The poor decisions made by two Georgia teenagers over the weekend resulted in one of them, 17-year-old Jordan Middleton, being mistaken for a home invader and killed by a homeowner who gave him every chance to identify himself and diffuse the situation.
Here’s what we know so far: Last night, 17-year-old Jordan Middleton went to a home on Coventry drive in Evans, and a 14-year-old girl snuck him in.
This situation turned bad when the girl’s dad heard noises downstairs.
…According to a news release from the Columbia County Sheriffs Office, Derrick Fulton says he heard noise downstairs, got his handgun from a dresser, then went downstairs.
The family dog’s barking led the homeowner to the guest bedroom.
Fulton called out that he was armed and the intruder needed to identify themselves.
When Middleton didn’t say anything, the dog kept barking and acting aggressively toward the guest bedroom.. Once again, the homeowner yelled a warning.
As he entered the bedroom, Middleton ran out of the guest bedroom closet, and that’s when Fulton shot Middleton in the chest.
Deputies arrived on the scene to find the 17-year-old dead in the foyer.
It’s a horrible incident all the way around.
Derrick Fulton suspected that he had a burglar in his home and was simply trying to protect his family when he heard noises downstairs and his dog isolated the perceived threat in a bedroom downstairs.
He allegedly called out to Jordan Middleton, informing him who he was and that he was armed and that he needed to identify himself and come out. At any point while Mr. Fulton was giving verbal commands, wither Fulton’s 14-year-old daughter or Middleton could have simply responded, explained that the young Ms. Fulton invited Middleton into the home, and that there was no crime, just teens doing stupid teen things.
Unfortunately, neither teen spoke up, Middleton apparently panicked, and when he attempted to bolt from the closet out of the home, Mr. Fulton reasonably perceived Middleton’s bolting as an apparent threat from a violent home invader.
I can’t find any fault in the homeowner’s actions.
While some may say in hindsight that he probably should have waited for the police to arrive to check the guest bedroom, Mr. Fulton probably thought the dog was sounding a false alarm, so he wanted to rule out a potential threat and go back to bed. Heck, I might have done the same thing if I didn’t really think there was a threat in my home (if I ever thought there was a real threat, I’d barricade myself in a position to protect the bedrooms on the second floor of my home, have my wife call 911, and let the police clear downstairs).
Both families are now going to be permanently haunted by this tragic shooting death that seems to be the result of two teens making a poor but not entirely uncommon choice, and not wanting to get caught.
Our condolences go out to both families.