Recently in our blog, we reported that Attorney Joe Tamburino was offering his pro bono representation to a homeowner who fatally shot a home invader last winter after using several warning shots. She argued that she and her son were acting in self-defense during the encounter. The family of the intruder alleged that the homeowner did not take appropriate defensive actions and fired the fatal shot without provocation.
We are returning to this story today because prosecutors recently announced that no charges would be filed against our client. Thanks to footage from a backyard security camera that capture the entirety of the encounter from a clear perspective, the prosecutor ruled that the argument of self-defense was valid and confirmed.
In that footage, our client and her son can be seen and heard shouting warnings at the intruder while brandishing firearms to show the severity of their words. Next, they use multiple warning shots into the air to show that the weapons were functioning and that they would use them if necessary. Lastly, when the intruder reacts to the warning shots but still decides to approach them while obscuring his hands, the son fires once, fatally striking him.
Clear Example of Self-Defense Law
No one wants to have to harm or take the life of a home invader, but everyone has the right to act in self-defense. This “warning shot” home invasion case shows prominent examples of how and why self-defense laws work in Minnesota and even beyond.
In this case, the homeowner and her son did not immediately resort to using their firearms on the intruder. They actually put themselves in harm’s way by giving the man the opportunity to face and approach them, despite him being a complete stranger and acting intimidatingly. By giving the intruder time to leave unharmed, it is clear that the homeowner was also taking the time to assess the situation and decide if lethal force would be necessary to protect herself, her son, and her property. Both defendants have been heartbroken and harrowed by this encounter because, again, no one wants to use lethal force unless it is absolutely necessary.
Furthermore, when using a self-defense argument, the defendant must prove that they did not have a “duty to retreat.” Typically, people have a “duty to retreat” away from a threatening individual as the first step in self-defense. In other words, you must try to get away from an attacker if possible before using physical force, especially lethal force. However, homeowners typically owe no “duty to retreat” in home invasion situations because there is reasonably nowhere for them to retreat. They are already being threatened at their home, which is feasibly the safest and most secure place for them. With this said and what the prosecution must have acknowledged, Attorney Tamburino’s client did not have a duty to retreat, nor did she have a place to retreat to, because she was already in her home, the intruder was already on her property, and he was intentionally coming closing to her and her son.
Our team at Caplan & Tamburino Law Firm, P.A. is pleased with the prosecution’s decision to drop the case with no charges against our pro bono clients. Not only is this decision the positive outcome our clients deserved, but it also upholds the strength and importance of self-defense laws, especially in home invasion situations.
For more information about the prosecution’s decision, you can click here to view a full article from NBC-affiliate KARE 11. (Please be aware that the article includes a video of the fatal home invasion, which some people may find disturbing.) If you want to know more about Attorney Tamburino and the services of our law firm, please feel free to contact our firm.