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Prosecutors drop charges against veteran

  |   Nov. 14, 2011 at 10:56 PM
ATLANTA, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Prosecutors dropped felony charges against an Atlanta veteran who fired four shots into the ground outside his home to scare off a man he suspected was a thief.

But while he gained his freedom Friday after seven months in the Fulton County Jail, former Marine David Sturdivant, who served four tours of duty in Vietnam and received a Purple Heart, has lost a kidney after being shot by a police officer, his home, his business and all his possessions, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Sturdivant, 64, could have been freed about two weeks ago if he had pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, for which he would have received probation.

But he refused, saying he did nothing wrong when he fired into the dirt last April with a commercial-grade M14 to scare off the alleged intruder. He could have received up to 105 years in prison if convicted on the felony charges.

Police officers were near Sturdivant's home with a crew filming the truTV reality television program "Bait Car" when they heard the shots and responded. They found Sturdivant naked and armed, demanded he drop the gun and then shot him.

Police said he had pointed the rifle at them. He said he didn't. An Atlanta Police Department internal investigation is pending.

Sturdivant's house and repair business burned while he was in jail. The lawnmowers he had in his shop, his two antique cars, surveillance cameras, electronics and ham radio equipment, clothes and important papers are gone.

"He still faces many challenges," said his lawyer, public defender Wes Bryant. "He will have no clothes, no money and no place to live."

Sturdivant will likely go to the Veterans Administration for treatment of his gunshot wound and the VA might recommend a place for him to stay, Bryant said.

Dennis Alexander, the alleged intruder, was not charged in the case. He was released from the Fulton County jail Sept. 7 after posting $1,500 bond on unrelated charges of burglary, loitering and theft by taking.

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