In February, a Minneapolis homeowner heard an intruder walking on her patio and trying her back door. After finding the gate to the yard locked the would be burglar had hopped the fence. The homeowner retrieved a gun and, by the time she checked again, the burgalr was in her garage. She tried to warn him off, but Martin Lee Johnson didn’t leave.
As kare11.com reports, the homeowner and her son repeatedly warned the burglar to leave . . .
“Get the (expletive) out of my garage, now!” she screamed in between [warning] gunshots.
On the surveillance video, you can hear the homeowner’s son’s voice as he joins her in yelling at the intruder.
“Get the (expletive) out,” they both yell as Johnson walks out of the garage door.
Johnson appears to look toward the fence momentarily before walking toward the mother and son. The surveillance camera is positioned right above the sliding door where they stood, pointed right at Johnson.
“No, go the other way,” the woman yelled.
After two more warning shoots, the homeowner’s son fired at Johnson, killing him. The shooting has been ruled justified by prosecutors.
The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office declined charges in the case — calling it valid self-defense — despite protests from Johnson’s family and friends.
The warning shots in this case were a very bad idea. While the homeowners’ attorney cited them as proof they tried to convince Johnson to leave, his clients could have been prosecuted for launching four rounds into the air in a suburban neighborhood. In fact, if Johnson had left, chances are good that the homeowners would have been prosecuted for discharging a firearm in city limits, reckless endangerment, assault…any number of possible offenses.
The video shows that the homeowners were clearly justified in using force to stop Johnson’s approach. They can be heard warning him off, giving him every opportunity to leave. When he continued to approach them and reportedly reached for his waistband, force was justified to stop the threat. They’re just very fortunate that the prosecutor decided not to pursue charges for the warning shots.