Another SC Home Defense Shooting


kelcarry

New member
A 19 year old was "rummaging" around a pickup truck in someone's yard in the middle of the night with the apparent iintention to find some treasure, if not the truck itself. The older gentleman in the home heard noises, grabbed his gun and before calling 911, went outside to confront the 19 year old. He ordered him to turn around and face him and told him to take his hands out of his pockets as he stood there. The 19 year old hesitated and then took one hand out and started to take the other hand out, at which point the old man fired and hit the 19 year old twice--serious injuries but not life threatening; the old man THEN called 911. The solicitor refused to indict and no further legal action has or was taken concerning the old man's actions. In my heart I immensely enjoy everything the old man did. In my mind, however, I find this case a bit troubling. I understand "castle doctrine" etc, but no 911, the seemingly cavalier attitude of priority of property over life, and a confrontation first by the old man who truly initiated his apparent "imminent dange". Any comments?
 

You mention that the 19 YO starts to take his hands out of his pockets, then gets shot.. Did he have anything in his hands???

This is not how I would have handled it..
I would have at least called 911 1st..
Rummaging through the truck doesn't seem life threatening, and I'm not even sure it would be considered a felony.. As the story describes, I'm not sure there is any "forced entry" even to the truck.. So, I'm not sure why there were no charges, unless the 19 YO was pretty close and was pulling out a knife, or had another weapon.

Hummm. This doesn't sound like a clean and clear situation to me, based on what is presented...
 
In my opinion the older gentleman should have called 911 and probably left it at that. Shooting people outside the home over property isn't worth it to anyone. It's just "stuff" that can be fixed or replaced, legally it's "thin ice", and there may be more than one person to deal with if one confronts the perp(s). Obviously, if the kid had tried to enter the house that would be another story. We all want to protect our property and feel helpless and violated if we don't, but if there is no imminent danger to us or our loved one's lives I'd say let the cops deal with it.

We had an incident last year here in west Michigan where a homeowner shot up some kids as they were attempting to flee in a car... turned out the homeowners son had arranged for some of his buddy's to T-P the house as a prank. Fortunately,no one got seriously hurt but the homeowner was charged with all sorts of violations.

One question I have pertaining to the incident at hand... is it best to have someone remove their hands from their pockets while facing you or when their back is turned? If the perp is turned he could surreptitiously pull a gun, spin and shoot... or, if facing you they could simply pull a gun before you can react... what is the best way to deal with this situation?
 
While I agree with the above sentiments on a personal and individual level, the group mentality part of me says, if more people shot theives, there would be fewer theives (and not just the dead ones). Criminals thrive in our society because the risk/reward ratio is great for them. When the risk becomes too great, the majority of criminals will find another way of making a living.
 
I agree that 911 should have been dialed, first.

I can only speak for TX, but the laws here allow the use of deadly force to protect one's property, and even someone else's property. I guess it goes back to the horse theif mentality. Dunno.

I have to agree that it seems excessive, but on the other hand, thieves must be punished. If you don't stop them on the spot, you'll probably never catch them. And if they are caught, they'll probably get a slap on the wrist.

I believe that thieves know there's a risk of getting caught, hurt, shot, killed, imprisoned, or something when they move in that direction, so I don't have much sympathy for them.

If the shooter truly felt like a gun was being drawn, then his actions are hard to argue with. But, it would seem that he could simply hold the theif there until the cops show up (had he called them, first).

This brings up a question in my mind - what if you're trying to just hold him at gunpoint and he bolts? I think you can legally shoot him, but it's probably never cool to shoot anyone in the back...
 
I wouldn't have called 911. If I hear something outside I'm going to investigate it first. If I have to wait on a deputy to come out the BG will load up half of my property and leave. In SC there is no requirement to call 911 and our Castle Doctrine allows for protection of property. If I don't know who they are and they are going through my stuff and they fail to comply with my demands they probably will get shot. I'm not going to wait around to see what they are going to do. If someone wants to steal from me they will suffer legal consequences. There are too many cases since SC passing the Castle Doctrine to support his actions. That's why no charges were filed. All I can say is; BG's if you are going to rob and steal in SC be warned...the person you accost may be armed and has the legal right to blow you away!
 
If they continue to handle cases like that in SC check back and see the crime rate drop.Chalk one up for the good guys.:biggrin:
 
Interesting replies; what I like is that each of you added a slightly different take or comment that makes the mental exercise of what each of us could or should do a bit more thought-provoking. As I said in my original post, my heart was with the old man but my mind tells me that killing someone over property that can easily be replaced and is probably insured is kind of draconian particularly since the old guy didn't even bother calling 911; on the other hand, as mentioned in some posts, let the word go out to perps in SC--touch someone elses property and you can die--legally. Stay away from other peoples' houses and properties. PS: The kid did not have a gun and, I believe, did not have anything in his hand--just did not listen to the old guy.
 
Replacing "Stuff"

Everyone says "you can replace property"! The only way you can do this is by paying for or working for it unless you are a BG.

If I have to replace it then that means that I had to spend part of my life. That means that the BG has taken part of my life tht I can not get back! :mad:

Those who say property is not important fails to understand that you are giving up that which can not be gotten again. :fie:
 
I'm just glad it worked out for the homeowner.

While I'm not generally a fan of the "shoot first" perspective, I've been on the receiving end of many thefts and it is never fun.

It's easy to arm-chair-quarterback after the fact, but if I'd been in that homeowner's shoes, the only thing I MAY have done differently is dial 911 and lay the phone down before house & property clearing.

Had the BG fled upon being discovered, things may have played out differently. But his noncompliance coupled with his felonious presence got him shot. I'm ok with that.
 
I basically agree with the homeowner's actions BUT I wonder how the discussion in the AG office must have been like.

From SC Law Enforcement Webpages and my CCW course manual

Defense of Property
“…in the protection of one’s dwelling, only such force must be used as is necessary, or apparently necessary, to a reasonably prudent man. Any greater expenditure cannot be justifiable and is therefore punishable. State v. Hibler, 79 S.C. 170, 60 S.E. 438 (1907).

“[t]he weight of modern authority limits deadly force in a defense of a dwelling to situations in which the householder reasonably believes that the intruder intends to commit a felony or only when deadly force would be authorized by the law of self-defense.” McAninch and Fairey.

In South Carolina the requirements for defense of property is essentially the same as defense of self, EXCEPT that deaqdly force may not be used for defense of property alone An owner cannot shoot a thief - before, after or during a theft. The same rule prohibits use of deadly force to pevent injury or vandalism to property.

So I feel the owner MAY be on thin ice just because the thief would not comply fast enough for the owner. I was taught we don't have police powers so ordering anyone to comply especially after we have them basically "covered" is IMO shaky...

Key Words are "I felt in danger of my life" --- repeat over and over and over "That's my story and I'm sticking with it until my lawyer arrives".
 
People I know don't walk around with their hands in their pockets unless they're putting something into them or pulling something out. Someone who hesitates and brings one hand out of their pocket, then waits to bring the other out seems potentially threatening to me.

Only the guy involved knows what was going through his mind, and if he felt that the bad guy was about to draw a weapon then it is what it is: a fully justified shooting and in compliance with the law.
 
Hey Booga: I still find it hard to just dismiss the old man who did not first call 911. He finally called after he shot the 19 year old. Personally I do not want to be nor do I consider myself to be Rambo and Dirty Harry; stealing stuff out of a truck and even a house that is insured will get me new and better stuff--confronting the perp may get me killed or put me in a situation where I may have to kill and then explain my actions. To each his own and I respect more forceful decisions, but I will only confront and, if I am in the process of doing so will kill, only if my life and that of my family is jeopardized. I have a locked bedroom door and if someone is rummaging around in my house there is nothing worth anything that is not insured--I will call 911 and wait( having children in other rooms is another story). If they so much as sniff at my locked door and begin to open it they will die.Lets hope that all of us who read and write into this forum can always talk about this and never have to experience any of it.
 
Hey Booga: I still find it hard to just dismiss the old man who did not first call 911. He finally called after he shot the 19 year old. Personally I do not want to be nor do I consider myself to be Rambo and Dirty Harry; stealing stuff out of a truck and even a house that is insured will get me new and better stuff--confronting the perp may get me killed or put me in a situation where I may have to kill and then explain my actions. To each his own and I respect more forceful decisions, but I will only confront and, if I am in the process of doing so will kill, only if my life and that of my family is jeopardized. I have a locked bedroom door and if someone is rummaging around in my house there is nothing worth anything that is not insured--I will call 911 and wait( having children in other rooms is another story). If they so much as sniff at my locked door and begin to open it they will die.Lets hope that all of us who read and write into this forum can always talk about this and never have to experience any of it.

While you mean well and I agree with you, I for one do not have any kind of insurance that would cover me. This is not to say that monetary value establishes the need to kill someone over theft, but as stated in somebodies earlier post, somebody taking away something that was earned by spending precious moments of your life is irreplaceable.

That being said, I respect the decision the guy made, even though I may or may not have done the same thing.
 
Having been burlarized several times in my (long) life, I can tell you it pisses me off to no end. And basically, I have no problem with thieves knowing they could be shot for their trouble. However...I have raised two sons and think I would have a problem planting 2 in some 19-year olds thorasic cavity, for stealing shit out of my truck. I could see knocking his head off with a well-placed crack to the noggin, but shooting him...I don't know. Of course, if I think he's pulling a weapon or something, all bets are off. I do spend considerable time musing over "shoot, no-shoot" scenarios (as I was trained to do) and I gotta tell ya, it's problematic. If it's a clearly life-threatening situation, ok, but anything less than that, I got my doubts as to whether I could. Maybe I'm just a big pussy.
 
Hey JJFlash: I appreciated your comments and NO you are not a pussy. With all due respects and apologies to forum writers who are willing to end a life over some silverware, or a computer, or a spare tire in the back of a truck, I really believe that your comments come a lot easier when you are sitting at your computer and replying to these threads. I would think that if you truly mean what you say, your "real out" (after calling 911) is to put yourself in jeopardy first by confronting the perp in the dark of night and not knowing whether he is a dopehead who will shoot you in an instant. Under that circumstance and unless you are prepared to die first, you can then "investigate" what is going on and immediately "fear for your life" and use your weapon. There are some terrible choices to make over some "stuff". Having said the above, I have nothing but compassion and support for any of you who are willing to take the gamble and see to it that some lowlife does not take advantage of you and your property.
 
Appreciate that, Kelcarry.

Another point: Some have wondered what to do if you're holding someone for the cops and they get up and run away. Shoot him in the back?!! I don't think so. To me, it begs the question: what are you doing pointing a gun at someone and holding him for the cops? WE'RE NOT COPS. My gun comes out only if I intend to use it. I don't know of any CCW laws which permit us to hold someone at gunpoint. And how the hell could you justify shooting someone in the back? You gotta know you'd be prosecuted for this; where was the "fear for my life" factor? I suppose we could handcuff someone, but if you're interested in doing that, you might as well be a cop.

I'm trying to imagine an instance where I've yanked my weapon, pointed it at someone, and demanded that they freeze while I call the cops. And I can't. If a BG has a weapon out and is threatening someone, then just shoot 'em. Damned if I'm gonna play cop, it's good way to end up dead. So, the only scenario I can imagine is property theft. And I'm already on record as saying I doubt I'm gonna shoot someone for stealing something. Just me. Not trying to piss of any of my gun-toting brothers.
 
The key in this case was how the robber taking his hands out of his pocket. As stated earlier if he starts to run what are you going to do? But to stop the robbery by going out and point a gun is fine to me. If I hear something outside I am going to investigate. I don't want to be calling 911 over the squirrels jumping on my window screen. I am going outside to investigate while armed. If a 19 year old has his head stuck inside my car he is goint to have a gun pointed at him. If he makes sudden moves like he is going to attack me he is going to be shot. If he just behaves and then runs the police are going to handle it. Either way I am not going to stay in my house and watch him through the window steal whatever he wants while I am on the phone with 911.
 
When seconds count, the police are only minutes away. Now, if we only had enough laws to cover every imaginable scenario in between, we wouldn't be having this discussion. And nobody would ever need a firearm for protection (of self, property, whatever). And then I woke up...
 
Hey FN1910: All the more power to you if you are so confident with your use of your firearm in the middle of the night as you confront someone who obviously is up to no good and who may have you outgunned and outexperienced. As I have always said in these posts--to each his own. I know I can shoot straight and accurate enought to hit what I aim at and certainly with a 12g (also have a 38) have the firepower to meet the perp but, for me, insurance will reimburse me and I do not have to put myself in the position of "him or me"and even worse "just me"--all over "stuff". Lets all hope that we can talk this talk on this thread a lot and never have to walk the walk in the middle of the night.I sure respect your decision FN1910 and would be one of those who would pat you on the back with an "attaboy" but it just isn't in my "what if". In my house is a whole different story--the scenario becomes very clear--you are in my house with nothing but bad intentions and are trying to open a locked bedroom door and I AM SCARED and I AM FEARFUL for my wife and myself--unless he hightails it out the door when I rack the 12g, he will die.
 

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