Police: Car burglary not a good reason to shoot at suspect

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LAWRENCE, Kan. -- A 23-year old Lawrence man could face charges for shooting someone he says was breaking into his car.

The shooting happened at the Oaks Apartment complex near 23rd and Murphy Drive around 1:30 Sunday morning. Police say the car owner used a shotgun to shoot the suspect from a third floor window. Police says three shots were fired and at least one hit the suspect, who was caught by police a block away as he tried to run from the scene. The 20-year old suspect is in a Kansas City hospital with what police call life-threatening injuries.

Neighbor Emillee Chapman was one of the first people to call 9-1-1 and feels the car owner over-reacted.

"I have a license to conceal but that doesn't mean I'm going to shoot somebody for breaking into my car. That's what insurance is for, that's what the police are for," says Chapman.

Police say it'll be up to the Douglas County District Attorney whether to file charges. A spokeswoman for Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson said her office has no time frame on when they'll decide if either the shooter or the suspect car thief will be charged with a crime.

"It's not a situation where typically it would be permitted for someone to fire a weapon unless you're in imminent danger of great bodily harm," said Sergeant Trent McKinley.

FOX 4 has learned the suspected car thief was already on parole for aggravated robbery and drug convictions earlier this year.

Neighbor Katie Ann thinks it would be wrong to charge the car owner. She believes the suspected car burglar got what he deserved.

"Hopefully it'll keep him from doing it again," she said.

Even if the District attorney decides not to file charges, the 23-year old shooter could still face eviction. Management for the Oaks Apartment complex tells Fox 4 that it has sent a letter to its tenant reminding him that keeping a firearm in his apartment is a violation of his lease.

email: rob.low@wdaftv4.com
twitter @fox4roblow

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