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Underwood out of jail on bond

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

July 30, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - A Tallahassee man who shot a suspected thief in Albany is free tonight. 20-year old John Underwood was released on bond Wednesday afternoon. Wearing a black shirt and a baseball cap, Underwood walked out of the jail around 2:30, just hours after a judge set his bond at $10,000.

Underwood is charged with aggravated assault for shooting 19-year old Charlie Henderson at the Comfort Suites on Dawson Road early Tuesday. Underwood told police he saw Henderson breaking into vehicles in the parking lot and when Henderson tried to leave, he shot him.

Philip Colson believes in the 2nd amendment, the right to bear arms. So much so, he wears that belief on his hip.  He said, "Self defense is number one and number two, I act as security officer for the store." Colson is the manager at Solo Archery, where he teaches the people who buy guns how to properly use them.

"We do have a number of people who do come into buy firearms for personal protection, both in the home and out of the home." But it's that word protection that is so tricky. Who and what are you entitled, by law, to protect?

D.A. Ken Hodges said, "You can protect your life or the life of others or you can protect serious injury to yourself or serious injury to others." 

According to police, Underwood wasn't being threatened, and Henderson was actually trying to leave the parking lot where he was seen tampering with cars.  Hodges said, "The court system is for the punishment of the people. Not the lynch mob or vigilante justice. Vigilante justice, especially when you're shooting someone, has serious and irreversible consequences and it's much better left to the court system."

Hodges says he understands people get frustrated and don't want the bad guys to get away, but even the so-called "bad guys" have rights. "The due process allowed under our constitution wants to protect everyone and it does give rights to the defendants." Now, Underwood, will be left defending himself.

It appears more people are concerned about personal safety. concealed weapons permits are up about 30% from a year ago. About 3500 people have concealed weapons permits. Since February, 353 people have received a permit to carry a concealed firearm.

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