Did an Edmonds mother use good sense and act in self-defense when, early Thanksgiving morning, she shot and seriously wounded a stranger who was trying to force his way into her home, where her husband and children, and another youngster were sleeping?
Reader comments at the Seattle Times are split — not evenly, by any stretch — with some people critical of the shooting and others insisting the woman had every right to fire. According to KOMO, where more than 500 comments have been posted, the alleged intruder is 22-year-old Nelson Patrone, and apparently he had been drinking Wednesday night. The story has gained nationwide attention.
Published reports suggest the man apparently mistakenly believed friends still lived in the home, but the current family has been there for some time. He knocked loudly on the door at about 3:15 a.m. The woman called 911 and armed herself. When she opened the door and did not recognize the man, she apparently tried to close the door and he apparently tried to push his way in.
That, according to the various reports, the single shot was fired. It wasn’t fatal and when police arrived, they placed the suspect in custody and then he was transported to Harborview Medical Center. The Everett Herald reported yesterday the shooting is still under investigation.
Was this self-defense? If someone is banging on your door at about 3 a.m., is it prudent to arm yourself before answering? If you don’t recognize that person, do you dial 911? If that person tries to force his way in, do you shoot him?
Drunkeness is no excuse for bad behavior. In North Bend a couple of years ago, a drunk man crashed through the doors of a house, threatening to kill everyone inside. When the occupants yelled at him to go away, and that they were armed, it didn’t deter him. When he came through the bedroom door, the man was shot by the terrified occupant almost at the moment sheriff’s deputies arrived outside. That man died.
A man KOMO identified as the suspect’s brother was quoted stating, “He was intoxicated, yes, and he may have made some bad decisions…(but) he wasn’t trying to harm anybody. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. That was his safe place. That was where his friends were, and to him that was where his friends still lived.”
There is no right place or right time to be pushing one’s way into a house, drunk and/or drugged, or sober, many of the arguments suggest. Noted one KOMO respondent, “If I had the guts to own and be trained to use a gun, I would have done the same thing.”
So, in answer to the question above, did the woman use good sense and act in self-defense? Looks that way to a lot of people.