Ga man charged with manslaughter

People Rally Behind Man Who Was Arrested After Shooting And Killing Fleeing Robbery Suspect, Who’s Right?


CAMDEN, SOUTH CAROLINA — On the surface, some folks will tell you it’s a clear cut and dried case.  A teenage boy was attempting to steal from a man’s truck and he shot him.  Kershaw County prosecutors are alleging this act is defined as manslaughter.  For those of us who have ever been repeatedly targeted for theft and vandalism, we may see it a bit differently.  Regardless, folks in the neighborhood have created a public outcry on behalf of their neighbor who shot that teenage boy.  They all know their neighbor to be a valiant, upstanding person of good moral character.  And as ABC reports, crime in the area had gone up prior to the night of the event.

ABC News

KCSO says in the past six months, the neighborhood where this incident took place has been hit with several vehicle break-ins as well as larcenies and burglaries. The KCSO has one report of a vehicle break-in at Methe’s residence in which two firearms were stolen.

It sounds like two boys had figured out a pattern-of-life on Methe and knew they had him.  For anyone that’s ever been repeatedly targeted, you know just how annoying it is locking everything up and dealing with the vandalism of failed attempted break-ins.  And, in one case, firearms were stolen.

This is one of those hard moral cases.  I personally don’t feel bad that this kid was shot.  However, as a concealed carrier, I know that it’s against the law.  I also know that if I decide to take the law into my own hands and ignore my state’s definition of authorization of deadly force and/or justifiable homicide, I pay the price.

The Sheriff of Kershaw County made a statement that mirrors my own emotions on the topic.

“Jimmy Methe and his family went to bed last night with no idea that a few hours later he would shoot and kill someone who had tried to steal from him and his family. Brandon Spencer may not have even gone to bed last night, planning with his buddy to steal from an innocent homeowner. He certainly had no idea he would end up dead.


The law states that you can use deadly force to protect yourself, your family or someone who is in immediate danger of death or great bodily harm.

The law does not allow you to shoot and kill someone who has stolen from you and is fleeing.

Unfortunately, Jimmy Methe made a split second bad decision and will now face criminal charges.

Law abiding citizens are frustrated with the failure of our criminal justice system that really does not deter crime. Situations like what occurred early this morning are more and more likely to be the result of that frustration.”

It would have been different if they were trying to break into his house or attempt to hurt someone.  For those out there that worry there may be some criminals routinely stealing your belongings: get a series of security cameras.  We live in a great technological age where you can have security cameras conveniently installed and you can take high quality video of these folks in the act.

It works.  More importantly, it keeps you from facing down the wrath of your local county prosecutor.

About James England | View all posts by James England

James England is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and has served as a defense contractor in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. His daily concealed carry…

James England is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and has served as a defense contractor in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. His daily concealed carry handgun is a Glock 36 in a Lenwood Holsters Specter IWB or his CZ-75D PCR in an Alien Gear MOD holster.

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  • Louis Marschalko

    Unintended consequences!

  • ReallyOldOne

    If they really want to rally behind him, start a campaign to educate possible jurors on jury nullification.

    • Kyle Guthrie

      I’d rather see the law changed. But yea, that is the 2nd best option.

  • glasswolf

    Jury Nullification sounds about right for his case. That being said, he had firearms stolen already, and to me, that means the suspect he shot was assumed to be armed and dangerous not just to himself, but to anyone the fleeing suspect may encounter after his flight. In that situation, use of deadly force is justified. I have a friend here in Columbia, SC who was involved in a shooting under such circumstances. A kid murdered someone right in front of my friend, my friend pursued, shots were exchanged, and my friend shot the suspect repeatedly in the chase. My friend was completely, legally justified in his actions, because the suspect fled through a crowd of people in a parking lot, which posed a danger to others.

    • joe bloe

      you believe that because guns were stolen previously, that a kid breaking into your truck who runs away when you come out should be assumed armed and dangerous to himself and you have the right to shoot him to death as he runs away? and you wonder why people want to take our guns away? you sir, are why.

  • Stumper24

    Yeah Spend more money to buy cameras so they can break those before they steal from you.
    Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
    If the crime wave was that extreme. where the hell were the cops.

    • Kyle Guthrie


  • Kyle Guthrie

    Such a simple solution. Add, “Defense of property” to the self defense laws. One little sentence and so many people are spared becoming re-victimized by the same criminals that we the problem in the first place.

    • joe bloe

      you believe it should be lawful to shoot someone to death if you suspect they stole your bicycle? I hope you don’t live near me.

      • Kyle Guthrie

        I’m sure I likely don’t. You need not fear. I can only assume from your comment that you feel mr Methe needs to go to prison. We do not agree.

        • joe bloe

          no, the law says he goes to prison. just like it says you don’t get killed for stealing. i hope most people believe that.

          • Kyle Guthrie

            Well, like you said. I hope you dont live near me.

      • Stevie Smith

        Just dont steal his bike and you want get hurt!

        • Kyle Guthrie

          lol, yea! hands off my huffy.

        • joe bloe

          do you believe you should hurt someone if they steal your bike, even though you would be doing the same thing he did, breaking the law?

    • mikekalish

      It invites problems. Can a store owner shoot a kid who steals a candy bar? If not, where is the line? What property is worth defending and what property is not? Not an easy question.

      • Kyle Guthrie

        No, its a horrible question. once you start down that road, you could end up with more lawyers involved not less.

        I’d go with defense of property from on privately owned property as a good baseline.

        Yes…that could conceivably include said “candy”, Though I believe that it would be far less likely than, the stolen: Cars, Cash, Safes, Jewelry, Priceless family heirlooms, etc.

        • mikekalish

          It is indeed a horrible question. Unfortunately, it WILL be asked, if not now, it will be asked after someone gets shot for petty theft, and all those lawyers will be circling in the waters anyway. OK, I’m way over my head here. Carry on!

      • Kyle Guthrie

        Of Course, this is very very very likely totally a hypothetical. Does anyone really see the genius’ is government adding

        “Defense of Property” to anything!?

  • joe bloe

    you say this is a hard moral case, then proceed to prove yourself wrong. interesting writing technique.

  • mikekalish

    Firm believer in the second amendment here. I believe in our fundamental right to defend ourselves….even if the second amendment didn’t exist. However, I don’t believe in deadly force to protect property, absent a threat to a living creature. The act of fleeing removes that threat.
    That’s what I believe, but if I were on this guy’s jury….. “not guilty”. Don’t ask me to explain. Kind of, “I don’t think you should do it, but I understand why you did, and I’d hate to send you to prison when he was the criminal.”

    • Kyle Guthrie

      I wont ask you to explain. but Joe may.

      I truly do not understand why people are so hesitant to feel property is worthy of defending.

      If I say, You must be my slave and work unpaid by force for a week, you’d feel you have every right to stop me, with force. a weeks worth buys stuff in your house. When some guy steals your TV, gun safe & gun, etc, They are usually getting AT LEAST that much.

      Horse Thievery was once a capital crime AFTER THE FACT!

      We live in a strange world right now. We can only defend ourselves if we are under immediate direct threat of getting killed, and we better be able to prove it in two courts of law (civil & criminal) or we are screwed.

      We are suppose to call the cops for everything, except…they dont come anymore before the guy is gone. So we are suppose to just suck it up and be victims.

      I find this unacceptable.

      • mikekalish

        Kyle, Maybe I should revise my statement. How about this: I personally would not shoot someone who was fleeing with my property. If I did, I would feel remorse. That’s just me. If you shot someone who had just stolen your property, I would not judge you for it. I would respect your choice and find you not guilty if I were on your jury. That said, there are degrees, right? If you owned a store and a kid stole a candy bar and ran away, you certainly wouldn’t shoot him. So somewhere there is a line where property is worth defending with lethal force and where it’s not. I think we could have an interesting discussion as to where that line is, but at least we can acknowledge that the existence of the line can be justified.

        • Kyle Guthrie

          Totally agree. The problem, and I suspect the reason why defense of property is not being added, is where is that line? Its ambiguous. Stealing a months income worth of property for some is a years or a days worth for someone else. I mean would I shoot someone running away with my TV, of course not. But would i fault someone who did? Trump or Clinton…yes. The guy who’s job is delivering for a pizza place who spent 3 months salary for that tv…no.

          I think for consistency it has to be an ‘all or nothing’ thing. And if it is an all or nothing deal, I would side on the side of Yes. Our courts are way to crowded to revictimize a victim.

  • James Dillon

    Go after the kids parents for there kid breaking the law. Put them in jail.

  • James Dillon

    Shooting the kid u would of been better to beat the shit out of him. And hold him for police. And not shot . But if you were 100% sure he had a weapon then it’s a different story.

  • Drake_Burrwood

    The first thing to realize is that laws differ by State; so what My State says may be different in details then yours. But..

    Robbery in my State is the use of force to steal.

    It’ is legal for you to use force to protect your property. notice i said force let me use, a/and possibly related example,
    Some nitwit decides to steal my vehicle, I see this starting. I rush to stop it possibly to knock the idiot on their rear. to end the theft. this is legal.
    But.. they get into the vehicle and jump start it too fast and start to drive “away”, away happens to be down the road next to me. I step in the road to force them to stop. This is legal.
    But.. I realize they aren’t going to maybe they think we are playing chicken, we aren’t, they have upped the ante by raising the force level to lethal. I don’t have to get out of the way. To protect my life while using non-lethal force to stop the vehicle, I draw my 1911, I am fat enough to use a full sized .45 as a CCW. I shoot twice at the windshield at the level of the steering wheel, and once at the level of a lowered shade flap. Then if I decide the vehicle isn’t leaving the road or stopping I attempt roll out of the way.
    If the driver is dead, regardless of what happens to me the passenger is charged with Murder in commision of a Felony.

    Other issues:
    It had better be your property, if you “forgot” to pay the bank and they hired this person to bring “their” property to them you have a problem.

    What if the vehicle has a shotgun in it or your wife’s CCW [she had to go in a bank or some such] what is your responsibility in the case of the indirect theft of a deadly weapon.
    What if it has you your wife’s heavy duty pain narcotics in it, what responsibility do you have for the damage they could do when sold to those who do abuse them.

    What if the property theft is Direct Theft of a weapon in your possession, let’s say you are in a walmart, or some other store where it is legal to carry. Some fool realizes I’m carrying and attempts to grab my 1911, I am usually carrying a heavy cased tablet on that side as an excuse to keep my gunhand by my gun. So I feel the attempted draw, now I immobilize the intruding hand by locking it to the gun with my own dropping the case and attempting to gain an arm lock. Here we have an issue the courts usually assume if someone is trying to take your weapon, OFF of You, they plan to use it on you.

    So if the Robber is now attempting lethal force as in not desperately trying to drop the gun and get away, or attempting to talk the situation down. My right hand comes around holding my closed very heavy Brass and Wood handled Buck knife and either cracks the skull or breaks the collarbone to disable the lethal attack. [even if it turns out to be a person doing what a politician said; so attempted to commit felony of a weapon and attempted lethal force as a political statement]

    Remember laws are different, from State to State, and Country to Country, an interesting example is the difference between Japan and the USA, one of the biggest sources of our mass murders In America is the murder/suicide of family members. While Japan has the mass suicide “family suicide” not murders.