Ohio Man Shoots at Teen Intruders Burglarizing Neighbor’s House

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(Photo: WLWT)

An Ohio man allegedly shot at three young men who were burglarizing his neighbor’s house, forcing all three intruders to flee.

They are now in police custody awaiting trial.

Lonnie Lowe told WLWT that he saw three masked men walk through his yard towards his neighbor’s house. When he heard glass break, he retrieved his gun and when to investigate.

Even though his neighbors were not at home, Lowe interrupted the burglary and fired a warning shot, at which point the teens fired back and ran away.

“I spun around and I fired the warning shot,” Lowe said. When one of the teens fired back he “saw the muzzle flash, heard the bang, and heard the bullet whiz by my head.”

Lowe returned fire, but no one was hit on either side. Police have yet to confirm Lowe’s story, but deputies arrested 18-year-old Zahary Bell, 19-year-old Darnay Foley, and a 15-year-old juvenile.

Bell was arraigned Tuesday morning and charged with burglary, according to WLWT. He was sentenced to serve 45 days of a 90-day sentence on a parole violation from a previous theft conviction.

While Lowe’s neighbors are no doubt grateful he successfully protected their possessions, Lowe was treading on dangerous territory by defending someone else’s property.

Ohio law includes a form of the “castle doctrine,” which does not require a person to retreat from a residence they lawfully occupy. But because Lowe was not living at his neighbor’s house, the castle doctrine likely would not apply in this situation.

Ohio law also allows Ohioans to protect others, but only from bodily injury and death. According to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, someone who defends another person “has to prove that he reasonably and honestly believed that the person he protected was in immediate danger of serious bodily harm or death and that deadly force was the only way to protect the person from that danger.”

Because Lowe’s neighbors were not at home, he could not have been trying to defend their bodies or their lives.

If Lowe had hit and killed one of the intruders, mounting a self-defense or a defense-of-others case would have been extremely difficult. Even though the intruders shot at him, Lowe admitted that he shot at them first. He also had ample opportunity to retreat, which also disqualifies him from making a self-defense argument.

Lowe may have been better off calling the police and being a good witness. While his actions are entirely understandable, his neighbor’s possessions aren’t worth the years he may have spent in jail for unjustifiable homicide.

{ 24 comments… add one }
  • PATRICK May 8, 2017, 1:15 pm

    Stopping criminals in their tracts is the right thing to do, maybe the next home on there list may have been occupied as they where certainly ready to defend themselves?. He may have prevented a possible murder? The thing is our system protects criminals more than the innocent which has to change, lawful people should never be held responsible for their actions when dealing with criminals wrong is wrong right is right.

  • Dusty May 7, 2017, 2:10 pm

    FWIW- In the law enforcement realm- and that includes, cops, prosecutors and judges- that is a “bad” shooting… Warning shots are mostly impermissible just about everywhere (sorry Joe Biden…) Criteria for using deadly force are pretty well set nation-wide, and burglars outside (and not your house) are not generally considered a deadly threat. See the landmark case(s) Tennessee v. Garner, et al.
    Responding with deadly force after a shot is fired AFTER a verbal command or confrontation, is a whole different thing, and the facts related don’t support that defense. His self defense/castle protection(s) went away after he fired in the air.

  • Honest Glenn May 6, 2017, 11:52 pm

    If they TRY to take this man to court I will do whatever I can do to get on the Jury & you can BET he\’s going to \”Walk\” & be given Ohio\’s citizen of the year! Only problem I have is that he didn\’t KILL those WORTHLESS PUNKS that I\’m sure their MAMA\’s raised them \”More Better!\” Force him to go to the range for some \”Marksman\” shooting skills! No wounding or missing! SHOOT TO KILL!

    • Honest Glenn May 7, 2017, 12:02 am

      When you fire your weapon \”REGARDLESS\” of what happens you should IMMEDIATELY LAWYER UP & just give the cops your name. Let your lawyer decide on how to proceed with the investigation & interview! Most people aren\’t mentally ready to formulate a \”GOOD\” statement because the cops are trained to get you to slip up, REGARDLESS! Your 911 call should give NO DETAILS on what happen except that shots were fired & your address. Most \”COM Centers\” have enhanced 911 so if you hang up they\’ll know where to go & normally will call you back. If you don\’t take the call then they\’ll probably respond quicker thinking you are hurt!

  • 123 May 6, 2017, 7:25 pm

    I totally understand he was a good samaritan and that the teenagers were gun weilding scum bags violating a family home. But it wouldnt give him the right to murder them. Otherwise people would be getting killed for walking across their neighbors yard and taking their newspaper. Or maybe even for some type of traffic violation. The law is there to try to prevent these sort of things from happening. He should of called the cops. He could of been killed or killed someone and been sent to prison. Even if they were violent criminals. I suppose if you find yourself in this situation you better get a lawyer and be quiet. Sadly those teenagers had the mentality to kill anyone in the way wether it was a person who lived there or a neighbor. I do think he did the morally correct thing but he put his self in a lot of risk.

  • Chris May 6, 2017, 4:32 pm

    What some of you are missing, is that the thieves can say, “we heard a bullet wiz by us, so we turned and shot a warning shot back at him”. All “I shot a warning shot” means is that he missed.

  • Thomas Shelton May 6, 2017, 2:06 am

    This is bull. Just like the guy that shot the their in the head that stole his truck in Spokane. They made him to be the bad guy. I bet if more thieves were shot, there would be less theiving….

  • Scott467 May 5, 2017, 9:29 pm

    “If Lowe had hit and killed one of the intruders, mounting a self-defense or a defense-of-others case would have been extremely difficult. Even though the intruders shot at him, Lowe admitted that he shot at them first.”

    _____________

    That is NOT what the article said:

    ……………………………………………………….
    “Even though his neighbors were not at home, Lowe interrupted the burglary and fired a WARNING SHOT, at which point the teens fired back and ran away.

    “I spun around and I fired the WARNING SHOT,” Lowe said. When one of the teens fired back he “saw the muzzle flash, heard the bang, and heard the bullet whiz by my head.”

    Lowe RETURNED FIRE, but no one was hit on either side. Police have yet to confirm Lowe’s story, but deputies arrested 18-year-old Zahary Bell, 19-year-old Darnay Foley, and a 15-year-old juvenile.”
    ………………………………………..

    So the Good Samaritan fired a WARNING SHOT, presumably up in the air, which at most is a violation of firing a gun within city limits. The CRIMINALS who were engaged IN a criminal act, “RETURNED FIRE”, not by firing a ‘warning shot’, but by aiming AT the Good Samaritan — attempted murder while in the commission of a felony home invasion — at which point the Good Samaritan had EVERY RIGHT to DEFEND his life and shoot back.

    .
    .
    .

    “He also had ample opportunity to retreat, which also disqualifies him from making a self-defense argument.”

    ________________

    Retreat where?

    Is his house bulletproof?

    He lives next door… is his house far enough away that a bullet won’t reach?

    His home (‘castle’) is too close the source of gunfire, and doesn’t have bulletproof walls, so where is he supposed to retreat to?

    Turn his back on someone who shooting at him, and run into the street, in order to get out of effective range of the shooter?

    What am I missing here?

    .

  • Scott467 May 5, 2017, 9:19 pm

    “According to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, someone who defends another person “has to prove that he reasonably and honestly believed that the person he protected was in immediate danger of serious bodily harm or death and that deadly force was the only way to protect the person from that danger.”

    _____________

    How can that be true?

    He just said the (potentially) accused has to prove his innocence.

    INNOCENT until proven GUILTY.

    The innocent (accused) doesn’t have to prove anything. If the State believes a crime has occurred that is worthy of pursuing, then it is the State that has the burden of proof, NOT the defendant.

    ……………………….
    6th Amendment
    This Amendment is present in all trials or court cases in America. The 6th Amendment in the American Constitution guarantees an individual the right to a fair, speedy, and public trial. The 6th Amendment also enables an individual to have legal assistance, regardless of the charge, and the right to confront adverse witnesses and notice of accusations. These rights are given to all men or women under trial for any sort of wrongdoing. They establish the “innocent until proven guilty” mantra that is present in the United States legal system.
    http://constitution.laws.com/bill-of-rights/bill-of-rights-amendments
    ……………………….

    .

  • BigDuke6 May 5, 2017, 3:40 pm

    One of the thousands of reasons to kill all the lawyers.

  • Jim May 5, 2017, 1:44 pm

    Nope. He’s screwed. He would have been better off calling 9-1-1, and yelling at the neighbors house that he called the police, and then catch them running away on video. By going to the neighbors, with his gun, and firing a warning shot, he screwed himself. It will be a miracle if he’s not charged, or if charged, he’s acquitted. With the laws the way they are, it doesn’t pay to be the hero. I’m sure the neighbors would have been satisfied that he called the police. Remember, it’s just stuff, and it’s not worth going to jail or spending your life savings trying to defend yourself.

  • Randy May 5, 2017, 12:47 pm

    I live in Ohio, and this guy needs to review the law and what he supposedly learned in his CHL class. Right or wrong we are stuck with the law, and we need to act accordingly to protect ourselves, from the law that is, besides the BG’s. If someone is outside and burglarizing my neighbors house I call 911. If they come through my door I neutralize the threat. You cannot use deadly force in Ohio to protect property, including your own property. You also have a duty to flee if you are in public (not your home or in your vehicle). This is such a gray area in Ohio law that puts all CHL holders at risk of criminal prosecution. We need stand your ground laws. Leaving your home to “investigate” illegal activity is a dangerous proposition in numerous ways.

  • deanbob May 5, 2017, 12:34 pm

    “If Lowe had hit and killed one of the intruders, mounting a self-defense or a defense-of-others case would have been extremely difficult.” Isn’t “When one of the teens fired back he “saw the muzzle flash, heard the bang, and heard the bullet whiz by my head.” this a case of self defense? He as being shot at!

    • Randy May 5, 2017, 12:56 pm

      Under Ohio law he would have a difficult time mounting a self defense claim. The duty to flee provision of Ohio law is the reason why. He put himself in the situation. He could have merely stayed in the house and called 911. Don’t get me wrong I could care less about these little scumbags, but we have to deal with the law as it is written and a liberal judiciary.

  • George May 5, 2017, 12:21 pm

    A good lawyer should help prove that he reasonably believed the neighbors were home even though they weren’t.

  • Jake May 5, 2017, 12:07 pm

    Felons shoot at you and you might be in trouble? 45 days in jail for parole violation? AFTER committing attempted murder? WTF? Apparently the previous incarceration scared these guys so much they decide to commit the federal crime of weapon possession by a felon and use of a firearm in a felony. That’s 15 years in federal prison. They should pay a bounty for every burglar shot by a neighbor or anybody else. These scum dogs were involved in a federal felony BEFORE they tried to rob the house. Aargh!

  • MM May 5, 2017, 9:31 am

    It’s “stuff” and not even his. Call the cops. With no threat of bodily harm involved in this particular instance, except when Lowe decided to take the law into his own hands and fired a warning shot, then was allegedly fired upon in response, he acted the fool, not the hero.

    • Json Gyver May 6, 2017, 8:44 am

      It’s not just stuff!! It’s time that those people can never get back. It’s hard work and sacrifice that can never be replaced. The initial firing of the “warning shot” was idiotic I’ll agree, but the “stuff” needs protecting. I hope my neighbors would do the same.

      • Lyon Bates May 6, 2017, 11:55 am

        @Json Gyver…..I’m not willing to face months/years of jail time, maybe life without possibility of parole, or worse case scenario–the death penalty, for trying to protect the belongings of my neighbors. My life is not worth their TV sets, jewelry, cell phones, Xboxes, whatever. At very least, even if I was found innocent of killing or injuring the perp(s), I could easily lose the majority of my rather meager life savings from the legal costs of defending myself. Plus, I seriously doubt any of my neighbors, whose belongings I took it upon myself to protect (with my life), would be willing and/or able to reimburse me for those fees.
        If you’re that concerned about losing material possessions to theft when you’re not home, then make sure you have adequate home owner’s or renter’s insurance to replace lost items. Because if I was your neighbor and saw a burglary in progress at your residence when you were abseent, for sure I’d call 911, but I wouldn’t risk my future/my life/my livelihood trying to protect stuff that can always be replaced—other than if the thieves chose, e.g., to target family photo albums, which is unlikely. I’ve had (hard earned) stuff stolen from me in the past (from vehicles, out of residences, and more) when I wasn’t present and I felt extremely violated. Definitely had follow-up fantasies of what I’d have done to the thieves if I had caught them in the act. But in the end, I lost nothing material that wasn’t eventually replaceable.

  • Fred Ziffle May 5, 2017, 9:22 am

    It is a shame that we Americans have allowed the perversion our laws to the benefit of criminals to such great extents. I find it ridiculous that an armed citizen witnessing a crime is forbidden to legally intervene. Waiting for the police? Really? Good luck with hat. I know a bridge for sale…

  • Alej May 5, 2017, 8:12 am

    Sad about Ohio law.

    Texas law permits use of deadly force to protect one’s self, safety OR property, OR those of others.

    Google Joe Horn, Pasadena, Texas.

  • Hank May 4, 2017, 11:07 am

    Never fire warning shots either. Lowe could be charged with negligent discharge, perhaps even reckless endangerment. If you feel threatened by all means shoot to hit. If you miss, you missed. But never admit to firing a warning shot. You may think it shows restraint on your part, but the law doesn’t see it that way, they see it as reckless and cavalier behavior by someone who really didn’t feeling threatened.

  • randy May 3, 2017, 3:02 pm

    I agree with your story,but it is a sad day when a person cannot defend ANYONES property from criminals.Shooting first was a big mistake though.I would have called cops and then gone back and defended my own property.

  • SuperG May 3, 2017, 1:26 pm

    Another case where an honest citizen was doing the right thing, but was wrong anyway. I’m glad he was not subjected to the nightmare of the legal system and missed…in a way. Meaning that in non-whacked out legal system, he could have shot and killed the criminals, and the DA would rule it justified as criminal intent was established. It’s also good to note the criminals were armed, which should be a message to everyone.

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