Supreme Court Justice’s Security Shooting Raises Eyebrows

Reports of a Supreme Court justice’s security detail shooting an armed man near her home have raised eyebrows due to the liberal jurist’s views on gun rights.

According to a criminal complaint reviewed by Newsweek, at approximately 1:17 a.m. ET July 5, two U.S. marshals were stationed on “protective detail” in Washington, D.C., when a silver minivan “stopped directly next” to the officers. A man exited the minivan, approached the marshals—who were in an unmarked government vehicle—and aimed a gun directly at one of the officers through the driver’s-side window.

The deputy responded by drawing his firearm and shooting the suspect, identified as Kentrell Flowers, 18, four times, including on his mouth, according to the complaint. The same deputy then provided first aid to Flowers while the minivan fled the scene.

Flowers was treated for his injuries and arrested, charged with attempted carjacking and assaulting, resisting or impeding an officer using a dangerous weapon, according to authorities.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Marshals Service told the Associated Press that the deputies were part of the detail assigned to protecting Supreme Court justices, and the incident occurred while the deputies were stationed near Sotomayor’s home. There is no indication that the justice was being targeted.

Justice Sotomayor's Security Shooting Armed Man RaisesEyebrows
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor is seen at Zarzuela Palace on March 4 in Madrid. Sotomayor faced criticism for her views on the Second Amendment after reports that a carjacking suspect was shot by a…

Pablo Cuadra/Getty Images

Several conservatives highlighted Sotomayor’s perspective on the Second Amendment in light of the arrest. The justice, who was appointed to the bench by former President Barack Obama, has drawn scowls from gun rights activists in the past over her interpretation of the right to bear arms.

Some accounts on X, formerly Twitter, pointed out that Sotomayor joined the dissenting opinion in the 2010 ruling on McDonald v. Chicago, which ultimately found that the Second Amendment applied to state and local governments as well as those at the federal level. Former Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in the dissent, “In sum, the Framers did not write the Second Amendment in order to protect a private right of armed self-defense. There has been, and is, no consensus that the right is, or was, ‘fundamental.'”

“In 2010, Justice Sotomayor joined a dissenting opinion in McDonald v. Chicago … Meanwhile, Sotomayor’s armed security team just sh*t a would-be carjacker outside her house,” posted conservative X account Libs of TikTok. “Yet, regular citizens don’t have the right to private armed self defense in her view. Rules for thee and not for me.”

School safety activist Ryan Petty—whose daughter was killed during the February 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida—also reacted to reports of the shooting near Sotomayor’s home, writing on X, “Defensive gun use.” Petty has spoken out against gun control measures while pushing to keep students safer from gun violence.

Another X user, who was responding to the New York Post’s report, wrote: “‘Guns for me, not for thee.’ – Sotomayor.”

“Thank God for the second amendment,” quipped a different X poster, also responding to the Post report.

Newsweek reached out to the Supreme Court’s Public Information Office via email for comment late Tuesday night.

While speaking before the Senate Judiciary Committee before being confirmed to the bench in 2009, Sotomayor addressed her views on the Second Amendment, telling lawmakers that she understood “how important the right to bear arms is to many, many Americans,” according to Reuters.

She added during the hearing that she would hold an “open mind” on gun rights issues as a justice, adding: “I would not prejudge any question that came before me if I was a justice on the Supreme Court.”