We love stories of self-defense because they prove just how important guns are, but every once in a while you get a story that’s a real puzzler.
Florida Citrus County Sheriff’s Deputy Gregory Entrekin, who was actually deputized last month, was spending some off-duty time with his girlfriend, Amanda Vance, when 28-year-old Derrick Vaccianna broke into Vance’s home. Now, before we get too far with this, we should point out that this wasn’t just some random robbery. Neighbors claim that Vaccianna and Vance had been in a relationship as recently as two weeks ago, and Entrekin personally knew Vaccianna. We’re using the term “break in” because people involved in the case are calling it a break in, but it’s not entirely clear if that’s an accurate description.
First off, Vaccianna had a key to Vance’s home, and it appears that Vance had invited Vaccianna into her home in order to talk. Chuck Hobbs, the attorney for Vaccianna’s family, stated, “I have strong confirmation that [Vance] had been trying to reach out to Derrick all that day, saying she wanted him to come over to the house because she was trying to reconcile their relationship.”
So, did Vaccianna “break in” or did he simply walk in? We suppose that depends on who’s telling the story.
To complicate matters, Vaccianna is a registered sex offender who was convicted of lewd and lascivious conduct involving a 16-year-old girl. But these are all complicated details — let’s get to the facts.
According to reports, Vaccianna entered Vance’s home at about 10:45 p.m last Tuesday. Vaccianna and Entrekin became embroiled in an argument, which escalated into physical violence. The deputy got his gun and shot at Vaccianna, striking him once in the chest. Vaccianna was taken to the hospital but was later pronounced dead. Entrekin has since been placed on paid administrative leave.
We’ve come across some fuzzy, morally ambiguous self-defense shootings before, but this one might take cake. With so many complicated factors at play, how can we determine whether Entrekin was justified in pulling the trigger?
Did Vaccianna have a right to be in the home or was it a real break-in? Did the physical confrontation warrant violence? Were jealousy and relationship issues factors in this shooting?
We’d hate to be in Entrekin’s shoes right now. By the looks of things, Vaccianna’s family might be able to make a persuasive argument that Vaccianna had just as much right to be in Vance’s home as Entrekin did, and at that point it all boils down to the question of whether or not the physical confrontation warranted pulling the trigger.
We’re not saying that physical threat isn’t a sufficient reason to use a gun to defend yourself — we’re just saying that in this case it really isn’t clear that it was the best course of action. After all, what if Vaccianna had shot Entrekin instead of the other way around? Would he also be able to claim self-defense?
This case might hinge on Vance, whose testimony could condemn or support Entrekin.
What do our readers think? When you invite somebody into your home, how (if at all) does that change your rights self-defense? Or even better yet – if you are invited to somebody else’s home and you get into a fight with another guest, who gets to claim self-defense — whoever is left standing?