commentary by Patrick H. Moore
Back in an earlier incarnation, I used to work with a large (6’3”, 200 pounds), out-spoken fellow whom I referred to jocularly as The Big Fascist. I called him this because he took great delight in aggressively advancing extreme right-wing viewpoints. When we weren’t discussing politics or social issues, we would talk about our children. The Big Fascist, whose name was actually Patrick just like mine, loved describing how when his three young daughters reached adolescence, he would camp out at the top of the stairs with a loaded shotgun just in case it became necessary to shoot an unwanted suitor. He even considered remodeling the upstairs of his house so that he could see the staircase while lying prone contemplating his naval in his king-sized bed.
Today we have a case that comes to us out of the Spring-area of the Bridgestone Lakes sub-division in Harris County, TX that reminds me of Big Patrick’s dilemma, only this time around, the father actually shot and killed his 16-year-old daughter’s boyfriend, a 17-year-old boy named Johran McCormick.
Sadly, even though the daughter had snuck her boyfriend into her bedroom, his tragic death could have been avoided if only she’d confessed that he was with her after he was discovered by her younger brother who saw his feet sticking out from under the bed when he entered his sister’s room to say goodnight at around 2:00 am on Thursday, March 13. Little brother reported his discovery to his father, who is still unidentified at this time. The father then understandably went up to his daughter’s bedroom, walked in and asked questions, while armed with a handgun.
Although the father must have initially assumed that the boy was there with his daughter, when she claimed not to know him, the father allegedly believed her. This is the part I don’t understand. Unless the daughter was a superb actor, it seems pretty obvious that the boy had to be with her. Otherwise, she would obviously have been completely terrified to discover a strange male under her bed at 2:30 in the morning. But maybe she did act terrified. Maybe she was convincing. Who knows?
In any event, the father initially did the proper thing. He phoned 911 and reported that there was an intruder in their house. But then things went rapidly downhill.
If we give the father the benefit of the doubt, and assume for the moment that he really did believe the boy was an intruder, it’s quite understandable that he would be extremely nervous while waiting for the police to arrive. And, of course, if it had been a home invasion, or if the boy had been a burglar, he might well have been armed. Thus, if the father really believed his daughter’s tall tale, he had every reason to be very concerned.
What should he have done, assuming that he truly believed his daughter’s story? He should probably have shooed his daughter out of the room before carefully exiting himself. Either that or he should have shooed his daughter out of the room and then waited for the police with his gun trained on the boy.
Unfortunately, neither of these two possible scenarios played out. Instead, it is reported that the father began arguing with McCormick. Then, according to what the father told deputies after their arrival, McCormick dropped his hands as if to grab something, so the man opened fire. The teen died, either there in the bedroom or in another room of the house.
The fact that the boy dropped his hands as if to grab something clearly indicates that by this point, he was no longer lying under the bed with only his feet exposed.
It’s still unclear whether the daughter witnessed her father unloading on her boyfriend.
After shooting and killing the boy, the father apparently experienced a panic attack and was transported to a nearby hospital for medical appraisal. Constables said the man appeared to be on several medications.
Tiffany Craig of KHOU 11 News reports that 17-year-old Johran McCormick’s parents believe that the father didn’t have to kill their son after catching him inside his daughter’s bedroom.
“I would like my baby back, but I know that’s not possible,” said Zakia McCormick. “He didn’t deserve to die like that.”
Neighbors of the family were torn on what the father did.
“As a mom, I just can’t imagine,” said Letica Field. “I know the dad was trying to protect the family, but he should have let the authorities handle it.”
Neighbors report that the two-minivan family moved in earlier this month and was renting the three-bedroom home.
“Nothing like this has ever happened here before,” said one neighbor who asked to remain anonymous. “Kids get run off from the (subdivision’s) lakes nearby, but that’s about it.”
The Harris County Sheriff Office’s investigators said they will present their findings to the Harris County Grand Jury to decide whether any charges will be filed.
* * * * *
I suspect, and I’m sure I’m not alone, that the father may walk on either a Stand Your Ground or a self-defense theory.
This whole dreadful scenario is extremely sobering. There were certainly times in my lively and partially misspent youth when I snuck into girlfriends’ houses for a variety of reasons, some more nefarious than others. Somehow, I was never caught.
As those who know me well are quite aware, I’ve been endlessly lucky which is why I’m clicking away at this keyboard rather than pushing up daisies.
Johran McCormick, however, had no luck at all and his mother will be heart-broken for the rest of her days.
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