If you shot a burglar in your house and then called 911, what should you do before the police arrived?

Mudassir Ali 8 months 2 Answers 110 views

Answers ( 2 )

  1. Originally Answered: If you shot a burglar in your house and then called 911 what should you do before the police arrived?

    This is one of those questions with “too many variables,” which makes me surprised at the number of answers it has received.

    There are many possible answers depending on the extent of the injury to the burglar and whether or not the burglar is armed. There are lots of combinations but I’ll break it down into five simple scenarios:

    You killed the burglar with the first shot. This is the easy one.
    You did not kill the burglar with the first shot, but the burglar is down and is without any doubt going to stay down and the burglar is not armed.
    You did not kill the burglar with the first shot, but the burglar is down and is armed, but has dropped his weapon and is no longer near it and you can sit with your weapon trained on the burglar and you have no doubt that the burglar has no intentions of coming at you.
    You did not kill the burglar with the first shot, and the burglar is not armed, but is really pissed and clearly intends to come at you.
    You did not kill the burglar with the first shot, and the burglar is armed and intends to shoot you.

    See what I mean? Those five combinations have completely different answers, and yet each one has differences within themselves depending on subtle circumstances, and then there are many more scenarios.

    Again, I’m surprised you got so many answers, as if there is one answer to this.


    I used to be an airline pilot. Airline pilots are gone from home for days at a time. One pilot with whom I flew regularly lived on a farm in the “horse country” of Middleburg, Virginia, about an hour drive west of Washington, DC. I’ll call him John.

    John had always worried about his wife being alone in an isolated house in the country while he was out on trips. So he had trained her to use guns and had several in the house, positioned so she’d have access to one no matter where she was in the house—in other words, she wasn’t likely to be trapped without access to a loaded weapon. And she knew how to use them all.

    This was in the era before cell phones. With only a couple of land lines in the house, she had limited access to calling 911. Further, if she was able to call 911, help was not arriving anytime soon—a bad guy would have plenty of time to do what he wanted and get away.

    I was with John on a trip when the company got word to him that he needed to get home right away. He was replaced on the trip by another pilot and I finished up without him. When I got back I found out that one of the scenarios I wrote above had happened.


    She’d been watching television about 9 at night when she heard someone on the porch. She turned off the TV and called out. The person didn’t respond and didn’t leave and rattled a door knob to try to get in. They had good dead bolts and he couldn’t get in.

    He went to another door and tried again, banging on it and kicking it, but couldn’t get in.

    She knew he’d soon be at the French, glass, dining room doors and she suspected he’d kick in the glass and enter her home. She yelled out that she was armed and that he needed to leave.

    He did not leave, so she went to the kitchen, took a shotgun out of the pantry, and sat down on the floor and leaned against the cabinets with the shotgun pointed at the kitchen door.

    She heard the glass break. She heard the guy walking through her home.

    The instant she saw him standing in the kitchen door, she pulled the trigger and killed him instantly. (Scenario #1, the easy one.)

    What happened to her legally?

    The police removed the body and that was the end of it, legally speaking.

    Of course that was not the end of the trauma for her. They sold the farm house and moved into Middleburg.

  2. If he is dead….

    OK, immediately after the 911 call, unload the gun and put it in a closet or drawer. You don’t need to be shot when the cops show up. They sometimes get the information wrong, and may think you are the bad guy. Check to make sure you are not hurt. Call an attorney. When the police show up tell them where the bad guy is. When they come back to you to get your story or information, tell them that you have an attorney. Don’t answer any questions relating to the shooting.

    If the guy is alive, I would recommend you go outside and put the gun down, and move away from the house until the cops arrive. Make sure you are not hurt. Call your attorney. When the cops show up, you can wave to them and try to get their attention. Tell them where the bad guy is. After they make sure everyone is safe, you can tell them you have an attorney. Don’t answer any questions.

    In either of these cases, do not try to touch the crime scene or make the shooting appear more legitimate; the bad guy was in your house. Let your attorney guide you.

    Addendum: As comments correctly point out, do not be tricked into talking if you are threatened, arrested, or interrogated. Repeat that you have an attorney and won’t talk without having him/her present. Your attorney will protect you, and you will get the facts out.

    I am not an attorney, cop, or legal professional. This is not legal advice, it is what I would do.

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