Attorneys weigh in on self-defense law after Kalamazoo man shot an intruder

Attorneys weigh in on self-defense law after Kalamazoo man shot an intruder. (WWMT/Cyrus Raymond)

Police are investigating after a Kalamazoo man shot someone who he said broke into his home on Richard Avenue Tuesday night and local attorneys say the law is on his side.

Police said that the man living on Richard Avenue yelled at the person who was breaking in at least once before shooting him. The man told police he feared for his life and here in Michigan that gives you the right to defend yourself.

When police swarmed the 200 block of Richard Avenue Tuesday evening, they said the man who fired the gun was being cooperative. The person he shot was taken to the hospital in critical condition.

Police said the man who was shot had been breaking into the home, eventually making his way into the bedroom, which is when the man living there said fired his shotgun hitting the man in the torso.

"If you're being threatened and somebody even tries to come to your house then what are you supposed to do?" said Tammy Christie, a Kalamazoo resident.

Michigan law agrees with public opinion, under specific circumstances.

Attorney Don Smith with Willis Law Firm said Michigan's self-defense law protects those who believe they are at risk of bodily harm or sexual assault.

"You always have to respond to what's reasonable under the circumstances, what's appropriate for the circumstances that you're in," he said. "You always have to be in the right to be able to defend yourself, you can't be in the midst of committing a crime and have the right to defend yourself."

According to police, the Kalamazoo County Prosecutor's Office is reviewing the case to determine whether or not to file charges against the shooter.

Attorney Victor Bland pointed out that the self-defense law is very specific about only protecting people who face an imminent threat.

"It does not apply to the defense of property. You're not allowed to use the Castle Doctrine, not allowed to say that you can't retreat if you're simply defending say, your car," Bland said.

Police said the man who fired the gun on Richard Avenue was brought in for questioning, cooperated and has since been released.

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