PORTLAND, INDIANA — A burglar who broke into a homeowner’s garage, after already pleading guilty to burglary, is now suing the homeowner for shooting him during the burglary attempt.
And he could win, because the homeowner shot at him while he fled.
Authorities said David A. Bailey, now 31, of Albany, Ind., broke into the garage of David McLaughlin of Dunkirk, Ind., on April 21, 2014.
McLaughlin, now 33, fired gunshots at the intruder he saw fleeing his property. One of the bullets hit Bailey in the left arm as he ran down an alley.
McLaughlin was charged with, and found guilty, of criminal recklessness. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail and four months of home detention.
Meanwhile, Bailey plead guilty to burglary and was sentenced to electronic home detention for three years.
Here is where things get more interesting.
While Bailey pleaded guilty to a related burglary charge last year, in the lawsuit he contends that he “had not entered (McLaughlin’s Dunkirk) garage,” about 65 miles northwest of Indianapolis, and “never entered the defendant’s garage for the purpose of stealing property.”
Bailey was in an alley behind McLaughlin’s home in this city of almost 2,500 residents when the homeowner “exited his residence and began firing his weapon into the air in response to a security alarm sound in his garage,” the suit claims. As Bailey fled down an alley, McLaughlin “continued to the public-right-of-way (and off his property) and continued firing his weapon down the dark alley.”
If this is in fact the case, it’s a big blemish on the part of the homeowner. I’m not saying that Bailey would win the suit, but I am saying that MCLaughlin probably made things much worse after firing at a fleeing suspect. This will most likely be taken into consideration, and we’ve seen cases like this before… and they don’t always end well for the armed citizen.
A tip to armed citizens: Don’t shoot at fleeing suspects.
A tip to burglars: Don’t burglarize, and don’t try to sue someone who shot you during the commission of a crime.
Do you think Bailey has a chance with his suit? Chime in below.