“The deadly confrontation happened just before 8 a.m. Saturday when the owner arrived to do some work for his business,” Seattle’s komonews.com reports. “He noticed a window screen out in the yard and someone had forced open the front door.” Should he have called the cops then? Well he didn’t . . .
The man went inside and confronted another man he found in his shower, deputies said. The homeowner left after the two exchanged words.
“He returned home, retrieved a firearm, came back over to the residence and fired multiple rounds into the shower … killing the intruder,” said Mason County Sheriff’s Lt. Travis Adams.
Note: the shooter’s home was next door (he owned adjoining properties). And let’s not forget the general standard for the lawful use of deadly force: you must be facing an imminent, credible threat of grievous bodily harm or death.
A naked unarmed man in a shower is not likely to meet that standard. It’s not impossible, but it’s not likely.
In fact, by successfully leaving the stranger in the shower to retrieve his gun, the owner proved that he did not face an imminent, credible threat of grievous bodily harm or death. At that moment.
He may have faced a lethal threat when he returned. (A good lawyer will make that argument.) But by then the homeowner was behind the proverbial eight ball, legally speaking.
By not alerting the police to the presence of a home invader when he clearly had the chance the homeowner set himself up for murder charges. Like this:
The homeowner called 911 and told dispatchers that he had just shot and killed an intruder, Adams said.
It’s not clear how long Rosa had been inside the home, but detectives don’t believe the homeowner gave him any warnings before he fired his gun, they said.
Deputies later arrested the homeowner for second-degree murder. They believe he had ample time to call for help when he went back home.
“Certainly he had an opportunity to call law enforcement at that time,” Adams said. “And we’ve contacted our local prosecutor, explained the circumstances to him, and he agrees that second-degree murder was an appropriate charge in this case.”
Investigators said the homeowner is cooperating with detectives.
Detectives don’t believe Rosa was armed when he was killed, they said.
On its face, this homicide has all the hallmarks of an execution. But we don’t know all the facts; what’s called the “totality of circumstances.” That’s what the judge and/or jury will consider when rendering its verdict.
Meanwhile, let this be a lesson to us all.
Call the cops during a home invasion or any other kind of attack as soon as it is safe to do so. Don’t delegate the task. Don’t give the 911 operator any more details than is strictly necessary. Either hang up or set the phone down ASAP.
Calling the heat isn’t [just] a matter of cops arriving to save the day. It’s about protecting yourself from legal jeopardy — a danger that can linger months even years after a defensive gun use.
Don’t be this guy. Not even a little bit.