Florida Burglar Dies… But Was It Lawful Self-Defense?
A burglar in North Lauderdale Florida is dead this morning after a homeowner grabbed a shotgun and went to investigate a noise about 3:00 AM.
He encountered and shot a burglar, but whether or not that shooting was legal under Florida law remains to be seen:
According to Broward Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Keyla Concepcion, the homeowner heard a noise in his backyard, armed himself and went to investigate. He saw a man trying to break into a shed and then the house and that’s when he fired multiple shots.
The homeowner, a woman, her 30-year-old son and a 14-year-old granddaughter were in the residence when the incident unfolded. They were unhurt.
The wounded suspect was taken to Broward Health Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
An investigation at the scene of the shooting is continuing.
If this account is a reasonably accurate reflection of what the homeowner told the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, this could get very dicey for the homeowner, very fast.
Most states allow homeowners to fire upon burglars breaking into their occupied dwelling with a large degree of latitude, following the basic tenants of castle doctrine. Few states, however, allow home owners to leave their homes and then then fire upon someone attempting to break into an unoccupied outbuilding in defense of property.
I sincerely hope that there is more to it than, “He saw a man trying to break into a shed and then the house and that’s when he fired multiple shots.”
If forensics and testimony show that the homeowner fired at the burglar when he was facing away and/or wasn’t threatening the homeowner, this could go bad, fast.
Know your laws, folks.