Scene of the non-crime (courtesy nbcphiladelphia.com)

“At about 2 a.m., [former firefighter 24-year-old Samuel] McGraw said he looked outside his home in the Deepwater section of the township and saw flashlights moving around outside near his truck,” nj.com reports. “He said he was nervous, as well as concerned for the safety of his parents, who were also home at the time. He opened the door and said he ‘racked’ his shotgun, hoping the sound would scare away what he thought were intruders.” Only the intruders weren’t intruders per se. In fact, the lights outside . . .

were not from an intruder. It was the police.

Officers were called to the area by reports of a disorderly person at nearby bar.

Pennsville Police Chief Allen Cummings — who was a lieutenant at the time of the incident — said McGraw was not a suspect in that investigation, but officers were in the area of his home while looking for the other man.

Searching in an adjacent yard, police said they heard a man yell toward them demanding that they get away from his truck, according to Cummings. When they looked over, police said McGraw was on his porch, allegedly pointing a shotgun at them.

McGraw was placed under arrest and charged with the weapon offenses. He was released on $2,500 bail.

Of course, once the cops cooled-off a bit and realized that they’d arrested an American exercising his natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms in defense of innocent life and private property, all charges were dropped. McGraw took some good-natured pictures  with the arresting officers, who shook his hand and promised to keep an eye on Mr. McGraw’s family on his behalf. Not.

After a year of waiting and a five-day jury trial in Superior Court in which he was found not guilty of both charges on March 11, McGraw said he is still having trouble getting his life back to normal.

“My employer at the auto parts store where I work has been supportive,” he said.  “But a lot of other people think that just being charged means you must have done something wrong.”

Nice. But not as not nice as the Pennsville Police Chief’s casual dismissal of the injustice done to Mr. McGraw and his good name. [Click here for a video of the Chief’s remarks.]

Chief Cummings said that while such verdicts can be for police to accept, they can’t dwell on the decisions of the court system.

“The jury makes a decision, and it is what it is,” he said. “That’s the way this job is. We still have to do our job no matter what the outcome.”

However, Cummings said the whole thing could have been avoided.

“Instead of taking this into his own hands, he could have picked up the phone and called 9-1-1,” he said. “They would have told him it was the police outside his house…

“If the community had more knowledge about gun laws, we could solve these problems. It’s a shame it happened the way it did.”

No mention of the police having more knowledge about Americans’ Constitutional rights, then. This is my surprised face. As for Chief Cummings’ “next time call 9-1-1” advice and his insinuation that Mr. McGraw is some kind of vigilante, I suggest that the Chief is both a symptom of NJ’s not-so-crypto-fascism and its instrument.

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104 Responses to NJ Homeowner [Barely] Avoids Jail for Racking Shotgun at Intruders

  1. Obnoxious exterior lights and sprinklers that sprinkle your car when you switch them on from inside. “Oops! Did those come on? So sorry!”

  2. Hint for the cops: worried about getting shot – don’t sneak around at night. Announce yourselves: that’s why they put those pretty lights on your cars.

  3. People around a vehicle outside your home, and you walk outside to try and scare them off with a firearm? Sorry, this was idiocy, plain and simple.

    • Exactly, that peasant should have just laid down on the floor and waiting for criminals to break in! God, when we these foolish people learn that it’s demeaning to criminals to try and ensure the safety of your home and family?!

      • I dunno about that–they were fooling around his car, not his doors or windows. My idea of defending my family would be to take a defensive posture inside and, yes, call 911.

        • Easy to say, but what if that car is his livelihood? If it gets stolen or put out of commission, who will feed his family and pay their bills? Who’ll pay the insurance deductible, or car payment itself? Can’t pay those and the car and its earnings capability go bye bye.

          We just this past week in Houston had a lunatic go through a neighborhood and slash all four tires on numerous vehicles for no reason. Nothing personal, political, or even just vandalism in some kind of group setting. Just a nihilist with some free time who did about $25,000 worth of damage, not counting the tow trucks and time off work many people had to suffer to get their cars fixed.

          These are real people struggling to get by. Criminals and high & mighty cops alike should be put on notice.

        • NO it starts at your property line (at a minimum). You (and cops) don’t get to go wandering around on other peoples property. For any reason.

          And may fortune allow you at least a few hundred feet from the street to your door.

      • No, he shouldn’t have threatened deadly force against a property crime. Had they actually tried to break in, he would have been more than right in shooting them. “Defending” your truck against a few guys with flashlights does not justify a use, or threat, of deadly force.

        • The men who founded this country and lived in it for over 150 years after it was founded would disagree. This is just more of the wussification of men in Western countries. Are you seriously saying that if someone tried to steal your car, you’d just sit there and do nothing?

        • Racking a shotgun is not “defending” your truck. It’s merely signaling that you are willing to defend your truck should it be necessary. Just basic communication.

          As Publius hints at, does anyone really believe Jefferson would have been in favor of charging himself, for displaying a gun to someone sneaking around his stables at Monticello at night?

          The appropriate thing to do for the cops, upon realizing there was a man with a (now likely loaded) gun in the doorway, would be to ask him to not shoot, inform him they were the police, and explain why they were there. And then be happy that there are armed others on the same side of the law as themselves. That’s what plain, simply decency would dictate. But I guess notions as quaint as decency went out the door with the progressive conquest, decades ago.

        • You are certainly speaking of YOUR truck, and fine. If I find someone inside my garage screwing with my BMW, I will call 911 after I reload.

        • Hey ascracker, how did he know if they were going to break into his home next? Could he have called the cops sure, who knows how ;long they would take to get there, and how do you know if they were coming into the home next, you can be a good sheep and wait. I am going to protect my family and property, I dont need no ashole like you to tell me how to do that. You dont guns dont stick them up your ass anymore.

      • You won’t find a single state in the union that allows the use or threat of deadly force to defend an unoccupied vehicle.

        The right to keep and bear arms does not imply the right to threaten someone’s life to save property.

        • Actually ( once again) in Texas you can use deadly force in defense of property, not only yours, but that of a third party. But only if you reasonably believe that you are facing a threat to your own life or safety by confronting the thief/burglar/whatever. It’s in the Penal Code. And at least in my town, some of the cops recognize and accept it. Here’s an appropriate example:
          http://www.ksat.com/news/Texas-law-allows-residents-to-use-deadly-force/18144746

        • That is completely untrue. There are numerous states which allow for the defense of one’s property with deadly force. Get up on the laws in the various states.

        • Make that two states, Arizona states that your vehicle is an extension of your castle, and even if unoccupied can be defended with a firearm.

        • Jury in Spokane, WA just acquitted a guy who shot the car thief who was departing the scene with his SUV. There have been other cases in Washington state where a victim responded with deadly force to actual or attempted grand theft auto.

          Juries in Washington don’t like car thieves any better than they liked horse thieves in the old west.

        • Curtis, the whole country is not IL. I think you would benefit from doing more state-by-state comparison.

        • In TX, if a robber steals something from you valued at more than $500, you can shoot him in the back as he leaves. My wallet often reaches that minimum, my watch always does.

        • Curtis: you are certainly entitled to your opinion, but if you scroll the penal code for the state of Texas, where I was a LEO for some years, you will find that what you said is not true. In fact, at night in Texas, deadly force is acceptable to stop a thief if the probability of recovering the property is deemed to be difficult. An automobile moves the theft into the felony range and burglary of a motor vehicle (BMV) is always a felony and deadly force is allowed to stop a felony in progress. You need to check your facts prior to unloading.

    • Holding and racking the firearm is legal the way the events are described. If he pointed it it is another thing.

      But the pointing is simply a claim from one side denied by the other, so we don’t know to be true or untrue. Cops lie as well as anyone.

    • People around a vehicle outside your home, and you walk outside to try and scare them off with a firearm? Sorry, this was idiocy, plain and simple. I agree.

      • It may be idiocy. I don’t want to argue that point right now.

        However, idiocy is not illegal in itself, and what he did (assuming he did not point the shotgun at the officers) was not illegal either. He never should have been arrested.

      • Read much? According to what we have available to us to read, he did NOT go outside but “opened the door”. The police even say he was “on his porch” which could have been an enclosed area with a door and as far as I know, chambering a round in your shotgun while inside your home is not against the law in any state where you can legally own a shotgun. I have my doubts as to whether he pointed the gun at them at all. As far as I’m concerned POLICE are guilty until proven innocent.

        I myself would have opened my window and hollered at whomever was out there that they need to leave now because I have a loaded weapon and I am not afraid to use it. I am in Michigan and a statement like this is complete legal…especially since I have no trespassing signs posted on my property (which I highly recommend for everyone no matter where you live).

        Everyone should take a lesson here. Re-read the article before you post and read at least a few of the posts before you post one of your own (I probably missed an important post while writing this one).

  4. If he really did point a shotgun at a police officer after racking it, my guess is he would be dead and his house would be full of holes. But maybe not, maybe he was just incredibly lucky, with both the cops and the jury.

  5. Unless and until the officers were properly identified to the citizen his conduct was correct, Of course pointing the weapon must wait till they shoot him without identification.

    Would think shouting “Halt, Who goes there!”, before you rack the action might be good.

    course just laying in wait at your gun port without being seen or heard works too.

    • Somebody is mulling around outside my home? Better threaten them with a gun. Sorry, someone being in your yard does not warrant the threat of lethal force.

  6. Too bad he stopped at merely racking his shotgun. This kind of crap should get the ACLU involved. Unfortunately it sounds like a story out of my neighborhood in Cook County,Illinois.

    • Because the cops said he pointed a shotgun at them, the DA went with the cops’ version of events, and it’s the kind of behavior that they want to discourage. As I noted above, I’m not convinced he pointed a presumptively round-in-the-chamber shotgun at a cop, and likely the jury wasn’t either.

  7. He’s lucky he didnt get shot. Yell at someone poking around outside your home or vehicle? Sure. Rack your shotgun? Maybe. Point it a someone without immediate fear for your life? Thats assault, and a good reason for that person to kill you with their firearm.

    • The fact he didn’t get shot is why I question whether or not he was actually pointing it at them as they claim.

    • Castle Doctrine clearly states that you have a right to point your weapon at someone who is on your property without your permission snooping around. While a few issues here and there have occurred with uppity homeowners and utility companies a vast majority are about scaring intruders away from your property. The idea of drawing a bead on the is so they don’t have an opportunity to shoot first. If these guys weren’t cops but just thugs would you be reprimanding the guy? If you were in that situation would you not draw a bead on them? And if you just racked your slide and they happened to be armed thugs and fired in your direction then what? Cops have the duty to inform, they have to knock on your door, get permission to search around your property unless they are in hot pursuit, simple as that.

      • And wasn’t it DARK? How did they know he pointed it at them? Did he point it after they pointed their high powered lights in his face? I sure would have, with a “point that light somewhere else” warning. Possibly accompanied by “or I’ll shoot it out!

      • No, it doesn’t. You are allowed to if they are in your dwelling. Your front yard is not considered in your home. And your neighbors yard is especially not in your home. Unless maybe you are in Texas, but in that retarded place you can legally shoot someone in the back for stealing a plant.

        Educate yourself before you lead someone else into a murder charge.

        • Ya know, that kind of thing actually varies–significantly– from state to state, making specific pronouncements about what a “castle doctrine” clearly does and doesn’t cover without regard to a specific state is pretty–well, useless, let’s say. And there’s a bit more to the Texas law than some folks seem to think. But yeah, as of a few years ago it has been possible to protect property or recover property with the threat/use of deadly force. Don’t really think that’s “retarded” myself.

  8. I suspect Benelli boy changed his tune really quick when he realized they were cops. Apparently in enough time for the hammer to stay back…

  9. So Barney Fife and his idjit brothers have moved from the Tarheel State to the Joisey Sho-uh.

    And Loo-tenant-cum-Chief Cummings is the latest living proof the of the Peter Principle. Hey chief, not hiring campus security at Wassamatta U?

  10. News articles such as the one quoted by this blog post are a frustrating mix of incomplete facts and conjecture.
    Even the cops are on record saying, “Searching in an adjacent yard, police said THEY HEARD A MAN YELL TOWARD THEM DEMANDING THAT THEY GET AWAY FROM HIS TRUCK, according to Cummings. When they looked over, police said McGraw was on his porch, allegedly pointing a shotgun at them.”

    Now, POINTING otherwise known as AIMING the shotgun at the cops (or even a bonafide bad guy) for a potential property crime could be described as “brandishing a weapon” and doesn’t meet MY definition of proper gun use, it would normally end with this man being filled full of bullet holes by the cops, followed by the standard boilerplate absolution “justified shooting”… if he merely racked the shotgun and HELD the weapon (not pointing it at anyone) at the low ready, or at port arms, or something… I could see the situation resolving peacefully, as it did in reality.
    I’m glad to see he was found not guilty.

    No doubt he was crucified in the court of public opinion by the cops, to some degree, which can have a lasting effect on a person’s reputation…and that’s a sad fact of life these days.

    It’s so easy for authorities to paint someone as some kind of reprehensible monster, without ever showing actual evidence, just like all the blurbs like “He had a chilling armory/arms cache with HUNDREDS of rounds/ a dozen firearms/etc”. it would be nice if the cops would refrain from releasing statements like that…
    It would also be much more fair if the journalists would write a complete and impartial news article the way that they used to…maybe that’s a lot to ask for.

  11. “Chief Cummings said that while such verdicts can be for police to accept, they can’t dwell on the decisions of the court system.”

    Invisible adjective between “can” and “be”.

  12. Interesting that “calling 911 ” expects and depends on you having a phone. I didn’t realize my Constitutional rights were somehow tied to a phone company.

  13. Does your state have a version of the Castle Doctrine? It matters.

    Recently, a business owner who lives in the apartment above his business with his young son, heard noises outside his window and saw two men entering his home. He located his gun quickly and warned the intruders that he had a gun not to enter and leave. The intruders kept advancing toward his young son. The man fired a shot and several other shots. One shot hit one intruder and he died after leaving the home. The other home invader escaped and was caught later. Both men were known by the police as having long rap sheets.

    The D.A. in Philly was preparing to put charges on the father-businessman, but was reminded that Pennsylvania had the Castle Doctrine which was revised only a couple years ago. The man escaped an prosecution and the cost of a lawyer and everything else involved because the legislature in Pennsylvania saw the importance of home owners and dwellers to protect their homes.

    • Actually it doesn’t as in this case the PoPo NEVER entered his home to get this response from him.

      He jumped the gun and a very poor decision on his part was corrected by more level headed peace officers.

      • I’m ok with his actions. As for the cops being level headed, well why shouldn’t they be? They’re on duty, have the badge, have the law, have the numbers all behind them. Thirty seconds ago, this guy was asleep or otherwise preoccupied in bed when this middle of the night terror descended upon him. All of the advantages belonged to the oh so experienced and thoroughly trained professionals, or so I hear them described near daily. These thugs just didn’t appreciate having the tables turned on them and facing a firearm like they love subjecting others to. So they and their prosecutor buddies hammered him as much as they could get away with. The take away for observant homeowners: if authoritarian officials want to take you to the mat, the jury is on your side, so make it count.

  14. So having a badge means you can snoop around on someone’s property unannounced? I suppose if the cops were peering into the bedrooms of women and got a gun in their face from a home owner startled by a peeping tom they could arrest her too? Prowling is prowling. Cops have a duty to inform. If they want to see what’s going on at residence, knock on the door, announce yourself, hold your badge up to the peephole or window and no need for any situations to unfold. The guy has every right to rack a shotgun at people snooping around his property with flashlights. How is he supposed to know they are cops? Do they have telepathic powers to alert citizens of their presence and intent? A ridiculous abuse of power is ruining a man’s life.

    • While actively searching for a responsible in a call for disorderly conduct…

      Maybe the shadow of a man drew them to the shotty owner’s driveway. Its legit. Breaking out the shotty and staring down someone milling around your vehicle is a bit of a knee jerk reaction.

      • Comfortably sleeping in his own home, how would he have even known the cops were out there, if it’s true the cops were only “milling around” outside? Hmm? Exactly. He wouldn’t know, which strongly suggests to me that the cops weren’t just milling around, but rather clomping around someone else’s property with the impunity of entitled storm troopers among a cowering, disarmed citizenry.

        The guy was arrested and prosecuted purely out of spite, for daring with outlandish uppitiness to defend himself, his family and his home against shadowy menaces in the middle of the night.

  15. Unless you are in a state like Kentucky or Texas, if you see people messing with your car outside your home, DO NOT confront them with a firearm (and even then, be careful). In New Jersey, you’re asking for it. Not saying it’s right, per se, but that is just how those places are. You only use the firearm if you feel your life is in danger, not because you think your vehicle is going to be broken into. I would stay armed and call 911 and tell them what was happening, and keep an eye on them. If for some reason I didn’t have a phone, I would just keep watching them and only if they actually tried to break into my home would I threaten with the firearm.

  16. Deepwater sucks, I used to live there. It was built to house DuPont workers post WW2, and is constantly treated as the redheaded stepchild of Pennsville and Carney’s Point (the two larger municipalities who administratively control it). I never saw a cop there unless they were delivering flyers for a Megan’s Law notification because someone had been released from prison and moved into the no-tell motel by the interstate. Good on McGraw for being ready to defend his property. I’m surprised the PV cops showed up at all.

  17. What would the outcome look like if Samuel was an off duty cop who lived at the address? or a retired cop? would an off duty or retired cop call 911 in this situation?

    cops are citizens just like the rest of us. even while on duty. the standards for judgement can not be significantly different.

  18. Like stated above taking cover then calling 911 is a good idea. Unless the stems down, then do what you have to

  19. glad it was it me cuz wouldn’t holler s*** If you’re in my yard after 11:30 I’m pulling the trigger on your ass ask my uncle loyd

  20. I had a similar experience, but with an ar-15 and two wannabe gangbangers instead of cops poking around my car, thankfully it ended with me on this side of the jail bars and them with only hot turds in their pants

  21. Call 911? Bullshit. When seconds count, the police are only minutes away. Good on Mr McGraw, I say. He had every right to pull his shotgun. I would really love to see how Alan Cummings would have dealt with such a situation. I probably wouldn’t have bothered trying to scare them away by pumping a shotgun. 00 Buckshot scares the living shit outta people!

  22. The anti-cop policy continues unabated and while, no doubt, this comment will be deleted, I did find it interesting to do a bit of checking to confirm if in fact TTAG does, knowingly, have an anti-cop editorial stance and policy. I simply googled:

    “Robert Farago” anti cop

    And there it was.

    And, to his credit, Robert Farago did openly conceded that yes, he does, and yes, TTAG does have an anti-cop bias which finally explains to me why it seems that every third or fourth story is a cop-bashing story that draws out a tremendous amount of anti-cop vitriole and hate.

    Back in 2012, Robert posted this remark:

    “Truth be told TTAG’s anti-cop bias reflects this Jew boy’s deep suspicion of the police community’s commitment to individual liberty in general and the Second Amendment in specific.

    Yes, there is that.

    My father was a Holocaust survivor. The Romanians murdered my grandparents. Also, I grew up in Rhode Island. At the time, the mob ran the state. Including the police. Who beat-up my brother and spat on my jacket (and laughed) when I was on my first date.

    By osmosis, instruction and direct experience, I came to believe that the police are the all-too-willing instruments of the state. As you might imagine, I’m no great fan of the state. I share our founding fathers’ belief that the government is the greatest threat to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    So when I read about a cop who believes he’s above the law; an officer whose inability to master the tools of his trade (or his own nature) leads to the loss of innocent life; a high-flying law commander dripping with contempt for the right to keep and bear arms; I want to shout “Danger! Danger! Will Robinson!”

    OK, fair enough, at least I know now whence comes the anti-cop bias of TTAG. It is ironic though that the anti-cop bias is not permitted to be a subject of observation and discussion when these posts come up, so determined is TTAG to continue to push this particular agenda.

    Source:
    http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2012/09/robert-farago/housekeeping-is-ttag-anti-cop/

    • Well that helps explain why RF would post a story like this – a story about the police doing nothing more than arresting a man who did something dangerous and illegal, then ripping into said police as if they did something wrong.

      There is nothing in the story to dispute the allegation that Mr. McGraw pointed a loaded shotgun at unidentified people outside his home, and there’s nothing in the story to indicate that those people posed a credible, imminent threat to Mr. McGraw’s life, safety or domicile. Mr. McGraw here should be a candidate for “Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day.”

      We lose a lot of credibility when we imply that the right to keep and bear arms includes the right to point loaded guns at unidentified people. It surely does not, and this blog would be more useful to gun owners if it took the opportunity to explain the differences.

      • Did you not recall the shooting in Pasadena, TX a few years back where the guy called 911, told them some people were breaking into the house across the street. Then when the cops still weren’t there as the criminals were leaving he told the 911 operator he was going to shoot them, then he chased after them and shot them in the back as they ran. 1 of the three lived and they were all determined to be illegal immigrants.

        Time homeowner spent in jail, or in trial. None.

        It was a huge deal on the news talking about Texas’ “wild west” laws that allowed that guy to “get away with murder”. Surprised you missed it. Honestly, any state I’ve lived in allows you to protect yourself, others, your property and others property. All with deadly force.

        The point is, the guy really didn’t do anything wrong. He was trying to get a group of unidentified people off his property. Which is legal in most states. Nor is there anything dangerous about it. Assuming he stood down when the police identified themselves, then I fail to see what the issue was that got him arrested.

  23. Sorry, all, but even here in Virginia you’re on thin ice if you go outside your home to confront suspected thieves that are not actually a threat to people. Common Law may allow for it, but that won’t keep you from being put through the ringer. He actually should have called 911 or had his family do it while he kept an eye on the people outside and prepared to defend his family inside the dwelling. Take a class or read a book instead of getting all your *expertise* from the internet.

  24. Was the car in the street, or in his driveway?
    This is my argument for a holstered sidearm. “I went to my car to retrieve my bag and I was attacked by these gentlemen, I feared for my life and….”
    Going outside and pointing a shotgun in the direction of someone is not cool. Imagine if you are walking along a street, and the wind blows your wife’s hat off and it goes under a truck in a driveway. She goes to retrieve it and someone point a shotgun at her.

  25. What if Mr shotgun used a flashlight to “light them up”? Without pointing the gun at them. Identify your potential target at that range, of course. Put a pinkie inside my house, its go time, however.

  26. For the rest of his life, he will have to explain his arrest. And many, many employers will not hire him since his arrest was gun related. Dropped charges irrelevant.

  27. Under the common law, the right to use deadly force to defend property pretty well ended by 1830. I’m not aware of any state other than Texas that allows the use of deadly force or a threat of deadly force to protect an unoccupied vehicle, even if the vehicle is in your driveway. Kentucky does not. The castle doctrine typically comes into play when someone is trying to enter your dwelling or occupied vehicle, not someone moving around outside your house near your vehicle. While I don’t think the guy should have been arrested, it’s a bit of a stretch to say he was “exercising his natural . . . and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms in defense of . . . private property.”

    I sympathize with this guy. I had someone try to open the door to my house. When he saw me in the house, he ran. I got a gun and went outside looking for him. It’s a very natural reaction. However, it’s step one on your way to deep legal trouble or worse. For all sorts of reasons, I think the smart thing to do if you see someone in your yard at night is 1) arm yourself; 2) turn on the exterior lights so you can see what’s going on, if you can’t see already; 3) call 911; 4) take plenty of time to decide whether it makes sense for you to go outside; 5) have a plan of action in place before you step outside.

  28. A nearly identical scenario happened to me.

    Police were called, unbeknownst to me, to investigate the sound of ‘breaking glass’ in my upstairs neighbor’s apartment. Its 2am and all I see is someone shining a flashlight around my yard and walking towards my door. Well I grab my gun and I am standing at the door looking through the window ready to confront a ne’er-do-well when they walk under said neighbor’s porch light. To my surprise, it is a state trooper snooping around my yard. I then become more and more angry with how freaking stupid this guys was for manufacturing a potentially dangerous situation and putting me and him in it. the icing on the cake was this guy would not stay out of my apartment when I opened the door to ask him what was going on; I had to tell him at least five or six time to stay outside.

  29. “Of course, once the cops cooled-off a bit and realized that they’d arrested an American exercising his natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms in defense of innocent life and private property, all charges were dropped.”

    I was hoping this was going to be the case until I remembered… NJ.

    Still, probably a bad idea to point a shotgun at people who may be trying to steal your truck. If you’ve got a shotgun handy, have a flashlight handy! The kind that is so bright that it’ll temporarily blind someone at night.

  30. The last time I had police in my yard after dark, they were using MY cars for cover while some of my mutant neighbors were shooting at something at o’dark thirty. I was asleep at the start of it, but apparently the neighbors decided to shoot a bunch of stuff well after midnight, and one of my OTHER neighbors called the cops giving my address as the site of the problem. Cops arrived, got out of their cars and were walking towards my house when the shooting began again across the road. I put my wife and daughter in the bathtub and started switching on every light in and out of the house. I don’t know to this day, what the problem was, but I was happy that my house and cars did not aquire any bullet holes. The police escaped injury as well, and the mutants had some cock & bull story about how it wasn’t them shooting, but a mysterious intruder that had tresspassed on their land. Since this all happened on a pitch black night, no one actually witnessed who was shooting at what, so no arrests were made. But if I had been foolish enough to go outside holding a shotgun, I am 100% confident that I would have been shot by the police as I would have been coming up behind them.

  31. In Minnesota the law is that deadly force is justifiable to stop the commision of a felony. Car theft is a felony. The problem here and everywhere else is the difference between what the law says and what the case law around the topic is. Guys in my driveway at night don’t belong there but if I go outside with my gun and the situation escalates (regardless of who it is) then I have put myself in the situation of having to prove that I was in danger and that they were going to steal my car. You will almost certainly be painted as a vigilante by the local prosecutor who is trying to make a name for himself so he can run for higher office. When you hear a news story like this it should make you think about what you would do in that situation and what could go wrong. If I can just turn on the exterior lights the perp may run off (or it helps me identify the threat). The perp. not running off when I turn on the lights provides evidence that he is not a common thief. Calling 911 is evidence that I am on the right side. You should practice what you will or will not say to the 911 operator. Would it be nice if we lived in a world where dirtbags who live thier lives taking from others always got what they deserve? Absolutely! You do have to aware of putting yourself in a situation where you are going to lose your reputation and spend a bunch of money to prove yourself innocent. If you are truly in a situation where you are in danger then do whatever it takes. If you are not in a situation that is truly dangerous then have discretion.

    • DKL makes a lot of good points. However, Minnesota Statutes s. 609.066 allows a “peace officer” to use deadly force to stop a felony but only if the felony involves the “use or threatened use of deadly force” or if the “officer reasonably believes that the person will cause death or great bodily harm if the person’s apprehension is delayed.” Section 609.065 allows you to kill someone to prevent a felony in your house (“abode” is the word used in the statute). So unless the car is in your house, you cannot legally shoot a person in Minnesota for just stealing a car. And no one was stealing a car in this story from NJ.

      The comments to this post have shown that many gun owners have serious misunderstandings about when it is legal to use firearms against people. If you don’t live in Texas, and you think you’re allowed to use firearms to prevent property crimes, you really should look up your state’s actual statutes on the use of force and read them. It really only takes a few minutes and might save you some serious jail time.

  32. Arrogant condescending dumb sh!t cops toting big heads and a how dare you point a gun at me attitude. It’s 2am morons. You are outside the guy’s house flashlighting his truck and truck contents – maybe none of that crossed your mind? I’m sure Rydak can chime in and explain to all of us why the arrest was all justified.

  33. He made a few mistakes. First, he lived in NJ. Second, he relied on the rack your shotgun to scare the bad guys away technique.

  34. Hyran if you took the time to look over the NJ force rules he never displayed deadly force he displayed constructive authority. He was well within his rights and a law abiding civilian to protect his home and property.

  35. Don’t be so eager to argue the laws and rights involved that you miss the practical lessons.

    Stepping outside, in the open, into an unknown situation and loudly displaying your weapon (presumably while back-lit) is tactically foolish. It’s inviting an attack by an aggressor or mistaken retaliation from from the police which you are ill-suited to counter from your current position.

    Forget for a moment the question of whether he should have been arrested, charged, or convicted–we’ve covered that thoroughly here. Forget the ethics of threatening deadly force to defend your truck. This is a foolish response to a possible perimeter threat. Leave this maneuver for Joe Biden.

    I regret that this gentleman suffered as he did at the hands of the legal system, but I respectfully submit that he is lucky he wasn’t perforated. I think it’s worth discussing what responses would have been smarter.

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