“I was in fear for my life” are slowly but surely becoming the most dangerous words in the white American lexicon. We’ve seen story after story where white people have used these words to justify their trigger-happy behavior during confrontations with unarmed black people and gotten off scot-free after taking lives. But one man isn’t so lucky as he’s been charged with second-degree murder after he fatally shot an unarmed black man following a minor traffic accident in St. Paul, Minn., Friday night.
According to KSTP 5, 24-year-old Anthony J. Trifiletti was arrested for shooting and killing 39-year-old Douglas C. Lewis. Trifiletti told St. Paul police that he was driving on U.S. Hwy. 61 when Lewis hit him from behind. Trifiletti’s friends were driving behind him in a separate car and told police they saw the accident and the subsequent confrontation between the two motorists. Trifiletti said he told his friends to leave because he feared Lewis might have a weapon.
From News 5:
Trifiletti later told police a Ford hit his vehicle from behind, and they pulled to the side of the road. He said he talked to Lewis and asked for his insurance information but Lewis yelled that he wanted Trifiletti’s information.
After asking again for Lewis’s insurance information, Trifiletti said Lewis yelled something about a gang that Trifiletti didn’t understand. Trifiletti then said he walked back to his truck and grabbed his 9mm handgun to put in his waistband holster. Lewis then started to pull away in his vehicle and Trifiletti did, too, but said he unintentionally followed Lewis.
According to the complaint, Trifiletti said Lewis then stopped his vehicle, got out and put his hand under his shirt. That’s when Trifiletti said he fired his gun three or four times at Lewis because he was afraid he was going to die. Trifiletti then left the scene, called his father and told him what happened. He said his father told him to go back to the scene, so he did.
Trifiletti also told police he didn’t think just driving away was an option because he thought Lewis would shoot at him.
Fox 9 reports, no gun was found on Lewis’ person or in his car.
According to police, Trifiletti wasn’t arrested until the next day, which is perplexing considering he shot an unarmed man who he “unintentionally” followed, then fled the scene before ultimately returning to face what he had done.
Trifiletti told police he believes he heard Lewis say something about being in a gang, but Lewis’ sister, Valerie, told the Star Tribune her brother was a father of four who made a living as a delivery driver. She also noted that Trifiletti’s justification for shooting her brother sounds all too familiar.
“White people can get away with killing a black man by saying they were afraid,” She said.
Hopefully, this white man won’t be getting away with it this time.