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Thread: detained stranger in the backyard

  1. #1
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    Any fans of the movie "The Patriot" will appreciate the subtitle of my topic.


    Today is Christmas and I had my ex LEO brother over for Christmas. He's 25 and I'm 23 and we were comparing war stories and firearms. His story topped all of mine, so I'm going to tell about it here.

    One day while staying at his house alone, he heard a knock at the door. He opened the door and their stood a black man about his age. The man tried to solicit him for a magazine subscription. my brother politely refused, but did notice the man trying to peer around him and look past him. Mind you there is a locked screen door between them. My brother then excused the man from his property and shut the main door.

    Moments later he heard a noise through his thin walls. He peered out the window and saw the man in his back yard walking close to the house craning his neck for what we can only guess is for a window or something. My brother then went to his room and retrieved his Remington 870 tactical shotgun that looks something like but not exactly like this.

    http://www.bimmerpost.com/forums/att...p;d=1254356113

    He loaded up the gun and chambered a round. He then walked out the door and sneaked to the corner of the house and peered around to see the man with his back to him still craning his neck slowly making his way along the house. My brother then emerged around the corner, trained the gun on the man and yelled "Let me see your hands!" The man whirled around and threw his hands up in the air saying "woa easy man easy! woa easy!" My brother ordered him to place his hands on the house and spread his feet. The man obeyed the orders to the letter and my brother then placed a call to the police department. While waiting my brother asked him what in the world he was doing in the backyard. The man said he was confused and thought there was another house behind his house. My brother's house mind you, is a small house off a main road with an acre of woods behind it.

    The man's luck went from bad to worse when the officer that showed up happened to be my brother's graduating buddy from the police academy. The officer searched the man and ran his ID and found he had three outstanding warrants. The man was then taken straight to jail.

    Looking back in hindsight from our armchairs, do you think this reaction was too strong? Should a call to the police of a suspicious person been enough? Should he have let the guy wander and only use the gun if he tried to break in? Or was this action suitable?

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    I'm not sure I would have confronted him in the yard like that per say, but his vigilance was top notch. If he was a LEO at the time it would make more sense to me, but if he was joe schmoe without a badge it probably would have been better to stay inside and wait for the police. At that point the guy was only trespassing, not an offense that calls for an immediate armed response outside.

    Since i'm joe schmoe I probably would have been following him via windows and been armed, probably holstered though until he got uncomfortably close. I would have called the police and remained vigilant, don't think I wouldpull my gun on someone for having an illicit jaunt through my yard.

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    I guess it was an appropriate response to your brother at that time.

    Normally, I would avoid escalating a situation. Don't show all of your cards unnecessarily. Let the man make the mistake of trying to break in. But an immediate call to the police with a detailed description should be enough and keep a close eye. Sure it is possible the guy could have gotten away and come back later but better that than he or someone else know you have a gun (and they get away, are you going to shoot them in the back if they run?). All they know is there is a person that lives there (at least one) and they know there is a working phone to call the police. The next visit[or] could have a gun if they know you have one and that could get nasty; except you hope it gets nasty in your favor.

    But was it TOO strong? No.

    Is a call to the police enough? Normally yes, just be prepared for the variables to change up (have the gun ready and have surprise on your side, stay aware of your surroundings).

    Was the action suitable? Maybe. The point is, the situation was handled by a responsible gun owner (where in Texas, that man could have been legally blown away outside in the backyard). The police were called, they came, and took control of the man. Case closed.

    The reason I say maybe is because he could have had a partner in crime. He could have been a scout. Since your brother was a trained LEO, he perhaps had a good scope on his surroundings at all times. Not everyone does this, but while you have to keep you firearm at ready to cover the perp, another could have showed up with a blunt object, knife, or gun or nothing at all. Two people may be too much even for a single LEO to overcome with a gun. You may get both or you may get one. If you get one and the other pounces, you've lost control. And again, if the guy decided to run, do you shoot him? Probably not. Do you give chase? No.

    My apologies if this is wordy.

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    A sworn officer has the power of arrest which is vastly different from a citizen. If the officer was sworn at the time he had the authority to act as he did, if his department policy allowed,but if he was no longer a sworn officer he would be expected to follow civilian guidelines which do not allow for excessive force.

    Pointing a gun at an unarmed person is excessive force. A citizen has the right of self defense but not excessive force.

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    American Patriot wrote:
    A sworn officer has the power of arrest which is vastly different from a citizen. If the officer was sworn at the time he had the authority to act as he did, if his department policy allowed,but if he was no longer a sworn officer he would be expected to follow civilian guidelines which do not allow for excessive force.

    Pointing a gun at an unarmed person is excessive force. A citizen has the right of self defense but not excessive force.
    Thats what I was trying to get at with my post. If he was in texas it would have been legal to meet him with that kind of force(armed response on your property), but not in NC. Unless of course he was an officer at the time and within department policy.

    However going outside armed and yelling at him would be within the legal limits of the law, and if that guy did something to make him fear for his life he could have drawn as a citizen. The recent case involving the elderly man shootinga 17 year old I believe is an example of this; elderly man follows thekid after he tied and robbed his family, than aconfrontation occurs where the elderly man thought his life was in danger, if i'm not mistaken he thought the kid in question waspointing a gun at him.

    I hate hypotheticals, and i'm not advocating armed response to trespassing when you have the advantage of cover in your hourse, intiminate knowledge of it's interior, and element of surprise. However if he was an officer at the time, it could be deemed appropriate.


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    I would say it was a good call. I live in charlotte and the police here are slow. If i called them they wouldnt show up for 20 mins. I would go outside as well and call the police and let them know im armed and they need to hurry to get to my house. I like the reaction.

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    You don't have the right to use deadly force against simple trespass in any state. You may only use "reasonable force." If he had shot the guy, he would be in deep kimpshe, unless he could prove he acted against the threat of deadly force--the same as would be the case off his property, and which wasn't the situation here. The burden of proof would be his. A bad situation. He's lucky the guy was wanted. In general, being armed out of your house investigating simple trespass--particularly if the property is not posted, is a dicey proposition. Protecting your property like a car, tractor, etc is a different situation in some, but decidedly not all, states. Even then, the burden of proof will always reside with the owner if deadly force is used. Some states will charge aggravated assault if a gun is pointed at the trespasser. AA is a felony; simple trespass is at best a misdeamenor. Dangerous ground.
    "For any man who sheds his blood with me this day shall be my brother...And gentlemen now abed shall think themselves accursed, they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whilst any speaks who fought with us on Crispin's day." Henry V

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    Gunslinger, you brought up a point about posted trespassing signs that got me thinking.

    I live in a development that has a Homeowners association. Of course, each house is privately owned, but ever road and common-land area are owned by the HOA which means it belongs to all of the owners in the development.

    We have no trespassing and no soliciting signs posted in the only entrance of the development. My curiosity has me wondering how that applies to unwanted person on development property and on my property (people that are not from the development). Is it assumed that they were warned not to trespass since it is posted? And if I catch them on my specific lot, do I still have to tell them to leave or can an appropriate level of force be used to remove them or to detain them until authorities arrive.

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    My only question would be why he didn't already have a round chambered in the shotgun.....ESPECIALLY being an LEO.

    Mine are kept locked, cocked and ready for these exact situations.

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    Being LEO worked to his advantage. I think had it been an average person, it might not worked out so well.

    On the other hand, as others have said, it takes the cops a pretty good while to get out and about sometimes.

    Now, I believe anyone should be able to act as such and not get in trouble for it. The guy was obviously snooping around and up to no good. It's obvious that the justice system has failed again. He's probably already back out on the streets as I'm typing this.

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    tekshogun wrote:
    Gunslinger, you brought up a point about posted trespassing signs that got me thinking.

    I live in a development that has a Homeowners association. Of course, each house is privately owned, but ever road and common-land area are owned by the HOA which means it belongs to all of the owners in the development.

    We have no trespassing and no soliciting signs posted in the only entrance of the development. My curiosity has me wondering how that applies to unwanted person on development property and on my property (people that are not from the development). Is it assumed that they were warned not to trespass since it is posted? And if I catch them on my specific lot, do I still have to tell them to leave or can an appropriate level of force be used to remove them or to detain them until authorities arrive.
    Is he trespassing or does he have a reason to be there is the first question. If the former, the owner--and that may not be the individual tenants of the HOA, may only use reasonable force to remove him. Reasonable force starts at no force--telling him to leave, and escalates very slowly from there. The issue of who actually owns the common property is an area that differs state to state and even development to development. Best bet is to not use force at all--simple trespass is at the very bottom of lists of crimes: "I never saw the sign; the sign was not legal; I was lost and looking for help..." He would have a lot of defenses. When you use even what you consider reasonable force, yours are limited. Battery is far more serious than simple trespass. Tell him to scram; if he doesn't, call the cops. You may catch a break and they'd be at a doughnut shop in the neighborhood.
    "For any man who sheds his blood with me this day shall be my brother...And gentlemen now abed shall think themselves accursed, they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whilst any speaks who fought with us on Crispin's day." Henry V

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    Really the only reason for posting the sign is so that they can't claim ingnorance on it not being their land/public land. It does not give you anymore legal weight to meet said trespasser with force.

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    Thanks Gunslinger and Myrighttocarry.

    That makes complete sense and I am a reasonable person so I would warn first. I am waiting to hear back if property owners in my case have authority to request someone leave (for a legitimate reason) the HOA property.

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    I hope your HOA is better than mine. Rather than be worried about crime and solicitation they'd rather regulate house color and whether or not you can park your car in the street.

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    Myrighttocarry wrote:
    I hope your HOA is better than mine. Rather than be worried about crime and solicitation they'd rather regulate house color and whether or not you can park your car in the street.
    Yeah, um, wow, sounds EXACTLY like my HOA. But the other issues, I have to push at meetings (which are few and far between) or through correspondence.

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    it is kind of weird where i live. there is an HOA but my house isnt a part of it bc it was built here in 1952 and the development went up just in the past few years. so i dont any rules by them i can dowhat i want. also i was saying i would prolly use deadly force b/c i have a fenced in back yard a 6' privacy fence. so someone went back there i would know thier not back there b/c there dumb.

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    Godscreation wrote:
    snip......

    He loaded up the gun and chambered a round. He then walked out the door and sneaked to the corner of the house and peered around to see the man with his back to him still craning his neck slowly making his way along the house. ..............
    The only things I will say are this.

    1 - he should have had the gun loaded already, otherwise if this guy were quicker it would be a very different story. This is the reason that I KEEP A LOADED FIREARM ON MY PERSON!!! You are at home watching the tube and someone kicks in the door, all your guns are in your bedroom. They are USELESS in that situation



    2 - It is legal to detain someone, and I think even if he wasn't a former LEO he should be ok (unless you get a real psycho cop that thinks you are a vigilante). I think he did the right thing, and I think that he may have gotten this guy off the streets before his home got broken into.



    3 - Another story showing why you should look when you hear a noise,and be ever vigilant even when in and around your home!

    This is why I answer my door with a gun, this is why I mow my lawn with a gun, this is why I have a gun when I am working on my car and hanging my Christmas lights, and painting my house.

    When trouble comes knocking, I will be ready. Will you?

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    "Detention is permitted where probable cause exists that one has committed a felony, breach of peace, physical injury to another person, or theft or destruction of property. Detention is different from an arrest in that in a detention the detainee may not be transported without consent."
    -not sure where I pulled the quote from.

    At that point he had commited no crimes that would make it legal for you tocitizen 'detain'him, now it would probably be up to the officer in question but I wouldn't be making any late night commando moves without being 100% sure the law was on my side. Also i'd like to say use of deadly force without being in fear for you life is illegal, drawing you weapon and pointing it at someone will and can cause you to go to jail. He was only tresspassing, his intentions may have been more sinister but that is only something we can speculate, not fact.

    All it would take is one well connected criminal via mom and dads funds/lawyer to strip youof your weapon, and your freedom so make sure you're in the right, or at least are willing to live with the consquences.

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    Myrighttocarry wrote:
    (snip)
    ......so make sure you're in the right, or at least are willing to live with the consquences.
    Sometimes these two don't always coincide, but whata great quote to live by. Hereare my 2 favorites:

    - I would rather be judged by 12 then carried by 6.

    - They have to convince 12 people I was wrong, I only have to convince one that I was right.

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    Hence the "or". Either know you're in the right or be willing to accept the punishment coming. Good quotes to live by.

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