In Royal Palm Beach, authorities have announced that they will not be arresting a man who shot at a group of three as they attempted to steal his motorcycle. The man killed one of the three thieves. Police believe that the shooter possessed a reasonable belief that his life was in danger when he fired the lethal shot.
The deceased was out on probation after pleading guilty in May to attempted murder. Yesterday morning, he was shot and killed after he and two other men allegedly tried stealing a motorcycle from a townhouse complex parking lot.
Reports state that the shooter told detectives that he fired his gun at the group after one of the men pointed a gun at him while he was shouting at them out of his second-floor bedroom window.
The shooter called 911 after hearing his dog growl and looking outside. He saw someone backing up his yellow Suzuki motorcycle and attempting to put it in a Dodge Ram pickup truck.
He yelled out to the group of three. One man reached down to his waist, held something that appeared to be a gun and pointed it at the bedroom window where the motorcycle owner was standing.
Florida's Stand Your Ground law does not allow you to use lethal force in defense of property, but if threatened in a manner that you reasonably believe could cause death or serious injury, you may use lethal force.
In this case, the shooter was warranted in using lethal force because one of the thieves pointed a gun at him. If someone points a gun at you and you are not in the process of committing a crime or are somewhere where you have the right to be, you can use lethal force.
Stand Your Ground is not a trial defense, but an absolute bar to prosecution. That is why the shooter will not be arrested.
Eric Matheny can be reached at (305) 777-3855 for criminal matters in Miami-Dade and Broward.