The attorney for a maintenance worker who fatally shot two teens police say were attacking him with a baseball bat Wednesday said his client carried a gun because of the nature and location of his work, but is not a gun rights activist or even a hunter.
“He considers it an occupational necessity” to carry a gun and has a permit to do so, the lawyer, David Geraghty, said Friday. He represents Jeremy Rossetto, 39, of Cudahy, who was released from jail Friday after initially being arrested on possible homicide charges after the incident.
Prosecutors ordered Rossetto released, but they will continue investigating the circumstances and don’t expect a decision soon on whether Rossetto will face formal charges.
“We feel pretty confident it was self-defense,” Geraghty said.
Police say Anmarie Miller, 17, and James Bell Jr., 19, both of Milwaukee, were killed. Rossetto and a 20-year-old man who was with the teens, Clarence Alls, were arrested. Rossetto was treated for injuries he suffered in the attack. Alls was also released from jail Friday, prosecutors said, without being charged.
Police said the three younger people got into an argument with Rossetto in a stairwell inside the apartment building in the 1400 block of N. 27th St. One of the three was holding Rossetto while another beat him with a bat, before he drew a gun and fired, police said.
Geraghty declined to discuss specifics of what happened. He said the three were strangers to Rossetto, who is still shaken about the incident and considers it a tragedy.
He said Rossetto contracts with landlords to do a variety of maintenance tasks, from simple plumbing repair and fire extinguisher replacement to meeting with inspectors. Geraghty said Rossetto has never before used his gun in a confrontation.
Miller was a student at Milwaukee Public Schools’ Transition High School, 2610 W. North Ave., according to the district.
Nik Clark, president of Wisconsin Carry Inc., a gun rights advocacy group, said Friday that most concealed-carry permit classes stress several conditions any gun owner must consider before using deadly force.
“Be innocent of instigation, don’t start anything,” he said, and retreat if possible.
If retreat is not possible, Clark said, calculate the disparity of force. For example, he said, it might not be justified for him to shoot a frail, elderly woman even if she attacked him with a bat. But the opposite scenario would likely favor justified deadly force, he said.
Lastly, grave danger must be imminent, like someone advancing with a knife from closer than 20 feet. A knife-wielding assailant 100 feet away would not pose imminent grave danger, Clark said.
Clark said that from what’s been reported so far, it seems all four factors were present when Rossetto chose to use his gun.