A man confronted an armed robber with nothing more than a Taser gun, so he is being charged with a felony.
Arguably, using a Taser in a gunfight was not a smart move. The risks were far too great.
However, Jeff Steele is being charged with a crime because even the slight advantage of a Taser gun is too much for the laws in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
“I was in the cooler right over here and when I stood up she was standing in the middle of the bar with a small handgun pointed at me,” said Colleen Hogan, the bartender at King’s Korner the night of the armed robbery.
“I (saw) Colleen having to pull money out of the till, I looked over, and (saw) the mask and somebody with a gun,” Steele said.
Heidi Thompson, 24, was the women underneath the mask.
“She said, ‘OK guys put your hands on your head and give me all the money, all the 20s,'” Hogan said.
Hogan says when she turned around with money from the register she saw Steele walking toward Thompson with his Taser.
“I don’t think he made contact because I could see it sparking, but he definitely startled (Thompson),” Hogan said.
Thompson ran from the bar and was arrested minutes later by La Crosse Police. But she isn’t the only one facing charges following the incident.
He is being charged with carrying an electronic weapon which, in Wisconsin, requires a concealed carry permit.
“You can have it in your home and on your private property without a concealed carry permit, but you do need to keep a concealed carry permit to carry it out in public,” said Officer Lisa Barrix, with the La Crosse Police Department.
So anyone who wants the Taser for the lawful reason of self-defense must jump through hoops. But criminals, of course, won’t bother with a permit.
Steele didn’t even realize he was breaking the law by carrying the weapon.
“When I bought it off the Internet it said basically that it’s legal to have in the state of Wisconsin, but didn’t go into any depth on it, so I assumed that it was legal to carry around, otherwise why would you buy one to leave it at home? How is it for defense then?” Steele said.
The police think they are being generous with Steele.
Barrix says because Steele tried to help he wasn’t immediately taken to jail.
How nice! If Steele hadn’t tried to help, no one would have learned that he was carrying a Taser on his person. He would never have been charged!