted.

MyUtopia said...

Wow, what a scary situation. I hope everything works out okay for you.

magnetbabe said...

Thanks, all. Please make sure to check out the update!

Jackie said...

thank goodness. now hopefully he leaves without a problem!!

Jeni said...

I can understand fully your trepidation in going to various places to resolve this issue -also what you said about how not every may view caring for feral cats in the same manner as do you -but I am really, REALLY, relieved to hear it appears some action will now be underway -and safely too with respect to you and the other witness. Hope all continues to work its way out properly.
BTW - I "met" your grandma last night -via an e-mail she sent me about my blog. Sounds like my kind of person too!

fermicat said...

I am glad things worked out, and hope that loser-gun-boy gets the boot and leaves without any further trouble. I'm a country girl at heart and have no problem with people shooting guns safely in an appropriate location (we used to shoot ours in the pasture), but an apartment complex is not it. And we shot at cans, not animals.

Beth said...

I just caught up on all of this and omg, it is so sad. How could you shoot a cat? I am so glad he is being evicted and I really hope this guy is prosecuted as well. What he did is sick. He needs some kind of help or shock treatment, like jail.