Right now, one of the big news stories in my hometown (Buffalo, NY) is the fact that there was a fatal shooting on Saturday night. There has been little confirmed facts being published and there are tons of rumors/theories flying around. I can't permalink to any articles (they make them unavailable after a few weeks) but you can go to The Buffalo News
for details. I'll summarize what has been revealed in the media so far.
On Saturday evening, there was a fatal shooting in a home in Amherst, NY. The victim was a school teacher from Albany, NY. The shooter was the homeowner. The victim was attending a "diaper party" in the area (I think it's supposed to be the male party that happens at the same time as a baby shower). He went outside of the house where the party was sometime in the evening. Around 1am the shooter heard the sounds of someone entering his home. Per the shooter (and his attorney, who specializes in these sorts of cases) he told his wife to call 911, grabbed his shotgun, told the person entering the house that he was armed and to stop. The person didn't stop, so he shot him.
According the shooter's attorney, in NYS a person has the right to shoot if they feel their house is being burglarized.
What no one is clear on is exactly what happened. Why was the victim trying to enter the house? Was he sleepwalking, drunk, did he just go in the wrong house? Was the house he entered locked or unlocked? None of these details have been released (and we may never know the answers to some)and it is causing rampant speculation.
More importantly it has sparked much debate about the homeowner. Did he have the right to shoot someone entering his home? Was the shooting justified? Will he/should he be charged? It is also sparking a discussion of castle doctrine as a whole.
I'm going to be very clear in my opinion. If he did warn the victim that he was armed and told him to stop, and the victim continued to enter the home I do feel the shooting was justified and that the homeowner should not face any charges. I'm a firm believer in the idea that if you have a legal gun in your house, you have the right to shoot someone posting a potential danger to your family or property. And I think a stranger entering your home at 1am is assumed to be a threat.
I'm posting this from work, so I can't go into a deeper discussion now, but I wanted to know what others thought.