Police in New Orleans have arrested a St. Roch homeowner for shooting at two teenagers who were believed to be stealing from cars parked in the neighborhood. The situation has raised questions about whether the homeowner was legally justified in using deadly force.
According to Loyola Law Professor Dane Ciolino, the law hinges on whether the defendant had a reasonable belief that deadly force was necessary in self-defense. In this case, the shooting would not fall under the Castle Doctrine, which allows individuals to protect their property when someone is breaking in. Instead, it will come down to whether the homeowner felt threatened or had reason to fear for his life before firing his rifle.
Reports show that the teenagers were driving a stolen car and attempting to burglarize another vehicle when the homeowner opened fire. One of the teenagers was hit several times before the stolen car crashed into a parked car after attempting to escape the scene. The car reportedly went off the roadway, through a chain-linked fence, and across a divided roadway before ultimately crashing. The teenager who was struck by gunfire was taken to a hospital for treatment of his injuries.
During their investigation, officers found weapons, burglary tools, and stolen property in the stolen car, but it remains unclear whether the teenagers had brandished their weapons or posed a threat to the homeowner.
The police department reported that the wounded teenager will be charged with possession of a stolen vehicle, simple burglary of a vehicle, and possession of a firearm by a juvenile after he is released from the hospital. The second teenager was also charged with possession of a stolen vehicle, simple burglary of a vehicle, and possession of a firearm by a juvenile.
Despite the circumstances, it’s important to remember that property crimes do not justify the use of deadly force. The recent string of shootings involving teenagers in the area highlights the need for better solutions to address crime in communities and the importance of responsible gun ownership. The homeowner, Denzal Peters, was arrested on multiple charges, including aggravated battery by shooting and illegal carry of a firearm while in possession of a controlled substance.