Can One Shoot A Fleeing Robber?

8
Shares
Share on Pinterest
Share with your friends










Submit
More share buttons

Shooting a fleeing robber is both a practical question of self-defense (due to the complicated legal nature of defending one’s self) and a moral one. Look at concealed carry and home defense forums, and you’ll find discussions on the topic as well as real-life examples.

Bear in mind that this isn’t legal advice. Seek the advice of a qualified legal professional to gain specific insight into the germane laws of your city and state.

Self-Defense Or Preventing A Robber From Making A Getaway?


Generally, one of the reasons most people concealed carry or keep a gun at home is for self-defense, meaning defending themselves from something or someone actively posing a threat to their life or of serious bodily harm.

Does a burglar escaping from one’s home necessarily pose a threat? Or does the mere presence of the burglar pose enough of a potential threat to shoot?

Ask most people if they would shoot or kill a person threatening them (or someone else) with great bodily harm or lethal injury, and a lot of them would likely say yes. However, if you ask if they would shoot or kill some junkie for making off with a few baubles…fewer may respond positively.

Granted, philosophical and ethical discussions are all well and good, but no one knows what they actually will do in the moment.

Is It Legal To Shoot a Fleeing Burglar?


The question of whether it’s legal to shoot a fleeing burglar is thorny, as it isn’t clear. Nearly every state in the union allows for use of lethal force to defend one’s self (or others) against someone who poses a real threat to their life or of serious bodily harm. Most states also allow for a person to use force to stop a felony in process.

Does that cover a fleeing burglar? Not all burglaries are felonies; it becomes a felony theft based on the monetary value of the property (or money) burgled. It would be hard to know if the correct amount had been taken upon discovering a burglar.

To use lethal force, a person has to have a reasonable belief that they are in danger. A burglar, trying to flee, might not actually pose such a danger.

One of the few states allowing for using lethal force over mere property is Texas, where lethal force can be used in some circumstances to stop property crimes such as a robbery, burglary or other theft, including at night. In fact, the laws in question were passed shortly before the Joe Horn shooting, which factored directly into that case.

In most states, that puts a burglar fleeing the scene in a gray area. The potential for the threat is there, given the right circumstances, but claiming “self-defense” after shooting in the back can be tenuous.

Real Life Cases Where A Fleeing Burglar Was Shot


There are a number of cases where a fleeing burglar was shot. Each had a different outcome. While it’s better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6, there’s a world of difference between charges not being brought and an acquittal.

For instance, there was the Trevon Johnson case from March of this year. Johnson, 16, broke into the home of Gwendolyn Jenrette, who was alerted to the break-in by her security system. When she arrived home, she found Johnson leaving the house. She fatally shot him as he tried to flee. Jenrette has not been charged at the time of this writing.

In 2013, James George Stiffler of Helena, Mont., shot and killed a burglar he found in his home. After a forensic examination discovered he had shot Henry T. Johnson in the back, charges were filed. Stiffler’s trial resulted in a hung jury in February of this year, according to The Missoulian.

In Aug. 2015, David Hillis of Akron, Ohio, grabbed his gun and chased two men out of his home. He fired several shots as they fled, though he was outside of his home. Marcus Glover, one of the two fleeing men, was killed. Hillis was charged with voluntary manslaughter as Ohio’s Castle Doctrine doesn’t apply outside of the home. Hillis was convicted, according to the Akron Beacon Journal, and is awaiting sentencing. He could receive up to 11 years in prison.

In April 2014, David McLaughlin of Dunkirk, Ind., fired at two men that had broken into his garage and fled as they same him come armed into the garage. McLaughlin pursued a short distance and shot at the men as they fled into the alley behind his house. One of them, David Bailey, was struck in the arm. Bailey served six months for the burglary, but McLaughlin was convicted of criminal recklessness for firing outside of his house, according to the Indianapolis Star, and served 60 days in jail, followed by four months of house arrest. Bailey is also pursuing a civil suit against McLaughlin.

The aforementioned 2007 Joe Horn case, where Joe Horn shot two men burglarizing a neighbor’s home, resulted in the grand jury returning no bill, so no charges were brought.

Is shooting a fleeing burglar legal? Outside of Texas, it’s hard to say. It’s more accurate to say one may not be charged for it.

8
Shares
Share on Pinterest
Share with your friends










Submit
More share buttons
  • jacquelyn.broome-

    After being fired from my old job six months ago, i’ve been lucky to stumble upon this great site online that saved me… They hire people to freelance from home. My last month paycheck after working for them for three months was $12k… Best thing about it was that only requirement for this job is basic typing and reliable internet… KORTA.NU/MDe

  • Robert

    Glad I live in Texas!

    • Clark Kent

      ‘If I owned Texas and Hell I would rent out Texas and live in Hell’ – General William Tecumseh Sherman. ‘Nuff said.

  • Steve

    We shoot to stop the threat. Once the threat has fled, they are no longer a threat. You should not shoot someone running from you. To do so would be out of anger rather than concern for your safety. I live in Texas, and I would not shoot someone fleeing from me. In addition, no property I have is worth potentially going to jail over. One theat has left, it at s now a matter for the police and insurance to handle.

    • annie.hock

      It’s been one year since I finally quit my previous work and that decision was a lifechanger for me… I started to work over internet, for this company I discovered over internet, for a few hrs daily, and I earn much more than i did on my last work… Check i got for last month was for 9k… Awesome thing about this gig is that now i have more time with my kids… KORTA.NU/MDe

    • wilma.etheridge

      One year have passed since I quit my office work and that decision changed everything for me… I started working on-line, for this company I discovered on-line, several hours a day, and I make much more than i did on my office work… My last month paycheck was for $9000… Awesome thing about this is that i have more free time for my family… KORTA.NU/MDe

    • martha.busch

      One yr ago I finally quit my previous work and it was a best decision i made in my life… I started working at home, for a company I found on-line, for a few hours daily, and I earn much more than i did on my last job… Check i got for last month was for 9000 dollars… The best thing about it is that now i have more time for my loved ones… KORTA.NU/MDe

    • carlson_denise

      It’s been one year since I decided to quit my old job and I never felt better in my life… I started doing work on-line, for a company I found online, several hours every day, and I profit now much more than i did on my previous work… Last payment i got was for $9k… Awesome thing about it is that now i have more time with my family… KORTA.NU/MDe

    • brewer.lizabeth

      After 5 years I finally resigned from my previous job and it changed my life… I started freelancing over internet, over a website I found online, for several hours each day, and I make much more than i did on my office work… Payment i got for last month was for Nine thousand bucks… The best thing about this work is the more time i got for my kids… KORTA.NU/MDe

    • sandra.hoffman.90

      After 5 years I resigned from my last work and it changed my life… I started doing a job over internet, for this company I stumbled upon on-line, for a few hrs each day, and my income now is much bigger then it was on my last job… Last payment i got was for $9000… The best thing about this is that now i have more time to spend with my family… CHILP.IT/8d93f4b

    • sandra.hoffman.90

      After 5 years I finally abandoned my last work and i couldn’t be happier now… I started freelancing from comfort of my home, for this company I stumbled upon online, for several hours daily, and I make much more than i did on my old work… My paycheck for last month was for $9000… Great thing about this job is the more free time i got with my family… CHILP.IT/8d93f4b

  • Jon

    My experience has been if they are running away you cannot shoot as they no longer pose a threat. I agree you can’t add up how much the stuff they took is worth while they are in the act. Love to live in Texas!

    • I wonder what would happen, for instance, if a burglar robbed your home and shot someone in your home, even the pet and you came on to them just after it happened and you shot them on the way out or even just outside. They obviously are armed and a threat to someone.

      • Jon

        Police generally have more latitude than civilians. Police can shoot if they believe the fleeing criminal is a danger to society; i.e. carrying or having used a weapon. Of course jurisdictional laws and policies need to be taken into account.

        • cynthia.pippins

          After 5 years I decided to leave my old work and I never felt this good… I started doing a job on-line, over a website I discovered online, few hrs each day, and I profit now much more than i did on my previous job… Last payment i got was for 9k… Great thing about it is that i have more free time for my kids… CHILP.IT/8d93f4b

  • If you are robbing or burglarizing someone, you take your chances, but the law cuts the baby in two with this. It really depends on the state you live in, for the law and the culture there. In the North East, like NY, NJ, etc, they probably still have a duty to retreat. In some ways I wish we had a uniform law, but whose? Shall Issue in every state would be nice as would castle doctrine and the barring of law suits from criminals, but we’d actually hear 10th amendment arguments from progressives in that case… Massad Ayoob has written some good books on this. find them and read them. Making a mistake ain’t cheap.

    • Sir TuberKopf

      NJ did finally pass a castle law after years of jailing homeowners who shot back after being shot at.

      In NJ, in your house and even on your property, imminent threat to your life is cause for deadly force self defense. Outside your house, you need to retreat if possible. Inside Your house you no longer need to retreat, but there needs to be a threat. It’ll be a problem if you shoot a guy in the back while he’s running for the door with your TV in his hands. If he has a screw driver, or hammer in his hands, now he has a weapon. People do spin and try to doge bullets. Hitting someone in the back is not assumed to infer guilt, but get a lawyer and keep your mouth shut.

      Interesting twist in NJ is you can’t shoot a person trying to steel your car, I guess that is to protect repo guys. Essentially you can protect yourself and family, but just protecting property may be problematic.

  • nicholsda

    Inside the home they are a direct threat. Florida says if they broke in, then it is assumed that they have deadly intentions while they are inside. The problem becomes a different story once they step outside. Are they a threat to you or anyone else is what must be asked. If they are still a threat ( shooting at you ? ) then even though outside, you would be covered under the right to be there legally and defend yourself. But just because the law says that does not mean that the local DA won’t press charges and hope it will stick. The Justice system is rigged for the criminal and not for the law abiding citizen.

    • In AZ, criminals aren’t supposed to be able to sue if they get shot etc, but the law isn’t enforced until they do sue. In other words, a judge has to tell them that they can’t sue because of the law, so you’ll still suffer the inconvenience of having to go to court and even hire a lawyer to cover your ass. It’s ridiculous.

      • Clark Kent

        So you can’t be sued for anything these days anyhow? Wake up.

      • nicholsda

        And even with that, it sometimes goes to trial and the crooks win.

    • Clark Kent

      Specific examples of said ‘rigged’ system instead of hyperbole?

      • nicholsda

        Check the records in Florida and you’d see I’m correct. Florida law says you cannot be held/booked/charged if it is self defense but yet that isn’t what has happened in the Tampa area. You know, innocent till proven guilty but only somewhat true. Want to buy a firearm while under a felony indictment, not going to happen even if you are not guilty.

    • Arch Stanton

      Guess that is why peoplke always say to drag the perp back into the house

  • KUETSA

    It depends what he is fleeing WITH – if he got your daughter tucked under his arm – YEA – YOU CAN BLOW THE SON-OF-A-BITCH AWAY!

    • Clark Kent

      And take the chance of shooting your daughter instead of the suspect? Time for a re-think, amigo.

      • KUETSA

        You stand around “re-thinking” and then wonder if you’ll ever see your daughter again and what she’ll be if you ever see her again. I’ll take that shot every time.
        Eh – let him have her – your daughter – your call.
        (In NY when the home invader used the girl as a shield, and pointed his gun at a cop, the cop shot him 8 times right through the girl, killing her.)
        I’ll take that shot and stop it BEFORE he gets away and brutalizes the girl.

        • Clark Kent

          Better buy your daughter some body armor pronto and make sure she always wears same……..

          • I’ve earned $84 ,000 until now these days working on-line moreover I am a full time student . I’m using a home based business opportunity I found out about and additionally I’ve made such decent cash . It’s really user friendly not to mention I’m just so very happy that I found out about it . The capability with this is long-term . Here’s what I do, please have a look at my account for site name >>>

    • MAS

      Even this crippled old man can catch up with a kidnapper carrying another person. At least close enough to make sure I actually shoot him instead of my loved one. In any case best to be sure of your talent under duress long before the need to pull that trigger in anger…it’s always easy to be Matthew Quigley when safely ensconced behind ones keyboard instead of when adrenaline is raging and you are winded.

      • KUETSA

        Tackle him and bash his head in if you can – shoot him as a last resort – but there is no way you could let him get away with your kid!!!

        • MAS

          Some things are simply so obvious they don’t really need to be said…

          • KUETSA

            I don’t know, Clark Kent would err on the side of safety and let the guy get away with his daughter (I wonder if his daughter appreciates that?) – the cops could investigate to find her . . . maybe – and he could hope that he sees her again someday . . . and that she resembles at least part of herself IF she returns.

          • sherie.ramos

            One yr ago I finally resigned from my last job and I never felt so good in my life… I started doing work over internet, over a website I found over internet, for several hours each day, and I make much more than i did on my old work… Payment i got for last month was for Nine thousand dollars… Amazing thing about this work is the more time i got to spend with my family… CHILP.IT/8d93f4b

  • Don

    The title of the article asks about shooting a robber nd then goes on to talk about burglers. In Illinois a robber is taking something from someone using force or the threat of force– so yes I would probably shoot a fleeing robber- a burgler-not so much

    • jessica-adkins

      1 year ago I quit my previous work and I never felt so good in my life… I started doing a job from my house, for this company I found over internet, several hrs /a day, and my income now is much bigger then it was on my last job… My paycheck for last month was for 9 thousand dollars… Superb thing about this is the more time i got for my loved ones… KORTA.NU/MDe

    • hilda.cane

      After 5 yrs I decided to leave my previous work and i couldn’t be happier now… I started working over internet, for this company I discovered over internet, few hrs daily, and my income now is much bigger then it was on my old work… My check for last month was for 9 thousand dollars… Awesome thing about this work is that i have more time with my family… CHILP.IT/8d93f4b

  • JW57

    My ccw training was years ago, I remember SOME fleeing felons you could shoot at, I’m thinking murderers, rapists, arsonists, but I sure it varies by state.

  • debbieakbar

    God Bless Texas!

  • Sig_Sauer

    My question, a bad guy is leaving your home with your TV. Can you shoot your own TV?

    Here in Ohio, if someone is inside your home or trying to carjack your car, we can use deadly force.

    • Arch Stanton

      It is still your TV so, I suppose you could shoot it. But nearly ANY firing of a gun is almost universally assumed that you are firing at the person…..and not your TV (to deprive him of the use of it). Therefore….if you shoot the TV, the burglar could maybe sue you for attempted murder.

  • MAS

    To be safe, only shoot when the perp is running away and you reasonably suspect they offer lethal threat to others. Everything else is a legal crap shoot…even in Castle Doctrine states.

  • Diane Dina

    Amen to Steve’s advice. We live in a very rural area. Our driveway is long and narrow with trees on both sides. If we drive in and catch bad guys in the act we will shoot their vehicles tires, and seek help. Chances are they will not get far. Most of our neighbors are armed 24/7 and may not be so forgiving.

    • Sir TuberKopf

      Please, do not shoot at tires. I had a friend as a teen with a buddy shooting at an old abandoned cars tires. They thought their were bees buzzing them as they shot. The bees they heard were actually bullets bouncing off the tires and missing their heads by mere inches! Don’t shoot at tires.

      There was a string of bank robberies in my town, a cop answering the banks silent alarm got off one round that broke the rear windshield and alert police three towns over caught the guys because this officer marked their car, but we aren’t police, that isn’t our job as homeowners protecting our families. Wacky people these days go and rob banks with babies in the car. In general police are forbidden from shooting at moving vehicles, so don’t you do it.

      In the case of “inside your house” is the bad guy just running for cover, so he can attack you again, or are they running for the door. Under combat in your own home you might get some leeway here, know your state laws. But beware, judges and prosecutors are not your advocate. If you discharge your weapon, call 911, give police enough information to identify you as the homeowner, that there was a self defense shooting, and you were in fear of your life. Say absolutely no more when police arrive, get a lawyer and listen to him. Police will use everything you say or think you said, in a court of law.

  • Arch Stanton

    So, if the bugler is fleeing while firing behind him at you, you probably could return fire, but proving that he was shooting at you may be difficult.

  • Dan Morgan

    If you are in fear for your life or the lives of others, shoot.
    If you’re just pissed off, don’t.

  • bernice.lopez

    After 5 yrs I decided to quit my previous job and I never felt so good in my life… I started freelancing online, for a company I discovered over internet, for a few hours /a day, and I earn much more than i did on my office job… Last paycheck i got was for Nine thousand dollars… The best thing about this job is that i have more time for my loved ones… KORTA.NU/MDe

  • Jacob Herrington

    Of course you should be able to shoot a fleeing robber. They are running off with your property. My property is more valuable to me than the life of some worthless thug

Quantcast