Intruder Escapes, Man Gets Lesson

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by sooeey2u, May 1, 2010.

  1. sooeey2u

    Springfield, Oregon
    New Member

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    I know, I know, I admit I read the "Red" Guard, sorry. I didn't know where to post this thread, under Outdoor Shooting, Competitive Shooting, so I just placed it here in General Discussion.....

    Sat May 1, 2010
    A homeowner shoots at a departing burglar and avoids being cited

    By Jack Moran
    The Register-Guard

    West Eugene resident Pat Montoya said he realizes that he may have needlessly shot at a man woh tried to crawl throught his kitchen window in the predawn darkness Friday during an attempted burglary.

    He said Eugene police officers who arrived at his Bethel neighvorhood home to investigate the incident told him what he'd done was actually illegal - because the intruder had already headed back out the window when Montoya pulled the trigger on his .38 Special.

    "The cops were sympathetic with what was going on, but they said they could have cited me," Montoya said.

    A city ordinance forbids people from firing guns in Eugene. Many other cities have similar rules on the books.

    State law allows a person to protect himself by shooting at someone committing or attempting to commit a residential burglary. But that doesn't always mean that an intruder is fair game after he has left a targeted dwelling, Eugene police Sgt. Terry Fitzpatrick said.

    "If (a burglar) is outside your house, you can't shoot unless you can justify that you feared for your life," he said.

    Fitzpatrick said he didn't know the details of Montoy's case, and a full police report was not available Friday.

    Montoya, 51, said a strange rattling noise shook him awake about 3a.m. He said he listened for a moment before more rustling sounds prompted him to grab his loaded pistol and head for the kitchen area of his Ruskin Street home.

    That's where he confronted a thin, young man slithering through his unlocked window.

    "I told him to stop where he was at, but he jumped back and was starting to take off when I shot toward him" from a distance of about 12 feet, Montoy said.

    Firing the gun "was a reaction to him moving," he explained. "It scared me to see a guy coming in my window."

    The intruder hopped Montoya's fence and left the neighborhood. Montoya called police, who checked the area for the burglar but couldn"t find him.

    Officers then gave Montoya a lesson in the law.

    Montoya said they told him that if he had injured or killed the man as he left the house, Montoya could have faced criminal charges.

    Montoy said he doesn't dispute officers' interpretation of the laws, and acknowledges tath the intruder wasn't threatening him when he pulled the trigger.

    "I'm glad I didn't shoot him," he said. "But I don't want people coming into my house to steal stuff."

    Montoy has lived in his home off Barger Drive since 1999 and said he never had any problems until last November, when someone stole electronics from the house as he slept.

    The thief gained enty through a door that he ahd frogotten to lock after taking out the trash, he said.

    Montoya, a former mechanic and building maintenance worker who has been slowed recently by congestive heart failure, said he isn't too concerned that the man who broke in Friday will return to his home.

    "The cops said he probably won't ever come back because I probably scared him pretty good," he said.
  2. Gunner3456

    Well-Known Member

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    I agree that the police are right about the law, but I'm not so sure the guy did anything wrong.

    It can take several seconds to make a decision - not just the part of a second it takes to react and shoot, but the stressful few seconds it takes to become aware of what's happening, especially if you're sleepy.

    "Firing the gun "was a reaction to him moving," he explained. "It scared me to see a guy coming in my window."

    That's a jury question. Was he fearing for his "life or limb" at the time he pulled the trigger? Was firing a delayed reaction?

    Hey, the burglar put the homeowner in that position. Don't put me on that jury because the homeowner will walk, even if he technically was out of bounds.

  3. sooeey2u

    Springfield, Oregon
    New Member

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    I agree 110%.....

    I personally would have told the police that I feared for my life and just reacted as such.

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