Suspected Burglar Fatally Shot in Menlo Park (CA Penal Code 459)

At least 2 different burglaries (CA Penal Code 459) have resulted in the same number of shootings by homeowners.  While there is still question as to what the actual circumstances were in each of these cases, there remains the question:  will law enforcement officials pursue charges against either homeowner, as one of the 2 incidents resulted in a fatality. The one recovering suspect is still hospitalized but will likely face charges of burglary.

It may interest readers to know that the state of California includes some pretty heavy limitations when it comes to gun control.  More importantly, however, California provides, by law (CA Penal Code 198.5).  This particular provision is entitled the “Home Protection Bill of Rights” and it entitles homeowners to the protection of their homes during the course of a home invasion, robbery, or similar occurrence.  What it means is that if an individual person feels that they are in “imminent peril of death or great bodily injury to self,” they may use force against another individual who has unlawfully entered the premises.

In other words, if you shoot and kill someone who has broken into your home because you feared for your life, prosecutors may attempt to charge you with murder, but they will likely not win the case.  To get a conviction, they must be able to prove that your life was not in danger or that you were not in danger of grave injury.  However, you should also keep in mind that any intruder who has been injured has the right to sue you for their injuries and the family of anyone that you fatally shoot has this right as well.