Jared and Heather Martin standing near the fence where they found a suspected burglar snooping around. (Photo credit: The Spokesman-Review)
When Jared Martin was awakened in the middle of the night, he found a suspected burglar snooping around his home. When the suspect ran away, Martin, whose home had been burglarized the night before, wasn’t about to let him go and chased him down, eventually catching him and holding him at gunpoint until police arrived.
The Spokesman-Review reports that the incident happened on April 30 in Spokane, Washington It was about 3:00 a.m. when Martin and his wife woke up, and he admitted that he’s unsure what exactly it was that disturbed his slumber. Martin, a National Guardsman who served in Iraq and Kuwait, grabbed his gun and went to look outside. At first glance, he did not see anyone, only a bicycle leaning against his fence. But hanging on the bicycle was a backpack that had been taken from Martin’s garage just the night before.
Martin went back inside his home to call Crime Check concerning the report that included the missing backpack. Only before doing so, he decided to go outside once more. It was at that point that he spotted a man standing on the other side of the fence. Martin pointed his pistol at him and told him to come closer into the light, to which the man responded, “No, I can’t go back to jail.” The man ran off, but Martin chased after him, wearing only shorts and flip flops, still clutching his pistol.
Martin eventually caught up to the man and grabbed him by the hood of his sweatshirt, pulling him to the ground. He then dragged the man back to his house, where his wife, Heather, had already called the police. Martin held the man at gunpoint until police arrived a few minutes later. Once police arrived, it took several officers to get the man into handcuffs.
The suspect, who was identified as 21-year-old Christopher Tremain, was charged with two counts of burglary.
The bicycle in Tremain’s possession, which was recently stolen, turned out to belong to Martin’s neighbor. Some of the Martins’ belongings were recovered from the backpack on the bicycle, although they are still missing over $1,000 worth of tools and motorcycle gear.
Although Martin said that he never saw them, officers did find that Tramain had several knives on him.
While some are calling Martin a hero for his actions, others are criticizing him for chasing the suspect down, citing that as the job of law enforcement, not citizens.
In the state of Washington, there is no specific Castle Doctrine Law, but there is also no duty to retreat. In other words, if there is an immediate threat you are not required by law to retreat into your home to avoid any danger. The home “includes any building, dwelling … or any real property.”
The law also allows the use of force “whenever necessarily used by a person arresting one who has committed a felony and delivering him or her to a public officer competent to receive him or her into custody.” Residential burglary is considered a Class B Felony in Washington state. The law also allows force “whenever reasonably used by a person to detain someone who enters or remains unlawfully in a building or on real property lawfully in the possession of such person, so long as such detention is reasonable in duration and manner to investigate the reason for the detained person’s presence on the premises, and so long as the premises in question did not reasonably appear to be intended to be open to members of the public.”
Do you think Martin did the right thing in pursuing the burglar or should he have just let the burglar flee?