Police Line / Police Tape

Armed Citizens Served with Eviction Notice After Firing Back in Self-Defense

What the heck is going on in Shelby County, Tennessee? Just a few weeks ago an armed citizen was arrested after shooting back at car thieves after they opened fire on him, and now two men in the Memphis neighborhood of Raleigh are facing eviction from their apartments after doing the same thing.

Terrance Montgomery, one of the men, said his neighbor called him during the early morning hours of May 22 and said he noticed on his surveillance feed that “someone was trying to steal my girlfriend’s car again.”

Montgomery said the Hyundai had been stolen once before but had been recovered.

Frantic, he threw on flip-flops and ran outside with his gun for protection.

“They open[ed] fire, shooting out my neighbors window,” Montgomery said. “I shot back two to three times.”

Cedric Verner is that neighbor.

Verner said the bullets that flew through his apartment “almost kill[ed] my kids by inches while they were lying in bed asleep.”

“I grabbed my gun … [and] returned fire,” said Verner.

The pair then said they received a letter in the mail notifying them they had three days to vacate.

Avery Park, the leasing company, said the two had become a nuisance and threatened others’ safety.

Avery Park did not return a call seeking comment.

According to Verner, a property manager informed him that neither he nor any other resident is allowed to “stop anyone from coming on the premises and trying to steal anything”… a prohibition that apparently extends to protecting your own children in your own apartment from armed gunmen standing outside shooting at your home.

Both Verner and Montgomery say they’re challenging the evictions and forcing Avery Park to go through civil court and get a judge to sign off on the attempt to remove them from their residences, which is definitely the right course of action here. These two men were well within their rights to protect themselves after the would-be thieves started shooting, and if the property management company really is seeking to evict two families simply because the pair were acting to protect lives that’s utterly unconscionable… not to mention a giant green light to other would-be thieves and burglars in the area.

Of course, given the treatment given to those suspected of committing violent crimes in Memphis, many bad actors may already believe they can get away with their actions with little consequence without bringing armed citizens into the equation.

The Memphis teen accused of exchanging gunfire with an off-duty Memphis Police officer in late April never went through Shelby County’s new bail hearing process, Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy said.

Harris is accused of a late April car break-in that ended in a shootout with an off-duty Memphis Police officer in the parking lot of a Huey’s in East Memphis. Court records show Chase Harris, 19, posted bail for the shootout on May 10 and was booked again two days later for a separate car theft that took place before the Huey’s incident.

The new details about how Harris was able to post bail multiple times followed scrutiny of the Shelby County Bail Hearing Room, which opened in February, and Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland inaccurately stating Mulroy’s office failed to make a motion to revoke the bond of the alleged shooter in Strickland’s weekly update, released Friday.

… “Between December 20, 2022, and May 14, 2023, Chase Harris was arrested by police and released by 201 Poplar four times,” Strickland said in an email statement to The Commercial Appeal Tuesday morning. “While I appreciate the DA’s office filing a motion to revoke the bond on May 17, it should have been filed earlier, especially after the third arrest which was for shooting at multiple people at a local restaurant.”

It sounds like Shelby County is upside down when it comes to self-defense and violent crime; going soft on those repeatedly accused of committing acts of violence against members of the community while cracking down on those gun owners who dare to defend themselves from an attack. In this case Verner and Mongtomery aren’t facing criminal charges, but they could still end up on the streets because they acted in self-defense. These guys sound like the kind of neighbors I’d like to have around, and I hope that their fellow residents will speak up in their defense, both in a court of law and with the property management now that the two men and their loved ones have been targeted with eviction for shooting back after shots were fired in their direction.

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