Montgomery County

Deadly Cemetery Shooting Was Self Defense, Police Say

The Montgomery County District Attorney has decided not to charge the gunman who killed a Philadelphia man in a shooting in a Horsham cemetery, last month

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Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele has decided not to bring charges against the individual that took part in a deadly shooting that happened in March at the grave of a man who was killed by gun violence ten years prior.

In a statement released on Friday, Steele said that an investigation into the shooting that occurred on March 18 at Whitemarsh Memorial Park in Ambler, found that Daniel Hawkins, 29, of Philadelphia, was shot and killed in self-defense.

“There is no doubt about who shot and killed Hawkins, so the legal issue to be analyzed is whether this was a justifiable killing," Steele said in a statement.

Steele said that an investigation into the shooting determined that Hawkins was killed by Arian Davis, 33, also of Philadelphia, who was seriously injured in the shooting.

Steele said that police now believe the incident unfolded after Hawkins showed up alone at a birthday party at the grave of Tyrek Fairel -- who was killed in a Norristown shooting in 2013 -- in a stolen vehicle, armed with a handgun that had been illegally modified into a fully automatic weapon.

According to investigators, Hawkins found Davis, who he knew, seated in a car along with a friend. Steele said that Hawkins approached and began firing his weapon into the vehicle.

Davis responded by firing back with a legally owned weapon, Steele said.

"To be justified in his shooting of Hawkins, the shooter had to be in reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury. Evidence shows that Hawkins approached Davis’ vehicle and began firing multiple rounds at him using a firearm that was illegally altered to fire rapidly. Bullets struck Davis in multiple parts of his body before he fired back, striking Hawkins and killing him,” said Steele, in a statement. “Davis was under attack and in danger of being killed when he fired his legally owned weapon to end the threat. For these reasons, I conclude that this was a justifiable shooting, and therefore, no criminal charges are warranted.”

Davis suffered injuries in his jaw, hand and leg during this shooting, police said.

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