Warning shots... [Archive] - Glock Talk

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NH Trucker
02-23-2012, 12:37
You had to know someone was going to ask this...

By now, you're probably familiar with the case out of Farmington, NH where a homeowner found his house burglarized, saw a suspicious person walking down the street, then later saw that same person climbing out of a window of his neighbors house. He intervened, armed with a .38 relvolver, and due to his physical limitations he thought it would be a good idea to fire a warning shot, as he stated in a news article, "to show I was serious." He was charged with reckless conduct with a firearm as a result. Earlier today, the Strafford County Attorney has decided to drop the charge against him.

Now, my understanding of New Hampshire laws is that he was justified in apprehending the suspected burglar, but a warning shot is NOT justified under law, and Farmington PD was right to arrest him for that charge. This has been the topic of some heated debate in a few threads on this site and elsewhere, and it seems that the majority of responses to this case are that the homeowner did nothing wrong. Personally, I'm against the idea of firing a warning shot and I think that it is reckless to do so, especially in a residential neighborhood like this guy did. I was wondering what your take on it is as both a self defense instructor and a sworn LEO in NH.

Mas Ayoob
02-23-2012, 18:04
As an instructor OR as an NH LEO, I couldn't address it without having all the details. The Courts will address it, as always, "within the totality of the circumstances."

As a general rule, I agree with you that warning shots are almost never a good idea. At the same time, this is not withing the common, public knowledge. As recently as last summer, in a different state, I was involved in a case where the prosecutor implied that the defendant SHOULD have fired a warning shot before firing the shot that killed her attacker. The reasons why this would have been a bad idea were explained to the jury, which totally acquitted her.

One of the attorneys who has weighed in on behalf of the Farmington shooter is known to me to be very highly skilled. I don't know if this attorney will be defending him or not, but it should be a fascinating case to watch.

Best,
Mas