There are lots of laws regarding the legal use of lethal force. They vary from state to state. Generally speaking, you’re OK to shoot another human being if he or she pose an imminent, credible threat of death or grievous bodily harm to yourself or other innocent life, and imminence is imminent (i.e. the threat is underway). In Texas, gun owners are justified in using deadly force “to protect land or tangible, movable property.” Other states, not so much. A Christmas tale from LA shows why this is an important difference . . .
Around 3:30 a.m. Thursday, authorities received a second call reporting a masked burglar inside a home located in the 900 block of Country Glen Way, which is about a half-mile away from the initial call location.
Police said the burglar allegedly assaulted the homeowner with a wrench during the fight, and proceeded to flee on foot as the homeowner followed with a shotgun.
“The resident fired one shot, and struck the suspect who continued to flee on foot,” said Lt. Bob Dunn.
According to losangeles.cbslocal.com, the cops caught their man, wounded by buckshot. Even so, this story may not have a happy ending for the unnamed homeowner, unfortunate enough not to live in the Lone Star State. He could be prosecuted in criminal and/or civil court for injuring the fleeing felon. [Note: under Texas law, the gun owner can only shoot the fleeing bad guy if he’s in possession of stolen loot.]
Our question is this: would you shoot at a fleeing felon? Under what circumstances? Before you answer know this: the wrench-wielding bad guy had attempted to burglarize a house before this one. If you let a burglar, rapist, kidnapper or other sort of violent perp escape, someone else may pay the price. [h/t BB]