Could Patriot Act Be Used To Prosecute Alleged Ambulance Shooters?

By Corinne Rose

September 11, 2012 Updated Sep 11, 2012 at 6:18 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) -- One of the things to emerge after the September eleventh attacks was the controversial Patriot Act, which gives investigators broad powers to look into suspected domestic terrorism. But could there be another application for these laws?

People in the community are wondering whether domestic terrorism would apply in situations like the one this weekend, where an ambulance taking a patient to the hospital was hit by 17 bullets.

Early Sunday morning, the ambulance was transporting a man to the hospital who'd been stabbed at Piere's nightclub.

Police say that's when 24-year old Traneilous Jackson shot up the ambulance and a car full of the victim's friends before being caught.

The Patriot Act defines crimes intended to "intimidate or coerce a civilian population."

And former Allen County Prosecutor Bob Gevers says proving someone's intent is the sticking point.

"Most people who commit a violent act within our community are not thinking about the consequences and are not thinking about the impact that it has beyond those minutes and beyond that finite set of people involved," Gevers says.

The Patriot Act is a federal statute, and Gevers says federal prosecutors would be reluctant to charge someone in this type of crime with domestic terrorism, because you'd have to prove the intent to intimidate an entire population, even if the whole city is horrified by a crime.

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