Ocoee Police Home Shoot

Under longstanding precedents in American — and before that, English — law, a person’s home is their castle. It may be protected against intruders by force. If a person may not use force to protect their home, in a very real sense, they no longer own it. Question: does that still apply when the government comes a-knocking? In a recent case in Florida, police went to the wrong house on a domestic call at 1:00 am. From wftv.com . . .

The man, who asked to not be identified, said he awoke to someone banging on the front door of his Belhaven Falls Drive home shortly before 1 a.m. When he asked who it was, he got no response.

Fearing a burglar was at the door, the homeowner grabbed a gun.

When he returned, he said he saw a bright light shining through the glass of his front door and he heard someone outside holler “gun.”

That’s when bullets started flying.

The homeowner says he never fired a shot. The police unleashed a fusillade that did extensive damage to the house, with bullet holes in the door, walls, furniture and appliances.

Ocoee Police Shooting Door Damage
There is no excuse for police to shoot at a homeowner simply because they’re armed when answering the door. [ED: Indiana passed a law protecting citizens’ right to use “reasonable force” against unlawful police intrusion onto private property.] It’s happened before. In 2011, Jose Guerra was shot and killed when police saw that he was armed as they were breaking into his home in Tucson, Arizona. Guerra never fired at police, either.

It’s prudent and reasonable to have a gun on your hip or in your hand when answering the door to unexpected and unknown visitors, especially at night. And the police are supposed to identify themselves when they approach a domicile (unless it’s a “no-knock” raid).

Even so, given this incident, it’s equally prudent to keep your gun partially or complete hidden when answering the door, perhaps holding it discreetly by your side.

Your home is your castle. Defend it wisely.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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89 Responses to Self-Defense Tip: Hide Your Gun When You Answer the Door

  1. “The homeowner says he never fired a shot. The police unleashed a fusillade that did extensive damage to the house, with bullet holes in the door, walls, furniture and appliances.”

    And how much time did they get in the greybar hotel for this attempted murder?

    • I live rural, I often support cops. “Some of my best friends are cops.” — this leaves me without words. You all know I have a lot of words. THIS leave me speechless. Everyone from training officer to cops need time off without pay and 6 months of road-side community service to think about what happened, and maybe find another job. And I hope this guy is a millionaire AFTER taxes. Apparently the correct direction of a muzzle is to not have one at all. Even IF they called cops, it could be anyone. I’d at least take my shot-gun since no one was inside. And I’m sure my dogs would tell me I probably needed my utility belt and twin sigs.

      • 6 months with no lay and community service??? While you or I would be facing attempted murder charges? These are police we’re talking about here. They should be held to a higher standard, and therefore should also be punished more severely when the standard is not met, or in this case, blatantly thrown out the window. Every last one of them should be brought up and charges. I’m not a cop hater, but I don’t support super citizenship.

  2. I hope he has access to a good lawyer. He should be well compensated for having his life needlessly endangered by police.

    • Hear, here!

      The war on drugs is a loss, and this bit of detritus from that battle needs to be rescinded.

      The next step beyond this is a laser guided bomb, unannounced…

    • Agreed. When these negligent acts by uniforms are prosecuted the same way as a civilian would be tried then we have equal law. No one should get a free pass on the mistaken use of lethal force escpecially when it was the officers who got the address wrong.

      • Haven’t the courts ruled numerous times that police cannot be held accountable for knowing the law (because there are so many laws to know), but all non-police persons are accountable for knowing all laws in detail?

        • My #1 wish for the next Supreme Court justice: that they have spent at least a decade working as a defense attorney, and have seen the various shenanigans and absurdities pulled by law enforcement.

        • Correct. These cops don’t have to be intelligent evidently. See what happens if you were to start tossing lead back at them though.

    • No-knock raids are not only unconstitutional but they place the lives of the officers at an increased risk.

    • Look up anything on the “Kathryn Johnston shooting”

      Then they conspired to cover up their lies and shenanigans …

  3. I wonder what the outcome would’ve been if hollered “Go away, I’m calling the police!” instead of returning to the door?

    • The cops would have tried to break in without further ado, or someone would have shouted “we are the police”, which the homeowner could just as well take to be a lie, or…any number of things, which may or may not have worked out better or worse than what happened.

  4. Why is it so hard for so many police officers to figure out how to use a GPS? Constitutional issues aside, if your first action after banging on a door at 1AM is to open fire at the house, at least get that part right. Is it really that hard?

    • Especially on a domestic call, where there are probably other persons inside the dwelling that don’t “need” to be shot (based on the cops’ “needs”, here).

    • Have you seen what comes up on a GPS unit? Numbers, words, directions, arrows!

      It’s all so confusing! How can you expect them to manage a GPS unit when in some cases, they can’t even read the warrant closely enough to be on the correct street?

      Jeez man, show some compassion here for the mentally handicapped.

      • And ….. far too friggin’ often to the wrong address, or to a On-Ramp that doesn’t exist, or to a road that doesn’t exist….or the really really really long way home. My suggestion is to get officers that can read, also they might just try something like announcing who the H they are.

        • This past years in Oklahoma City, the Sheriff and his deputies were making a “no knock” raid. As the sheriff entered the home, he was shot twice by the home owner. His vest saved his life. As for the home owner, no charges were filed,. It was the wrong house! The home owner was defending his home.

    • GPS won’t help if the officer if given the wrong address in the first place. I’d wager most of these “wrong house” types of scenarios are errors of that type – somebody writes down E instead of W, or transposes a digit in the house number, that sort of thing.

      • Given a choice between believing a drug-addled snitch or a citizen, the snitch will always win. The snitch will say anything to get a reduced sentence or charges dropped.

      • The only time the address is right is when the person who lives there calls something in. If it’s anyone else the call will sound like this “uh, it’s the house next to the yellow house near Adams Street I think.”

  5. Just don’t answer the door.
    Call the cops if they don’t go away and tell them somebody is pounding on your door.
    If they force their way in let fly.

    Nobody should ever feel compelled to answer their door or respond in any way to anyone pounding on said door. They’ll either go away or force their way in. Answering it just complicates matters.

    Don’t answer your phone either. Unsolicited contact really irks me.

    • I think you’re on to something there. Except I like “unsolicited contact” from my sons and daughter, so I do answer the phone (thanks be for caller ID).

    • The bad guys use a knock on the door to check if anyone is home when they want to avoid hot break ins. Not acknowledging will not prevent them from coming in.

      • How do you enter your house? Do you always climb through a window?

        Your house must have been built by some weird people.
        🙂

      • Same here. I have 10 foot walls around the house with only a gate and a garage door as a way to get into my “compound”. If someone rings the bell at the gate, I can look at them via a camera and buzz them in if needed. The previous owner spent a few thousand bucks to extend the walls and add a gate. It was brilliant. Having a bit of privacy like that is worth every last penny.

        • Those walls do give great security and privacy. In most of the rest of the world, they are seen as a sign of security and prosperity.

          In most of the residential areas of the U.S., they are forbidden by zoning codes.

          I cornered a zoning bureaucrat once, and asked why. After several false assertions, which I pointed out to him, he admitted that the anti-wall provisions were primarily for enforcement of the zoning codes.

          You make a very valid point. The privacy and security added by a sturdy wall, with a well secured entry, are large, large benefits.

    • I avoid that by having two front doors with huge windows in them, and about 14 other doors with huge windows in them. Been here 20+ years with no problems, you need to pick a better area to live if you worry about windows in your doors.

  6. Security door, security lights, video cameras with offsite recording, .308 FMJ’s for breakfast….
    Obviously an upscale neighborhood, why the full SWAT mindset assault?

    Where I grew up if in an emergency you needed to knock on someone’s door at O-dark-thirty, assuming you could get past the dog(s), you knocked politely and then stood well back with hands clear because you knew the first thing you would see was the open bore of a 12 gauge. Country folk don’t like surprises.

    • Yeah, not going to happen. Obama has only a few days to get his nominee in before the Senate blocks him for the rest of his term. The closer we get to the election, the less I see Republicans bending on this. Backing down to Obama in an election year is a great way to lose your seat.

  7. I find it appalling that such incompetence is even present in the police force, and even more so that it is rarely punished. Something needs to change.

  8. The police should only have immunity when doing their lawful duties. Shooting at random homes with intent to kill is not their job, it’s a crime. These bad apples should be held accountable, and they might be. Things are slowly improving where the rotten ones don’t always get away with it.

  9. i don’t know how many bullets is in a fusillade, but if the cops couldn’t hit the “suspect” are they suspended for being incompetent (twice)?

    • That would be awesome: “If you had killed the innocent guy you would be good since at least you can shoot, but since you didn’t we are going to fire you for incompetence (for not killing the innocent guy)”

  10. And the entire family was then put in handcuffs, including the 12 year old son. Way to go police; public servants! /sarcasm.

  11. Another problem with the loss of Scalia. The SCOTUS was about to put another hurt on public sector unions. Sooner or later they may have got to confronting cop unions, the primary source of these problems.

  12. I’ve got a nice, solid, wood door that I don’t open unless you’re expected. I don’t ask “Who is it?” either. The patio door is glass, though.

  13. We’re cautious and armed even when we’re expecting an arrival. Home invaders have been known to rob pizza delivery guys, for example, right at the door, then proceed to rob the customer, too. Still, we don’t want to spook people or advertise our firearms ownership, so we’re discreet in this.

    As for police raids, there will never be a legitimate one at my home, but a warrant typo or SWATting prank are possible, I suppose. I’d just do what I could to verify their identity (home invaders pose as police sometimes) and avoid bloodshed. There’s recent precedent in Texas for a homeowner killing a raiding officer, and being exonerated, when the officer’s identity was unknown to the homeowner.

    • That has happened. One case that comes to mind is the guy in Texas that shot and killed a Deputy no-knock-entering his house at something like 0500.

      Grand Jury did not issue True Bill….this after all the Blue Line LEO’s swore up and down the guy would get the death penalty.

    • So, you wish the homeowner had killed a bunch of cops? Really? Seriously? They are to pay for a mistake with their lives? They were trying to get a bad dude, they thought he had a gun. Bad for everyone involved. Lessons can be learned on both sides, but advocating killing caps is untenable. Seriously, you need your guns taken away until you get counseling for anger issues.

      • Shooting at an innocent guy, into HIS HOUSE. Where HIS family sleeps, at late night is one hellauva mistake. The police were in a tough spot. But their ‘side’ has a lot more ‘lessons’ to learn

        • Exactly. It is the job of the cops to be absolutely certain, beyond the shadow of any doubt, that they are at the right place. if they attack innocent citizens, their lives are no less forfeit than those of burglars or rapists, because they have stepped into the same category.

          This is why citizens should be allowed full automatics to defend themselves: when armed gangs come to the house, it’s the only way to have matching firepower. And yes, I’m calling the cops an “armed gang” here, because they assumed their righteousness and didn’t question the information they were given.

          No American should ever trust a cop until we can trust the cops to be absolutely certain that they aren’t going after innocent people.

      • A homeowner apprehensively answering the door 1 a.m. in the morning is a good guy. A group of people shooting wildly at a silhouette in a random house are bad guys. There is no sugar coating it; these cops attempted to kill an innocent person and endangered everyone else in the house. Maybe the police involved feel remorse and will never make this boneheaded mistake again, or maybe they don’t care and succeed the next time. If it’s the latter then it would be better for their future victims if they had died that night. That someone should lose their gun rights over pointing out this simple truth is absurd. Regardless of intent, the police in this incident are in the wrong and should face some sort of penalty and offer restitution to the homeowner.

        • Tom, with 20/20 hindsight, wished to kill cops. You don’t have a problem with that attitude in the RTKBA community? Shame.l, shame.

        • Having a strong opinion about what constitutes justice is not a crime. There are criminals such as drug traffickers and child pornographers who some people think deserve to die, and those criminals haven’t tried to directly murder anyone. Thinking that a group of men trying to kill an innocent man deserve what they tried to inflict isn’t beyond the pale. And to be clear Tom never said he wanted to kill cops.
          There is no reason to elevate agents of the state above the rest of us. Instead, we hold them to a higher standard because we give them our trust so they can perform their duties. The whole point of the RTKBA is to be a bulwark against State tyranny. The State unlawfully invading a home in the middle of the night is the definitive example of tyranny. The only people who should feel ashamed are the police who attacked that man that night.

      • David B, if this was a mistake, it was the gravest of mistakes. This is, at best, a horrible example of depraved indifference to human life, and by people sworn to protect it.
        Serious mistakes deserve serious consequences. Based solely on what the article above provides, I see no reason these officers should not be spending the rest of their lives behind bars.

      • Dave B: strange philosophy you express. You’re not OK with the Police paying for their mistake with their lives?? Sounds like you _are_ OK with the home owner paying for the Police mistake with his life… Shooting through a residential front door at 1 AM carries the potential for return fire regardless of who your employer is. The homeowner only knows there’s folks outside his door shooting at him. Homeowner is justified to shoot back in self-defense. Hopefully everyone misses. If the Police had been killed, it would be unfortunate but a “good shoot”. Wearing a uniform carries responsibilities, like not shooting through doors at 1 AM. Police need to retreat in some cases, like this one, to recon the situation, regain op sec, verify intel, call for back-up, identify themselves to the citizen. Police get a bad rap because they’re cocky, have poor trigger discipline, are too quick to shoot, indulge in mass fire after first shot, then get away with murder by claiming “gun! / knife!” where no threat existed. Citizens will defend themselves from unknown thugs. Police must use lights/sirens/loudspeakers to identify themselves.

      • As I understand you, it is OK for cops to wrongfully kill a homeowner, but not OK for the homeowner to kill someone breaking into their home who just happens to be a cop? Even though the cops felt they had no responsibility to determine if the homeowner holding a gun was a threat? Even though the cops (wherever) got the address wrong? You are endorsing the theory that cops are above the law, free to act on unreasonable impulse, free to kill citizens because….mistake? And risk/suffer no consequences?

      • “They are to pay for a mistake with their lives?”

        I like how you equate attempted murder with “a mistake.”

        They opened fire on the guy without identifying themselves. They would deserve whatever happened to them at that point, and I can that as a former LEO (as is Tom in Oregon, if I recall correctly).

        So, stuff your SJW-esque righteous indignation.

        • Failing to verify (send three people to check in three different ways each on the location and identity) they were in the right place facing the right guy was the mistake. Acting without having thus verified rises their mistake to the level of criminal action.

          Just to deter such, there should be a federal law requiring that any time cops damage property when they’re in the wrong place, the cost of repairs to original condition will be garnished from the wages/salaries of all present and all who authorized them.

        • “Acting on good faith” covers a multitude of sins. It will be tough getting government entities to open themselves to unlimited legal action.

      • Regular people have had their lives destroyed over far less consequential firearms mistakes than that which these cops made. Now, I’m not advocating shooting cops, nor do I think Tom is, either.

        Given how fast and loose some cops play with their guns and flash bang grenades, I will say that I won’t lose sleep over the loss of an officer whose own recklessness and callous disregard for people, property and the Constitution happens to incur some serious blowback.

        Blowback of that sort, within the context of the moment, the limited information available and the deadly threat posed by the police described in this article, sounds to me like what Tom envisioned, not some anti-police vendetta.

    • Termination of employment, short stay in work house, community service, and probation would be more appropriate.

  14. I got nuthin’-you’re fooked either way. Don’t answer-they break in. I’m sure as heck not answering the door unarmed-especially at 1AM…

  15. Sounds like the Police need some ‘rules of engagement’. Apparently, it looks like these cops have fewer restrictions than our troops in Afghanistan.

    • A vet in line at the bank today said that very same thing. He thinks cops should be held to the standard he was under most of the time in Iraq: fire only when fired upon. Another way to put that would be to state that the government may never, under any circumstances, initiate force against any citizens or legal residents.

  16. You don’t understand Tom’s statement. He wishes cops were killed when they made a mistake. The cops should have done due diligence, no doubt, but his repugnant statement should be repudiated, not endorsed, by the 2A community.

    • Have to agree, here. Cops have the entire mechanism of the police department (and sometimes federal agencies) to get things right, a homeowner has the startled awakening, loud noises, and maybe the ability to see forms pointing guns or shooting. Why would anyone believe the homeowner somehow has the sole responsibility to prevent a tragic outcome?

    • Your fake, concern troll-esque self-righteousness is very telling. Once again you expose your worldview.

      We understand Tom’s comment just fine. He was saying that if someone opens fire into one’s HOME at night, unidentified, returning fire to protect one’s HOME and FAMILY is a PROPER course of action.

      You are the one applying 20/20 hindsight to the homeowner. How the HELL did he know they were cops?

      I suggest you look up “Objective Reasonableness” as a standard for use of deadly force. Study it. Contemplate it. TRY to wrap your mind around that fact that a man is not a mind reader miraculously “knowing” those are cops outside.

      Further, the cops SAW a gun…merely seeing a gun is NOT “imminent threat” nor is it “Ability, Opprotunity AND Jeaopardy” on the part of the homeowner.

      However, at the point the UNIDENTIFIED cops shot into his home, the homeowner WOULD HAVE been acting under imminent threat and all three standards of “ability, opportunity and jeopardy” had been met.

      Your self-righteousness in this (as in the past) is disgusting.

      You are basically saying it’s A-Ok for cops to commit MURDER (“oh, it was just a mistake”) but not ok at all for a homeowner to shoot back at unidentified assailants SHOOTING INTO HIS HOME.

      That’s the very definition of worst kind of Statist thinking. Cops that think like you are the problem.

    • There’s nothing repugnant about wishing that a citizen had responded to aggression with armed defense and ended the careers of the perpetrators permanently.

      Being at the wrong location and opening fire made them, morally, not policemen but an armed gang. There can be no authorization ever to open fire on the innocent.

  17. Were officers really at the “wrong” home or is this another case of “Swatting”? Either way if/when the homeowner sues in civil court it WILL be US, the taxpayer, who foots the bill.

    If it truly was a “mistake” and police went to the wrong home someone MUST be held accountable ie. fired. Whether it’s the dispatcher, supervisory officer, or patrol officer an example MUST be made of them. If it’s a case of “swatting” whomever made the call MUST be identified and made to pay for their crime not only financially but also find themselves sentenced to a lengthy prison term.

    Now there are a few things I would like to know:

    Was the home’s street number clearly marked?

    Were officers dispatched to the wrong address?

    Was it the dispatcher or officer leading the response who make the mistake?

    Was it a case of “swatting”? And if it was who perpetrated the hoax that nearly got the family killed?

    • Another question is “Who initiated the barrage of gun fire and why?” It seems one or more of these officers is quick on the trigger and one or more fellow officers fired “sympathetically” after hearing the first rounds go off and if THAT’S the case the whole team on scene that day, nay, the whole department needs retraining.

  18. This should be mortgage paid off. They started a firefight through a man’s door. They are lucky someone else didn’t return fire from a other part of the dwelling

  19. I just corresponded with my bud who lives 10 miles from where the incident occurred. He said the local PD has no commented the whole thing and that the state is investigating the incident. He also said that same PD has a court order to remove red light cameras they installed and the PD has not removed them as yet. Arrogant much?

  20. This happen to me in Massillon Ohio . One night I was awakened by a pounding on the door and at the same time I saw a figure with a flash light at another window .so I knew there was two people ..not one word was said that these two were officers . I grabbed my cell phone and dialed 911 and put it on speaker and told the 911 operator I was in a safe place and armed and I had a person banging on my door and not say who they were . The operator asked my address and said there was officer dispatch for a domestic violence call ( wrong address) it was the house next door. so I stood down . I called the police chief the next day and told him two of his officers almost got shot by not say police … open up the door. his response to this was … well we don’t what to be rude and wake people up with the noise and lights. The lights were not on at all on squad car at all .no blue or red lights or headlights .

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