LOGAN COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA — When West Virginia State Police arrived at the scene of a shooting at a residence, they had to stick to the facts. One deceased man, 49-years-old, was found in the residence. He died from multiple gunshot wounds that were delivered by the homeowner who claims he shot the man in self-defense. The homeowner claimed that the man had attempted to break into his home and he shot him.
According to WSAZ News Channel 3, people familiar with the two men said they had been friends and recently some bad blood had come between them. The sister of the man killed claims it was a setup intended to lure him into a place where he could be legally shot and killed. Evidence submitted from the scene by the West Virginia State Troopers allege he attempted to break in by force into another man’s home at 4 a.m.
The home owner’s claim to self-defense as a justifiable cause for deadly force was upheld by investigators and the Logan County District Attorney’s office announced it would not proceed with any criminal charges against the homeowner.
This is the sort of complicated situation that no one wants. But the facts are this: a man attempted to forcefully enter another man’s home. He was shot and subsequently died. By the generous definitions put forth by West Virginia Code.
§55-7-22. Civil relief for persons resisting certain criminal activities.
(a) A lawful occupant within a home or other place of residence is justified in using reasonable and proportionate force, including deadly force, against an intruder or attacker to prevent a forcible entry into the home or residence or to terminate the intruder’s or attacker’s unlawful entry if the occupant reasonably apprehends that the intruder or attacker may kill or inflict serious bodily harm upon the occupant or others in the home or residence or if the occupant reasonably believes that the intruder or attacker intends to commit a felony in the home or residence and the occupant reasonably believes deadly force is necessary.
How the heck would a person know another person’s intent so well as to not infer reasonable risk of serious harm or even death when his front door is being bashed in at 4 a.m.?
And here in lies the rub: no man has the right to bash in another man’s door. To do so, it is reasonable to infer that whoever is doing the forceful entry has absolutely every intention of exerting more force once he succeeds.
Whether this was the result of a heated argument that should have been conducted when cooler heads prevailed or it was a truly malicious act terminated early by an armed homeowner — we’ll never know. What we do know is that it’s definitely against the law and the homeowner acted in his own best interests.