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Road Rage Shooter Identified; Attorney Claims Self-Defense

By Merlin Mann
Published On: Feb 16 2011 01:20:50 AM CST
Updated On: Feb 16 2011 09:02:17 AM CST
ABILENE, Texas -

Chris North has been identified, officially for the first time, as the man who shot and killed Austin David on Feb. 9 during what the Abilene Police Department called a road rage incident.

A lifelong resident of Abilene, North, 44, was identified by attorney Sam Moore, who was hired by the family to represent North.

Moore told the media during a news conference in his office Wednesday that North fired his gun in self-defense. He said that David "had already pulled a gun and had threatened to kill him."

Moore also said that some witnesses have indicated that David may have fired the first shot during the deadly confrontation.

Moore specifically wanted to address public concerns, some expressed through letters to the editor in the local newspaper, about the incident. He called much of the public discussion and speculation untrue.

"Obviously," he said, "there are facts that the public doesn't know." He said that he couldn't divulge all the facts of the case, but nevertheless added details not previously reported in the case.

"Most cases are black and white," he said. But, in this case, he said "there's going to be facts that come out that will change a lot of opinions."

Moore said that North felt "trapped" and that his life was threatened before the fatal shooting.

Witnesses have said the two men first confronted each other in the southbound lanes on Sayles Boulevard at the intersection with South 14th Street.

During this confrontation, Moore said, David pulled a gun, pointed it at North and verbally threatened his life. Moore said that, at this point, no shots were fired, but he said that "threats were made, threats of death."

Both drivers returned to their vehicles after this confrontation.

He said that North indicated he felt trapped. He couldn't pull forward because of traffic on South 14th Street ? so he went back, ramming into David's car, located immediately behind him. North's pickup pushed David's car back and across the median of Sayles Boulevard and into the northbound lanes.

Moore said that his client could see David getting out of his car with his gun. He said he's not certain but that David may have fired his gun also.

It was at that point that North fired the shot that killed David, Moore said.

The attorney said that killing another person is against the law and that the law needs to be enforced. He also said, "You have a right ... to protect yourself from deadly force.

"Is there any reason why that law should not also be enforced?" the attorney asked.

He indicated that North was devastated by the shooting incident. "Have you ever caused the death of another human being? It's unimaginable."

Moore said this is something he'll have to live with for the rest of his life. After the shooting occurred, North "dropped his hands. He was dumbstruck," Moore said.

Moore said that North "didn't do it out of anger. He was doing it out of terror."

He said that rather than experiencing road rage, his client experienced "road terror."

Moore defended the handling of the case by the Abilene Police Department, which has come under some criticism for not arresting North.

He said the police and the district attorney are doing their jobs. He said that if a crime has been committed, his client may yet face indictment by a grand jury and trial for the shooting.

Yet he defended his client, claiming he acted in self-defense.

"When the police decided not to arrest the man ... then there's more to it. That's obvious," he said.