Hey Lemons, why don't you move to Mexico, they have outlawed guns there for years, and it's very safe. No gun crimes or murders. Please, move tomorrow and take your family with you, you liberal jerk!
By Monica Alonzo
By Stephen Lemons
By Jason P. Woodbury
By Dulce Paloma Baltazar Pedraza
By Ray Stern
By Pete Kotz
By Monica Alonzo
By New Times
It's not often that I peruse the aisles of Home Depot looking for a weapon that supposedly could kill a man, but I did recently, because I wanted to purchase a Nifty Nabber, manufactured by the Connecticut-based Unger tool company.
My intent was not homicidal. Instead, I wanted the 36-inch-long aluminum picker because it is the same brand that Phoenix resident and property owner Bill Russell said was used by Percell Bagley to attack him on March 27.
As I described in a recent column ("Gun in Hand," June 23), Russell shot the homeless man in what he said was self-defense. According to Russell, Bagley was sleeping in a rug on a vacant lot owned by Russell that Sunday morning as Russell was walking around the St. Matthew neighborhood picking up trash with the device, as he often does in the community just west of the state Capitol.
Russell told Phoenix police that he pulled at the rug, not knowing anyone was in it, planning to throw it into a bin. That's when, he said, Bagley jumped up, grabbed the picker, and swung wildly, yelling at him.
"He grabbed [the stick] that I was picking up trash with and started swinging it at me," Russell said in one of a couple of interviews I did with him. "I had a split-second decision to defend myself."
According to a police report, Russell fired two shots from a snub-nose .38 Special he had on him. One missed Bagley. Another lodged in Bagley's skull.
Bagley was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital. He was operated on the following day, and the bullet was recovered during surgery.
Despite neighborhood rumors to the contrary, he survived. He's since been transferred from St. Joe's, but the police are not releasing his whereabouts.
An ex-con who had a warrant outstanding for a parole violation, Bagley has family in Phoenix and a son who lives out of town. I've reached out to his Phoenix relatives, but they have not yet responded to my inquiries.
Amazingly, Bagley was well enough to be interviewed by police on May 2. Though "slow when responding to questions," he did recall a few details.
He said he had been living in a halfway house in Mesa and taking the bus to his workplace in the area. Two days before the shooting, he missed his bus to Mesa and stayed with a friend in St. Matthew.
He quit his job, picked up his last check, and rolled up in the rug to sleep on the night before the incident.
The report says Bagley believes he was awakened by a Mexican man, made to put his shoes on, then shot. Russell is Anglo, and there's no question that Russell shot Bagley.
"Initially, Bagley stated that he never got off the ground," the cop who questioned him wrote, "but later stated that he did not remember getting up off the ground.
"Bagley's last memory is of the subject shooting him. His next memory is waking up in the hospital three or four days later."
He told the officer that he wanted to prosecute and that he would testify in court.
As this column went to press, Phoenix police had not forwarded the case to the County Attorney's Office. PPD spokesman Steve Martos relayed to me that the detective assigned to the case planned to do so soon.
Which brings me back to the Nifty Nabber, and the use of deadly force.
Russell says he believes his life was in danger. Though Unger makes a couple of Nifty Nabber models, I asked Russell whether the one he had owned was three feet in length. He replied that three feet "sounds close," though he did not recall the brand name.
The device's aluminum shaft is lightweight and hollow with a trigger handle on one end and a two-pronged claw on the other.
Out of curiosity, I hit the picker on the side of my desk hard. Its shaft bent. I applied pressure from each end, with the picker over my knee, and was able to break it in half.
Arizona law states that deadly force can be met with deadly force, and one is under no obligation to retreat if attacked.
Specifically, the statute says that such force is allowable "when and to the degree a reasonable person would believe that deadly physical force is immediately necessary to protect himself against the other's use or attempted use of unlawful deadly physical force."
Arizona also has a "castle doctrine" law, allowing the threat of the use of deadly force if a reasonable person believes it is necessary to stop a criminal trespass.
Let's assume for the moment that everything Russell has told the cops is 100 percent accurate. That Bagley, who was a little taller and little heavier than Russell, swung on him with the Nifty Nabber.
Would a reasonable person conclude that this was deadly force? Would a jury?
All I can say is that, personally, I would be more worried about a tough guy's dukes than a Nifty Nabber.
Having met Russell, he looks like a vigorous man who can handle himself. That being said, we don't know Bagley's mental state at the time. If Russell had chosen not to fight back, or flee, he could have been hurt. Perhaps even seriously.
Could he have been killed? Anything is possible. And if Bagley had gotten him down on the ground, well, even fists can kill.
The witnesses cited in the report did not see the shooting (though one told me she saw Bagley "swing" at Russell). And Russell is innocent until proven otherwise. He cooperated with police, allowed them to take DNA samples, and answered all their questions. He did not clam up and ask for a lawyer. He even attempted first aid on his victim, as they waited for first responders.
And, obviously, he has yet to be charged with anything.
According to Russell, Bagley was trespassing on his property. If so, he had every right to awaken Bagley, as he inadvertently did, and order him to leave.
But did he need to shoot Bagley? If Russell had not had his gun with him that March morning, what's the worst that could've happened?
I am not a lawyer, not a police detective, and certainly not a prosecutor. I have no idea whether, under state law, Bagley can be prosecuted — or prosecuted successfully.
Given that the Arizona Legislature shifted the burden of proof in self-defense cases to the prosecution, Russell might beat the rap should he ever be charged.
But this does not change my mind that some gun owners in Arizona are too quick to use their firearms. Too quick to draw and fire, when less-lethal means could suffice.
St. Matthew is a rough patch of sand, with a good deal of crime, drugs, homelessness, and prostitution. I would not blame anyone living there for packing heat.
Russell, who owns scores of properties in the neighborhood, told me that he has pulled his gun in the past.
"I've pointed my gun [at] people several times down in the neighborhood," he said. "It's been thieves. There's guys that were stealing the bulkhead right off my truck. There's guys that were ripping off my warehouse. There was all kinds of things."
As I mentioned in "Gun in Hand," Russell was accused of pulling his gun on a man in a 2010 incident.
The other man was using a metal detector on or near one of Russell's vacant lots, depending on whose word you take.
The man said Russell drove up and yelled at him, "This is the second time I fucking told you to get out of here."
The victim, who claimed he'd never seen Russell before, told police that Russell brandished a chrome .38 Special, pointing it at him, and ordering him to leave.
When cops interviewed Russell, his story differed from his accuser's.
"William said [the victim] made a quick movement towards his vehicle like he was going to get something," reads the police report on the incident. "So William grabbed a hold of his gun. William said at no time did he ever point his gun at [the victim]."
Police found insufficient evidence to show that an aggravated assault had occurred. There were no witnesses, you see.
When I mentioned the incident to Russell during a face-to-face interview, he said he could not recall it, but he did not deny that the confrontation took place.
Russell can't be faulted for his candor. His use of a gun is another matter.
Hey Lemons, why don't you move to Mexico, they have outlawed guns there for years, and it's very safe. No gun crimes or murders. Please, move tomorrow and take your family with you, you liberal jerk!
If you point a gun at someone that is assault with a deadly weapon. Russell should be charged with that as a minimum. But his real crime is murder. If he could have ran away the law states he should have done that instead go shooting someone. Russell belongs in jail.
If you point a gun at someone when they are attacking you it is self defense. It wasnt Like Bagley was offering hugs and kisses. He was swinging a metal object. The law does not state you need to run away.. When you are on your own property being attacked you have the right to stand your ground.(castle doctrine). Perhaps you should alter your point of view. Sad situation.. they probably scared each other and didn't mean to have it go down like that. I am sure both of them learned a lesson. As for the murder charge.. no one died.
your writing is filled with bias and as much as you tried to avoid taking sides; your writing speaks for itself. You are advocating some type of gun control here in AZ. From what I have read about the incidence, Russell did nothing wrong in response to perceived threats in a "rough" part of town. Your article reminds me of past articles critical of service members's involvement with collateral damages in Iraq and Afghanistan; barring from any intended criminal acts, most men when placed under harsh, unforgiving environment, will tend to react in a self preservation mode; kill or be kill, so to speak. Yeah, it is so easy for someone in the comfort of their own home to over-analyze this situation, to conclude that this man has all the time and mental capacity to decide whether to use lethal force, or not...But split second decision is just that, and most of the time, we think about our own safety first. Nothing wrong with that...
Sounds like the attacker probably won't go swinging clubs at people any more. Lesson learned.
Lemons is just a self hating white person who's afraid of guns. Hey lemons, why not just move to new york, the gun laws there are pretty stiff I heard. Why do you want to enforce your anti gun views on everyone else? You don't have to own a gun....and you can move.
It's called freedom.
How 'bout you come to the downtown Tempe light rail station, and I whack you over the head with a Nifty Nabber. Then we can have a real conversation. From what I'm seeing in your response, you don't like people defending themselves with guns, period.
self defense in this state is a joke I was assulted for no reason on my self but for walking between to guys argueing and saying the word moron the next thing I know I was rocking backwards on my backside with what I thought at the time was just a bloody nose I don't know what the coward hit me with but mit was NOT his fist I found out later in the ER that my face was broken both orbital sockets my nose and a concousion all from calling to mexicans fighting with each other about a parking space that wasn't even my fight I just made the mistake of saying the word moron I don't know if he thought I called him a Mormon or what but not knowing what I was hit with I chose to get the hell out of there as fast as I could the bank that this incident happened at is only concerned with their atms not their custmers as the guy walking out at the time didn't wont to be a witness as he ran the other way the police department (Mesa) said no witness no crime no pictures no crime I have since found out where thses MF lives he made the mistake of having a work truck there he runs a Company out of his home the temptasion is there to pay the SOB back back he has kids and a wife they where not there they did not hit me they do not desevre the payback he does if I could get my witness to come forward I could sue the SOB for every dollar he has but he would proably run for Mexico to escape and we all know what that would get me I was told that if I carry a gun and this were to happen again for some reason it ain't going to but if it did then they must have a gun also well after that what am I supposed to do ask him do you have a gun or a weapon to defend youself with before I shoot you and I'm sorry but if it came to that the last thing I want is him to get back up and come after me so if you defend yourself yes you shoot the SOB in the head always in the head you never want them to get back up and come after you so not matter what he thought this picker could do to him you always shoot for the head I don't walk around in fear of this guy assaulting me I don't have that problem but in self defense you never wat the MF to get back up and come after you end of storythe reason that I have never paid this asshole back is his children don't deserved to be punished for his cowardiced act I hope maybe some day that I see him again I'll bet he wouldn't rememeber me but I'll rememeber him and this time I'm not going to the ER it will be self defense
Anyone ever notice that the only people Stephen Lemons ever defends are pieces of shit, take for example this piece of shit convicted felon/crackhead/squatter Stephen manages to make the trespassing violent piece of shit that attacks a law abiding property owner into the victim and turns the man that is exercising his right to protect himself into the bad guy.
What kind of bizarro twisted world do you live in Stephen god i hope you get put in a fucked up situation where you need a gun owner like me to come along and help you I wouldnt waste a bullet to save your fat ass.
Fuck off Stephen you are such a piece of shit, once again proving that the sole purpose of the new times is to attack people and to serve there one private agenda if you dont like the gun rights we have here in AZ gtfo no one will miss your fat ass if you leave trust me.
In the 16 years i have been here i have seen a consistent trend in new times reporting, that being they dont report anymore they simply try to influence you to agree with there bullshit agenda be it about sheriff joe or a private citizen if you dont fall in line with there thinking you will be attacked.we should send these assholes a message that we are sick of there bullshit, start calling there advertisers and tell them we will not give business to anyone that fills the pockets of these propaganda pushing pieces of shit.
Anyway keep overeating and maybe we will all get lucky and you will leave us early.
Come on, the only thing readers need to know about this story is:
1. It's written by stephen, the white-hater, lemons. Just read his past stories. He clearly hates 'whitey'.
2. The shooter was a 'whitey'
3. The person that was shot was not a 'whitey'.
So there you have it. The rest of the story simply is an excuse as to why number 2 is guilty and number 3 is innocent.
Every single story written by this psychologically disturbed individual relates to hating whitey and praising those that 'challenge', beat, kill, rape, humiliate, victimize, condemn, scapegoat, or criticize whitey.
"It's written by stephen, the white-hater, lemons."
Guys like you used to call guys like Lemons "nigger-lovers." The words may have changed, but the song remains the same. Go fuck yourself.
did you read the story the shooter was a black person stpid read the story before you knock the stupid repoter for writting a fucked up story
ups my peply was as bad as the writting by truth715 I ment stupid and the dumdass reporter for the new times but if he had a brain he would know that they write these stories to do just what stephen did piss people off because if he did it to get the whole story out then he failed badly cause all he did was piss off someone who couldn't spell and like I said truth715 is stupid cause he said the shooter was whitey when the picture of the "shooter" is colerd, black, afro-american, any way you put ti he ain't white and i'll bet stevens paycheck the victim isn't either ops I ment stephens paycheck
lol wow some people are just great! im glad bagley isn't dead, im not sayin he didnt desserve a 38. to the dome for wildly swinngin a niffty nabber at the "midnight mopper" but thank god for his sake hes not dead and can go back to sleeping in rugs on other peoples property! guff n blood ur both crazy and i think u both need to do a load of rocks!
Dear mr Blood:
After the incoherent rambling of a mad man that I had posted I find it amusing that you were able to agree with anything I said.
I award you no points..
And may god have mercy on your soul.
Let's not be ignorant enough to post opinions about a fantasy story that never happened. While I appreciate the sales info about the nifty nabbers, I don't appreciate opinions on a fictional story. I'd tell you the truth but you can't handle the truth, right Bill?
how different would this story be if it were a Craka a.k.a.(WHITE) instead of a black man that was killed for this senseless action of sleeping in a rug? for the record I am white and think that taken a human life for sleeping in a rug is total bullshyt. if Bill Russell wasnt bullying the community this would have never happen. he was stealing or harming him in anyway. BE A MAN STEP UP AND THROW DOWN.
Sounds like this guy is really mopping up around town. Its not like he was sitting around watering rocks naked..I would also say this article is about as unnecessary as toilet paper. Metaphorically...one can only pee in a jug for so long before it starts to stink.. Know what I mean?
Herb, nifty nabers are great but Grabby Grabbers at lowes have a steel shaft instead of aluminum 5.99 and is much better for hand to hand combat.
@Jeff the grabby grabbers have their charm but they are all Shaft. Everyone knows that the value is in the grabbing power. The nifty nabbers are far superior at a much better value.
@herb, maybe in your pretty pink world aluminum and butterflies you don't have to worry about a sleepy homeless man attacking you. But in the real world of south central phoenix it requires a bit more captin planet atitude "of taking pollution down to zero" (by an means necessary) Which of course requires a bit more steel.
So in Arizona, a "compassionate conservative" state, where do those in need get help? Why with so many wealthy people in this state does a human being have to sleep rolled up in a rug? The wealthier got richer in that last decades and the middle class to falling to the bottom and are ending up homeless and living on the streets.
As a homeless person for about 10 years after Nam I can say a lot of people wont do anything else. The total freedom can be addictive. I had a seasonal job collected unemployment when qualified. Some people just dont want others to have any say in their life. landlords. wife, cop etc. Especially for vets. after you have killed people for a living some brat telling you to turn down your radio or some petty shit like that seems rediculous. If not that once you are on the streets how do you get off? Who is going to hire you if you havent been clean in days. How do you wait 2 weeks for your first check with nothing to eat? Dont you know the rich peoples motto? "Let them eat cake"
He quit his job, not fired, and chose to roll himself up in a carpet. This loser was also out with a warrant on him, and is an ex con. There is no point of taking honest peoples money to give it to garbage like this guy, who is just a burden on society.
I wonder how different this discussion would be if the situation had been reversed and the homeless guy defended himself from deadly force with a gun.
If this had happened somewhere in the Deep South, there would have been riots, looting, arsons, speeches by politicians, demands for indictment, federal investigations, and multiple injuries or death(s) inflicted on anyone of the wrong skin color who was unaware of what was going on or stupid enough to wander into the wrong neighborhood. It is very refreshing that at least in Phoenix that kind of garbage and horse manure is not happening.
Fact: a man physically swung a metal object at another man. Did the victim feel threatened?
Stephen, in your own opinion you state, "I would be more worried about a tough guy's dukes than a Nifty Nabber." Except Percell Bagley did not challenge Bill Russell to a fist fight. He swung a metal object at him. Percell escalated the fight. Bill Russell used the means afforded to him by the law.
Someone being attacked with an object does not have the time to weigh his response.
You can waste a column second guessing Bill Russell's reaction, but you're wasting our time by doing so. Nor will the prosecutor waste public money on your mental exercises.
Percell Bagley survived this incident. Therefore the harshest charge would be aggravated assault. Russell could plea that down to a misdemeanor with the proper attorney. What is more likely, is that the prosecutor will wisely decline to press charges. A jury will not convict Bill Russell.
..and who can afford a "proper" attorney in Arizona where attorneys charge $600.00 per hour and the public defenders office is understaffed?
"Someone being attacked with an object does not have the time to weigh his response."
So if someone swings a pillow at you, you have the right to shoot them?
This Nifty Nabber was flimsy at best. Russell was picking trash with it, he knew how light and insubstantial it was.
Russell is a serial gun-puller. What about what happened in 2010? That guy didn't swing a metal detector at him.
It's only a matter of time before Russell kills someone. But for you gun nuts, the shooter is always right. The dead or wounded man is always wrong, especially if they are a minority or homeless or both.
How do you know a pillow case has a pillow in it? Or a pile of bricks? Now people are expected to be clairvoyant?
Complete fucking! morons like you, are the reason I pack a colt 45 on me at all! times, so go ahead, swing! your pillow at me and see what! happens.