FORT WAYNE – The death of a would-be burglar late Sunday was the second time in the past six months that, according to Fort Wayne police, a resident fatally shot someone in self-defense.
The first of these shootings occurred in June when two teens tried to rob a man outside his apartment, and a physical struggle led the victim to shoot one of the teens. Sundays shooting happened after a homeowner armed himself and fired at a man on his porch who was apparently trying to burglarize his home, police said.
It is, of course, your right to have a gun and to protect yourself and your home. Police Chief Rusty York recognizes this, but he also offers some advice: Familiarize yourself not only with the firearm but the laws surrounding its use.
He said gun owners need to learn what legally they can and cannot do when it comes to use of force.
According to Indiana statute, a person is justified in using reasonable force, including deadly force, against another person; and does not have a duty to retreat; if the person reasonably believes that the force is necessary to prevent or terminate the other persons unlawful entry of or attack on the persons dwelling, curtilage (the area immediately surrounding the home), or occupied motor vehicle.
However, the rules change when an intruder leaves a home. If somebodys running away from your residence, and you choose to fire at them, then thats a different situation entirely, York said. We always advise people to default to calling 911.
All self-defense shootings are investigated by police and reviewed by the Allen County prosecutor. In Junes shooting, the resident who pulled the trigger has not been charged. Sundays shooting is still being investigated, but it appears the resident acted out of fear for his safety, York said.
In Indiana, a resident does not need a permit to keep a gun at home. Knowing how to store the gun, York said, will make the home safer for the gun owner and any children around.
As an alternative or supplement to owning a gun, the police departments crime prevention office provides information to homeowners and renters on how to secure their residences with locks, lighting, landscaping or a dog.
In recent months, a spate of burglaries in south-side neighborhoods has left many residents nervous about crime. Some of those folks, including single mothers and older people, have gone to Freedom Firearms in Fort Wayne to buy guns and learn to shoot in the business indoor range, co-owner Angie Freeland said.
She said its difficult to determine what can be attributed to local crime rates, but she estimates that Freedom Firearms has seen a 20 percent to 25 percent jump in business in the last three weeks.
Predominantly women are looking for something small that they can conceal. A lot of times its a revolver, Freeland said. And for home defense, you cant beat a shotgun.