A Dallas man on Thursday gave the self-defense community a tour-de-force in how not to act following a would-be home invasion.
James Michael Meyer, 72, has been charged with murder after he shot and killed a man who he claims was breaking into his shed with a pickax. The man fled, and after Meyer fired a shot “into the night,” he told police he went back to bed, according to an affidavit obtained by the Dallas Morning News.
Meyer’s bond was set for $150,000 on Friday, and he is no longer in custody, according to MSN.
Meyer told police he awoke to a sound in his yard, and when he went to investigate – handgun in tow – he saw someone using a pickax to break into his storage shed. Meyer said he ran out of his house yelling for the man to stop and told him he’d shoot if the man came any closer.
The man took several steps toward Meyer, so the homeowner fired his handgun once, according to Meyer’s recollection in the affidavit. The man fled towards the park behind the house, which is when the Meyer fired an additional shot “into the night” in the direction of the park.
Unsure whether he hit the burglar, Meyer went back to bed. When he awoke two hours later, he told police he saw something that looked like a “black bag” lying in the park, which turned out to be the intruder from the previous night.
The affidavit notes that Meyer’s wife called an attorney before the couple called the police. While on the phone with the dispatcher, Meyer refused to answer questions. Instead, he repeated that he was the victim of a crime and that medical assistance was needed.
When police arrived, they also discovered that Meyer had already thrown the spent shell casings in the trash, according to the affidavit.
Texas law includes “castle doctrine” language, but it applies the doctrine only in a person’s “habitation,” which it defines as “a structure or vehicle adapted for the overnight accommodation of persons.” In addition, the affidavit points out that “from the suspect’s accounts, the threat of serious bodily injury against him was over when the complainant dropped the pickax and ran off.”
It perhaps goes without saying, but former Crockett County, Texas, Sheriff Jim Wilson recommends calling 9-11 “immediately” following any kind of self-defense shooting.