Savage Claims Self-Defense and LE Cover-Up in Dismissed Shooting Case

Why I Am Suing The Governor of Virginia, iStock-1055138108
Savage Claims Self-Defense and LE Cover-Up in Dismissed Shooting Case iStock-1055138108

Criminal aggravated assault firearm charges against Historic Arms LLC president Len Savage have been dismissed after the lead investigator and the District Attorney’s office agreed that a “conviction [was] unlikely,” The News and Banner reported Jan. 10.

The District Attorney had previously dismissed charges against Savage in 2022, and had not notified him of that determination, and the sheriff’s office did not do so until the following March.  Savage was told the December 28, 2023, warrant hearing was going to be held to determine if the person who tried to run him down with a pickup truck should be held accountable for his actions. Instead, Savage was included in the warrant hearing and, contrary to law, was excluded from the courtroom while his assailant was allowed to remain.  Consequently, Savage was prevented from hearing testimony against him.

Per his own sworn testimony, Savage was out for a morning walk near his home when a speeding pickup truck, driven by Michael Lee, a neighbor with a criminal record and with whom he had previous disputes, swerved toward him, crossing the center line. “Fearing for his life,” he pulled out his .45 pistol and fired at the oncoming vehicle, causing the driver to swerve away. While the driver claimed he swerved to avoid a bad spot in the road, during the hearing, it was determined “upon looking at the photos of the scene, no bad spot was found in the road.”

Savage DGU Scene (Heard County Sheriff’s Department investigation photo)

“Savage was arrested on October 7, 2022, on a single charge of aggravated assault, stemming from his discharging a firearm at a man who was attempting to run Savage over with pickup truck,” a previous Motion for Immunity filed by his attorney explained. “The same man had made many previous similar attempts and has made similar attempts since.”

Savage’s attorney elaborated in an October 10, 2022, letter to the District Attorney:

“It is my understanding that Mr. Lee drove his truck much faster than posted speed limits, crossed the center line, crossed the opposite fog line, and even left the paved roadway in an attempt to run over Mr. Savage. This is after multiple complaints to the Sheriff’s Office by Mr. Savage that Mr. Lee, a frequent user of illegal drugs (and convicted drug felon) often drives erratically and attempts to run over Mr. Savage. I also understand that Mr. Lee, a long-time resident of Georgia, does not have a valid Georgia driver’s license nor a valid Georgia registration on his vehicle. I understand that Mr. Lee is a confidential informant for the sheriff’s office. This may explain why the sheriff’s office does not enforce laws against or even investigate complaints against Mr. Lee.”

While Savage asked for an arrest warrant against the driver, the investigator and prosecutor likewise felt a conviction is unattainable. That’s a conclusion Savage disputes, instead accusing the Sheriff’s Department of being corrupt and protecting the driver.

“The article being published alerted me to some false statements made under oath by a Heard County Sheriff Deputy,” Savage told AmmoLand Shooting Sports News. “I not only call out the false statements but give proof,” he asserted, providing copies of email correspondence he sent “to the Sheriff and the Deputy, the DA and the Chief Magistrate Judge of the county.”

“The cops involved with the incident (all of them) were NOT present for this warrant hearing, I suspect for good reason,” he elaborated.  “EVERYONE present is sworn in under oath.  Meaning if they were present, I could essentially interrogate them in front of the judge under oath.”

The driver, Michael Anthony Lee, Savage added, “is a convicted felon and has been to prison three separate times.  I have lived here 25 years, and he has gone to prison twice in that time.”

A search on corroborates the allegations and produces criminal records.

“Twice now he has been found culpable for the events that lead to defensive gunfire,” Savage asserts.  “Twice now,  the Heard County Sheriff’s Office, HCSO, refused to even issue a citation let alone any warrant or arrest.  I always referred to it as Mr. Lee had some form of relationship with the Sheriff’s Department, but the deputy attributed that to me calling it corruption.”

The hearing was attended by a colleague and longtime advisor and source who took notes and made observations, including:

“It was supposed to be a warrant hearing for Michael Lee, who tried to run Len down, and instead it was for Len too, except Len was prohibited from hearing what was said against him, unlike Michael Lee who sat through the whole thing,” he reported, noting further, “The Magistrate Judge, Betsey Kidwell, found there was sufficient evidence to charge Lee with reckless driving and speeding,” and “was p****d off that ‘the two people I need to hear from the most are not here,’ those being deputies from the Heard County Sheriff’s Office who were present at the incident where Len was arrested.  In my view, they didn’t show because they feared testifying under oath.”

Also of concern was the video the Sheriff’s Department took at the scene of Savage’s arrest that had been reported deleted, but Savage was later told it had not been deleted; they just could not find it on the county server.

As for District Attorney Herb Cranford, Savage is hopeful that he will impartially investigate further.

“That he is even communicating with me tells you he knows all is not well with the situation,” Savage tells AmmoLand. “Herb is known for being fair.  So much so the Governor appointed him to the Prosecutor Oversight Board.”

“Both my attorney and I have only asked him to have the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) investigate this mess,” Savage added. “He has a situation where LE has made false statements attributed them to his ADA and managed to get them put on the front page.”

That it is important for Savage to clear his name was emphasized by Savage’s attorney, who made it clear in the above-referenced Motion that his reputation is his livelihood.

“Savage is a self-employed manufacturer of firearms, which is his sole source of income,” the Motion explained. “He frequently is required to ship firearms to dealers and customers, and his prohibition on leaving home with them means he cannot complete such shipments.  This disability significantly hampers his employment.”

It could have done more than that. Savage tells AmmoLand News that his arrest was reported to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the original intent was to confiscate parts, in-process builds, finished products, and personal firearms.

Supporting documents, including the News & Banner article, a timeline, the sheriff’s investigation, additional photos, attorney correspondence, and emails between Savage and LE officials, are posted on my WarOnGuns Placeholder website. And due to personal relationships, a disclaimer is in order.

I have been longtime friends with both Savage and with the courtroom observer, both colleagues in efforts to compel government agencies to produce documentation required by the Freedom of Information Act wherein we have been disparaged by one United State Attorney in a court filing as “a tangled web of connections between a small cadre of firearms activists and their efforts to recover fees through largely unsuccessful FOIA litigation.”

About David Codrea:

David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating/defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” is a regularly featured contributor to Firearms News, and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.

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