Crime

Columbus man kills home intruder in self-defense, police say

How far can you go to protect yourself?

What some call the “castle doctrine” is ensconced in the law: If someone breaks or is breaking into your home, you can shoot them, legally, as long as you “reasonably” believe such force is required to stop the “unlawful entry into or attack upon
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What some call the “castle doctrine” is ensconced in the law: If someone breaks or is breaking into your home, you can shoot them, legally, as long as you “reasonably” believe such force is required to stop the “unlawful entry into or attack upon

A homeowner shot and killed an intruder in self-defense late Monday on Kingsberry Street, according to Columbus police.

Derrick Cureton, 23, was pronounced dead at 10:30 p.m. His body will be transported to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime lab for an autopsy, said Muscogee County Chief Deputy Coroner Freeman Worley.

Columbus police were called to the 5300 block of Kingsberry Street around 9:50 p.m. Monday to investigate a shooting. They found Cureton dead on the scene.

Police asked that anyone with information on the shooting call Sgt. Michael Dahnke at 706-225-4296.

“The initial investigation indicates that the homeowner was confronted by an intruder and defended himself,” Lt. Greg Touchberry wrote in a news release.

Because of what’s called the “castle doctrine” authorizing residents to use deadly force to protect their homes, Georgians are free from prosecution under the law if they “reasonably” believe such force is required to stop the “unlawful entry into or attack upon a habitation.”

The law has three stipulations:

The intrusion must be “violent and tumultuous” so the resident believes its purpose is “assaulting or offering personal violence” to someone inside.

The intruder can’t be “a member of the family or household,” meaning a resident can shoot strangers who break in, but not someone who lives there.

The resident must believe the intruder broke in to commit a felony, and deadly force is necessary to stop it.

This “castle doctrine” also extends to temporary habitation you may occupy only overnight.

Sarah Robinson: 706-571-8622, @sarahR_92

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