A man who smashed in the front window of a home in Broward County, Florida got more than he bargained for once he made his way inside the residence when the homeowner fired at least one round from her handgun, injuring the suspect and helping police to take him into custody.
The home invasion happened just after midnight on Sunday, and neighbor Sharon Kerrigan was a witness to the entire encounter.
“I’m like the eye watch out here, always out here, I don’t know you, I’m watchin’ you, you know?” Kerrigan said.
She came outside to smoke a cigarette around midnight and saw the crime unfold.
“This guy came down the road, barefoot, looking behind him like somebody’s after him, and he veered right, went to try her doorknob, couldn’t get in that way, pulled the screen down, just stated busting out the glass, and crawled through the window, and I called 911,” Kerrigan said, adding that she thought the man was “wacked out on something.”
Then Kerrigan heard a gunshot. The woman had confronted the intruder inside her home.
“Glad she did, older woman in this day and age, gotta have some type of protection.” Kerrigan said.
It’s not just older women who need to be able to protect themselves, but I’m with Kerrigan in being relieved that the homeowner had the ability and wherewithal to defend herself from a stranger who’d smashed through her front window to get inside.
While a former prosecutor in Florida told NBC Miami that it’s still an open question as to whether or not the woman could face charges given the state’s Stand Your Ground law, the current statute would seem to protect her actions.
person who is in a dwelling or residence in which the person has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and use or threaten to use… deadly force if he or she reasonably believes that using or threatening to use such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.
… A person is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another when using or threatening to use defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another if… The person against whom the defensive force was used or threatened was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove another against that person’s will from the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle…
The suspect, who has yet to be publicly identified by police, unlawfully and forcefully entered the homeowner’s dwelling by breaking a window and crawling inside. Under Florida law, that act alone means the resident presumably had a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily injury, and rightfully so. After all, nobody breaks through your window in the dead of night to offer you cookies or to sell you a timeshare.
Based on the circumstances described by NBC Miami I highly doubt the armed citizen is going to face any charges for protecting her life inside her home, but the investigation will still be turned over to a grand jury to decide if any criminal charges are warranted. The guy who broke into her home, on the other hand, is definitely going to get his day in court, though whether justice will be done is still very much an open question.