A 19-year-old woman’s ex-boyfriend tried to break into her Mt. Oliver, PA apartment about 8:30 AM after he damaged her car. He was met in the apartment by another male who shot him in the leg. The ex drove off but was later found by police and taken to a hospital in fair condition.
The other male who fired the shot was taken into custody and questioned by police. The young lady is also cooperating with the police.
The question raised in these kinds of cases is, “was the use of deadly force justified?” The universal answer to pretty much any legal question is “It depends” on the totality of the circumstances surrounding the incident.
There was no mention that the intruder had any kind of weapon. It does appear that he forcibly broke into the apartment. That act alone in many states, but not all, grants the occupants the legal presumption of being in fear of death or great bodily harm, but that does not automatically mean that they are justified in shooting the intruder. However, the male that fired the shot was a guest in the apartment and not the legal resident, so that presumption may not apply to him, only the female resident.
Many times concealed carry students ask the question about when is it Ok to shoot someone or perhaps when are they legally justified in using deadly force? Valid questions to be sure, and it’s imperative that we all know the law regarding the use of force in self-defense, but the real question should be not can I shoot but rather do I have to.
The male guest is now caught up in the criminal justice system. We don’t yet know how that will turn out, but it’s a place to be avoided unless we have no other options.