Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
Army reservist was charged for shooting tire of truck she believed would run her over. A jury acquitted her in 40 minutes
MARTINEZ — Schitara Page was working the night shift at her security guard job last Dec. 18, when she caught two shoplifters in the act. One punched her in the face and threw lemons at her as she followed them into the parking lot, she would later recall.
Page, a 32-year-old sergeant in the U.S. Army and expert marksman, caught up with the suspects as they were climbing into a pickup truck with large tires. The driver allegedly gave her one final taunt before climbing in, yelling out, "I've got something for you, b—-," Page says.
She interpreted his comment as an imminent threat, and when the truck's wheels began to turn forward, Page drew her pistol and fired three times into one of the tires. The bullets flattened the tire, and the truck pulled out, heading away from Page.
It was something Page had never done before — not in her nine years in the Army, which included tours in combat zones, and not several days earlier, when a sedan struck her in a similar encounter, and she rolled over its hood rather than respond with force.
The decision to shoot drastically changed the next year of her life, resulting in criminal charges — not against the men in the truck, but Page.
She was arrested on suspicion of felony negligent discharge of a firearm, but charged with a misdemeanor version of the charge.
Her weeklong trial was earlier this month.
Jurors hardly sat down before they agreed that Page should be acquitted. A not guilty verdict was announced after less than 40 minutes of deliberations.
In an interview after the trial, Page called the whole experience "devastating," despite the outcome in her favor.
"I'm still pretty devastated, because, honestly I've tried to live my life helping other people and living the best kind of life that I can," Page said. "It's kind of a slap in the face, to do what I've done in my lifetime and someone accused me of a crime."
Page testified during her trial, her attorney arguing it was an example of "perfect self-defense," and citing California's "Stand Your Ground" law, which allows a person to use deadly force based on a "reasonable belief" that their life is in danger. Following the verdict, the Contra Costa County District Attorney put out a brief statement saying the shooting was "over disputed lemons and crab meat."
"The shooting transpired in the parking lot of shopping center with civilians and children present," the district attorney's statement says. "The chosen response appeared to be a disproportionate use of force. This jury decided otherwise."
Page is a single mother living in Sacramento, who recently earned a master's degree and plans to soon attend law school. She became an army reservist after leg injuries forced her off active duty, but began moonlighting as an armed security guard in the Bay Area to pay for tuition. Had she been convicted, Page was unlikely to face much jail time because of her background, but she said it would have ruined her life.
"All my careers would have ended. Anything I worked for in the military would have gone away; I wouldn't be able to attend law school," she said. "Plus the fact that I'm a single mom and if something happens to me, my child has nowhere to go."
The night of the shooting, Page said, started out normally. She was working at a grocery store in Richmond, Foods Co., where she was employed through a security company. She noticed two men acting suspiciously, and approached them as they began to leave the store. They responded by yelling profanities at her.
Page followed them outside, a practice that was in line with her security guard training. After they climbed into the truck, Page believed she was in for a repeat of the attack days earlier, when she had actually been struck by a vehicle.
"My first thought was of not coming home to my child," she testified.
She would later describe to police the split-second calculations she made before firing, how she was confident the bullets would flatten the tire but fail to penetrate all the way through, preventing a ricochet. She said that because of her leg injuries and being "5 foot, 3½," she was unable to roll over the hood of the truck, as she had done before with a sedan.
"I would never jeopardize myself, but I would hate to have to take a life," Page said. "If there's a way to stop something from happening to me without taking a life, that's the route I would take."
The truck pulled out of the space away from her. Police later arrested the men, who were attempting to drive away on three tires. But prosecutors declined to charge them, and instead subpoenaed them as witnesses. They ducked the subpoena and did not testify, Page's attorney Joseph Tully said.
As officers responded to the shooting, Page secured her pistol in the trunk of her car, assisted police in picking up shell casings and gave a detailed description of the suspects. An officer took her statement, an experience she said was "frustrating."
"I know when some people look at me, it's just a little black girl with a gun. It's hard to convey to people: I'm not just a security guard, I've been there, I know what I'm doing," Page said. "I do feel like I have to tiptoe around police officers all the time, but in my city, I feel like the officers know me and it's not an issue."
Page remained employed as a security guard the entire time the charges were pending.
After trial, Page's attorney, Tully, questioned why the case was filed in the first place, adding that he thought a police officer would "maybe be placed on leave" for doing the same thing.
"First of all, I don't think a police officer would have shot out a tire, I think a police officer is more likely to shoot at the car, that's the news reports I've seen," Tully said. He later added: "(Page) has got a great life and a great career ahead of her. And know that sometimes you have to fight for justice; it doesn't come naturally to us by the system."
©2019 the San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)
Visit the San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.) at www.mercurynews.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
The Marine lieutenant colonel who was removed from command of 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in May is accused of lying to investigators looking into allegations of misconduct, according to a copy of his charge sheet provided to Task & Purpose on Monday.
President Donald Trump just can't stop telling stories about former Defense Secretary James Mattis. This time, the president claims Mattis said U.S. troops were so perilously low on ammunition that it would be better to hold off launching a military operation.
"You know, when I came here, three years ago almost, Gen. Mattis told me, 'Sir, we're very low on ammunition,'" Trump recalled on Monday at the White House. "I said, 'That's a horrible thing to say.' I'm not blaming him. I'm not blaming anybody. But that's what he told me because we were in a position with a certain country, I won't say which one; we may have had conflict. And he said to me: 'Sir, if you could, delay it because we're very low on ammunition.'
"And I said: You know what, general, I never want to hear that again from another general," Trump continued. "No president should ever, ever hear that statement: 'We're low on ammunition.'"
This 400-pound feral hog is one of more than 1,200 that have invaded a Texas Air Force base since 2016
At least one Air Force base is waging a slow battle against feral hogs — and way, way more than 30-50 of them.
A Texas trapper announced on Monday that his company had removed roughly 1,200 feral hogs from Joint Base San Antonio property at the behest of the service since 2016.
In a move that could see President Donald Trump set foot on North Korean soil again, Kim Jong Un has invited the U.S. leader to Pyongyang, a South Korean newspaper reported Monday, as the North's Foreign Ministry said it expected stalled nuclear talks to resume "in a few weeks."
A letter from Kim, the second Trump received from the North Korean leader last month, was passed to the U.S. president during the third week of August and came ahead of the North's launch of short-range projectiles on Sept. 10, the South's Joongang Ilbo newspaper reported, citing multiple people familiar with the matter.
In the letter, Kim expressed his willingness to meet the U.S. leader for another summit — a stance that echoed Trump's own remarks just days earlier.
Constant deployments broke the Air Force's B-1 fleet. Now the service is facing a major bomber shortfall
On April 14, 2018, two B-1B Lancer bombers fired off payloads of Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles against weapons storage plants in western Syria, part of a shock-and-awe response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons against his citizens that also included strikes from Navy destroyers and submarines.
In all, the two bombers fired 19 JASSMs, successfully eliminating their targets. But the moment would ultimately be one of the last — and certainly most publicized — strategic strikes for the aircraft before operations began to wind down for the entire fleet.
A few months after the Syria strike, Air Force Global Strike Command commander Gen. Tim Ray called the bombers back home. Ray had crunched the data, and determined the non-nuclear B-1 was pushing its capabilities limit. Between 2006 and 2016, the B-1 was the sole bomber tasked continuously in the Middle East. The assignment was spread over three Lancer squadrons that spent one year at home, then six month deployed — back and forth for a decade.
The constant deployments broke the B-1 fleet. It's no longer a question of if, but when the Air Force and Congress will send the aircraft to the Boneyard. But Air Force officials are still arguing the B-1 has value to offer, especially since it's all the service really has until newer bombers hit the flight line in the mid-2020s.