They needed at least one of us to come back to the house because a window had been broken, leaving the house unsecure, and they were unable to leave the house unattended.
(Question #1--What if this situation happens to a homeown er who isn't in town, and happens to have no friends or family nearby that they can call?)
We both came back to the house, and upon arriving surveyed the house quickly to see if there were any noticeable missing items. (As of yet, we can't think of anything that has disappeared.) The officers showed us the point of entry, which was a spare bedroom being used as our computer office. (Geographically, the window is on the north side of the house, next to a laundry room window, whose screen was pried off in their likely first attempt. The front door faces east, to the street.) They had pried off a screen, damaging the framework on the outside. They then used a rock to break through the double paned glass, reached through the hole, and unlocked the window. When the officers arrived, the window had been unlocked and pulled up.
From what the officers could tell, it did not appear as if the intruder actually ever got into the house. In fortune undefined, our next door neighbor to the north made a 911 call, which alerted the officers to the scene. We haven't yet gotten to talk directly to the20neighbors to find out what exactly happened, but it seems likely that they scared the burglar(s) away by sound or proximity. The officer informed us that one of our screens was in the neighbor's yard....which means either the officers saw it there, or the neighbor heard the breaking glass and came out to investigate, or even simply looked out a window. This likely scared them away.
The police dusted and found a print on the window, estimated the damages, and were on their way. There is one funny part of the story, that occurred when the officers were doing the sweep of the house to see if anyone was hiding inside.....while checking the walk-in closet off of the main bedroom, one of the officers was rather startled when a similarly startled cat sprang from it's normal sleeping spot.....they had a good laugh at that. I can only imagine....
It's the possible scenarios that are the most interesting to me......my initial reaction was of relief that Jen wasn't home at the time.....tele-commuting on Tuesdays and Thursdays, they had picked a day in which she wasn't there.....random or not is an entirely new line of possibilities. The officers, however, disagreed...saying that a disturbing trend is for intruders to ring the doorbell as a solicitor, checking to see if someone is at home or if a dog is in the house.
The scenario opened up a few questions for me, and I'm sure there will be more......
#2. If someone is in the house, she does not need to pronounce that she has a weapon, correct?
#3. If she had been home, heard the glass break, and went into the office (standing inside, looking out) with gun in hand to inspect.....finding the intruder still outside standing on a chair as if to come in....is she within her rights to shoot at that point?
#3b. If she had been home, and went around to the back side of the house to inspect from the outside, where is she within her right to shoot?
#4. I seem to remember a story in Texas, who has20different laws on this one, but what rights did the neighbors have at any point in this?
#5. What are the liabilities that we have concerning [our] unsecured weapon in the case of a break-in?
I would first like to say that I am glad that both Matt and Jenn are safe and nothing was stolen from the house. I would like to thank Matt for allowing me to post his story on this blog and allow everyone to read his story and share in answering his questions. I would like to also ask that our law enforcement readers throw their 2 cents into the mix.
Second, I would like to remind everyone that the following answers are my opinion, though educated, they are only opinion and you should look up your own answers or ask a lawyer.
Remember: No matter what anyone says, no matter how the law is written, only the people involved in the altercation know what happened. It will be up to people sitting behind desks to decide whether to try the case or not. If they do, then it is up to 12 people to convict you or find you innocent. I would rather be tried by 12 then carried by 6.
#1. If you are out of town and the police can not contact someone, I can not imagine they are going to watch your house till you get back. I have no clue what would happen. Hopefully, a police officer would be able to tell us.
#2. No one has a responsibility to retreat or offer any kind of warning in the sanctity of their own home. I look at it this way. If you are trained and in control you can give a warning and that is awefully nice. If you are scared shitless and barely able to hold the gun, then do not give away your position and hope the cops show before a confrontation.
#3. It is my understanding that once they have broken into your home, whether or not they are inside, they represent a danger and you are justified in defending yourself. At the point you discribe, I can not imagine anyone not agreeing that you would feel indangered for your life.
#3b. This gets trickier as I am not exactly sure what the law states in this case. Things start to go gray here. For example, you are no longer in your home and therefore could retreat. However, the scenario changes if they become agressive. If you come out and confront them and they run, then you really have no fear of death, if they turn toward you and move forward, you are now in danger of being attacked. (this scenerio is covered in one of my very early posts)
#4. You owe your neighbors lunch, dinner, a bbq, beer, or what every they like. They really saved your property by being aware, vigilant, and proactive. If they had taken it a step forward and investigated the situation, with a firearm perhaps, they would fall under the same rules as 3b. They do not know who these people are, maybe its you and you locked yourself out, or you sent someone to do what ever. They can investigate and confront, if threatened they have every right given to the rest of us to defend themselves.
That man in Texas was a wierd story in that he called the cops, gave them a play by play of the burglary, was told to stay inside, then ran out and confronted the robbers, and shot them. A man after my own heart in the fact that he confronted bad guys, but wierd in how he chose to confront them.
#5. This is something your story put in my head straight away. Oh shit, was the gun stolen? I do not know the actual law, but during my CCW class it was stressed that our weapon is our responsibility even if stolen. I have never heard of a case being tried where a person was charged after their gun was stolen and used in a subsequent crime. This is another question I would like a police officer or lawyer to answer.Again, these are my personal answers and are no way a representation of law. If you want exact answers look them up or call a lawyer please. Then post the answers on here.