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Charges Dropped Against Landlord After Defending Himself Against Tenant

CLACKAMAS COUNTY, OREGON — Imagine being a landlord. You have property and you want to rent that property to a tenant in return for money. That’s the general idea. However, who you rent that property to may not pay their rent on time, they may trash the place, or do all sorts of other nasty things.

In general, there’s almost no good recourse for the landlord. In fact, landlords have to go through a ridiculous process to even evict a tenant who has shown himself to be disrespectful, dishonest, and even sometimes downright dangerous. And even after that eviction takes place, there’s still the enforcement and recovering from the likely damages.

For one landlord, he unfortunately discovered his tenant was the dangerous sort. According to the Oregonian, Ricky McKowen had a history of threatening to kill or harm the landlord and his family. We’re not really sure why McKowen thought this was a good or logical move but he kept on it. And the landlord, for the most part, kept his distance.

However, on one occasion, McKowen allegedly came at the landlord with a knife. The landlord drew his handgun and shot McKowen. The tenant died of his injuries.

Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office initially charged the landlord with murder.

Records of witness testimony and Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office own records indicate that McKowen had been reported for violent behavior and threats. Yet the landlord was still charged with the crime of defending his own life on his own property!

We’ve recently learned that all charges have been dropped against the landlord.

This is a great win for both gun owners and property owners.

The fact that Oregon’s judicial system would consider charges against a man who clearly defended his own life from a known violent threat should be evidence enough that it should never have even needed a day in court. Instead, the landlord had to likely pay an attorney to represent him and go through endless legal proceedings before a jury decided that, indeed, he had done precisely what any person would do when threatened with potentially deadly violence.

In this age, we may be forced to defend our decision to respond to a deadly threat. In that case, we may risk everything for just a chance at life. It’s all the more important that we do the following when faced in a similar situation:

  • Document evidence — Video, audio, notes with date and signature
  • Report suspicious or violent activity to police
  • File for a restraining order
  • Use a home surveillance system with video monitoring

These are pieces of the puzzle that will snap together and potentially save a person’s proverbial behind in the event that he or she is forced to use a gun to save a life.

It’s a weird time to be alive but you know what? It’s better to be alive.

Be smart. Carry every single day and if you think you have a potential violent threat on the rise, let police know. You could be saving more than just your life.

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