Someone in your yard.
Last night I went over to a friends house to help him put a double oven in so he would be read for the holidays. When I left to go, I closed the garage door like usual. All the other exterior doors in the house were locked and deadbolted as well.
I get home about 8:30 everything is fine. I go inside and check to see what has happened since I left. Well the wife still has her sinus headache and the little one is already asleep in his bed.
I grab some chips and sit down in the den to see what is on TV. Next is the knock at the door from the garage into the kitchen. I figure it is the neighbor from across the street coming over to shoot the breeze. Well it is the neighbor, but he didn't come over to shoot the breeze.
He starts out with the fact that I just had gotten home. Apparently about 2 minutes before I got home he had been in his garage (our driveways are just about directly across the street from each other) and all the lights were out in the garage at his house. He said there was a guy in a hoodie that was walking down the road in between our drives and had stopped at my fence. My female dog was laying in the yard and it appeared that the guy was trying to get her to come over so he could pet her or whatever. Next the hooddie guy looks like he is putting both hands on the fence and is thinking about going over the chain link fence into the back yard by raising his leg towards the fence when the female dog barks, causing my male dog to start from around the shed across yard at full speed barking towards the hooddie guy. At the same time my neighbor exits his garage which triggers motion lights on his drive.
Hooddie guy thinks better of entering the back yard and turns when the lights come on and says oh ... , and starts running down the road. My neighbor grabs a maglite from just inside his house and comes back outside. Hooddie guy had checked up at the neighbors house behind me (the one that has been burgalarized twice already this year) but when he sees my neighbor exit his garage with the light he turns it back on full speed and makes the corner of the block and is gone. During his run the hood had come off and the neighbor said it was a white guy with a short ponytail
The neighbor said he had looked initially and saw that the Van and Truck were in the garage, I guess he could see the backs of them through the windows, but knew since my Jeep was gone that I wasn't at home.
Little background info. Neighbor who witnessed this has no guns. We have been talking a bit and I am planning on getting him and his wife out shooting sometime in the near future. She is trying to finish her LVN schooling and he is the only one working now so money is kind of tight, but he is interested in getting a gun when funds are available in the future.
So to the question. What do you do if you are returning home and find someone who is either attempting to enter, or has entered your fenced in yard when your wife and small son are in the house alone?
Do you approach the person, make them stay till the police arrive, do you follow the person if they stop their actions when you pull up, do you just call the police and wait from down the road inside your vehicle? What is your reaction going to be?
I am glad the reactions of my neighbor and my dogs kept the guy out of my yard. I will wait for some responses before I will post what my reactions would be.
I would confront the person before they had a chance to make it into my home where my wife and kid are. If he obeyed he would be laying face down with hands spread above his head until the police arrived, if he did not obey then I would have every legal right to protect my home and family with force (castle doctrine) and I would.
If nobody is in the house, the answer would be easy: Stand back, observe, and call police.
Now in your case, you got your family in the house. That makes it more complicated. I would call the house first and alert the wife of the guy. Ask her to turn on lights. That way, chances are you spook the guy and he moves on. At this point, you can call police and follow the guy from a safe distance.
Now if the lights come on, and the guy doesn't move away from the house, things get even more interesting. I think this would be unlikely, but his interest may be to scope out the house vs. breaking and entering right then. Probably good idea to call 911, but try to use 3-way calling (if you know how to use it on your phone) to keep the wife inside the house on the line. She should probaby secure the kid at that time.
Most importantly: If it comes to you (or your wife) shooting at the intruder, make sure where either of you are so you don't end up with a friendly fire incident. But I would not go that far unless the guy starts entering the house or pulls a gun himself.
Well since its good ole Texas. I would dial 911 and pull my gun and threaten the suspect. This would in NO way constitute the use of deadly force but the threat would be there. I would then wait for the LEO's to arrive.
Call 911 and advise them of situation and sit back and watch till the cavalry comes. If family is in the house, the BG will be greeted with the business end of my mossberg from the wife from the door, as I come around the back with Glock in hand. Of course the 911 call will still be made prior to action.
Castle doctrine only applies after forced entry, and the intruder has to make it at least to your attached porch. Just entering your yard does not count (at least in Florida. Different states may use different laws). It also requires that the defender is inside the house. One may argue that this scenario counts because your wife is in the house, and you are assisting her in her defense. But this moves this scenario too much from the "practical" to the "legal".
Originally Posted by gdalton
So what if you confront him, and he runs away from you and the house? Would you shoot? (I would not... )
Well it would depend on a couple of circumstances...where he was and how well lit I could make the area and whatnot.
Ideally, seeing as how he was on my property, I would use my car's headlights to spotlight him, lay my hand on my gun or draw it but keep it behind the door (depending on whether my car was on or off my property) and ask what he was up to. Could just be a new neighbor or a relative of a neighbor trying to get a spare key because they are locked out...it's happened before in my case. This way I'm prepared if something happens but they don't see me so there won't be any worries if it turns out to be totally innocent.
If it's not innocent...the guy's likely to run...then I'll make a report to the police but I probably wouldn't chase him down or anything.
Maybe not the best way to handle it but that's what I'd do, anyway.
Trespassing by hopping a fence seems to indicate more than taking a shortcut. If there is no reasonable excuse for them to be there I think try to keep him there and have spouse call the police, all the while being prepared to draw your weapon. If he bolts then you can at least give a good description and direction for the police.
I would probably have to be there and sensing the danger to determine my real reaction. Great to have observant neighbors.
First, get on your cell phone and call 911, FWIW. Next, if the guy has been interrupted before entering your backyard, protect your wife and child, do not engage the prowler. Wait it out and be a good witness. Do not chase.
Originally Posted by farronwolf
If the guy has entered your backyard, your dogs may have engaged him. Once you know your wife and child are safe, you should arm yourself, if not already. Now you need to bring your dogs back under control to avoid injury to them, and to the prowler, but do not physically engage the prowler. If he attempts to run, let the dogs run too (but only in your yard.) They like exercise and playtime! If he waits for the cops, maintain control over the dogs at a safe distance.
Do not do anything involving pulling a trigger unless a life is in danger and you can cope with an investigation.
So he's still in the back yard when you pull up?
My gut reaction says that I'd go back there and yell at him, "What the heck are you doing here?"
But two more seconds of thought makes me realize that I don't know the situation in the home. The guy could be one of two or more guys, some of whom may already be in the house. It would seem far wiser to go on full alert, condition red, whatever you want to call it, and get inside to check on the family, dialing 911 on the cell phone as you do. I might even just dial 911 and then put the phone down. They'll come quick enough, and I won't have to waste time talking and explaining the situation.
Slight correction - the Florida version of the castle doctrine applies once there is an active attempt to enter the dwelling in a forceable or unlawful manner.
Originally Posted by PaulJ
Being in the yard doesn't qualify, of course, but if he starts trying to open a door or window, the presumptions in F.S. 776.013 take effect.
In Texas he could get shot for being in your yard especially inside a fenced yard after dark,Attempted theft 1/2 hr after sunset and 1/2 hour before sunrise,a homeowner can use deadly force to prevent the theft of property,It sounds like guy had burglary/rape on his mind,I would definitely call police and report the incident with a description, they may have an idea who it is already
I would do what I always do. Ask him what he wants and tell him he is tress passing. While all the time having my hand on my gun that is always exposed at home. I would also tell hime that if he didn't leave imediatly that would have to call the police, also that if he returned I would have him charged with criminal tresspass.
It always works and I never see the same person twice. Should he attack I would defend myself.
My own reaction isnt just protection of home and family, but also apprehension. Sure you might get him to run off today, but where is he tomorrow? I intend to end the career of any criminal I meet (be it personally or the police), not just scare them off to protect my own interests. So, I'd try to keep him there until the cops arrive, and if he tries to run, pursue.