“[Harvey] had stopped and brought his arms up to the side. Then I heard the two shots fired. “
Our next piece of evidence from the Joseph Walker trial is the transcribed interview of another witness who drove by the shooting scene. As per SOP her name has been redacted. Because this transcript was attached as Exhibit I to the defense’s recent motion to dismiss the charges against Walker, I will refer to him as Ms. I.
It is apparent form the testimony that this is the spouse of Witness H, whose testimony was covered in the previous post. At the time, she was following behind her husband in a second vehicle.
The interview was conducted by the Maryland State Trooper First Class (TFC) Chris Taylor, on June 10, 2013, two days after the shooting.
Ms. I would have been driving the same general route as her husband (indicated by the red box in the image below), except that he had driven past the site when Ms. I began her observations. The white box indicates the area in which Walker and Harvey confronted each other.
Ms. I wasted no time jumping right into her description of the shooting.
Ms. I: As I’m driving along, I was watching a man from the northernmost vehicle [Harvey’s Honda] walking south on the shoulder. And as he was walking south, my eyes trained back to see where he was going. And I noticed the southernmost vehicle behind him. And I kind of – there was a man standing next to the southernmost vehicle. From what I could see, it was a man, the silhouette of a man, kind of either shortly cut hair or bald. I’m not sure. And I saw the man that was standing next to the southernmost vehicle raise his arms up in a position that you see on television or in a gun safety thing. Both his hands up like this [presumably as if aiming a handgun].
TFC Taylor: With two hands.
Ms. I: With two hands. And I looked back at the man that had been walking. And he – he had stopped and brought his arms up to the side.
TFC Taylor: Okay.
Ms. I: And then I heard the two shots fired. And I saw the man fall to the ground. And I broke pretty – I – my eyes trained back up to the northernmost vehicle. And there was somebody standing there on the side of the vehicle. And there was nobody else that I saw anywhere near the man that was shot. There was another person in that northernmost vehicle. But he was standing on the side of the vehicle.
Ms. I quickly pulled over, within a few hundred feet of the shooting, and called 911—which had already begun receiving calls on the incident, even only a few seconds after the observed shots had been fired.
Ms. I was humorously unable to provide any meaningful identifying characteristics of the Honda or Kia minivan, nor much useful information about the appearance of either Walker, Harvey, or Pidel—not even Walker’s race. Of course, none of this information is particularly in dispute.
Harvey Stopped Advancing When Walker Raised His Pistol
Ms. I: The man walking south had stopped progressing in his walk.
TFC Taylor: He had stopped.
Ms. I: He had stopped.
TFC Taylor: Was he walking like aggressively? Was he –
Ms. I: He was walking – now whether or not it was aggressive, I don’t know. But, I mean, there was a gait to him. It wasn’t like – he wasn’t going backwards, definitely. He was walking forwards. But as the other man lifted his arms, he stopped. And then the gentleman walking southbound raised his arms up to his side. Just raised his arms up to his side. And then I heard the two shots. And he just went down. Just down. No – not like in the movies, not like they stumble around or they find cover. He just went down.
At this point Ms. I seems to become distraught and is offered tissues.
Harvey ~40′ Away When Walker Raised His Pistol, Fired
Ms. I: I’ve never seen anything – never. I just – I was shocked. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Now, from what I could see, the man had stopped walking towards the vehicle. He wasn’t close enough to that vehicle – this is my opinion – from what I saw – to be physically a threat. He wasn’t close enough to lunge.
TFC Taylor: Like how far would you say they were apart?
Ms. I: Maybe half the distance between how telephone poles would be. Maybe a little shorter to that. But the man was enough back where even if he took a run at the gentleman and lunged, it would – he was still far enough apart. He had – and he had stopped walking. He had actually stopped walking and raised his hands. And then the other gentleman – I heard the two shots.
TFC Taylor: So if you had to put a number to it, I know it’s kind of a hard thing to judge, but between the guy with his hands up and the other guy, how far would you say that they were apart, if you had to put a number to it?
Ms. I: It’s hard for me, maybe 40, 50 feet. . . . . [Harvey] was probably almost at the midpoint in between, maybe a little closer. Like I said, he wasn’t – it was probably a good 40, 40 or 50 feet from what I could see. I – it’s hard. It’s hard to tell from that vantage point. But he –- he wasn’t close enough to physically lunge or to even take a running lunge. He was – he was quite a distance from this vehicle.
Witness Describes Pidel As Back By the Honda, Not Accompanying Harvey
Ms. I: There was another person here [Adam Pidel]. . . .
TFC Taylor: And this guy was near the car and not actually anywhere near any of them [presumably meaning Harvey and Walker].
Ms. I: This guy was definitely back towards the car.
Shooting of Harvey Simultaneous With His Stopping, Raising Hands to Sides
TFC Taylor: From the time [Harvey] had his hands up and you heard the gunshots, how long was that?
Ms. I: Instantaneous.
TFC Taylor: Instantaneous?
Ms. I: Instantaneous. I mean, it was just boom boom. Split second.
TFC Taylor: Okay. But the hands did go up first.
Ms. I: They went up to their side. Not up over – I can show you. It was like this. He stopped, and he just went like this. It was boom boom, and he just fell over. So his arms went up to about this point, not up like this, just like this. And then he just fell. As I said, he just fell to the ground.
Walker Was At Side of Minivan When He Raised Pistol, Fired
TFC Taylor: Did you see anything after the gunshots?
Ms. I: Just besides that the man falling to the ground? No. And I drove – I just drove straight over to the first turn-around that I could – that I could get to just to pull over. It wasn’t maybe three or four seconds before I was able to pull over.
TFC Taylor: I guess from your standpoint the guy in the southernmost vehicle [Walker’s Kia minivan] was at the side of the vehicle, not in front of it.
Ms. I: He was at the side of the vehicle, because I – I couldn’t even tell you like the pants he was wearing.
TFC Taylor: So form your angle, his view was blocked, your view of him was blocked, because of the car.
Ms. I: Yeah. But I was able to see the arms go up.
Shortly thereafter it appears that the interview of Ms. I has concluded—TFC Taylor says as much.
Walker’s Stance Holding Pistol Indicated Training, Expertise
Then suddenly just two minutes later, the interview starts up again with Ms. I, this time having her describe Walker’s demeanor.
TFC Taylor: Coming up to the incident when you saw the individual [Walker] take that stance, what kind of went through your mind when you saw that?
Ms. I: That he looked like he knew what he was doing. He was – they –he looked like he knew how to handle a firearm in a confident manner. He was very direct in his movement. He wasn’t shaky. It was a very deliberate stance that he took. It looked like that type of confidence could be by somebody who knew how to handle a firearm – had been trained. Just that level of confidence, that displayed to me that this person knew that they – knew what to do in that situation. Just there was a confidence about the stance that I noticed. So, you know, whether he was an officer or military, that – it went through my mind that that level of confidence would have indicated somebody who knew how to handle a firearm or at least how to take the stance confidently.
TFC Taylor: Just again to clarify or just get a better understanding, when the guy was walking southbound, when he stopped, from the time he stopped until you heard the gunshots, how long was that?
Ms. I: Not even a second, just a split. He raised – he stopped and raised his arms up to the side. And then it was boom boom. It was that quick.
TFC Taylor: Was the gun raised before he stopped or after?
Ms. I: It was almost instantaneous that the guy stopped walking, as I saw the – it was almost instantaneous. . . . He had stopped walking at that point as he raised his arms. He had stopped moving. It was after the other, the southern, the gentleman standing at the southernmost vehicle [Walker] had raised. So it was almost an instantaneous thing.
And that, finally, concluded the interview with Ms. I.
Here’s the actual transcript:
Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog, Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle), Barnes & Noble (paperback and Nook), and elsewhere.DONATE
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