When you hear a bump in the middle of the night, the first thing that comes to mind is a guy in a ski mask nabbing your flatscreen TV. The last thing you think of is some dude in his underwear raiding your fridge.
According to reports, 76-year-old Jack Boggess in Charleston, West Virgina awoke at around 3:30 a.m. to a sound in his house. He immediately phoned 911, and then went to investigate with his gun in tow.
That’s where the homeowner found Darin Lanning in nothing more than a T-shirt and his underwear eating food out of the homeowner’s refrigerator. We’ve heard of getting munchies in the middle of the night, but breaking into a stranger’s home for a snack is a little bit on the crazy side.
The homeowner pointed his gun at the Lanning and ordered him not to move. The homeowner later claimed in the criminal complaint that Lanning moved towards him, so he was forced to shoot the intruder in the shoulder. Boggess recalled the scene, “He came at me. I told him to sit still… Christ, I didn’t want to kill him. I didn’t want to shoot him in the chest, so I shot him in the shoulder.”
Lanning was then held at gunpoint until the police arrived.
It didn’t take long for the cops to figure out that was Lanning was drunk as a skunk. Lanning had been arrested for public intoxication earlier that same day, when he confessed to drinking 12 beers and downing several shots.
Lanning was apparently so drunk that he wasn’t even able to recall how he got to Boggess’ home or to Charleston. He had been staying with a friend in a nearby town because of Hurricane Sandy. Lanning was taken to the hospital for treatment and was then escorted to his new temporary home: the South Central Regional Jail. He is being held on a $25,000 property only bond.
The police have announced that they will not press charges on the homeowner, whom they claim acted in self-defense. One of the homeowner’s neighbors, William Kinney, agreed with the police.
“Boggess did the right thing,” Kinney said, “he didn’t have to take a life, he did the right thing.”
It does seem that delivering a nonlethal wound was the right way to go. Some gun owners wouldn’t have any qualms about fatally shooting somebody who broke into their home, but delivering a kill shot to a guy who’s drunk out of his mind is somewhat excessive.
What if you were in that situation? If there’s an unwelcome intruder in your home at 3 a.m., do you shoot first and ask questions later, or would you refrain from shooting if you saw that the intruder was drunk?