Defensive Gun Use with a Home Defense Shotgun
Last week, a Florida man was home during midday when he saw three males approach his residence and move toward the backyard fence. Seeing this, the homeowner called 911. Just a couple seconds later, the trio smashed the glass of the patio door and entered the home while the homeowner stayed on the line.
The homeowner was outnumbered but not helpless. He had company in the form of a shotgun. And he used it, firing a total of three shots. The first missed the intruder. The second and third struck as intended.
If you’re a regular reader of GunCarrier defensive gun use stories, or even an attentive watcher of the news, you know what happened next. Yep, the invader’s two accomplices fled upon hearing the shots.
The 21-year old crook who was fired upon died at the scene. His “friends” were nabbed by police later that day, and the video gives a view into their arraignment, where they receive some stern advice from the judge about how to stay alive.
What Mr. Homeowner did right
The homeowner was obviously aware of what was happening around him, so much as to take note of the attack before it began. He phoned 911 and stayed on the line—another good move. And he had a home defense gun and ammunition at the ready.
We can’t tell whether the homeowner sought cover before taking fire, or if he put himself in a safe room. At minimum, being behind something that’s likely to stop a bullet, like a refrigerator or steel door, even a door jamb, is advisable.
The homeowner acted without hesitation when it became clear these invaders had no respect for his life by breaking into the house, apparently without even trying to see if someone was home. He fired three rounds, of which we know one was a miss. The two that landed into the suspect apparently stopped the threat….which is the goal of any counter-attack, not to kill.
What he could’ve done better
About two seconds after the third shot, the dispatcher asks, “are there shots fired?” The man replies in the affirmative. Then he’s asked “what’s going on there,” to which he responds “I think I killed one.”
Another recurring message on this site has been to be respectful of law enforcement, including their dispatcher assistants, but stay tight-lipped after a defensive gun use. Saying, or agreeing, that shots were fired is important information police should know as they arrive. Identifying oneself as a shooter can be risky business. It’s alright to say something like, “shots were fired. I need police here now.”
It’s alright to describe yourself—your location within the house or other building, what you’re wearing, and where the firearm is in relation to you and arriving police. If the threat is past, it’s a good idea to physically separate yourself from the gun so it’s well out of arm’s reach when police come in.
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Most states have statutes protecting homeowners who fire at a home intruder, though some, like the one in gun-hating California, may have stipulations like being able to prove the intruders forced entry into the dwelling.
These intruders had the means to harm 31-year old Mr. Homeowner. Even though we haven’t enough information to know if they were armed, there was a disparity of force—three guys can easily overpower one. Their intent was implied by breaking the back door without first scoping out whether someone was home. And they had opportunity—the longer they are in the house, the closer their proximity to Mr. Homeowner and the more chances they had to arm themselves with household objects, if not already armed.
The decision to shoot was reasonable to protect the life of the homeowner, as well as necessary … only seconds transpired between placing the 911 call and having to shoot. Police weren’t yet on scene.