Arkansas Prosecutor Says Elderly Man Justified in Shooting Intruder

sluehr3g / Pixabay

It took investigators more than six months to reach their conclusion, but authorities in Sebastian County, Arkansas have officially cleared an elderly man of any wrongdoing after he shot an intruder in his Fort Smith home last June. 


The break-in happened in broad daylight, around 2:00 p.m. on the afternoon of June 28th. The homeowner heard a noise coming from the rear of the home, and grabbed his shotgun for protection. Just then a neighbor called to alert him that someone was trying to break into the residence, prompting the elderly gun owner to dial 911. 

Before police could get to the house, however, the homeowner heard his glass patio door shatter. As the intruder stepped inside, the homeowner fired twice and struck the prowler

When officials arrived to the scene, the man identified as 21-year-old Easton Richardson, was found injured. Richardson was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. According to the release, the homeowner "wept when he learned that the intruder he shot was a young man."

When police interviewed the suspect's family members, they were told that Richardson had mental disorders and was not on his medication at the time of the shooting. The autopsy report shows that Richardson died of a shotgun wound to the chest, and the toxicology report showed his blood had "three times the legal limit" of alcohol allowed when operating a motor vehicle. The report also showed that Richardson was positive for marijuana, the release said. 

The press release states "physical evidence at the scene confirmed the statements given by the homeowner and his neighbor about where and how the break-in occurred."

After careful investigation, county officials concluded that the homeowner used "deadly physical force in defense of a person," and will not be facing any charges.  


Richardson's family and friends described him as a "very gentle and kind individual" who was training to be a machinist at the time of his death. Tragically, no matter how gentle and kind he may have been when he was being treated for his mental disorders, the young man who broke through a glass door and tried to enter a stranger's home wasn't in his right mind, and the homeowner had good reason to fear for his life. 

I don't know a single gun owner who is eager to use their gun in self-defense, no matter how prepared they might be to do so. Every gun owner I know would be perfectly content to live their life without ever having to pull the trigger to protect themselves or their loved ones, and I'm not surprised that the homeowner wept when he learned that the intruder was a young man who was off his meds and highly intoxicated. Many of us would have the same reaction. It is tragic that Easton Richardson lost his life that day, even if the homeowner was fully justified in his use of deadly force. 

When gun owners talk about the need to address our country's mental health crisis, we're not simply deflecting the discussion away from gun control. There's a serious issue that's largely going unaddressed around the country, though Arkansas lawmakers and Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders allocated $30 million in new funding for mental health and substance abuse treatment earlier this year. Though it won't solve the crisis in the Natural State, it's still a big step in the right direction. 


Join the conversation as a VIP Member