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“Police initially received a call of a breaking and entering into the home in the Fairview section of the city,” masslive.com reports. “When they arrived, they found the teenager on the ground suffering from a gunshot wound to his abdomen, [Chicopee Police Department Puboic Information Officer Michael] Wilk said. “It was determined that three parties went to the residence believing it to be (the home of) a friend. One party, the victim, was banging on the outside door, when the homeowner shot through the door, striking the male.”

Investigators found the victim and a friend were drinking alcohol at a nearby home. The two friends were confused while walking in the neighborhood and believed they had arrived at the home of another friend, said James Leydon, spokesman for Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni, said.

Lovell, the homeowner, tried to communicate with the victim, who was still knocking on the locked door, Leydon said.

“When a pane of glass broke, the suspect fired a single shot, striking the victim,” Leydon said.

When Chicopee Police arrived they immediately started providing emergency medical care and the 15-year-old was rushed to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, where he was treated but died later, Wilk said.

The homeowner, of course couldn’t have known that the people who were breaking into his home were merely drunk and disoriented. He “tried to communicate,” but they persisted to the point of breaking a window.

The article even goes so far as to use the passive voice “when a pane of glass broke.” Why not “when a pane a glass was broken?” If the unidentified teen didn’t intend to break the glass, I would expect some pretty heavy pounding on the door to cause a pane of glass to break.

Note that the 15-year-old was already engaged in illegal activity — underage drinking. Not that anyone should die for the offense. From the comments:

Springfield 61 10 hours ago

Some of us know those kids. Assuming they weren’t to be feared is a blind statement. They were under the influence, walking down the street yelling and not only continued to bang on the door but apparently broke the glass. The homeowner did call 911 to report the attempted break in. Any one of us could have been that homeowner and could very well fear for our safety. I’m not saying that the homeowner should have shot a gun but again we weren’t there. For the people who assume 15 year old kids aren’t to be feared haven’t been around today’s youth. People don’t know their backgrounds and there is more to the story than has been reported. It is still under investigation.

In Massachusetts, there’s no presumption that someone breaking into your home reasonably puts you in fear for your life. You have to prove that your life was in danger. Here’s the Massachusetts castle doctrine [via goal.org]:

Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 278, Section 8(a): In the prosecution of a person who is an occupant of a dwelling charged with killing or injuring one who was unlawfully in said dwelling, it shall be a defense that the occupant was in his dwelling at the time of the offense and that he acted in the reasonable belief that the person unlawfully in said dwelling was about to inflict great bodily injury or death upon said occupant or upon another person lawfully in said dwelling, and that said occupant used reasonable means to defend himself or such other person lawfully in said dwelling. There shall be no duty on said occupant to retreat from such person unlawfully in said dwelling.

That leave a considerable amount of wiggle room for a prosecutor to file charges. Compare that to the law in Colorado, CS 18-1-704.5:

18-1-704.5. Use of deadly physical force against an intruder.

(1) The general assembly hereby recognizes that the citizens of Colorado have a right to expect absolute safety within their own homes.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 18-1-704, any occupant of a dwelling is justified in using any degree of physical force, including deadly physical force, against another person when that other person has made an unlawful entry into the dwelling, and when the occupant has a reasonable belief that such other person has committed a crime in the dwelling in addition to the uninvited entry, or is committing or intends to commit a crime against a person or property in addition to the uninvited entry, and when the occupant reasonably believes that such other person might use any physical force, no matter how slight, against any occupant.

(3) Any occupant of a dwelling using physical force, including deadly physical force, in accordance with the provisions of subsection (2) of this section shall be immune from criminal prosecution for the use of such force.

(4) Any occupant of a dwelling using physical force, including deadly physical force, in accordance with the provisions of subsection (2) of this section shall be immune from any civil liability for injuries or death resulting from the use of such force.

I recall a similar case in Colorado, where a drunk individual was dropped off at and tried to break into the wrong house. As in the Massachusetts case, the homeowner called police and told the drunk to leave. As in the Massachusetts case, after the drunk broke a window, the homeowner fired and killed the drunken intruder.

The Colorado prosecutor determined that the homeowner was justified in his actions and no charges were filed against him. Under Massachusetts law, the homeowner is allowed a defense after charges are filed. He also faces civil liability. In the Massachusetts case, the homeowner is in for a rough ride, and may end up impoverished and bankrupt as a result.

Know the specific laws in your state.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch

146 Responses to Massachusetts Homeowner Charged For Shooting and Killing Home Invader

  1. The homeowners should say that the second highest LEO official in the US told him that shooting through the door is the correct response. I wonder how that will pan out in court.

  2. Yeah… This is the case that caused me to get banned from Trending News on Disqus because the leftie mods didn’t like me pointing out these exact same parallels.

    • Yep, happened to me too. Once they see who you are they short circuit your posting ability. Those lefties don’t want to be confronted with facts, the truth, or intelligent argument. They only want to spread their own lies and their progressive socialism agenda. I don’t know why this individual shot through a door to the outside? I’m not sure what state would consider that justified homicide, unless they were armed or shot first. You better check your own state law before shooting through doors to the outside of your residence would be my advice.

    • Me too, all my comments on Disqus are auto flagged as spam within seconds of posting, regardless of subject.

    • Yeah, the mods at thehighroad banned me, twice.

      Screw them, I’ll go elsewhere to comment and not give traffic to.

  3. Mass requires you to run to the very back of the inside of your house and wait for the intruder to come back there and then you can shoot. Meanwhile perp decides to burn your house down while you patiently wait for him to engage.

    • That is at best, wishful thinking. We’re not allowed to defend ourselves from criminals. Fuck, as of midnight we’re not even allowed to own AR’s apparently. We’re supposed to just curl up and die, so that corrupt politicians can wave our bloody shirts while they strip us of our freedoms.

      I know I defended gun owners in my state in an earlier post, but I’m sick of this shit. And I know all you Floridians on here hate us northerners coming down and ruining your paradise, but can we make an exception, just this once?

      • That’s because the politicians consider you little more than a resource to be made use of. A tax crop to be harvested.

      • As a native Floridian, there are too many goddamn people in this state. We need a couple good hurricanes to make people think twice about being here. (2004, when we got four major hurricanes in five weeks, was the first year Florida had negative population growth since the mid-70’s.) That said, you’re welcome, because you’d bring your politics with you, and we need something to counteract all the leftist “better in New York”ers that come here carrying their tripe.

        • Matt, I am a Brooklynite, born and raised who left New York. I did NOT come to Florida to change things here. I hate what NYC has become. There was a time, even there, when one could own guns. I owned a rifle, a shottie (both long guns for hunting, with the corresponding city long gun license and separate state hunting license) and a revolver (work gun, at the time). Yes, the licensing was a pain in the ass, and expensive, but I was able to own and carry. Florida has given me a sense of freedom which I would never want to p!ss on. I left New York, and I have no desire to live under the socialist ideology imposed upon me as a child. I Am flabbergasted by the former New Yorkers who bitch about NYC, then endeavor to remake their corner of Florida (or any other free state) into a carbon copy of the repression they left. they like progressivism so much, they should remain in their respective enclaves. IMHO

      • The knock against refugees from failed states like MD, NJ, CA, IL, etc. isn’t that they’re just goofy northerners or whatever who talk funny and eat weird foods and relocate to our well run prosperous states, but who nevertheless share our values about freedom. That’d just be routine blending of cultures among different types of Americans.

        No, the problem is when these socialists run their own states into the ground with every manner of liberal freedom snatching, tax and spending, and over regulation, then recoil in horror at what their policies have wrought, but fail to discern the caue and effect relationship. So they flee the hell hole they created and relocate to a great place like Texas. The first thing these refugees get unpacked and set up is their same old stale socialist politics, which they promptly apply to our elections, restarting the destructive cycle.

        The main problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money. Less frequently cited is that eventually you run out of fresh territory to befoul, too.

        • VERY well stated. “Refugees” coming to the Free States is one thing, if they truly understand that leftist ideology ruined their former home, and they disavow any part of every voting for that sort of thing in their new home. But, like refugees from other places around the world, they bring their mess with them, and then ruin their new home, as well.

        • I always liked the bumper sticker often seen in FL – “We don’t care how you did it up north”

          I came from Michigan, technically up north but from a firmly conservative family. I sure didn’t help the progressive cause, but I will agree that many NY/NJ/Mass refugees seemed to come just to farg up the state.

      • We only hate the ones that believe stuff like the (un)S.A.F.E. act or the Mass AG AR ban are legal and Constitutional. Despite your weird accent, if you believe in the 2A, you’ll be welcomed (at least in north Florida)

      • Come to Arizona. Plenty of open space here, lots of real estate for cheap, and we need to balance the influx of socialist foreigners and Californians (but I repeat myself).

    • MA has Castle Doctrine, and there is no duty to retreat. Any person who is the occupant of a dwelling may use deadly force against anyone who is not legally allowed to be in that dwelling, provided “the person unlawfully in said dwelling was about to inflict great bodily injury or death upon said occupant or upon another person lawfully in said dwelling, and that said occupant used reasonable means to defend himself or such other person lawfully in said dwelling.”

      The two problems this guy is going to be facing are that A) the shooting victim was not inside the dwelling, and that B) no reasonable person is going to believe that he posed a grievous or deadly threat at the time he was shot.

      MA is no gun owners favorite state right now, but this guy clearly didn’t act within the law, or even a reasonable definition of morality.

      • Good post blinky. This is a terrible shoot and unfortunately the kid is dead and the shooter is going to jail. There is no justification for shooting through the door in this case; none. This guy was not in imminent danger thus he had no reason to use lethal force.

      • I would have to agree. I am sure the homeowner was scared, but shooting through a door is a pretty tough case to make no matter where you live. Sad all the way around.

      • Might have turned out differently for Mr. Lovell if the deceadent was a 25 year old high on meth with a lengthy criminal history. He’ll probably have to take a plea to have sometime again with his family.

        Some valuable lessons here.

      • Seriously?

        Let’s see how you feel when some punk is pounding YOUR front door front door to smithereens. When he breaks YOUR window! You weren’t there, and you don’t know how shit went down (no one does, except the people who were there), so how about you reserve judgment until the facts are in, huh?

        But, hey, since we’re just throwing opinions out there, willy nilly, if some stupid/drunk dipshit broke my window after I politely asked them to get the f*ck off my lawn (and most likely informed them that I was armed, possibly with an m1 Garand), I can’t say I wouldn’t do the same exact thing this unfortunate homeowner did.

        Have you ever had 911 tell you to “call back in 15 minutes if it gets any worse”? Have you ever had the cops completely fail to respond when you called in “multiple gunshots” (i.e gangbangers shooting at each other right next to your home)? I have, and it’s why I’m a gun owner. When seconds count, the police are only minutes away, after all. And, as far as I’m concerned, as soon as those jackasses broke glass, all bets were off.

        • So… we don’t know all the facts so I better keep my judgements and options to myself, but here’s a pile of yours. Gotcha.

          FWIW – despite the fact that you don’t know what situations I’ve been in, I’ll volunteer that I’ve never drawn down on a door with someone pounding on the other side of it or breaking any of my windows.

          That said, if said person was doing that and I had already drawn, I see no purpose in shooting before they’ve actually broken and entered. If nothing else, it ensures I’m aiming at center mass, and not the 7 year old riding her bike 100 yards past center mass.

        • Steve, you mighti want to consult with an attorney before shooting someone as you stated “if some stupid/drunk dipshit broke my window after I politely asked them to get the f*ck off my lawn”. In most jurisdictions in US the odds of you taking a felony conviction are nearly 100%.

          Here in Texas you might not, but that would also depend on daytime versus nightime and other caveats that I believe other states do not have.

          If you are inexperienced or unadvised as to how law enforcement as well as the prosecutor’s office will deal with you based upon your scenario, I can assure you that you will be treated as a murder. You will be arrested, jailed, if you are granted bail it will be costly, the same applies to hiring an attorney. Figure a minimum of $30k just to plead you out, $60k or more to go to trial. You will lose everything you value, money freedom, respect. If you can’t afford an attorney, you’ll get one appointed to you. He’ll tell you to take the plea offer. If you go to trial and the “angels” are not on your shoulder you will lose. The prosecutor will paint you as the worst criminal that has ever come to the courthouse and the judge will bury you there.

          This would also apply to you recklessly shooting through a door and hitting a bystander.

          I’m not an attorney, but I have put a lot of people away.

        • Okay Steve, and yes, I saw Gran Torino too. Trouble is that the kid wasn’t on the front lawn and neither was the homeowner. Shooting through a closed door is just dumb no matter what state you are in. Threat assessment, check your target and make sure nothing is line of sight behind your target. Yes, it may put us at a disadvantage but that is the responsibility that we accept as gun owners. Its also why we have a plan around personal defense, to anticipate threats not just react to them. Stay aware and keep a cool head.

          Got anymore Clint references?

      • Drunk dude who wasn’t communicating with the homeowner despite attempts and who continues to bang on the door to the point of damaging the door. Unless you interact with violent or semi-violent drunks on the regular, I doubt most people aren’t going to consider such a person as a non-threat.

        • I don’t think anyone is suggesting that he was a “non-threat”. What I (and others) am sugesting is that he wasn’t an imminent threat of death and/or grievous bodily injury. Moreover, it does not appear that this shooter had much of plan set up to deal with threats other than simply opening up through a locked door.

  4. CAlifornia has a leg up on both Mass AND Colorado. Although many things are far worser, there is a presumption affecting the burden of proof that an occupant of a residential dwelling is PRESUMED to be acting in self-defense when there is a “breaking and entering” of the dwelling. This puts the burden on the prosecutor to prove bey9ond a reasonable doubt that the resident was NOT acting in self defense. (There are of course exceptions to this presumption if the “intruder” is a resident if the house.)

    Still under these facts, I can’t see why the prosecutor decided to charge. The broken window does it for me, even if the guy is shooting through a door, as the break implies an attempted forced entry.

    So the question becomes, with today’s AR ban and this case, when is Ralph moving?

    • …..although many things are far worser.

      Such as your mastery of the English language? Sorry; someone was bound to do it.

      • You’re welcome in Iowa, Ralph. The firearms laws aren’t perfect but there’s no magazine capacity limits and you can bar carry. Plus you won’t be burdened with having to drop all your heavy winter clothing off at Good Will.

  5. I don’t care how permissive your states self defense laws are, if you shoot someone through an exterior door you’re probably more than likely going down for at least manslaughter.

        • So we should wait until the attacked peeks out of cover then? Isn’t that the whole point of having a rifle?

      • And what if it was a DINOSAUR breaking it down?!?!?!?

        The door wasn’t being broken down… the window apparently broke. What’s your point?

      • The fact that it was a drunk teenager knocking on what he thought was his friends door, who is now dead, pretty clearly illustrates the problem.

        If you can’t even see the attacker, don’t shoot. Especially not outward from a building where that bullet could go anywhere.

        From the looks of it, this may have been a storm door that the kid knocked too hard on and the flimsy pane broke. If there was another closed, locked solid door behind that, and the homeowner shot through that, then the homeowner is probably screwed.

  6. So I guess the moral of this story is: Massachusetts REALLY sucks. After banning every fungun today they’re banning shooting a punk trying to break in. Sorry-LOTS of 15 year old thugs and murderers in nearby Chiraq. And I saw this story on Yahoo with a totally different spin. BTW punks banging on MY door at night(after the idiots ran into my neighbors lamp) convinced me to buy a gun some 6 years ago. All I had was a baseball bat and a phone to call the po- leece…maybe Ralph will comment.

      • FUN guns, not FUDD guns (just kidding, not really, the MA rules really do ban all non-Fudd guns and all the Fudd versions of the same)

        • Just because the party’s over at 6 doesn’t mean that levers and revolvers aren’t a blast to shoot.

          Double barrels, single shots, derringers… all tons of fun as well.

    • Shooting blind through a door at someone who hasnt entered the residence is not a good shoot under almost any state law. One can make all the “what if” calls about them breaking through, but until then its not an imminent threat to life. Likewise, shooting blind through a door is stupid, especially when you arent taking into account where that bullet may go, which is just as much a concern and problem as the dude banging on the door.

  7. Two things which are really one.

    I live near where the Colorado incident occurred and there is a HUGE difference here. She was inside the man’s home when she was shot. Yes, she wasn’t following commands, yes she was drunk but she was inside the home.

    This person was not.

    That leads to point 1.1: You cannot shoot someone through the door of your house unless they are firing a gun at you or otherwise presenting a lethal threat (like they’re about to light the house on fire with you and your family in it). The homeowner is likely fucked here. There’s probably no way he can convince a jury that he reasonably feared for the safety of himself or others to the point that lethal force was justified.

    Don’t shoot people who are on your porch beating on the door unless there’s some other reasons to do it like they’re screaming about how they’ve got a can of gas and a book of matches.

    Now, I’m off to catch Range 15 with the wife and some friends. I’ll let you guys know how Mat Best does at making movies later on.

    • “You cannot shoot someone through the door of your house unless they are firing a gun at you or otherwise presenting a lethal threat (like they’re about to light the house on fire with you and your family in it)”

      Perhaps not where you are. I feel sorry for you. But thankfully most states don’t have such ridiculous limitations – bad guys are shot through door all the time…

      http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/05/23/homeowner-shoots-door-kills-suspected-intruder/

      http://concealednation.org/2016/04/intruder-fatally-shot-in-missouri-home-invasion/

      http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/article317028/KC-man-fires-through-back-door-shoots-intruder%E2%80%99s-foot.html

      Anyone attempting to enter your home by force is assumed to be looking to do you grave bodily harm. As such, you are legally allowed to stop the attempted incursion. At least in civilized states.

      Your life, your family. You wish to open the door and ask them what they’re on about, be my guest.

      • Thanks 16V…breaking his glass door glass is key here. And if he had 2 “buddies” that makes it a “mob”…and the other comment-yes Illinois sucks. But more than one person has protected himself and didn’t go to prison. A LOT depends on who the district attorney pr!ck IS.

        • FWW, Yeah, I just don’t understand how you differentiate when it’s some time at night, and there’s someone trying to beat down your door. I guess it’s magic or something.

          It’s a serious threat (even if it isn’t) – neutralize it, That’s what any reasonable person would expect to happen to them, attempting to beat in a door….

      • Breaking a pane of glass on a storm door by knocking too hard does not automatically equate to trying to enter a home by force, though.

        Anyone who has done any kind of outside sales or door-to-door campaigning know that some houses don’t have working doorbells, and some people (especially elderly) like to keep storm doors locked outside a regular door so they can open the main door to peek and still have a little security to allow them to shut and lock it again if they don’t like what they see. Which means you end up knocking on glass window panes sometimes, since it is the whole top half of the door and you can’t knock on the door behind it. Generally gently enough that the glass or plexiglas pane won’t break, unless you’re an idiot, or a drunk kid.

        Now imagine a kid who’s been drinking knocking a little too hard on what he thinks is his friends storm door and the glass breaks and BLAM! He’s dead. I just can’t see the blame as entirely one-sided there. Especially if there was another door behind that one that was a locked physical barrier. I need more info on that part.

        Criminal charges end in either guilty or not guilty, but civil litigation can end in judgements like “25% responsible” for something that happened. Even if the homeowner isn’t convicted, it is likely this is going to cost him big time. But not nearly as much as the kid’s own behavior cost himself, obviously.

        • There is also the possibility that it wasn’t just knocking that broke the window. The drunk kid could have been leaning against the glass pane door while knocking. I’ve done that with a solid door when I was totally shit-faced and could hardly stand. I fell on my face hard when my college roommate opened the door. Apparently, everybody who witnessed it thought it was funny enough to keep bringing it up for years.

        • It’s a shame that a drunk, and violent, kid picked the wrong door to beat on. I never did such things as a 13 year old. Nor did any of my friends. Right before passing out. I have always known where I was, and what the hell I was doing regardless of my age. If you don’t know right from wrong by 13, regardless of your chemical intake, you have serious problems in your future.

          13 and can’t handle his alcohol? Was he raised by wolves? Or religious nutters who see alcohol as evil? I mean seriously. My friends and I raised in the early ’70s knew the effects of alcohol as kids.

      • You fail to realize that in ALL states you must prove that you reasonably feared the person.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/04/us/theodore-wafer-sentenced-in-killing-of-renisha-mcbride.html?_r=0

        This guy got boned because the screen door between him and the chick he blasted was locked.

        In your first story, the guy was clearly trying to break down the door and the homeowner was elderly. This changes the equation drastically. He can argue that IF the guy gets in he’s too old and infirm to deal with it.

        In the second case, they had gotten the door open. “The resident ran back to the table, retrieved his firearm, and fired one shot through a window on the partially-opened metal door.”

        In the third case it was up to the victim of the GSW whether or not to prosecute. “He later told police he did not want to prosecute the homeowner.”

        Sorry, no you can’t just shoot through a door. In order to use lethal force you must prove that the person you shot had the capability to harm you or others or that there are extenuating circumstances that meant your level of fear at the time you fired meets the level that you could reasonably fear the person might cause death or great bodily harm.

        “Anyone attempting to enter your home by force is assumed to be looking to do you grave bodily harm.”

        Simply not true. Capability matters in all jurisdictions. Some guy yelling “I’ll kill you!” while waving a knife around 600 in your front yard doesn’t give you the right to kill him if he’s wheelchair bound.

        “As such, you are legally allowed to stop the attempted incursion. At least in civilized states.”

        You need to consult a dictionary. If they’re not in your house there is no incursion.

        “You wish to open the door and ask them what they’re on about, be my guest.”

        A false dichotomy. There is no need to open the door. You sit there with a gun trained on the door with cops on the way and if the person opens it and attempts to make entrance now that it’s possible, you open fire and are legal in most states (some have a duty to retreat).

      • You fail to realize that in ALL states you must prove that you reasonably feared the person.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/04/us/theodore-wafer-sentenced-in-killing-of-renisha-mcbride.html?_r=0

        This guy got boned because the screen door between him and the chick he blasted was locked.

        In your first story, the guy was clearly trying to break down the door and the homeowner was elderly. This changes the equation drastically. He can argue that IF the guy gets in he’s too old and infirm to deal with it.

        In the second case, they had gotten the door open. “The resident ran back to the table, retrieved his firearm, and fired one shot through a window on the partially-opened metal door.”

        In the third case it was up to the victim of the GSW whether or not to prosecute. “He later told police he did not want to prosecute the homeowner.”

        Sorry, no you can’t just shoot through a door. In order to use lethal force you must prove that the person you shot had the capability to harm you or others or that there are extenuating circumstances that meant your level of fear at the time you fired meets the level that you could reasonably fear the person might cause death or great bodily harm.

        “Anyone attempting to enter your home by force is assumed to be looking to do you grave bodily harm.”

        Simply not true. Capability matters in all jurisdictions. Some guy yelling “I’ll kill you!” while waving a knife around 600 in your front yard doesn’t give you the right to kill him if he’s wheelchair bound.

        “As such, you are legally allowed to stop the attempted incursion. At least in civilized states.”

        You need to consult a dictionary. If they’re not in your house there is no incursion.

        “You wish to open the door and ask them what they’re on about, be my guest.”

        A false dichotomy. There is no need to open the door. You sit there with a gun trained on the door with cops on the way and if the person opens it and attempts to make entrance now that it’s possible, you open fire and are legal in most states (some have a duty to retreat).

        • Apparently you live in a duty to retreat state – as I noted, not everyone does. Your law may be different. But your law doesn’t apply to all, or even most states.

          As far as your assertion, you might want to tale a law class or two. Then spend some time reading state statutes on Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground laws. Once again, in general, in places with SYG or even well-fleshed out Castle, the act of violently attempting entry itself presents the resident with reasonable belief that they are going to be attacked. That’s it. Many states are very specific about this. For most, it works in cars too. Someone breaking into your home/car/hotel room is there to do you bodily harm.

          I lazily grabbed the first 3 of hundreds of non-prosecuted, non-charged examples. There’s hundreds more, it (relative to defensive shoots) happens all the time, and it is only prosecuted in duty to retreat states. Or by naive prosecutors who believe they can get political points for coming after you, no matter how futile the case.

          Here’s a relevant cite from NV law, feel free to look up the 29+ states that have some general agreement. A reasonable person understand the act of violently entering is not bare fear, but a reasonable expectation of violence upon their person. Other states are even more specific, but I’m not spending the time on it.

          NRS 200.130  Bare fear insufficient to justify killing; reasonable fear required; rebuttable presumption under certain circumstances.

          1.  A bare fear of any of the offenses mentioned in NRS 200.120, to prevent which the homicide is alleged to have been committed, is not sufficient to justify the killing. It must appear that the circumstances were sufficient to excite the fears of a reasonable person and that the person killing really acted under the influence of those fears and not in a spirit of revenge.

          2.  There is a rebuttable presumption that the circumstances were sufficient to excite the fears of a reasonable person and that the person killing really acted under the influence of those fears and not in a spirit of revenge if the person killing:

          (a) Knew or reasonably believed that the person who was killed was entering unlawfully and with force, or attempting to enter unlawfully and with force, the occupied habitation or occupied motor vehicle, of another;

          (b) Knew or reasonably believed that the person who was killed was committing or attempting to commit a crime of violence; and

          (c) Did not provoke the person who was killed.

          3.  As used in this section:

          (a) “Crime of violence” means any felony for which there is a substantial risk that force or violence may be used against the person or property of another in the commission of the felony.

          (b) “Motor vehicle” means every vehicle which is self-propelled.

          [1911 C&P § 130; RL § 6395; NCL § 10077]—(NRS A 2015, 1782)

          One last thing, that’s why there was “attempted” in front of “incursion”.

  8. Basically, what everyone is saying…Is that every single resident who “believes” in their US Constitutional-Bill of Rights…Should move out of Massachusetts to a “free-state” that recognizes the US Constitutional-Bill of Rights and all that it pertains too..?

    • Or fix Massachusetts if they’re up to it, or whatever. All we need right now is someone to carry a Mini-14 into the AG’s office and demand to be arrested. Will either get this crap nipped in the courts quickly, or reveal it as an embarrassing bluff.

  9. Don’t shoot until you see the whites of their eyes or a weapon in their hands.

    And don’t shoot unarmed drunks. If you are sober you should be able to keep an unarmed drunk in-check until the police arrive (unless he/she is much larger than you or there are more than one drunk).

    • Mad Max,

      Homeowners are not clairvoyant and have no way of knowing whether or not someone pounding on their door is drunk … neither do they have any way of knowing whether or not that person has a concealed weapon.

      Having said all that, I imagine you minimize your legal risk if you wait until they utterly break down your door and actually enter your home before shooting. If your door will hold long enough for you to retrieve a long gun, that would also virtually guarantee that you would face little risk waiting for them to enter. (A single hit to the central-upper torso with a rifle or shotgun will instantly incapacitate the home-invader … assuming proper ammunition selection.)

      Note that I am not an attorney and the above is not legal advice.

      • “Homeowners are not clairvoyant and have no way of knowing whether or not someone pounding on their door is drunk … neither do they have any way of knowing whether or not that person has a concealed weapon.”

        Which is exactly the point. It could be a drunk kid running away from a gang of thugs. The kid’s desperate to get to safety and you just blasted them. You don’t know. The law requires you to be able to state a case where a “reasonable person” placed in the same situation would fear enough for their safety or the safety of others that a shoot is justified.

        Unless they kick in your door you have no business shooting them and in most places you’re legally screwed if you do shoot them before they make entrance and demonstrate some of threat.

        You can bet that if a kid kicks in your door and your home security camera has them on video/audio pleading for help against a bunch of Crips that are chasing them, begging you on their knees to save them, shooting the poor person will get you a cellmate who’s gonna loosen your personal backdoor.

        • It could be a drunk kid running away from a gang of thugs. The kid’s desperate to get to safety and you just blasted them. You don’t know. The law requires you to be able to state a case where a “reasonable person” placed in the same situation would fear enough for their safety or the safety of others that a shoot is justified.

          Right. Drunk kid running from thugs is gonna beat your door down and break a window. If you were to live on one of those neighborhoods, you aren’t answering the door to save that kid, because the gang/thugs will retaliate against you the next day. Oh, and panicked people looking for aid are screaming “help!” at the top of their lungs – maybe desperately clawing at your door. But even less likely that they have any strength left to pound very hard.

          Once again, there is no the law. Different states have different rules of self-defense. In many, that they’re kicking your at your door presents a reasonable belief that personal harm is going to come to you. Know your state law have a lawyer on retainer (if you can afford it).

    • I knew what my sons were doing at 15. Unlike my own parents who pretty much let their sons run wild. So I’d say crappy parents. Don’t know about the Land Downunder. Here you’re a minor at 15…

      • In Australia you are legally an adult at 18 years of age. Until then your parents are responsible for you.

        Also, you can legally obtain a pilot’s license at 16, obtain a learner’s permit for driving a car at the same age. Drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes at 18 as well as vote in elections, once you’ve registered. It’s the same across the entire country.

  10. I cannot imagine a jury actually convicting the home owner. When a “visitor” is pounding on your door for a while, you have told them repeatedly to leave, and then the “visitor” breaks your door (apparently glass in the door in this case), I think that constitutes a reasonable fear of imminent death or great bodily harm.

    • I fail to see how a broken glass panel on a door constitutes imminent death or bodily harm.

      Even if the guy on the other side of the door was violent and yelling, “I’ll kill you.” it still would not qualify unless he had:

      Intent
      Opportunity
      Capability

      The state of the door is a huge factor. Was it about to literally break? Or was it still a solid barrier despite the broken glass?

      Second did the drunk guy have the means to inflict imminent death or bodily harm at the time of the shooting from the other side of the door?

      Banging on a door and breaking a window is not justification for deadly force. It would be different if the glass that was broken would have granted the teen immediate access to the home. As in he broke it to reach in and unlock try door.

      A guy with a knife can threaten and wave it at you through a door or fence and it would not justify a good shoot unless he had the immediate opportunity to harm you.

      Same applies to this scenario. Unless the door was about to come off it’s hinges or the guy was about to gain entry and the homeowner had good reason to believe he was in mortal danger, this is likely to be a bad shoot. If the teen had a group of people with him and they were also trying to enter that may help his case with disparity of force.

      • That may be a valid argument in a Duty to Retreat state.

        The reality in Stand Your Ground or developed Castle Doctrine states, is that act of attempting to violently enter the domicile is in and of itself proof of intent to a reasonable individual that they are about to be done harm.

  11. This is similar to the case in Michigan where the homeowner shot the drunk girl through the front door. Shooting through the front door does not seem too smart a move, at least in a northern state.

    • I noticed the parallels too. However, this homeowner has a few more things going for him. He called 911 unlike the guy in Michigan. He tied to communicate to the person at the door to go away (this point will probably be debated I know). The kid for sure broke the glass. There was a broken screen in the Michigan case but the cause of it was debatable. The guy in Michigan actually opened the door to shoot at Renisha McBride (the deceased).

  12. 18 is adult in all states in Australia. You can vote, drink etc

    There were two similar cases in Brisbane about a year apart 15 years back. In the first one home owner charged with attempted murder twice and jury wasn’t allowed to be told the “victim” had multiple robbery and burglary convictions. In the second three 17 year olds broke into the wrong house to administer some “justice” over a drug deal with baseball bats. Police cleared him in hours. Depends a lot on what party is in government and if law and order is in the media

  13. So, I must be missing something. Did the drunk outside the door have the ABILITY to kill or cripple the homeowner through that door? No. Did the drunk have the OPPORTUNITY to carry out that ability, assuming he had the ability? No. What about JEOPARDY? Were the actions and the words of the drunk something that a reasonable, prudent person would construe as representing an intent to kill or cripple? Probably not. Massachusetts gun control laws may suck, but unless I am missing some key fact, this was not a good shoot in any state. If his lawyer declares this self-defense, he get’s to play the Affirmative Defense card, which means the burden of proof that he made the right decision is on him and his lawyer. Unless you have your ducks lined up, that is not easy. His “ducks” are dancing the tango right now. I am a strong advocate for the 2nd amendment, and I have read every book I can find on the subject. I am always the first to come to the aid of someone who is being falsely accused. But, if I see holes in his claim of self-defense, how in the world will he convince a jury to consider jury nullification. Again, unless I am missing some key fact, this is not a good shoot.

    • In most castle law states, this would be an instant walk. Loudly attempting to break-in, the window breakage is merely a deal sealer.

      Bad guys are shot through closed doors while attempting entry all the time. In most states, there would be no grounds for a charge. Someone attempting violent entry of your residence is evidence enough of their intent to harm you.

      • Nonsense 16v. This is not an “instant walk” in ANY state nor should it be. Aside from the law, its just plain dumb to shoot through a closed and locked door. Wake up.

        • Investigation by police on the scene, validate that the person was attempting to violently enter the domicile, case closed. No arrest, no prosecution. That’s what I call an ‘instant walk’. Which is what happens in the majority of these cases. Guy breaking is was a 3 time loser, rapist, violent ex, whatever.

          I’m not advocating the practice if one can avoid it. But there is some serious confusion about Duty to Retreat, Cast Doctrine, and Stand Your Ground law. I just want people to go look for themselves, and see what applies to them.

      • “Common Sense” dictates that a guy drunkenly and obnoxiously breaking my front door in, is merely some ‘innocent kid’ exactly how?

        Please explain, I’m just dying to see your desperate rationalization for automatically assuming all is well , when it very well may not be.

        • I usually agree with you 16V but here I just don’t.

          In order to claim a good shoot you have to have a credible threat and a guy banging on your door, even if it breaks some glass just isn’t that unless you can show that he was about to come through the door.

          Two scenarios for you.

          1) A drunk kid is pounding on your door and trying to gain entrance to your home with the intent of killing everyone inside. He’s too drunk to communicate with you coherently.

          2) A drunk kid is pounding on your door and trying to gain entrance because a gang of thugs is trying to kill him. He’s too drunk and panicked to communicate with you coherently.

          How do you know which is which when firing through the door? You don’t.

          That’s the point of the laws and Castle doctrine doesn’t apply here. He’s not in the house and with a door between you and him he is NOT a credible threat unless he has means that you know about or have good reason to believe he has to project force into the house without entering it. Yes, some states will allow the use of lethal force for crimes such as burglary, arson, rape etc but they all require you to have a reasonable belief that such a thing is eminent which it’s not if the door is fairly in tact unless, as I said earlier, there’s something else at play like he has a can of gas and a book of matches or he has a gun. In either case you have KNOW or REASONABLY BELIEVE this before you can use lethal force.

    • You’re correct, don’t let the toxic wannabe vigilantes that populate the comments here get to you. Firing blind through a locked door at an unarmed individual outside is going to be tough to justify in most places.

      • And you know they are unarmed and present no immediate violent threat despite their vigorous efforts, how again..?

        • You know or reasonably believe they are armed exactly how?

          There’s two sides to this coin. Assumption is the mother of all fuckups and it’s not a legal defense to assume someone is armed unless you have an articulable reason you can state as to how you know it or why you suspect it. “He might have a weapon” isn’t a legal defense for shooting someone. “He reached for something consistent with attempting to draw a weapon” is.

        • strych9, I generally agree with you as well, but you’re just incorrect as far as the law for most states reads.

          In my experience, no one has ever attempted to kick in my door to borrow a cup of sugar, or discuss discoveries in particle physics. Nor have I read of that ever happening. Though I’ve heard tell of a rogue group of physicists…

          In a Duty to Retreat state, you have a valid argument. In the rest of the states, the fact that some one is violently attempting entry is proof enough that bad things are going to happen to you.

    • I caution that the Progressive’s definition of the Castle Doctrine is pure propaganda. It does not give you the right to use deadly force because someone is banging on your door or damages your property.

      There are a lot of good books and courses on this subject. I suggest pursuing this training. At the very least, the material from these courses become admissible in court, and it could be used to explain to the jury the basic principles around the use of deadly force. Second, it will help reduce the chance you may be convicted for breaching a legal boundary you didn’t know existed.

  14. If the door was one in which the majority of the door is a pane of glass, once that is broken the door is more than accessible.

  15. Even Colorado’s law isn’t that great.. notice the “AND” statement? They have to have broken in AND you reasonably belive that they will commit additional crimes.

    South Carolina is pretty good here. It is automatically presumed that they are going to harm you even if they are just in the process of unlawful entry (i.e. they don’t even need to be inside yet…). The law also provides automatic criminal and civil immunity, with a few exceptions (shooting LEO’s, etc.):

    (A) A person is presumed to have a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily injury to himself or another person when using deadly force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily injury to another person if the person:

    (1) against whom the deadly force is used is in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or has unlawfully and forcibly entered a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, or if he removes or is attempting to remove another person against his will from the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle; and

    (2) who uses deadly force knows or has reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act is occurring or has occurred.

    Since I live alone… if I so much as see another uninvited person inside (or half inside) my home I’m legally able to defend myself with whatever means necessary.

    • I’m not an attorney, but that statute can be read two ways. The way you see it, but the “and” could be “in addition to” instead of “and also”. “Make my day” law is weird. It’s suppose to be the beacon of castle doctrine, but I find it to lack a bit of other features to qualify it as such. Though, haven’t really ever seen anyone get screwed from shooting an intruder, but I’m sure it’s happened.

  16. The homeowner shot the drunken bum on the wrong side of the door jamb.

    Baseball is not the only game of inches.

  17. In NC you can shoot through the door if they are trying to break in but once inside you are to give them a chance to leave.

  18. If you actually think this is a justified killing I honestly question whether you have the respect for human life and judgement to safely own a firearm.

    This guy was not in any immediate threat and he chose to err on the side of caution….by killing some poor kid.

    I was in a far worse situation than this guy, but similar in the sense that i had the upper hand and could let the intruder actually see the situation he had just got himself into and could let the intruder show me his actual intentions (Being in house that’s not his with a guy with a gun pointed at his heart from a strategic position of cover behind a doorway. His intention was to hurt or kill me with a knife he had in his hand.). Like we now know wouldn’t have happened with these kids, i didn’t have to pull the trigger, the guy got out of dodge SO fast once he saw his situation.

    I don’t think the homeowner should be locked up forever, man slaughter would probably be appropriate, he should lose his gun rights as he clearly can’t be trusted with one.

    • Whatever.

      If you’re cool with letting some drunken dipshit break down your front door, then holding said dipshit at gunpoint while you explain to him the error of his ways, you’re definitely more of a man than I am, and kudos to you. And I’m being 100% serious. That would take some large, solid, brass ones, and would definitely be worthy of commendation. Unfortunately, I’m 5’6″ and 140lbs, and as much as I respect life, I don’t think I would be able to do that. If anyone breaks glass at my house, they’re getting pumped full of lead. I have a family to take care of, and, despite my small stature, the gun is the great equalizer, (as has been pointed out many times on this site) and I’m a damn good shot. Remember, just because a particular course of action would work for you, doesn’t mean it would work for everyone.

      • “pumped full of lead”? Are you serious? I agree that you are too immature and reckless to own a gun for personal defense. Suppose a kid tosses a stone though your window from your front yard while you are inside. Are you going to start shooting through the locked front more? Don’t be an idiot. Put your gun away before yo do something stupid and end up in jail.

    • Stick with loving baserocks,. because you obviously know sweet FA about human behavior.

      It was a completely stupid drunk kid, so what? Normal drunk kids don’t beat on doors, or break glass, This was an aberrant individual. Accept facts, this was a POS kid, who unfortunately for him, pushed the wrong lever and won the prize.

      No loss to society, or the world.

        • I’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of drunks – there are violent ones, and there are all the rest. Alcohol doesn’t make you bad, it merely brings it to the surface.

          Please go argue with some drunk kids, and report back on how well it goes. If they don’t beat you to death.

  19. Need to breach the dwelling to remove any doubt. Yeah that means you might face an entry by several goons but legally you’re r clear.

  20. Were the kids black? This has to be a white on black crime. The homeowner was also probably a retired cop!

  21. I’m not saying the homeowner should or shouldn’t have done what they did, but I more than likely would not have fired rounds through the door. One, because I might not know the 5 W’s of what is actually taking place. Two, I’m not taking the chance of those rounds not doing their job once they’ve traveled through a solid wood door. (In my situation, door is solid wood.) Three, even in the most gun-friendly places, I think you might have a hard time justifying your fear to a jury. Lastly, if this is a bad dude trying to gain entry, it’s not smart to stand directly in front of that door. Rounds can go both ways, door can be kicked in and end up on you, or any other multitude of issues.

  22. We had a case like that not too long ago here in Spokane. The homeowner opened the door, but the screen door was shut and he fired through that and killed the guy after the guy broke the glass in it.
    The prosecutors office declined to file chargers.

  23. I’ll echo some of the others. I think I’d wait until I was sure of my target before taking the shot. Shooting through a door is shooting blind, which isn’t smart.

  24. “The two friends were confused while walking in the neighborhood and believed they had arrived at the home of another friend.. (they were) banging on the outside door, ……..the victim and a friend (had been)……. drinking alcohol at a nearby home…..when a pane of glass broke…..”? Yeah THAT’S what HE’S saying NOW, you really didn’t expect him to admit to a “crime” did you?

    Of course the anti-gun Liberal Media will play up this story to demonize gun owners and it IS a “story” AFTER he and his accomplice got caught and his pal was “made good” while attempting to commit a “home invasion”. What we have here is just another in a long line of “din-du-nuffens”.

  25. Start holding protests in front of the arresting officers and district attorney`s home every weekend. That will turn prosecution of this homeowner into a political hot potato. That is if the Massachusetts attorney general didnt ban the First Amendment.

    • Tom, what are you talking about? Why would we protest and what, exactly, are we protesting? This case seems pretty clear; the shooter, unless I’m missing some really key facts, was wrong to shoot through the door.

  26. If the pic at the top of the story is the door in question, and the apparently missing pane of glass in the storm door is the broken glass, then this is clearly a bad shoot, in every sense of the phrase.
    In a legal sense, it is not reasonable to believe that the kid was an imminent threat while he was still on the other side of a closed wooden door. So bad shoot there.
    On the tactics side, shooting blindly through a solid door is a no go, as you can not accurately identify your target, or what is beyond it.
    Now if that wooden door was open, and the homeowner could see through, and only the storm door was there and the glass broke, that changes everything.

  27. I feel for this homeowner, but:

    1) Know the gun laws and self defense laws in your state. We can argue all day about whether Massachusetts law adequately protects a citizen’s right to defend their life and property. At the end of the day, if you break that law, expect to be prosecuted. Unfortunately that means that you have to factor your state’s law into your decision.

    2) Shooting through your front door is never a good idea. It will put you in legal jeopardy in many states. Sad as it may be, it’s better to let the perpetrator enter your house before you use force.

  28. Sorry Deano, if you off someone by shooting him through a door, while he’s outside your house, a home invader he ain’t

  29. Actually both “when a pane of glass broke” and “when a pane a glass was broken” are passive voice. /grammarnazi

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