A homeowner shot an intruder in the face when he broke into his Phoenix home and started to kick in the man’s bedroom door early Friday morning.
The homeowner, who has not been identified, woke up to the sound of someone breaking into his house. When that suspect started to kick in his bedroom door, he grabbed his gun and shot at him, striking him in the face.
When police arrived at the scene, they found the suspect, suffering from a gunshot wound that went from cheek to cheek and destroying some of his teeth. His foot was still stuck in the door from trying to kick it in. The suspect, an unidentified 32-year-old black male, was taken to a local hospital where he is being treated and expected to survive.
The homeowner told police that he believed there were others involved as well because he could hear them outside while the one suspect was kicking in the door.
Phoenix Police Sgt. Tommy Thompson told reporters that they believed the home invasion was a result of an attempted robbery and that officers also found a gun belonging to the suspect. Thompson explained that prosecutors will determine whether or not any charges will be filed against the homeowner for the shooting, which appears to be self-defense.
But when reporters were at the scene covering the story and saw DEA vehicles arrive, they immediately knew that there was more to this story than just a simple home invasion.
Thompson confirmed that the 54-year-old homeowner may be facing other charges, not related to the shooting, as once police arrived they discovered around 25 fully grown and 25 immature marijuana plants. While the homeowner does have a prescription for medical marijuana and a legal grow license, that license only allows him to possess 12 fully grown plants at one time.
Police have said that the motive of the home invasion appears to be robbery, although they are unsure at this point if the marijuana plants were a factor in that robbery. Investigators are expected to interview the suspect to determine his exact intentions and whether or not he was aware of the grow operation. Officers are also talking with neighbors to see if any of them can offer any additional details.
While at first glance the incident appeared to be a simple one of a home invasion and attempted robbery, the introduction of the illegal marijuana plants has shed a bit of controversy onto the otherwise straightforward case. The illegal activity has left some questioning how far the rights of self-defense and Castle Doctrine Laws go.
Phoenix attorney Brian Foster explained to Fox 10 that while some states clearly express what types of activities are covered under Castle Doctrine or Stand Your Ground Laws, others, such as Arizona, are less direct and leave some questionable gray areas. And according to Foster, if the homeowner was engaging in illegal activity, such as growing more marijuana plants than what’s permitted by his license, “It’s not the black and white Stand Your Ground Law situation…. In some circumstances the Stand Your Ground Law may not apply if you’re doing something illegal,” he explains. “But it’s not black and white; we’ll have to see how the evidence plays out.”
However, Thompson did indicate that the homeowner was justified in shooting the suspect since it was a home invasion, and that the illegal marijuana plants would be dealt with as a separate issue.
What’s your opinion? Do self-defense laws extend to those who are engaged in illegal activities or are they limited to those who are law-abiding citizens only?