Tragic Mistakeor Murder

Japanese exchange student approaches the wrong house—shot to death.

The Halloween decorations— a paper skeleton and a plastic ghost—are still outside of Rodney Peairs's neat brick house in Central, Louisiana. A red bloodstain is still on the floor of the carport. The decorations are the reason a sixteen-year-old lapanese exchange student, Yoshiro Hattori, approached the house. The bloodstain is the result.

Hattori was an exchange student. He had been in the United States for three months. He lived with an American family and attended high school. His classmates described him as bright, friendly, and full of energy.

Wrong House

On the Saturday night before Halloween, young Hattori dressed himself in a tuxedo with a white jacket. With his host family's son, he went looking for a Halloween party that was being given by another lapanese student. But the two young men had the wrong address. They got lost.

When they saw Halloween decorations at the Peairs's house, they stopped and knocked. Mrs. Peairs came to the door. She was afraid. She quickly shut the door and told her husband to get his gun. The boys walked to the carport door. Peairs appeared with a gun and told them to "freeze."

But Hattori didn't understand the word freeze because his English was poor. Freeze means stop moving. He continued moving toward Peairs. Peairs shot him. A neighbor ran to help, but it was too late.

The shooting shocked Japan. The shooting has created a furor1 there. Many Japanese already think that America is a land of guns and violence, and this incident proved it to them.

In Central, the people are sad and feel sorry, but they are not shocked. Central is a small town in Louisiana. Most of the people who live there are working class and white. Most people in Central have guns for hunting. In fact, guns are as common as garden hoses.

Shoot-the-Burglar Law

"White people are quick on the trigger here," said G. Washington Eames, head of the NAACP.2 Louisiana has a "shoot-the-burglar" law. This law says that killing may be justified if a person finds a stranger inside the four walls of his house. However, it is not clear if a carport, which is only a roof over a driveway, is "four walls."

Peairs is thirty years old. He is a butcher at a local supermarket. His neighbor says he is a friendly person and is not trigger-happy.3 "He's one of the calmest persons I know," the neighbor said. "He's very easy-going." The police say Peairs has no criminal record.

1 furor: storm of anger

2NAACP: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, an organization that fights racial prejudice

3trigger-happy: (slang) likes to pull the trigger of a gun; in other words, likes to shoot guns

1. Now take information from the story on page 189 and write ten new sentences containing adjective clauses. Write five sentences with who or that and five sentences with which or that.

Example:

Yoshiro Hattori, who was a student from Japan, was killed by Rodney Peairs,

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Responses

  • Esmeralda Took-Took
    Where is rodney Peairs now?
    8 years ago

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