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Lawyer explains arrest of homeowner who shot suspected auto thief

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The homeowner who shot a thief he said was trying to steal his truck from his driveway has been arrested.

Police were called to the home on East 47th Street early Friday morning. Now the man in his 70s is back home, while he waits to see what prosecutors have to say about the shooting.

Missouri Legislators are discussing creating a "Stand Your Ground" law, but right now the state has what’s best known as "castle doctrine". While it gives you liberty to defend yourself in your home when you feel threatened, attorney Kevin L. Jamison says that doesn’t extend to defending your property.

Jamison wrote the book "Missouri Weapons and Self Defense". He teaches classes on how to defend yourself, not only from criminals, but from prosecution for the actions you take.

"Giving a warning is always a good idea, because that will usually cause the thief to run away, because they are bullies, not gun fighters.”

It’s still unclear exactly what happened this morning at the home. Police say the homeowner shot a would-be truck thief after a “confrontation.” The suspect ended up driving the truck from the driveway into neighbor Tee Haynes yard, before giving up and being placed under arrest.

But the homeowner was arrested too, much to the surprise of Haynes.

“The Second Amendment is to bear arms and protect your family and protect your property, he did the right thing.”

But Jamison says Missouri’s Castle Doctrine requires the shooter to be defending themselves or someone else from a reasonable fear of unlawful force.

“If the car is just parked someplace, you can’t shoot people for breaking into your car," Jamison said. "You have to be defending a person, you can not use deadly force to defend property.”

“He could have shot the guy in the head if he wanted to, but he’s a Christian man, so he shot the guy in the leg,” Haynes countered.

Jamison says where on the body you shoot someone doesn’t matter under the law. Police released the homeowner after arresting him at the request of prosecutors who say they need more time to investigate, before deciding if he’ll be charged.

“You can’t just say self defense and everybody believes you, they are going to look at the trajectory of the round and where the cartridge case went and all of these things and determine whether it was a justifiable shooting.”

At this point neither the homeowner nor the suspected thief’s names have been released. Police say the man who was shot is expected to survive.