‘When we make them a pariah, we drive them underground,’ says district attorney
A Durango man accused of breaking into another man’s house in the middle of the night and attempting to fatally shoot him may have been carrying out an act of vigilantism directed toward a registered sex offender, according to the victim and an arrest affidavit.
Several details of the Aug. 9 shooting remain unknown or have not yet been made public by law enforcement.
For example, it is unknown if the suspect, Troy Allen Brown, 34, and the victim, Thomas Jeffrey _____ , 52, knew each other. It is also unknown how Brown identified _____ as a sex offender.
What is known is that _____ was listed as a sex offender on a registry maintained by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. The registry is publicly available to search online. It lists Mitchell’s address, apartment number, physical description and includes a mug shot of _____ . It says he has an out-of-state conviction in 2006 for child molestation and convictions in 2011 for sexual exploitation of a child involving videos.
Sixth Judicial District Attorney Christian Champagne said it is unknown if Brown used the CBI’s sex offender registry to target _____ , “but that’s certainly something that we’re looking at.”
If Brown did use the registry, it raises questions about the registry’s goals and the potential dangers of publicly identifying sex offenders, who are among the most socially stigmatized class of criminals.