JI shooting sparks discussion; When is it legal to defend your property?

CHARLESTON,SC (WCSC) - Local gun retailer Arlyn Pendergast teaches classes on the do's and don't's when it comes to firing at someone with a gun.

Tuesday morning, Charleston County deputies say a James Island man saw someone breaking into his truck while he looked on from inside his home. The homeowner says he then went outside with a gun to confront the man.

As the homeowner went outside, the man got into a red vehicle and drove away.

The homeowner, standing in his driveway, says he then fired several shots towards the car and that is where gun retailer says he made a big mistake.

"If he was inside of the car and someone attempted to break in he could have defended himself because of the castle law inside the house or even out in the open," Pendergast said.

The "Castle Law," or the defense of habitation law, designates a person's place of residence as a place where a person has protection from illegal trespassing and attack.

The law also gives the person the legal justification to use deadly force to defend their home and anyone living inside.

"When he started fleeing there was no threat to his life no more to shoot at him would be incorrect," Pendergast said.

"If someone came to your house and took a sledge hammer to your car it would be illegal to shoot them," Pendergast added.

The Charleston County Sheriff's Office and the solicitor's office are looking into possible charges.

Related Story

Copyright WCSC 2011. All rights reserved.