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AndrewMendez
05-22-2009, 1:01 PM
Last night, about 1 am, I heard the unmistakable sound of someone walking around my backyard. As I walked toward, my open backdoor, but locked metal Door, I could hear them go Towards the other side towards my RV, which has no lights directly on that side. I turned on the Main Back Lights, and the sounds suddenly stopped. I grabbed my cell phone, and then my Handgun, placed it on my holster on my hip, and slowly opened the door.
I called my local PD, which took about 45 min, to get there. While I waited by the door, for about the first 15 Min, I could still hear occasional moving around. The cops came, and cleared the area, but the person (s) where long gone.

My question is, what can i legally do to detain the person, if I where to see them or they where trying to enter the RV or my house?

Could I cuff them?

Wait with my gun pointed at them til the cops come?

Watch them take something, and hope PD will get her before they do??

Thanks!

Matt C
05-22-2009, 1:25 PM
Before I answer you should consider two things:

1. Is defending what is out there worth my life, or the financial ruin and possible criminal charges if I am forced to shoot someone (EVEN IF IT IS JUSTIFIED!)?

2. Am I really ready to use deadly force if I need to? (at least 30-50% of people will be unable to)



My question is, what can i legally do to detain the person, if I where to see them or they where trying to enter the RV or my house?

1. You can do exactly what you did, use light and sound to try to scare them away, and call 911

2. You can go out there and confront them.

Could I cuff them?

You can arrest them if you observe them committing a crime. Note that simply attempting to enter your property is probably not a crime. IF you arrest them you may cuff them if needed.

Wait with my gun pointed at them til the cops come?

If you are in imminent fear for your life or serious bodily injury you may "present" deadly force. You cannot simply point your gun at them because they are in your yard.

Watch them take something, and hope PD will get her before they do??

If you see them taking something that belongs to you, you can arrest them at that point. You should be armed, but holstered. If they resist you can defend yourself with appropriate force. You cannot shoot them just to prevent them from getting away.

Thanks!

JohnnyG
05-22-2009, 1:43 PM
I think far too many people venture out into their yards with guns when they hear a noise. I've seen a number of stories about this recently. There are two very important things to consider here:

1. Safety. (most important) You are at a HUGE tactical disadvantage when trying to 'find' a noise in the yard/house/etc... Someone could be lurking ANYWHERE. You don't know who they are, how many of them there are, whether or not they can clearly see you, etc... SWAT does this sort of thing in a very organized methodical fashion which requires 2 or 3 ppl per room/area and hours to clear an average office building. You think you could do it safely by yourself in a couple minutes? I can't. Stay inside and call the cops for your own safety.

2. Liability. How do you think it looks when you show up in civil court (assuming you got cleared of criminal charges) when you have to explain that you walked outside with a gun because you heard a noise and thought your RV might be in danger of being burglarized (which is not a crime against a person, btw), THEN called the cops after finding and shooting someone. Trust me, they'll paint you as a monster who is preying on an "innocent" prowler who is just trying to feed his family and not harming anyone while doing it (regardless of the truth or what proper justice may dictate).

Not worth it in my opinion. Now, break into my home while I'm there with my family, that's a totally different ballgame. I believe that there are additional laws in CA that help protect you in that situation as well.

John

bluestaterebel
05-22-2009, 1:49 PM
Okay, i ll take a shot at answering your questions


My question is, what can i legally do to detain the person, if I where to see them or they where trying to enter the RV or my house?

Yes, you can detain them if it appears they are about to commit a crime, or at least for tresspassing.
Could I cuff them?

Yes you could cuff them, although kind difficult if youre by your self and dont have multiple sets of handcuffs

Wait with my gun pointed at them til the cops come?

Yes, its reasonable to believe that three men in your back yard in the middle of the night may be armed.




That said, i wouldnt reccomend it. You lose your position of advantage once you come outside of the house.

also, you are probably alone and and outnumbered.

Using a gun to detain them may not work, IE, what if they dont listen to you? then what? also detaining suspects while police get there could be a long wait. altough if you tell dipatch that you have several suspects at gunpoint, cops will be there fast, not 45 minutes.

bluestaterebel
05-22-2009, 1:55 PM
2. Liability. How do you think it looks when you show up in civil court (assuming you got cleared of criminal charges) when you have to explain that you walked outside with a gun because you heard a noise and thought your RV might be in danger of being burglarized (which is not a crime against a person, btw), THEN called the cops after finding and shooting someone. Trust me, they'll paint you as a monster who is preying on an "innocent" prowler who is just trying to feed his family and not harming anyone while doing it (regardless of the truth or what proper justice may dictate).



Kind of extreme, you are assuming that he shoots someone for no reason. in which case youre right.

But if he goes out there with a gun and there are 3 bad guys with, lets say cro bars, that come at him..then that is no longer a property crime and is self defense.

I wouldnt worry so much about that then about losing tactical advantage.

Jicko
05-22-2009, 1:56 PM
Don't play cop if you weren't one or trained.

Handcuff someone is not as easy as you think when they are struggling or when they have a potential to fight back.

JohnnyG
05-22-2009, 2:08 PM
Kind of extreme, you are assuming that he shoots someone for no reason. in which case youre right.

But if he goes out there with a gun and there are 3 bad guys with, lets say cro bars, that come at him..then that is no longer a property crime and is self defense.

I wouldnt worry so much about that then about losing tactical advantage.

I certainly can see your point and agree given the circumstances you've described above. I didn't mean to assume he would shoot someone for no reason. I meant to portray that if he was justified in shooting someone, he could still run into a bit of trouble in civil court, potentially based on his decision to go outside if he knew he may come across criminal activity. I can see the quesiton now: "Why did you feel the need to go into the yard when you were apparently safe in your home?" Unfortunately, I think civil court can be a very strange, backwards place in CA.

I completely agree that it is mostly a safety issue though. I just feel that if I ever find myself in a terrible situation in which I may need to shoot, I would like to have arrived there by force/chance and not because I decided to enter into a known risky situation by myself when there were other options available. I guess some would choose otherwise though.

Jonathan Doe
05-22-2009, 3:05 PM
Be careful about holding someone at a gun point. What would you do if the person gets up started to walk away?

Calling for the police is the best policy although their response may be slow, unless the person tried to break into your house. I know some LEO's tried to help their neighbors off duty time and got shot and killed.

AndrewMendez
05-22-2009, 4:43 PM
To answer a couple questions, I called the cops as I was going outside, to accomplish 2 things,
1 everything could be recorded, if I indeed need to use deadly force, which I would be ready to do, they could at least hear me order the person to the ground, and any struggle before I had to use deadly force.
Second, I dont want my guns taken away, so if I had to shot someone, they would have to be coming at me or a family member. So calling the cops, I would hope they got there before anything escalated.
Another answer, there is nothing in the RV thats worth my life, the life of a family member, or of an intruder, however, the way my house is set up, you can access different parts of it on that side.
I have infact had training with handcuffing, but completly understand, it would be difficult/impossible if someone is fighting me back, or there are more then 1 person.
And one last thing, I did not venture into my yard, I opened my door shortly to get a better view, and closed, then locked it well on the phone with PD.

bluestaterebel
05-22-2009, 8:22 PM
To answer a couple questions, I called the cops as I was going outside, to accomplish 2 things,
1 everything could be recorded, if I indeed need to use deadly force, which I would be ready to do, they could at least hear me order the person to the ground, and any struggle before I had to use deadly force.
Second, I dont want my guns taken away, so if I had to shot someone, they would have to be coming at me or a family member. So calling the cops, I would hope they got there before anything escalated.
Another answer, there is nothing in the RV thats worth my life, the life of a family member, or of an intruder, however, the way my house is set up, you can access different parts of it on that side.
I have infact had training with handcuffing, but completly understand, it would be difficult/impossible if someone is fighting me back, or there are more then 1 person.
And one last thing, I did not venture into my yard, I opened my door shortly to get a better view, and closed, then locked it well on the phone with PD.

sounds like you did the right thing

cousinkix1953
05-22-2009, 10:26 PM
Don't try this in Santa Cruz county. A truck driver caught a teenager burglarizing his rig and handcuffed the suspect to a fence post, while he called the sheriff with a cell phone. How dare he point a .22 caliber rifle at a criminal! The law abiding citizen went to jail and not the thief.

It was so ridiculous that there was a protest demonstration downtown. Even the hippies were outraged. The a--hole sheriff who did this has since retired, but something tells me that the attitude in that office is still much the same...

compsoftstation
05-23-2009, 12:15 AM
The best and the only thing to do is to stay in door, call 911, calmly yell out "Get off of my property, I am armed!", and cock your shotgun as a warning. Usually the commotion will wake your neighbors and the lights go on. If that doesn't scare the bad guys away, resort back to defense mode waiting for break and entry. From that point on your are allowed legally to defend your self. However, shoot to subdue not kill. You will receive jail time if you empty an entire clip into the assailant.

bernieb90
05-29-2009, 12:35 PM
However, shoot to subdue not kill. You will receive jail time if you empty an entire clip into the assailant.

FUD, shooting to subdue is impossible, you can't shoot someone a little bit. You can easily hit a major artery in the arms or legs, and the person will bleed out in minutes. People can also die later from seemingly minor injuries due to infection, or complications from surgery.

We ALWAYS shoot to STOP the subject from causing us or loved ones grave bodily harm or death. If you are in fear for your life then you may use deadly force. Shoot for vital organs, and do so until the subject stops the attack voluntarily (pain, fear etc.) or involuntarily (LOC due to blood loss or CNS hit). Under no circumstances should you ever indicate an intent to kill. You should also never indicate an intent to wound, because then there may be questions raised as to the level of danger you were really in. If it is a good shoot, and you keep your mouth shut, and get a good lawyer you will be OK.