Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentLaw Enforcement & Police · 1 month ago

If someone breaks into your house late at night and you shoot them, does it make a difference if they were armed or not?

Here is the scenario: You are laying in bed sleeping when you are woke up by a loud crash.  You grab your 9mm Glock from the nightstand, wait and listen for a few minutes but total silence.  You conclude the cat must have knocked something over so you open your door to investigate and as you exit your room, you find yourself face to face with a masked intruder.   Your adrenaline is rushing he raises his right hand and you fire.   

Soon the cops arrive and inform you that you just killed a black man armed with nothing more than a flashlight.  You see one of the cops reach in his pocket, pull out a gun and throw it on the floor.  The cop says "looks like he was armed after all"

This was a question presented at a training exercise.  When questioned by investigators, would you tell them what you saw the cop do and that you shot an unarmed man?  

It turns out this man had lost his job and was breaking into homes to feed his wife and kids.  He normally breaks in when nobody is home and he mistakenly thought nobody was home when he broke in.  

Update:

I should have asked the question differently.  Would you tell investigators what you saw the cop do?  

13 Answers

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  • 1 month ago

    Not to me if they break in their not coming to do me good.

  • 1 month ago

    I would have a cell phone camera recording to SD card in one hand, pistol in another.  A picture is worth a thousand words; but a video is worth 10,000 words.  Get a video of police throwing pistol on floor as evidence, yet have your cell phone hidden as you pop caps somehow.  That is my best advice...ride with it.  

  • 1 month ago

    The legal standard is usually if a reasonable person would believe there was a legitimate threat against them. Late at night, it is UNREASONABLE to know it the intruder is armed. Breaking in is evidence of criminal intent.

    Note: If I hit you over the head with my flashlight, you would insist I was armed.

    That said, I wouldn't let a MORON plant evidence in my home.

  • ?
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Depends on where it happened. Where I live you're not allowed to kill in self defense unless you can prove the person you killed was actively engaged in trying to kill you. 

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  • RICK
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Depends on where you live different states have different  laws

    And yes I'd turn the cop in

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    I'd probably take a huge risk and not say anything.  It all depends on what the police find when they trace the ownership of the gun.

  • Sky
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    No, it doesn't make a difference.  What matters is that if you feel genuinely threatened, or someone else is genuinely threatened, deadly force can be justifiable.  A few years ago I read an article about a guy who shot dead an unarmed intruder in his house when the intruder started to rush at him.  The police and prosecutor determined it was justifiable and definitely fell under "castle doctrine" laws.  In the dark of night with the confusion, stress, and split second decisions of a house intruder, the person who lives there can't know for a fact the person is unarmed or is otherwise incapable of hurting anyone.  If the intruder turns to run away and the homeowner shoots, at that point it is no longer justifiable.  But if the intruder poses a threat, armed or not it's justified to shoot to protect oneself or others.

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    Qualifies as self defense as you had a reasonable apprehension of serious bodily harm or death.  He is inside the curtilage of your home at night, he raised a flashlight you thought was a weapon and fearful of your life you fired in self defense and this would be justified.  The fact that it was nighttime also justifies the killing as this is a common law burglary.  Further, the gun found on the victim shows his intent to commit a felony, even if found after the fact.

  • Kieth
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    You have to prove that there was a threat against your life, and the cops will pick the scene apart to see if there was. Criminals are their job security, and they don't like people killing their job security. Catch and release is what fishermen do for sport fishing, you let the fish go so you can catch them again. Cops do that with criminals. We're the bait.

  • 1 month ago

    They don't have to be armed. For it to be self-defense, you have to be "fearful of imminent bodily harm".  If someone has broken into your house, armed or not, that qualifies.

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