A Washington homeowner shot and killed one of two intruders in the early hours of the morning last week. The homeowner, Jeremy Smith, responded with force when he said two men kicked down his back door to get into the house.
Smith fired at the intruders and called the police just after 4 a.m. When police arrived they found one 24-year-old suspect unresponsive in his front yard from an apparent gunshot wound. He was later pronounced dead at the scene.
“This is, for all intents and purposes, with the lease, my property, and I will protect it,” Smith said to the local news. “I took action upon that, which was, unfortunately taking one life, and the other one ran,” said Smith.
Deputies responding to the call did not find the second man and are still on the lookout for the suspect, who remains at large.
“You get to talk about it a lot with your friends, or you get to talk about it with your family, and go, yeah we all carry, but you know, or this is what I would do, or this is what you would do, but it’s way different when it actually happens,” he said.
Sergeant Darren Moss, speaking for the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, repeated that homeowners have the right to use force if they have to, but he still urged people to avoid direct confrontation and use force as a last resort whenever possible.
“Call the police right away, let us come and handle the confrontation if possible,” said Moss. “If it moves to self-defense, we’ll figure that out when we get there for the investigation. But we always urge people to call 911 right away, focus on protecting yourself and your family; don’t try to go and initiate a confrontation with an intruder.”
Smith continued to say that it was unfortunate what happened, but that he felt he was justified in his decisions.
“I have the right to carry, and I have the right to protect myself, and I have the right to protect my property,” he said. “We practice; we never want to put it into action because it’s still a human life.”
“But my life is more important to me than theirs is,” he continued. “Me going home to my family and my kid is more important than theirs is. I don’t know what they wanted out of this house, I don’t know what they were doing, but I don’t care.”
Smith also said he doesn’t plan to relocate following the incident, that he won’t be scared to move, and that other Americans should feel the same way.