71-year-old man arrested in gun attack on his friend's attackers

Melvin B. Spaulding told three men to stop hitting and kicking his friend. When they didn't listen, police say he fired his .22-caliber pistol

The Miami Herald

Dec. 3, 2003

ST. PETERSBURG -- (AP) -- A 71-year-old man was arrested for firing a gun at three men beating up his 63-year-old friend, striking one of the men in the arm, deputies said.

Melvin B. Spaulding held up his .22-caliber pistol and told the men to stop hitting and kicking his friend George Lowe. When they didn't listen, he fired the gun, Pinellas County Sheriff's spokesman Tim Goodman said.

''I'm sure he was concerned for his friend's safety. . . . '' Goodman said. ``The use of a weapon to stop a confrontation is not the right way. He would have been better off calling 911.''

James T. Moore, 20, was treated for the gunshot wound at Bayfront Medical Center and was arrested for an unrelated battery charge earlier the same night.

Lowe said the altercation began Sunday night when he heard loud noises outside his home and discovered a group of young men pounding on cars and shouting.

When he told them to stop, they attacked him, he said.

Spaulding, who had no criminal record in Florida, acknowledged firing the gun, according to sheriff's records. He was being held without bail in Pinellas County Jail.

The Pinellas-Pasco state attorney's office would carfully investigate the case before deciding whether to file an attempted murder charge against Spaulding, prosecutor Bruce Bartlett said.

''As far as I'm concerned, he's my hero,'' said Lowe, who suffered a torn leg muscle, bruises and a sore back in the fight.

``He's my friend, but he's also my hero.''

It could not be determined whether Spaulding or Moore had attorneys.


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