Cash Freeman, an Ada, Oklahoma man shot his neighbor as the father tried to kill his twin babies. In this instance, Freeman brought a gun to a knife fight. And that was the end of the story (psst… machete opportunists take note). But is what the neighbor did the right thing to do? Remember George Zimmerman who was supposedly on “Neighborhood Watch” who gunned down Trayvon Martin for walking down the street armed with skittles?
He got off. But Freeman may be in some trouble.
Leland Michael Foster (27), a known criminal, and abuser tried to drown his 3-month-old babies in the bathtub on Friday while fending off the terrified mother with a knife.
Per the Ada News. Ada Public Information Director Lisa Bratcher said, “The woman said that Foster had threatened to kill her, while dispatchers could hear struggles and screaming over the line.”
The hero, Cash Freeman who lives next door wasted no time rushing over to help. The mother of the twins frantically called the police who were en route to the scene. During the wait for the police, another hero – a 12-year-old child on the property ran next door to ask Freeman for help. The concerned neighbor immediately armed himself with a revolver and rushed over to the home.
Per The Daily Mail, when Freeman arrived on the scene Foster was trying to drown both 3-month-old babies while holding out a knife to keep the mother away. Freeman made the decision to shoot Foster twice in the back, killing him. And likely, saving the lives of the babies.
Two important things happened during this horrific situation:
- A 12-year-old child took the initiative to seek help in the neighborhood.
- A neighbor stepped up to defend innocent lives.
This story could have ended differently.
- The neighbors could have said, “It’s none of my business,” and locked the door or ignored the doorbell.
- The neighbors could have said, “Come inside and let’s wait for the police together.”
- A number of people could have been killed or injured prior to the arrival of the police.
- The police could have arrived in time and saved the family.
- The police could have disarmed Foster and arrested him.
- The police could have killed Foster and saved the family.
Yes, there are a lot of ways this could have played out. In this instance, like in the “old days,” the village handled the situation. However, was this the right thing to do according to the law?
As of 2009 ten states had laws on the books requiring that people at least notify law enforcement of and/or seek aid for individuals in peril under certain conditions (Oklahoma is not one of them). These laws are called Duty to Rescue laws. However, these laws are rarely applied and are generally ignored by citizens and lawmakers. These laws are generally considered antiquated, dangerous and very hard to enforce. Therefore, Freeman was under no duty to render help, let alone shoot and kill Foster.
Nevertheless, if a concerned citizen does decide to step in and help someone the rescuer must generally act with reasonable care and can be held liable for injuries caused by a reckless rescue attempt. However, many states have limited or removed liability from rescuers in such circumstances, particularly where the rescuer is an emergency worker. Furthermore, the rescuers need not endanger themselves in conducting the rescue.
Additionally, Freeman may have faced legal trouble if he would’ve injured or killed the young children or the mother. Thankfully, none of these incidents occurred and the only individual injured was the perpetrator.
In the meantime, Freeman was interviewed, and the district attorney will determine whether or not charges will be filed against him.
Foster is no stranger to violence or jail. According to court records, Foster has a criminal record which includes arson and domestic abuse by strangulation. The question has been asked often, “Can domestic abusers change?” There is little data to support that.
Also according to a study on Batterer Intervention Programs, there was little consensus that BIP programs result in a reduction in domestic violence. The factors that make these programs work are varied. Some successful programs often involve the victim’s participation. This is tricky because often the best course of action for the victim is to stay a few “football fields” away from the abuser.
Should a neighbor step in and assist a family in distress? Even if it requires lethal force? Weigh in below via the comments section.