A Tennessee resident landed in jail this past week, not for theft, but for fighting back against thieves attempting to steal his van. It’s a stark reminder that the defense of property often leads to unexpected legal consequences.
The Shelby County resident was awakened around 2 a.m. by his surveillance system, alerting him to the presence of several individuals outside his home, according to Fox 13 Memphis. They were attempting to break into his van using burglary tools.
Taking matters into his own hands, the homeowner confronted the thieves. As he stood under his porch light, they responded by opening fire on him. Surveillance footage captures the ensuing shootout, with both the homeowner and suspects firing multiple rounds.
The suspects made a quick escape, while the homeowner retreated back into his house. On arrival, the police focused their interrogation on the homeowner. His wife, witnessing the process, voiced her concern: “Why would you put pressure on the victim when you should put pressure for the suspects to be found?”
What landed the homeowner in legal hot water was his admission to the police: he confessed that he had returned fire without a clear view of his targets, even closing his eyes while pulling the trigger due to fear. This honest confession led to his arrest on charges of reckless endangerment.
Though the man was later released, his family hopes the charge will be dropped. His wife expressed frustration at the situation, emphasizing that the actual culprits remain at large.
Public response to the incident has been mixed, with some questioning the legitimacy of the charges against the homeowner. Amy Swearer, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, openly criticized the police’s decision on social media, stating, “The only people he endangered were…the ones shooting at him. And he’s 100% entitled to ‘endanger’ them.”
The Shelby County Sheriff’s Department did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
This case serves as a sobering reminder to homeowners: stepping outside a secure dwelling to confront potential thieves can not only put your life at risk but also land you in legal trouble. In many jurisdictions, lethal force cannot be used to protect property. The man in question was not the first to open fire, but his admission to blindly shooting presents significant legal challenges. It is critical to remember that before you pull the trigger, you must know what you’re aiming at; recklessly firing could endanger innocent neighbors. Additionally, it’s always advisable to consult with an attorney before providing detailed statements to the police.
Sorry, but anyone so ill prepared they “close (their) eyes while pulling the trigger” does not need a trigger to pull. Unless someone not a thief was hit, I don’t think the home and van owner should be charged, but he really needs to consider if he wants to remain a gun owner. Wow.