Mississippi Police Say Homeowners Won't Face Charges in Fatal Shooting of Intruders

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Police are recommending murder charges after two of three robbers were killed by their intended victims on Monday, but it's the third accused robber who's facing prosecution, not the individuals who acted in self-defense. 

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My thanks to eagle-eyed Bearing Arms reader Fred for alerting me to this incident, where authorities in Gulfport, Mississippi have concluded that the homeowners were justified in using deadly force to protect themselves from what police describe as a "targeted" robbery of a residence. Under Mississippi law, however, accomplices to a crime can be charged with murder if any of their partners are killed in the course of their criminal activity. 

“They acted in self defense,” said Gulfport Lt. Jason DuCré. 

But the third man involved in the attempted robbery was arrested and charged in the killings in Gulfport of Temi Lawal, 18, of Moss Point, and Lorenzo Stennis, 21, of Pascagoula. Lawrence Corley IV, 17, of Gautier is charged with two counts of capital murder. On Monday night, Gulfport PD officers arrived at a residence of 27th Street in response to reports of a shooting. They found Lawal on the ground, dead of an apparent gunshot wound. They also learned that Stennis had been taken to a local hospital with multiple gunshot wounds, where he later died.

Stennis also was among four Jackson County men arrested and charged in a January shooting at a Gulf Park Estates party that left several vehicles hit with gunfire.

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This is yet another argument against bans on "large capacity" magazines. Police haven't said how many of the homeowners opened fire on the robbers, but it sounds like the trio outnumbered the armed citizens inside the home. Gun control activists love to claim that no one needs more than ten rounds in self-defense, but they're ignoring the fact that a late-night home invasion, carjacking, or armed robbery might not be a one-on-one fight. If I'm facing multiple assailants, I don't want Michael Bloomberg, Shannon Watts, or David Hogg determining how many rounds I have available to protect myself and my family. 

Corley is now being held on $2 million bond and facing two charges of capital murder, defined in part in Mississippi law as a death caused during the commission of a felony. The 17-year-old could potentially face the death penalty if he's convicted on either charge, though a judge could choose to sentence him to life without parole if he's found guilty. 

Authorities haven't said why the three suspects, who were all from towns about a 45 minutes drive from Gulfport, chose this particular home or what they were hoping to get away with, nor have they disclosed why Stennis was out and about after he'd been charged in that January shooting. I'm sure we'll learn more as Corley's case winds its way through the court system, and I'm curious to find out what exactly the suspects thought they'd find inside the home. 

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Whatever it was, it wasn't worth dying for. Two young men lost their lives for the dumbest of reasons, and the third has likely thrown his life away, all thanks to a stupid and reckless decision to take something that wasn't theirs to begin with.

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