Texas Man Shoots Hammer-Wielding Home Invader

diegoparra / Pixabay

When we think about a home invasion or an armed burglary, the scenario that runs through most of our minds is a late-night break in, with the suspects operating under the cover of darkness. These incidents don't always play out that way, however. Even in broad daylight we can find ourselves the victim of a violent attack in the sanctity of our own home, which was the case for one unfortunate homeowner in the north Texas city of Denison this week. 


Authorities are still trying to figure out why a man armed with a hammer forcibly entered a stranger's home around 4:30 on Monday afternoon, but they know what happened after he managed to get inside.

Grayson County Sheriff’s Deputies were called to a residence on McCraw Lane east of Denison around 4:30 p.m.

The homeowner told deputies a man whom he did not know came to his door and forced entry into his home while brandishing a hammer.

As the homeowner tried to get the man to leave, he attacked the homeowner and struck him with the hammer. The homeowner then shot the man and called authorities.

According to the sheriff's department, the suspect was airlifted to a hospital and was in critical condition at last report, though no arrests have been made. 

Under the Castle Doctrine, Texas homeowners have no duty to retreat when someone tries to break into their home. They have the right to stand their ground and defend themselves, though as attorney Liz Mitchell says, that doesn't mean that homeowners can start blasting away at anyone who sets foot on your property. 

It is not a green light to just go ahead and shoot anyone that is trespassing in your property or on your property. The law is always going to look at your actions and whether or not they were reasonable. Did the person reasonably believe that their life was in imminent danger, immediate danger? Whether or not someone was entering your home, your habitation, your workplace, your vehicle, with force. Were they breaking a window, were they picking a lock, were they forcibly trying to enter your property? All of those things are going to justify matching that force with the use of deadly force. 


In this case, you've got a stranger armed with a hammer who did forcibly enter a home, refused to leave, and allegedly attacked the homeowner. Only after the armed citizen was struck did he pull the trigger, so the homeowner was well within his right to defend himself at that point. 

The court is going to look at other things that determine whether or not you're justified in using deadly force. Did you have a legal right to be on the property in the first place? Is it legally your home, is it your spouse's home or your boyfriend's or girlfriend's home? A friend's home in which you were invited? So first and foremost, did you have a legal right to be there on the property? Secondly, did you provoke the situation to begin with? Did you instigate a fight? Has this been someone that you've been yelling, threatening back and forth? Are you the initial instigator? And finally, and sometimes, most importantly, if you're engaged in criminal conduct, you are not protected under the Castle Doctrine. There's many situations the law can actually be quite complicated. 

Many situations, but not this one. Based on the initial reporting by police this seems to be a textbook case of armed self-defense, and the only person who should face charges is the hammer-wielding home invader who was shot by an armed citizen who was ready and able to defend himself when he was attacked.  


Join the conversation as a VIP Member