Police fatally shoot ‘sovereign citizen’ after he refuses to show ID when turning over stray animal
Police fatally shot an Alabama “sovereign citizen” Tuesday during an altercation at an animal shelter.
Investigators said 30-year-old Robert Earl Lawrence became disorderly as he attempted to turn over a stray animal about 12:30 p.m. to the Dothan City Animal Shelter when an employee told him he could not leave without showing identification.
He instead showed paperwork that identified him as a sovereign citizen and, therefore, not bound by federal, state, or local laws.
Employees called police, who attempted to arrest Lawrence after they said he refused to calm down.
Police said Lawrence struggled with the arresting officer, who then shot him in the abdomen.
Lawrence died about 9:50 p.m., authorities said.
Prosecutors said Lawrence had obvious anger issues and often expressed anti-government views.
He pleaded guilty earlier this year to making harassing communications in connection with threats he made in January 2013 to the State Department of Human Resources, and he served 90 days in jail in that case.
Investigators said he had been angry with the department in connection with a child custody dispute.
Lawrence threatened to take a child hostage like Jimmy Lee Dykes, who snatched a 5-year-old child earlier this year and held him for a week in an underground bunker.
He also made references to the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, investigators said.
Two women filed protection orders against Lawrence this year after he allegedly choked one and threatened another.
Court documents listed a variety of addresses for Lawrence, including one in Florida and two on the same road in Dothan.
The shooting investigation has been turned over to the State Bureau of Investigations.