Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mississippi: Man shot trying to steal SUV

Jackson, Mississippi

From the Clarion Ledger of November 24, 2008
Man shot trying to steal SUV

Jackson police said the property owner who fatally shot a burglary suspect Saturday night had a right to pull the trigger under the Castle Doctrine.

Brandon Lenard, 20, of Jackson was shot outside a row of townhouses on County Cork Road after he allegedly broke into a Cadillac Escalade parked in front, police said.

Police spokesman Lt. Jeffery Scott said no charges will be filed against the owner of the SUV, whose name was not released.

When the police investigation is complete, the findings will be turned over to a Hinds County grand jury, Scott said.

Lenard is the fifth burglary or robbery suspect to be shot to death in Jackson by a homeowner, property owner or store employee since the Castle Doctrine law took effect in 2006.

Among other things, the Castle Doctrine says a person has "no duty to retreat" if the person believes he is in imminent danger. The law protects someone who uses deadly force in self-defense from being sued.

Just before 9 p.m. Saturday, Lenard allegedly broke into the Escalade while its owner was inside a townhouse just a few feet away, police said.

"The owner heard something outside, so he stepped out of the house to see what it was. When he saw someone was in his vehicle, he went back inside to retrieve a weapon. He then went back outside to confront the suspect," Scott said.

Scott said there was an exchange of words between Lenard and the vehicle's owner just before Lenard tried to run from the scene.

Police said that as Lenard was leaving, he is believed to have put the SUV owner's life in danger. Scott would not say what he did.

"Our investigation has determined that the owner was in the imminent threat of danger based on items found at the scene, which I cannot elaborate (on)," Scott said. "We have made a determination that the actions of the property owner are in the parameters of the Castle Doctrine."

Hinds County Coroner Sharon Grisham-Stewart said Sunday that Lenard did have a gun at the scene.

Lenard was shot once with a shotgun, Grisham-Stewart said. She said the pellets entered the back and side of his head.

Scott said investigators think Lenard was driven to the scene in an unidentified vehicle. Police are trying to find who might have been with Lenard that night.

Neighbors would not comment Sunday about the shooting.


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