The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s office has filed charges of one count of attempted murder, a first degree felony, and two counts of aggravated assault, third-degree felonies, against a Bluffdale man who shot a neighbor who was on a neighborhood watch patrol. 43-year-old Reginald Campos was charged after he shot David Serbeck the night of July 22nd, and he could spend the rest of his life in prison. Serbeck was patrolling his neighborhood that evening with his HOA president and fellow neighborhood watcher, Troy Peterson, because there had been a series of car burglaries and incidences of vandalism.
While on patrol, the pair approached a group of girls to ask what they were doing walking down the street that time of night. One of those girls was Reginald Campos’ daughter. After the questioning, the girls drove to the Campos home and reported that they felt they were being stalked by Serbeck and Peterson. Campos left three of the girls at his house while he and his daughter went searching for the two that questioned the group.
According to charging documents, Campos pulled in front of Serbeck’s vehicle and slammed on his brakes. Then he jumped out of his vehicle, gun in hand pointed at the other two, and demanded that Serbeck put his hands up. Meanwhile, Serbeck was exiting his vehicle with his gun in his hand, but he was holding it upside down and by the barrel. He immediately put his gun on the ground and kicked it away. Inexplicably, Campos went ahead and shot at Serbeck twice anyway. Serbeck was hit once in the shoulder and the bullet passed through his body and exited his back. He is now permanently paralyzed.
Neighborhood watch programs are very important tools for maintaining safe communities, but they must be run safely. There are resources such as the National Neighborhood Watch Institute, that provide training and resources so they can be run safely and effectively. Its mission statement emphasizes these goals:
National Neighborhood Watch Institute, NNWI, is dedicated to supplying Crime Prevention Materials to aid in the reduction of criminal activity both Domestically and Internationally.
We offer a cohesive Neighborhood Watch program involving: training materials, window warning decals, work sheets and quality street signs. Additionally, we have been the first to offer Homeland Security street signs. NNWI also offers Operation ID decals and property logs. All our products are designed to assist the crime prevention professional, as well as the public, in the process of crime prevention.
We strive to provide excellent educational materials and products that build observation and reporting skills, as well as signage warning of the obvious presence of crime prevention activities.
The most important thing to remember, however, is that when criminal activity is suspected or observed, the proper authorities should be notified rather than taking matters into your own hands. Unfortunately, David Serbeck never had that chance because Reginald Campos took it away from him.
Bret Hanna of Wrona DuBois in Utah, focuses exclusively on litigating plaintiffs’ medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. He has represented clients in state and federal courts, in mediations, and in administrative proceedings in Michigan and Utah since 1991.