Tuesday, March 19, 2013

So. When Is An Addition Not An Addition?

... short answer, when I say it isn't. Reader Alan send in this story as a DGC addition, but I really can't bring myself to add it - not without more information.

Loudoun County sheriff says intruder shot and killed by homeowner was Park View High student
STERLING, Va. — Police say a Loudoun County teenager was shot and killed after he climbed into a neighbor’s home through a back window.

The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office believes the teen — identified Monday as 16-year-old Caleb Gordley, a junior at Park View High School — had been drinking with friends before entering the neighbor’s home on Pullman Court in Sterling about 2:30 a.m. Sunday.

It sounds like this was simply a case of a drunk teenager trying to sneak into his house after staying out too late partying, only in his altered state he tried sneaking into the wrong house. There's a comment to the effect of the home that the young man was sneaking into might have had a young lady present, but in either case - mistaken identity on the house, or amorous intent - it doesn't warrant the young man being called a goblin. That's just not right. Unless and until I hear evidence to the contrary, I can't in good conscience call this one for the DGC.

That's not to say the homeowner wasn't justified in the shooting, mind you. My heart positively breaks for everyone involved in this story, not just the parents of this young man, but also the homeowner who had to drop the hammer on what he thought was a criminal but turned out to be a neighborhood boy. I can't fault him, not for a second - remember, it was 2:30 in the morning and his home alarm is going off. He goes down to see what's happening and sees someone coming in through the window. Unfortunately, life isn't "The Sims" where everyone has a bubble over their head identifying them - and when you look like a home intruder, you're treated like a home intruder.

It's a terrible, tragic tale, and unless something dramatic comes to light I won't add this to the count. It seems like a horrible, stupid mistake for a young man to make, one that could easily have been made by a large number of people. I don't know that neighborhood, but I do know many neighborhoods where the houses all look pretty much the same as subdivisions go, and in the middle of the night, while under the influence of a few too many frosty adult beverages, I can totally understand why he might have tried the wrong window.

I think what's hardest here is that there's only one person to blame for this, and he has already paid the ultimate price. It's easy to blame the gun, or the alcohol, or the parents of the young man, or the homeowner who pulled the trigger. It's a lot harder to accept that a young man with a long, promising life ahead of him will grow no older because he made one seemingly small mistake - and it's tempting to look for something, or someone, else to blame. It's a sobering reminder of how the decisions we make - good, bad, or otherwise - can sometimes have ramifications that last an entire lifetime.

There are no winners in this story, and there are no goblins, either...

That is all.


Dave H said...

You're not doing a very good job of living up to that "bloodthirsty gun owner" image, Jay. (grin)

I have to go along with you on this one. That wasn't a goblin, that was a kid being a kid at the wrong time and place.

Anonymous said...

I agree, no winners here. This young man is not the first drunk to lose his life trying to get into the wrong house. He will not be the last. What do you do when someone is breaking into your house in the wee hours of the morning. You don't know who they are. If they are armed or not. On drugs or drunk. What their intentions are. All you know is someone is breaking in and you are scared to death.

Scott_S said...


Not a goblin and I feel for the parents and the homeowner.

Will Brown said...

I disagree.

Two points:

1) Light switch; criminal rule 4 violation on the home owners part. At best this ought to be held as a negligent shooting on his part (and don't give me any guff about being "in fear of his life and safety" - personal fear doesn't relieve anyone of their responsibility for their actions).

2) The "confused" boy went into the wrong home through the window by mistake? Bullshit. If he is in the habit of going in and out through his window, he leaves it arranged such as to facilitate doing so - I highly doubt our errant home owner rule breaker landscapes and otherwise adjusts his home security measures in similar fashion.

I don't doubt the deceased was so high/drunk he couldn't think straight and made a very poor choice; I won't say he got what he deserved, but he did all he could to get it.

I also think the shooter isn't telling "the truth and nothing but the truth" about the entirety of the circumstances, and deserves a serious penalty for the rule 4 violation in any case seeing as it resulted in an unwarranted death.

Just because the boy is also culpable doesn't relieve the shooter (any shooter; lesson for us all) of his liability for the result of his own ill-considered action.

Harsh to say, but we may find out the shooter was the goblin in the piece.

wizardpc said...


They might charge the homeowner.

Mopar said...

As more info comes out, I'm going to side with the shooter in this one. It's still sad, but I think it was justified. First, it appears the teen was already in the house, and was confronted by the homeower. The homeower told the teen to leave, and the teen did not. The teen and the homeower did not know each other (teens family had only recently moved there), and the "kid" is a fairly large, fairly adult looking football player.

So to recap. Your alarm goes off at 2:30am, and when you investigate you find a 6ft+ tall black guy you've never met standing inside your home next to the open window he just climbed through. You tell him to get the F out, and he doesn't.

What would you do?