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UPDATED: Tacoma homeowner shoots would-be burglar in the face

Post by Stacia Glenn / The News Tribune on June 19, 2012 at 6:19 pm with 85 Comments »
June 20, 2012 7:01 am

Tacoma police said a homeowner shot a would-be burglar in the face with a shotgun Tuesday evening when he tried to break into a home through a window.

The shooting occurred just before 6 p.m. at the corner of South 14th and South Madison streets.

“The homeowner fired a shot and hit the suspect in the face,” police spokesman Mark Fulghum said.

Officers used a K-9 team to search the home and make sure nobody else was inside. Police initially reported that there was a second suspect but they now believe the injured man was the only person trying to break into the house.

The would-be burglar was taken to St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma. He is expected to survive.

The homeowner has not been arrested.

Leave a comment Comments → 85
  1. whatthehell says:

    i dont believe her she shoud be chardge with atempeted murder

  2. They will never learn
    home owners pretty much have guns now so good luck to all you wanna be thugs

  3. chamoru1 says:

    Why, whatthehell, the perps related to you?
    I say good on the homeowner.

  4. CrazyJim says:

    Being a burglar does have it’s drawbacks.

  5. Residential burglary ain’t what it used to be

  6. Harley5212001 says:

    whatthehell feels sorry for the poor burglar. Even Plum crazy has it wrong……….if you feel your life is in danger, you have to right to use deadly force to protect yourself. My wife would have fired no less than 3 shots. The only bad thing about all this is that some dogooder attorney will want to represent the burglar and sue for disfigurement.

  7. skippythedog says:

    This needs to occur w/ greater frequency than it does now.

  8. Now, that’s what I call good “gun control”..

  9. musingintacoma says:

    The homeowner may have some legal trouble. The suspect was had not entered the building per the article, so is only committing a misdemeanor offense (Criminal trespass 2nd degree RCW 9A.52.080) at that point. The article does not mention if the building was breached (window or door opened by the perpetrator;) before the homeowner fired. I suspect that if the security of the home had not yet been breached by the suspect, the homeowner may have fired prematurely.

    I am all for homeowners defending their homes, but I believe that to use the Castle Doctrine as a defense for the shooting, the home (castle) must be breached by the perpetrator. As always, the devil will be in the details, which the public may not get.

  10. drkracker151 says:

    If only every break in ended with the burglar getting shot in the face. Specifically the face. Maybe with some bird shot.

  11. flipperj says:

    why did she only shoot once?

  12. PuppyDogsButterflies says:

    Nicely done!! I wonder who looks better: the bathsalt face guy or shot in the face guy.

  13. northwestrealtor says:

    Breaking News: In a related incident, the sudden skyrocketing sale of
    fresh coffee and donuts has occurred in the opposite side of town…more later….

  14. the3rdpigshouse says:

    Hopefully the homeowner has contributed to improving the gene pool!!!

  15. musingintacoma says:

    Leraje: Thanks for the nice sentiment. It is quite obvious that you missed the meaning of my post.

    While all the comments appear to be for the purpose of ‘high fiving’ for the homeowner who was defending her property, I merely sought to point out that she may not be out of the woods legally.

    Another point I infer by my post is that if homeowners are going to defend themselves with lethal force, they had best educate themselves on the law as it pertains to home defense and lethal force. It would be a tragedy if the homeowner was prosecuted for attempted murder because, in the eyes of the law, there appeared to be no imminent threat of harm /iat the time she fired her weapon/-i because the physical security of the home had not been breached. While to some this is a trivial detail, it may be a critical one for homeowner.

    If the suspect had kicked in a door or window before being shot, then count me in with the crowd celebrating this successful home defense.

  16. averageJoseph says:

    I’ll wait for more info before I chime in. :)

  17. surething says:

    Jesus, can we wait for the story before jumping to conclusions?

  18. I’m gonna go ahead and high five the homeowner.

  19. ItalianSpring says:

    Another reason to party with double 00 buck or a slug. Bird shot is for, well, birds.

  20. My 9mil, locked and loaded!

  21. I’m just curious how you all deduced that the homeowner is a woman. Did I miss something?

  22. Dragoonchris says:

    scribad, Prior to the latest update the homeowner was referred to as a “she”.

  23. dinseattle says:

    Sweet! Great shot!

  24. frankiethomas says:

    Tacoma police suggest you fire through the door if they are trying to break through the door, and you will not be in legal trouble – this per 911 and TPD’s advice when perps were on other side of door and armed homeowner was on the phone. So I think this homeowner doesn’t have anything to worry about if this guy had already broken the window. the threat was ore than imminent.

  25. strykerpro says:

    How does a burgler die? A round of buck shot right between the eyes…

  26. frankiethomas says:

    OOh by “they” I mean the bad guys, not the TPD. . .

  27. Misunderestimated says:

    Great shooting, imagine the stories he will have for his boys in the big house over how he got so ugly…

  28. Misunderestimated says:

    Tacoma just may have the most ignorant criminals in the USA; COPS did start here…

  29. tree_guy says:

    Can you hear me now?

  30. wildcelticrose says:

    I can guarantee you that if I’m home alone and some dirtbag tires to break in, that I will be able to articulate in a court of law that I feared for my safety.

  31. I tend to lean strongly anti-gun; but if someone is breaking in & you already have one: use it.

    My position changed somewhat a couple years ago when I let a female friend stay on my couch for a couple months & her ex threatened to kill us. The Tacoma cop who came to the house did not take the threat seriously. At that time i did consider buying a gun, but decided against it; & fortunately the threat moved to another state & than ended up in jail there.

  32. Good for homeowner. I also have a shotgun and WILL use it. We have a plan at our place in case someone ever breaks in. It won’t be good for the burglar, I will say that much!!!

  33. GeronimoV says:

    More details, I hope, will be forthcoming. But from what I see here I’d say this was an example of a good “stand your ground” law. Buck, rather than bird, shot might have made a more emphatic example to other miscreants.

  34. I’ve got my .45, m16,50cal, 357, and grenade launcher locked and loaded and also a pit bull that has not eaten in over a week!

  35. KellyKafir says:

    Ah, this does give me a “warm fuzzie”!! Remember, when seconds count, the police are minutes away! Good for her! I bet he wasn’t expecting that!

    Hey Steph19, how did you get a grenade launcher? I want one!

  36. KellyKafir says:

    I can hear all the Seattle Lib t a r d s wailing now, “What about HIS rights!” hahahaa!! Poor Moo… I guess he’ll be the one who doesn’t protect himself…

    Not in my neighborhood! I am surrounded by cops, ex military and detectives and we are all armed. Come on over with the intent to do any of us harm and you’ll find out REAL fast that most of us are big 2nd Amendment supporters for a reason!

    (for added legal protection, make sure you call 911 and say, “I’m in fear for my life” so it’s nice and recorded!!)

  37. skippythedog says:

    Now that so many people are growing dope (some legally even) I believe that the utility companies are going to have to provide some way of securing your electrical meter from view. Many of these hood rats are casing out houses merely by glancing at the electrical meters. If your dial is always whirring like a little fan………

  38. ginahopk says:

    anyone who breaks into my house gets shot

  39. beefthorsen says:

    While the castle doctrine obviously applies, Washington has a kind of ambiguous “Stand Your Ground” policy. Several decades ago the State Supreme Court ruled that there is no law in Washington specifically requiring a person to retreat. So, while some states have explicit “Stand Your Ground” laws either for or against, we ain’t one of ‘em. I personally would like to extend an invite to any and all would be burglers to atempt a burglation of my place cause I don’t know where my bird shot is. All I’ve got is OO Buck. If she had killed the individual, there would have been alot less chance of legal troubles for her, referring to having to defend a potential civil suit brought by the scum, er, a, I mean suspect.

  40. beefthorsen says:

    I’m sorry, the Castle doctrine application may not be so obvious, but the rest is.

  41. beefthorsen says:

    Sorry to be so talkative, but I am a Liberal who believes completly in the 2nd Ammendment and am very well armed, so you don’t have to be Conservative to be armed.

  42. FlyingTigress says:

    That’s going to leave a mark..

    well, a *load-full* of marks, anyway.

    Good on her. Center of mass would have been another option, but extra points for leaving a reminder about the adverse consequences of B&E that can’t be covered with a shirt or jacket.

  43. My2cents52 says:

    This guy already stole from this Woman, She lost the feeling of being safe in her own home, She did a great job, The only thing that comes through my windows is Fly’s then they get Swatted problem solved.

  44. tortoise says:

    Firing a shotgun in the house…..darn, that has to be loud.
    What has this country come to when there is even any controversy as to whether or not the homeowner will be charged.

  45. musingintacoma, you need to brush up on your RCWs if you are going to feel the need to quote them. Criminal Trespass 2nd only applies to premises. If the guy that got shot in the face was just hanging out in your front yard,that would be Criminal Trespass 2nd. Take a look at RCW 9A.52.025 Residental Burglary. You will find that this RCW is what fits the crime. That is if the police can establish that the suspect intended on commiting a crime against persons or property once he got in the house which is most likely the case. Oh and look, its a Class B Felony. At the minimum it would be attempted residental burglary which is a Class C Felony.

  46. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    I use a handgun to protect my home but after reading this I want to get a shotgun too. She must have used bird shot becauce buck shot would have taken off the head.

    Hope the crook lives so he is a walking reminder to others. They will look at his disfigurment and think twicw before breaking into a home.

    Bottom line, nice shooting.

  47. It’s a good thing that Eric Holder is a bit occupied at the moment. Otherwise, this female might have something else to worry about.

  48. nonstopjoe says:

    The perfect solution to in-house self-defense is the Taurus Judge revolver. It fires either .45 Colt ammo or .410 shotshells (2.5 inch). It’s popular with judges who carry, hence the name.

  49. BigSwingingRichard says:

    This homeowner did more to deter future break ins than the police can ever do.

    We should all thank be thankful for her willingness to defend herself.

    This homeowner has send a message to all the other burglars that crime has consequences.

    The second amendment exists for a reason.

    Ask any police officer: citizens who are willing to shoot criminals do reduce crime.

    I’ve always thought a better sign than a crime watch sign is one that shows a picture of a gun and says:

    Warning: We Don’t Call 911

  50. Comput3rguy says:

    this is awesome, but I hope the cops don’t bust the homeowner

  51. Good for the homeowner! Nobody has the right to trespass or break into our homes. I feel badly for the young man who faced the terror of someone storming in to the home.

  52. itwasntmethistime says:

    I hope when they stitched the guy’s face closed they made the sutures spell out “thief.” A real life scarlet letter.

  53. guiltybystander says:

    Okay, so whatthehell posts this message: “i dont believe her she shoud be chardge with atempeted murder.” Apart from some pretty serious grammatical issues, how is saying you DON’T believe the homeowner should be charged with attempted murder somehow being sympathetic to the would-be burglar? What am I missing?

    As far as this shooting itself, a hale and hearty GOOD ON YA to the homeowner. I’m with BigSwingingRichard. I’m not into frontier justice but I WILL protect myself and my wife inside my own home without hesitation or mercy. THEN I’ll dial 9-1-1.

  54. gonefishin69690 says:

    Ahhh the Second Amendment. Turning “Burglars” in to “Would be” burglars, for over 500 years.

  55. gonefishin69690 says:

    My mistake, firearms have been around for over 500 years, the second amendment, well, just over 200. It’s early.

  56. grottowes says:

    door to door salesmen and jehovah witness pamphlet distributers BEWARE!

  57. gonefishin69690 says:

    @grottowes, or, apply the “double tap” rule.

  58. commoncents says:

    ummm the Second Amendment doesn’t specifically address possessing weapons for this purpose. However, SCOTUS decisions have interpreted it to be applicable.

    Small difference you might say but still relevent for all those other topics where people cry “Show me where it says in the constitution”.

    That being said…I’m curious as to how she determined he was trying to break in. Was he looking in the window? Did he just break it? Was he opening it? Additionally, does the guy have a record? Did he have tools on his person? other stolen items in his vehicle? Come on TNT…fill in the blanks! There is more to this story than we’ve seen thus far.

    Personally I would have liked for her to have waited until he was fully in her house before she shot him if only to remove any doubt. But, at the same time I can understand shooting a bit early out of fear and the heat of the moment.

  59. RedForeman says:

    I keep my shotgun loaded with number 4 buck sos I don’t kill the neighbors too. Double ought is bit much for home defense. I’m surprised this guy didn’t lose his eyesight.

  60. Forget the face! Some low life nobody loser of a home invader tries to get in my house, they will find the future hopes of having any kids just sort of “blew away” in the breeze.

  61. RetentionPond says:

    RCW 2.6 22LC states: Terds with glass shards and lead pellets embedded in their faces will be held accountable for all costs associated with homeowner window replacement.
    Ugly needs a bill from Milgard as soon as he wakes up!

  62. scooter6139 says:

    I will wait to hear more on this report before I “high five” or not. Attempted break in is different than break in and the immediate escalation to deadly force is not something to be taken lightly. From reading some of the comments here, there are some gun nuts who would shoot someone for just standing on their porch. Use some judgment and restraint folks. I think some folks believe we live in the wild west of the 19th century. (FYI – I am armed and will defend my home but deciding to use deadly force is the last choice I want to make.)

  63. rawdibob says:

    In the face?!

    With a shot gun? I hope.

  64. gonefishin69690 says:

    The story however does say “tried to break into a home through a window” and not “allegedly tried”. Then, they used a K-9 to search the home indicating the home had been breached. Would be nice to have some more details, but the article leans heavily towards the fact that this was no Girl Scout on the porch trying to sell cookies.

  65. Houston_Dawg says:

    Good for the homeowner. As soon as I heard glass breaking or my back door open I feel my life “COULD” be in danger and will shoot you dead.

    They should have used a shotgun though, then we wouldn’t have to worry about paying his medical bills….

  66. truthbusterguy says:

    OK, I am ready for the Dick Cheney jokes from the libs.

  67. nonstopjoe says:

    Instead of the face, why not go for the gonads – for the good of mankind?

  68. Can we find a picture of the would be burgler when he was 12 and post it with the article? Since we know so little about the actual events as they happened perhaps a talking head on TV to tell us that the homeowner had absolutely no fear of the break in and it is obviously a racial coverup. Could we get a copy of the 911 tape and edit it to say that the homeowner put cookies and milk in a line leading from the street to his house and lured the poor would be bad guy into the window.

    That is how we form our perceptions of what happened, isn’t it? Look at the comments as they are posted and see how each one adds a little to the story with no basis in fact. We started with a bad guy breaking into a house and slowly morphed into Girl Scouts getting shot for knocking on the door. By tomorrow the homeowner will be a white supremecist and the robber will be MLK Jr.s love child. Or maybe we’ll get an update from the cops and it’ll be back to a bad guy breaking into a house got what was coming to him. Hurray for the homeowner who wasn’t going to let themselves become a victim.

  69. drusilla says:

    I dont think the homeowner needed to use a gun,he should have called 911 and left his house,waited out front or at a neighbors. You only shoot if your life is in danger and he shot him coming in a window.

  70. bonuswagna says:

    In Washington, RCW 9A.16.050 establishes the right of a person to use deadly force to prevent the commission of a felony against the slayer. There is no requirement for the threat of death or injury to be present – only the threat of a felony being committed.

    RCW 9A.52.025 establishes that a person who enters a home illegally is committing a felony, therefore deadly force is allowed to be used against them.

    RCW 9A.52.010 defines “entry” as the mere act of using a tool to remove a part of a dwelling in order to gain access.

    So, you catch the burglar jimmying the lock of your door, or prying open a window – that is considered illegal entry into your home, which is defined as a felony, which you have a right to defend yourself against using deadly force. That’s castle doctrine.

    No duty to retreat simply means that you have no legal responsibility to attempt to flee from the felon before using force to defend yourself. It can be applicable to castle doctrine only, or it can be applied to anywhere in public, which is often referred to as a “stand your ground” law. Washington state has no duty to flee required in statute.

  71. Hell yes! Scumbags get what they deserve.

  72. RedForeman says:

    Right Drusilla, leave the safety of your home and go outside where the perp is. That’s just brilliant. I suppose he should have left the gun in the house too.

  73. BlaineCGarver says:

    Good on the Lady….But…who was the idiot 911/cop that said to shoot through the door? Was that really said? THAT’s the ticket to a murder charge….Morons…My druthers would be for the thug to hear me rack the slide on the 12 gauge, and run like hell….saves a lot of paperwork and expense on my part.

  74. Comput3rguy says:

    wow drusilla that is so stupid, the worst thing to do is to run outside.

  75. surveyor1 says:

    Chamoro1 and Harley must have pretty poor reading comprehension skills. They both bashed whatinthehell for feeling sorry for the perp when whatinthehell was clearly siding with the homeowner.

  76. MrCarleone says:

    What Great News to Start the Day !

  77. I think the saddest words in this article was the part that reported,He is expected to survive.If convicted of attempted burglary you can expect to see him back at his profession within 2 weeks after doing his community service.

  78. chief2ret says:

    Drusilla, once you have been the victim of a break in, your attitude will change. That’s not speculation, that’s from personal experience. Just ask my wife how she feels about it. I told her about this news article, her immediate reply; good!

  79. To you conservatives talking crap about “liberulz” being anti-gun.. you’re wrong. I’m about as liberal as you can get and I’ve got an AK, 9mm, .45, and a shotgun. I love my guns. You don’t have to be a cousin lovin conservative to want to protect your house and loved ones. Eat it.

  80. I’ve actually been in this same type of situation, home invasion, three dudes with guns hit the wrong apartment and weren’t very happy. I didn’t own any guns prior to that but I purchased a shotgun that next morning and when I spoke with the University Place police officer … I told him that the guys said they’d be back. The cop said “If those pieces of shit come back to your house and you see a gun OR they try to get through your door SHOOT THEM THROUGH THE DOOR, you’re 100% within your legal right to do so”

    I’d rather not have to shoot someone and deal with the headache of court but **** thieves. I live in a house now with wonderful security “screen” doors :)

  81. SkeleTony says:

    I am a Liberal but I am a ‘tough on crime’ Liberal. Pro-death penalty and in favor of stronger punishments for most of the crimes committed. I side with the homeowner in this case but there are a few things that need to be said here as some of you guys are just retarded.

    First of all, if someone is breaking in through the front window, leaving through the back and calling the cops is a good idea. No one suggested she drop her gun and run out into the burglar’s arms. Secondly, the 2nd Amendment was written for and during a time when America had NO MILITARY and we needed armed citizens to fight the British. I am not at all against responsible, rational people owning guns and using them to defend their homes but right now there is literally NO real qualification for owning and using such. We make people take driving tests to get licensed to drive a car. We should have a much more comprehensive test for people wanting to have guns.

    You know who the #1 victims are of guns used to defend against ‘burglars’? The gun owner’s own family members. you are like ten times as likely to shoot your own kid coming home late, or a neighbor trying to recover a frisbee or dog toy from your yard, than you are to shoot a burglar. I would be a hypocrite if I were against people having guns in their homes but some of you ‘Shoot first, second and last and be as irrational/unthinking as possible!’ guys need to think and read more.

    Also trying to straw man Liberals the way some of you do above is stupid. While I do not deny there are cases where criminals get away with heinous acts (re: O.J. Simpson) or are made out as heroes (Rodney King) because of a misplaced racial nonsense, trying to make a case that we are ALL just looking to coddle criminals and attack police is wrong.

  82. Baconator says:

    Hey, an armed society is a polite society. I’d caution those who say “the cops” told them they’re 100% safe if shooting someone thru a door… they’re cops, not attorneys or judges. Law ENFORCERS, not MAKERS. Probably a moot point anyway – if/when it happens to you, the last thing you’ll be doing is any cool, calculated thinking. No tricky shots to the groin, or to the extremities, no clever tricks to ambush the intruder, none of that nonsense. When the balloon goes up, and you have to make a snap decison to shoot another human being… well, you’ll mostly be lucky to even hit the bad guy. And forget about sleeping thru the night for a long while afterwards. Expect a lot of ‘reruns’ in your mind. Keep doors and windows secured, upgrade your outside lighting, etc. Beats having to kill someone, no matter how justified you may be. On the other hand, don’t be a passive victim if it ever does happen to you! Take command; it’s your property and possibly your life at stake.

  83. RedForeman says:

    SkeleTony, Running outside because someone is coming in through your window is a bad bad idea. You don’t know if the burglar has an accomplice outside too. And we most certainly did have an army when the second amendment was written. It was called the continental army and George Washington was it’s general.

  84. Google Revised codes of Washington = Turn in to expert of laws in the news tribune comment section

  85. Comput3rguy says:

    people should be able to kill someone braking onto your home, it’s not about protecting your TV and crap and more about protecting your life.

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