Veteran Sentenced After Shooting A Car Fleeing From Police

Although the fleeing felon was never charged, military veteran William Eckel was charged with two felony gun offenses.

Detroit, MI – A United States military veteran who shot at a car fleeing from police has been convicted of a misdemeanor reckless discharge of a firearm offense.

The suspect officers were pursuing was never charged by the prosecutor's office, WDIV reported.

“It was a slap in the face,” William Eckel told WDIV on Tuesday, after he was sentenced to two years of probation for the act.

The veteran’s home security camera captured the moment that the suspect led officers on a pursuit past Eckel’s Brightmoor residence in May.

"I perceive his car turning towards me,” Eckel recounted to WDIV. “I immediately grab my sidearm and draw to a low-ready.”

“As I have it at the low-ready, the car corrects, drives over the curb, and that’s where you see me run up on the video and take one shot, directly at the engine, and disabled the car,” Eckel explained.

Eckel was originally charged with two felony gun offenses for his role in stopping the fleeing felon, his attorney, Nicholas Somberg told the news outlet.

The veteran argued that it was his right to protect his neighborhood by helping the officers.

"The law allows you to stop a fleeing felon,” Somberg agreed. “My client had a right to stop him.”

On Tuesday, Eckel pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of reckless discharge of a firearm in order to avoid the potential of a 15-year prison sentence.

With a wife and four kids at home, it wasn’t a risk he was willing to take, WDIV reported.

He maintained that he did nothing wrong by stopping the motorist, and said his conviction conveys the wrong message about helping police and stopping dangerous offenders.

“If you’re a good, stand-up citizen and Samaritan, and you do the right thing, you’re gonna be charged with multiple felonies,” Eckel said.

As part of the plea bargain, the veteran will not be allowed to possess firearms in his home for a period of two years. He is prohibited from carrying a firearm in public for the next eight years, WDIV reported.

Comments (30)
No. 1-13
Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

He's lucky he got off with probation. This guy definitely needs a break from guns to get that wild west mentality out of his system.

TheDude
TheDude

What the crap!? I hope there are private companies looking into helping his situation.

Milman
Milman

Detroit... Enough said!

bronx163
bronx163

Total bs. Sending a bad message.

KMdale
KMdale

I think all of us reading will argue based upon the laws we know in our own state and localities.

I don't know the Michigan laws, and I perceive the laws of Detroit to be restrictive.

Nothing is said about the LEO involved perspective.

Gap Filler
Gap Filler

Really? Wild West Mentality? And how about cops with God syndrome? Statistically speaking, private citizens put in more range and training hours than the average cop and that's according to their own organizations to the FBI. He hit precisely what he was aiming for!

Georgia
Georgia

All you need to know about this joke of a court case is "Detroit, MI"

LordSeamus
LordSeamus

What a crock of crap....I think he deserves a medal for stopping a fleeing felon.

Skidoo
Skidoo

What's the difference if a police officer or a competent citizen fires at the car's engine? If I see my neighbor's house starting to burn will I be prosecuted if I try to put it out because I'm not a qualified fireman? And could I be arrested for doing CPR because I'm not a paramedic?

Blue_lives_Matter
Blue_lives_Matter

@Skidoo no you won't get arrested but your apt to get sued by the person or family of the person you did CPR on. Unfortunately that happens quite often in today's society. We have become a nation of let's Sue anybody we can. It won't stop me from helping people though and I know it won't stop you from helping people good person that you are

Sailorgirl
Sailorgirl

I live outside Detroit, but lived in Arizona for over 20 years. Let me say, BLUE state vs RED state. That's the difference. In Arizona he would be APPRECIATED. Here, he's the villain.

Hannibal
Hannibal

This isn't the wild west. You can't just pull your firearm and shoot at vehicles. A bystander could be accidentally killed. Unless it is a clear cut case of self defense it is better to let the police handle these things. They have the authority and training to handle it.

Marxest
Marxest

What this man did was beyond reckless. Imagine if he had shot an innocent person? Let the police do THEIR JOB. He should only intervene if he is asked, and not a moment before.