A quiet night in a south Minneapolis neighborhood turned chaotic when a woman and homeowner shot a man while he was allegedly attempting to break into her garage. The woman, 53, claimed that she fired warning shots with a handgun. According to the witness, the alleged home invader kept advancing and told police the man appeared to reach toward his waistband.
Reporters for CBS Minnesota (WCCO-TV) reached out to Attorney Joe Tamburino, an award-winning defense attorney unaffiliated with the case, for his professional opinion. A partner at Caplan & Tamburino Law Firm, he has over 25 years of experience and has personally tried more than 85 jury trials. He is among the most effective defense attorneys in the Twin Cities.
Attorney Tamburino dove right in to analyze the case.
Since the homeowner was at home with her 26-year-old son, she could argue—as Attorney Tamburino pointed out—that she was defending not only herself but also her son and her property.
Under Minnesota law, citizens have a legal right to protect themselves if they believe that their lives are in danger. That noted, the law also requires that citizens have a duty to retreat. This means they must first attempt to get away from the dangerous situation without using violence.
“The reason why there is a duty to retreat is because the law wants you to try anything else you can do that’s within reason before you resort to force,” Attorney Tamburino explained. “In your home you have no duty to retreat. It seems here she was not in her home, she was in a detached garage, a detached garage is truly not considered home.”
The homeowner did, however, fire four warning shots—a fact that Attorney Tamburino says could work to her advantage.
“What it shows there is she did not want to use deadly force at that time, rather she was trying to scare him off, and it didn’t work, he kept coming, and then supposedly reached for something in his waistband, so, yes, it helps her side that she tried to warn him to stop and he did not stop,” Attorney Tamburino told WCCO-TV.
The Hennepin County Attorney Office has yet to make a decision about whether to charge the homeowner for the deadly incident. Attorney Tamburino explained that criminal charges are unlikely, as she has a strong case for self-defense and defense of others.