BUTLER CITY, PA – A man on the run from police broke into a house in Butler City, Pa., and was shot by the homeowner when he refused to await the arrival of authorities. The homeowner fired two warning shots, which did not warn the intruder enough, and then shot him.
The intruder survived and was placed under arrest en route to the hospital.
Homeowner Fires Warning Shot, Shoots Again After It Goes Unheeded
On the evening of August 31, Jeremy Cox and his girlfriend were enjoying their evening at home in Butler City, Pa. (a suburb of Pittsburg). They had just ordered pizza when they heard their downstairs window shatter, according to WXPI.
The window was broken by one Nathan Harvey, who forced entry through a locked basement door. Cox grabbed his gun, and he and his girlfriend went downstairs to investigate. When they saw Harvey making his way towards them, she dialed 9-1-1.
Harvey had a mostly empty bottle of vodka and said that the police were outside and looking for him, which they were not. Cox told Harvey to put his hands on the washing machine, which he refused to do, and started to advance towards Cox, saying, “No, no, no.”
Cox fired a warning shot in an attempt to scare Harvey into compliance, which did not work. Harvey continued to advance towards Cox, saying, “No, no, no.” Cox fired at Harvey’s midsection.
Luckily for Nathan Harvey, he suffered little more than a minor flesh wound as it only grazed him but scared him enough to get him to stop. Authorities arrived, took Harvey into custody, and learned that Harvey was wanted on a warrant for a felony burglary charge.
The Folly And Allure Of Warning Shots In Microcosm
This incident is both the reason why some people believe in the concept of warning shots and an example of why you should never fire one. Don’t fire warning shots. If you are presented with a legitimate and immediate lethal threat, shoot to neutralize the threat.
Cox told the media that he didn’t want to kill Harvey and was experiencing mixed emotions about firing a warning shot instead of shooting to stop. That’s exactly the reason why people fire warning shots; they want to convince an intruder, robber, or attacker that they need to cease the threatening behavior with a very loud noise.
Obviously, killing other human beings is taboo for a reason; it’s perfectly natural to want to find a way not to have to if you can help it.
However, just because something is a natural impulse doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. In this instance, the homeowner had the time and wherewithal to shoot again and, this time, aim for the body, which not everyone necessarily might.
It’s also the case that firing a warning shot can signify a less-than-totally lethal threat. Make no mistake, police investigators and prosecuting attorneys are some of our society’s most powerful people, and almost nobody knows it.