The following vignettes describe the circumstances for killings not ruled self-defense by private individuals with permits to carry concealed handguns. The incidents below all occurred in California. The descriptions include the current, known status of any charges filed against the concealed carry killer as reported by news sources as well as noting instances where the perpetrator committed suicide.
The Violence Policy Center welcomes any new information regarding the status of any case (with verifiable source(s)). Use this link to contact the VPC: http://www.vpc.org/contact.htm.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Jeremy Don Fennell CONVICTED
Date: March 15, 2019
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On March 15, 2019, concealed handgun permit holder Jeremy Don Fennell, 38, shot and killed Lawrence Walker, 25, following an argument in the parking area behind the Sin Cal Industries tattoo and body piercing shop. Walker and his wife Jessica Estrada, who were experiencing homelessness, were sitting on the curb behind the tattoo business when Fennell arrived at work. According to trial testimony, Fennell parked in the stall where Walker was seated, and got out of his vehicle with a gun wrapped in a sweatshirt and approached the couple. Estrada testified that Fennell was immediately aggressive and said, “You need to get your homeless s— and get the f— out of here.” Fennell testified that he informed the couple that they would be open for business soon and asked them to take their belongings and leave. He claimed that the couple began shouting profanities at him and that Walker “popped up” from the ground and came toward him. Fennell claimed he acted in self defense, firing once when Walker stepped off the curb. The Chief Deputy District Attorney said that Fennell had an unreasonable justification for shooting Walker based on stereotypes about homeless people with drug addictions. In statements to police and on social media posts before the shooting, Fennell called homeless people “druggie bush people” and said they carry diseases and are less than human. In one social media post he wrote, “If we can not kill them all like we can other pests then we must not feed the wild drug addicts.” In December 2020, Fennell was convicted of second degree murder and a gun enhancement. On May 18, 2021, Fennel was sentenced to 15 years to life for second degree murder and 25 years to life for the gun enhancement, for a total of 40 years to life in prison.
Source: “Modesto business owner was convicted of killing homeless man. Judge gave him 40 years,” Modesto Bee, May 19, 2021.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Richard Vithya Tauch CONVICTED
Date: January 19, 2010
People Killed: 2
Circumstances: On January 19, 2010, Richard Vithya Tauch allegedly shot and killed his ex-girlfriend Jenny Van Sor and her new boyfriend Wen Chao. The shooting occurred at the senior facility where Chao’s father lived. Tauch had a permit to carry a firearm as a security guard. Tauch was booked for investigation of the double murder and held in lieu of $1 million bail.
UPDATE: On November 19, 2013, Richard Vithya Tauch was found guilty of two counts of first degree murder in the deaths of Jenny Van Sor and Wenwa Chao. On June 19, 2014, Tauch was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Source: “Corona man sentenced to life in prison,” Los Angeles Times, June 20, 2014; “Man accused of gunning down ex-girlfriend and companion in Monterey Park senior housing complex,” Los Angeles Times, January 20, 2010.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: James Thomas Boll CONVICTED
Date: December 18, 2009
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On December 18, 2009, concealed handgun permit holder James Thomas Boll, 68, shot and killed Charles John Morrison, 48, his neighbor at the Mount Vista Mobile and RV Park. Boll fired at Morrison 15 times with a 45 caliber pistol, hitting him with 11 rounds. Aiming at his head and center of his body, Boll stopped to reload after firing his first eight shots, and continued shooting Morrison as he lay on the ground. Conflict between the two men had been building for months. Morrison had parked his trailer on a space formerly used by Boll, an “avid cat lover.” He soon found 30 to 40 cats frequently defecating around the trailer, having become accustomed to visiting it when Boll occupied the space. Morrison reportedly told Boll that he hated cats and would shoot them. Boll’s efforts to clean up around Morrison’s trailer led to an additional confrontation when Morrison accused Boll of spying on his girlfriend through a trailer window. The triggering event occurred when Morrison left his truck running in the space between the two men’s trailers. The exhaust set off Boll’s carbon monoxide detector, leading him to claim that Morrison “…almost got away with the perfect murder.” The shooting occurred when Boll left his trailer to confront Morrison over the idling truck. Boll was found guilty of second-degree murder and faces a possible 40 years to life in prison.
Source: “Man found guilty of murder in shooting,” ChicoER.com, September 7, 2011; “Man charged in shooting takes stand,” ChicoER.com, September 2, 2011.
Concealed Handgun Permit Holder: Thomas Crenshaw Smith CONVICTED
Date: July 30, 2009
People Killed: 1
Circumstances: On July 30, 2009, concealed handgun permit holder Thomas Crenshaw Smith, 68, shot and killed his son Joshua Smith, 26, following an argument in their home. According to Smith’s wife Victoria, the father and son were “kind of putting each other down” and saying hurtful things to each other. At one point, Thomas Smith left the room, and Victoria and Joshua Smith heard a “pop.” They went down the hall to investigate and noticed a hole in the ceiling. Thomas Smith was holding a gun to his head, telling Joshua to “pull the trigger.” Joshua replied, “No, dad, I can’t, I love you.” After both men turned to walk away, Thomas Smith fired one shot, hitting Joshua in the right side of his chest, killing him. On July 22, 2010, Thomas Smith was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter. He was sentenced to nine years in prison. On February 6, 2012, Thomas Smith’s conviction was affirmed on appeal.
Source: The People v. Thomas Crenshaw Smith, Court of Appeal of California, Fifth Appellate District, February 6, 2012; “Father convicted of voluntary manslaughter in death of son,” Bakersfield Californian, July 22, 2010.