Don’t confront suspicious people in your back yard with your gun. If you think you have a prowler, call 9-1-1. Not only that, get your gun and have it ready, but don’t leave the safety of your home to confront anyone. Instead, play it smart. Call the police and wait for officers to arrive.
Just last week, my doorbell rang at 11:30 p.m. My sleepy puppy became a snarling attack dog in about half a heartbeat. Looking out a window, I saw a utility vehicle parked in front of my house. After putting Cujo away, I cautiously opened the door with one hand on a holstered gun.
Turns out the man outside my home needed to do an emergency utility “locate” for the power company. He needed to work in my back yard. In turn, I thanked him for letting me know.
His explanation summed up his reasoning in a single sentence: “Yeah, well, I kind of have an allergy to bullets.”
We shared a chuckle, and I told him he had nothing to worry about unless he came in through a broken window.
Even if my dog had alerted me to someone in the back yard, I would never go outside to confront them. Call 9-1-1, maybe? You bet. I might even break out the 12 gauge in case the person wanted to use my patio table as a battering ram on my back door.
Why would I stay inside? Because legally and tactically, staying inside is the smartest course of action. After all, the best way to win a gunfight involves not engaging in one.
So, just how badly can things go by leaving one’s home with a gun to investigate a suspicious person?
Just last week, a man in Owensboro, Kentucky saw a strange person shining a flashlight on the ground behind his home. Instead of staying inside and calling law enforcement, 63-year-old David Turley (pictured above) decided to grab his gun and investigate.
Minutes later, Turley had bullets zinging past him, and he shot back. Mr. Turley had no idea he had just wounded a police officer. The cop had lost a suspect during a foot chase and, moments later, saw Turley holding a handgun.
We spoke exclusively with the homeowner who shot an Owensboro police officer.
It happened shortly before 6 a.m. Wednesday in the area of 5th and Hathaway Streets, which is just a few blocks away from the Ohio River.
Kentucky State Police say 63-year-old David Turley mistook Officer Zachary Morris as a suspicious person. We’re told Morris was raised in a family of law enforcement officers in Greenville and has been with the Owensboro Police Department for two years.
Troopers say Morris responded to a call of a suspicious person around 5:30 a.m. and once he arrived, someone matching the description took off. Morris chased him but lost sight of him behind some houses.
“I heard some commotion over there by the fence,” said Turley. “I saw someone standing there with a flashlight on the ground, so I walked over to see what was going on. As I got closer, POW POW! And when he did, I had my weapon by my side and I just pulled up and fired and I started toward the ground to take cover.”
Turley told Katie Kapusta that he was shot at twice and returned fire four times. He had no idea anyone had been hit until more police units arrived.
Just because the Kentucky State Police released Turley doesn’t mean the homeowner has escaped legal jeopardy. A prosecutor will look over the case and consider whether to file charges.
In the meantime, hopefully Mr. Turley is reconsidering his eagerness to defend his back yard from suspicious people.
At the same time, the rest of us can learn from the Turley’s life-changing experience.
[This post was originally published in 2018.]