3 cases of victims fighting back against criminals in Columbia

Sunday, December 30, 2007 | 5:58 p.m. CST; updated 10:36 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 17, 2008

COLUMBIA — Police in Columbia have seen several recent instances where would-be crime victims have fought back, including one case where the suspect was fatally shot.

Police said Henry Brown was shot Thursday while trying to break into an apartment. Brown later died.

Authorities said the shooter, 18-year-old Alvin Canton, acted in a manner of self-defense that is protected by Missouri’s so-called castle doctrine. That law allows homeowners to use deadly force against unlawful intruders. It took effect earlier this year.

On Friday night, a 20-year-old woman walked to her car outside a restaurant and found a man breaking in and trying to steal a backpack.

Police say the woman struggled with the suspect, 37-year-old Farooq Saalik, who threatened to shoot her but ran away. He was captured a short time later and faces charges of first-degree robbery and armed criminal action.

A third incident happened Saturday morning when an intruder tried to break through the front door of an apartment. The startled resident wrestled the suspect to the ground and beat him in the face.

The mug shot of 19-year-old Christopher Lee shows several gashes and one eye swollen shut. He is charged with resisting arrest, possession of marijuana, property damage and trespassing.

In addition to the Columbia cases, a pizza delivery driver in St. Louis last week shot and killed a man who tried to rob him.

Authorities say it is generally better not to fight unless in direct self-defense.

“I don’t believe any piece of property is worth getting seriously injured over,” Columbia police Sgt. Dianne Bernhard said.

“Our recommendation is to go call the police and get as far away from the suspect as you can. If that’s not possible, go along with what they ask for, up to a point.”

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