Legal experts say homeowner may be justified in shooting

Charles Molineaux
Updated: November 04, 2020 10:56 PM
Created: October 27, 2020 10:31 PM

WEBSTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Police in Webster said they were still investigating Tuesday night the apparent shooting and wounding of an intruder by a homeowner.

While police have released little information about the incident, legal observers say that so far it seems like a justified case of self-defense.

The scene of the incident stands out on Gravel Road, with its white fence and security gates and prominent political signs.

Webster police say at about 1:30 on Tuesday morning, it looks like someone in the house confronted and shot an intruder.

“I suggest that your arm yourself and prepare for the worst but hope for the best,” says firearms instructor Pat Kimball at the Firing Pin gun range in Bergen, who teaches people about defending themselves with guns legally. He points out a homeowner does have the right to do it.

So far, Webster police say they haven’t filed any criminal charges for this shooting. According to investigators, a man in the house “encountered” an alleged burglar and shot the suspect.

New York does not have a “stand your ground” law so people are expected to retreat from potentially deadly confrontations, but that’s not the case in your home. 

“There is no duty for your retreat from your home if you are threatened,” he says. “Whereas there would be a duty to retreat when you’re out in public.”

Police report the apparent intruder was taken to the hospital in critical condition.

Lawyer Eugene Welch says in cases like this police can establish whether this was a justified shooting.  

“The officers on the scene made a judgment call that the homeowner was acting reasonably,” he says.

However, police officers are not the sole deciders of that. The District Attorney's office also has to participate in that discussion, says Welch.

Investigators say they do know who the suspect is, but the Webster Police Department isn’t saying who just yet.  

Welch says a case like this could yet end up in front of a grand jury, but a lot depends on police, and the district attorney, concluding what kind of threat the alleged burglar presented for the man who shot him.

“It’s all fact-specific as to what actually happened and what was reasonable at the time for the homeowner to believe," he says.

Webster Police are asking that anyone with any information about the incident contact them.

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