Charges Dropped Against NH Man Who Fired Gun To Stop Burglar

MANCHESTER, N.H. (CBS) – Charges have been dropped against a New Hampshire man who captured a man who robbed his home this past weekend.

It all started Saturday afternoon, when police were called to two homes on Ten Rod Road because someone had broken into them.

Officers found 61-year-old Dennis Fleming holding off the suspect with a handgun. Fleming’s home was one of the two that were robbed.

Twenty-seven-year-old Joseph Hebert was arrested and charged with two counts of burglary. But it didn’t end there.

Police later found out that Fleming had been looking for Hebert for about half-an-hour after the robbery.

When he caught up with him, Fleming fired a warning shot into the ground. No one was hurt, but that was enough for police to charge Fleming with reckless conduct for firing his gun in a residential area.

Fleming told WBZ-TV Monday he was wrong to take the law into his own hands.

Despite that, Fleming’s story caught fire nationwide, and it was even picked up overseas by the London Daily Mail.

“I don’t want to be a poster child for gun advocacy or anything like that,” Fleming told WBZ-TV’s New Hampshire Bureau Chief Lauren Leamancyzk on Wednesday. “It’s not what I’m looking for.”

Fleming may not want to be the poster child, but, gun advocates from all over the county rallied to his defense.

Fleming was facing four to seven years behind bars if convicted.

  • Christina Cara Dartez

    I think the case should have been dropped also due to the nature of the crime. Too bad he didn’t catch the man in his house that robber just got lucky!!

  • Bobo Nemo

    Live free and still get charged.

  • NikW

    Cops may have not caught this guy without this guy.
    good for him

  • mikey

    Seems strange that firing the handgun into the ground is considered reckless and unsafe when that’s exactly what the state tells primitive firearms users to do to ‘unload’ their firearm.

  • edawg781

    Actually if you read the title of the story “Charges Dropped”……

  • a ducharme,sr


    If everyone carried a side arm,house breaks would drop by at least 70 %
    and if they are in the house ,no one would have to go to court. !!!!

  • recalldeval

    We should have them tell that clambag, marsha cokley, that sometimes “self help” is an option

  • Jeff D.

    I agree that the charges should have been dropped, however I do have some reservations. 1. Pulling a gun on someone that is unarmed and not threatening you is known as “assult with a deadly weapon” I don’t know the exact details of what happend, so that is a gray area. 2. He discharged his weapon near other homes. That is also illegal, depending on local laws. 3. He did direct his shot into the ground. Any gun owner should know that, yes its a little better than firing into the air, but any shot that is aimed at the ground has the potential and usually do bounce off and who knows where it will go. Owning a gun does not give anyone unlimited rights. Unless you are threatend with a deadly weapon first,, or inside your house during a home invasion, then you have the right to use your gun. Otherwise leave the bad guy catching up to the experts, the police.

    • jaygee

      Everything you say has to do with the homeowner and his “rights”. Why don’t you mention the criminal who broke into his house and his “rights”. May I ask what you would do if someone broke into your house to steal everything you have worked for in order to buy drugs or anything else. As far as leaving the police “experts” to take care of the problem, you are joking, right?

      • Redhead

        I second the motion of jaygee. That scumbag is where he belongs right now and I credit this man for catching up to him and firing his warning shot. Good for Him. Glad they dropped the charges too.

    • ndl77

      I cannot comprehend your views on this matter. The point is, if the criminal wasnt engaging in criminal activities in the first place this wouldnt be an issue. My house in Massachusetts was burgularized in December and my 8 month pregnant wife came home to find the door kicked in. If i dont have the right to defend my property from drug addicts and criminals using my licensed guns, than what rights do I have as a law abiding citizen.
      Its greate they dropped charges, i thought NH was getting soft on crime like massachusetts.

      • Badbullgator

        Good thing for the criminal (that would be the scumbag breaking into homes, not the guy who caught him) because here the shot would not have been into the ground.

    • Alex

      But remember folks, it’s okay for law enforcement to commit “assault with a deadly weapon” when they apprehend people in the same exact circumstances, which they almost always do in cases of greater exigency such as when confronting burglars or robbers.

      Yet more proof that the world is filled with misguided people who believe all animals are equal, some are just a little a little more than everyone else, and the inference seems clear reasonably clear that you believe pigs (“Animal Farm” pun intended) are more equal than the other peon barnyard animals (the rest of the citizenry who are not able to apprehend criminals (particularly those who have have just victimized us) on equal footing with police.

  • Jeff D.

    No I’m not joking. I am a gun owner and I did pay attention to what I had to read and sign when I applied for my LTC. The guy he went after had left his house and wasn’t even on his property when he caught him. Unless the robber aimed a gun, or threatened him with bodily harm with a weapon (a knife would do), he was technically outside his rights to pull a gun on him. Now I don’t know if it he was threatend with some kind of weapon, that wasn’t reported, but the law is the law and from what was reported, he was not in his rights to do what he did, pure and simple. He was lucky to have the charges dropped.

    • ndl77

      If he lived in Texas he would have been legally and rightfully shot dead.

      In Massachusetts he would have been sent to a state funded rehab facility and the DA would have helped him file a lawsuit against Mr. Flemming for scaring him and causing him to ruin his underpants.

    • falcon

      So if the law says that you cannot own a firearm to defend yourself you would just stand there and die so as to be a “law abiding” citizen? Ever heard the saying, “better judged by 12 than carried by 6.”?

      • falcon

        @Jeff, as for the cops doing their job, I have no doubt that eventually they do catch the criminal but it’s usually the liberal judges that are the problem by releasing these scumbags to commit more crimes.

    • Crowman

      If you fear for your life and can articulate is enough to “pull your gun” and fire the weapon at the bad man. Another weapon is not required to “pull your gun”. If you fear for your life, such as two or three bad men, much bigger than you, has a hammer or rock in his hand, etc. is enough to not only pull your gun but to fire at the bad man. Do not confuse pulling your weapon and firing your weapon. He was Not lucky to have the charges dropped, and did you forget they confiscated all of his other weapons? Who ordered these officers to arrest him and what was the probable cause for same.

  • frank

    If he lived in mass it wouldnt have mattered it the charges got dropped or not. He would have just been given probation and opening day sox tickets

    • Robert

      If he had lived in Mass, he would have been arrested for owning an illegal handgun. :(

      • jay

        if he lived in mass or rhode island he wouldn’t have had a gun! god forbid they allow law abiding folks to own firearms!

  • Foolishness

    So he should have just let the guy go….. never to be caught and free to rob other’s houses…… yeah that just makes a lot of sense.
    You break into someone’s home and steal from them, tough if someone pulls a gun on you! Way too many liberties for criminals and not enough slack for hard-working people trying to protect what they have

    • bosmonkey

      Yes, he should’ve let the guy go! He had no legal right to go after the guy. Plain and simple. That’s law and there’s argument against it. Vigilantes find themselves being arrested tihnking they are helping. Let the cops do their jobs instead being the tough guy with the gun and thinking you can do whatever the hell you like.

      • Thanks Soldiers

        So you want the violated to just yell at the crook to stop and surrender? A controlled weapon discharge into the soil was alarming enough to get the crook to stop. He did what any smart gun owner would do. The charges that were filed against the homeowner is just a formality by the officers that responded. After all the guy did discharge a weapon in a residential so it’s up to the DA to either make them stick or to drop them I imagine that is just protocol but the DA did their job and investigated and came to a conclusion and dropped the charges. The police would get there and without a strong lead they would just take a statement and file paperwork for homeowners insurance and then that would probably be the end of it. This homeowner probably either seen the burglar walking or had a time table on when it happened and figured the guy might not be far and decided to take a look so he had his legal firearm and went to handle this. Good job everyone.

  • taxedout

    Not so..If he lived in Mass he would be on Death row now!!!! The thief would have sued him for 10 million and he would be living in Cambridge!!!

    • One guy

      Stop complaining about MA or gtfo. No one wants a whiner.

      • Robert

        Look, the reality is that Mass residents have a lot to complain about! Mass would have drawn and quartered this guy and, let’s face it, the likelihood of him jumping through all the handgun hoops would have been nil across the border anyway. If he’d had a handgun and stopped the burglary, more than likely the weapon would have been illegal. He’d be in a prison cell next to the burglar. Live Free or Die !

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