The neighbors of Homer Wright are calling on prosecutors to drop charges against the local bar owner after he used a handgun to defend his property located on Chicago’s South Side early Monday morning.
“If a man can’t defend himself from harm, what can he do?” said Darryl Smith to the Chicago Tribune. “If he hadn’t defended himself, we would be here for a different reason — because an intruder came in and killed him.”
“We’re outraged as a community and we’re calling for the state’s attorney’s office to drop the charges,” he added. “This man has done nothing wrong.”
According to authorities, Wright and his wife were sleeping when19-year-old Anthony Robinson broke through several boards of their home and entered through a bathroom window.
Robinson was attempting to steal liquor Wright keeps for his tavern, which is located right next to his house in Englewood. “Tank,” as the tavern is called, is a neighborhood staple, a place Wright has operated for more than 40 years.
When Wright heard Robinson breaking in, he awoke, grabbed his handgun and shot Robinson in the lower right leg, according to police.
Robinson was arrested and charged with felony burglary. He was treated for his gunshot wound at St. Bernard Hospital and Health Care Center. He was later released from the hospital and is now in police custody.
Why Was Wright Charged?
Given the facts of the incident thus far, why was Wright charged with a crime? His actions suggest it was lawful self-defense?
Well, after the police started talking to Wright they realized that he had a criminal history. He was convicted of theft in 1990. And he had two prior weapons convictions, one in 1968 and one in 1994. Therefore, it was illegal for him to be in possession of a firearm.
Police charged Wright with one felony count of unlawful use of a weapon, the Chicago Tribune reported.
As mentioned, neighbors and community leaders were furious that Wright was charged for defending his home.
“What does it say to me and other senior citizens that we will be arrested if we defend ourselves?” Anita Dominique, the head of the local block club, told the Tribune. “This is an outrage.”
Local barbershop owner Delmar Dunn stuck up for Wright’s character, saying he’s not the type of guy to mess around or to seek trouble.
“He doesn’t fiddle around and he’s strictly business,” Dunn told the Tribune. “He tries to keep order and he tolerates no foolishness. He’s not an aggressive man, so I’m surprised he shot. He must have been pretty afraid or concerned for his own safety.”
The South Side of Chicago, including Englewood, is no stranger to gun violence. Over St. Patrick’s Day weekend, ten people were shot dead and at least 40 others wounded.
On Monday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel addressed the community, calling on them to do their part to help quell the violence.
“The first line in protecting a neighborhood is a community. It is not the Police Department,” Emanuel said in his speech.