Tragedy: Step-father accidentally shoots step-daughter during home invasion

Bill Mattocks

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This is a real tragedy, and one which I hope all who choose to keep firearms for self-defense will consider. Just having a gun is not enough. You must know how to use it, when to use it, or tragedy can occur.

http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/...ld-home-invasion-by-accident?odyssey=nav|head

LANSING -- The stepfather of a 7-year-old Lansing girl shot and killed last year during a home invasion testified today that he shot the girl accidentally.LaVar Burton, 33, testified that he ran upstairs in his Lansing home July 22, 2010 after seeing a man with a gun break through the living room screen late at night. Burton testified that the intruder fired several shots at him as Burton ran upstairs. Burton then retrieved his .45 caliber, semi-automatic pistol, and tried to return fire from the upstairs landing, but the gun jammed, according to testimony.
Burton testified he then ran into a bedroom, and was able to dislodge the bullets. He said he stepped out of the room, heard footsteps coming towards him in the darkened house and fired one shot. "I closed my eyes and then I shot," Burton testified.
The next thing he knew, his 7-year-old stepdaughter Amaia Edmond, "was lying on the floor." She was later pronounced dead.

Two of the burglars are being prosecuted for murder - even though they did not fire the shots that killed the little girl, they were the original cause of the incident and in the USA, they can be held criminally liable for the results; just like a person who commits arson on an abandoned building can be charged with murder if there is someone inside he didn't know about and didn't intend to kill. It doesn't matter - you're responsible for the consequences of your actions.

But it does not bring the poor little girl back. I'm sure the step-father will live with this on his conscience forever. If you own a firearm for self-defense; take this to heart. Learn to use it properly, learn when to use it and when not to. Practice with it. Be as safe as you can be with a deadly weapon.
 

tenzen

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This truely is a tragedy. And I agree whith the burglars being prosecuted cuz it is their faults.
To legally own a gun shouldn't he have went through a course on how to use it before he was able to purchase it?
 
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Bill Mattocks

Bill Mattocks

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To legally own a gun shouldn't he have went through a course on how to use it before he was able to purchase it?

Depends on the state or jurisdiction. In Michigan, a hand gun purchase permit is required, but no safety course of any kind. The purchase permit requires a $5 payment. A criminal background check is done. That's all.

In any case, a simple safety course is probably not enough. If you are going to keep a gun for self-defense, I urge people to train with it often.
 

SFC JeffJ

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Never shoot unless you have identified your target.

The guy is a moron, but yes, I think that the criminals involved should be prosecuted for her death.

Jeff
 

Archangel M

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The cynical cop in me wonders what the homeowner was "into". 99.999% of these sort of "home invasion's" are people who are all involved in the same sort of "business" if you catch my meaning.

Not that that should minimize the death of that poor little girl.
 

LuckyKBoxer

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why should you have a course on how to use it as a requirement before buying?

you dont need to do that for a car, a chainsaw, a lawnmower, a weedwacker, a propane tank, or many other similar items that peoiple use for specific tasks.

as a matter of fact I can not go rent a gun and take it home with me.
I can and rent a chainsaw and be out the door in less then 10 minutes.

no this was unfortunate, the guy was not prepared for the situation and mentally and emotionally failed to rise to the occasion.
I have a feeling the vast majority of martial arts practitioners would do similar when they actually have to use their skills in a confrontation.
 

jks9199

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The cynical cop in me wonders what the homeowner was "into". 99.999% of these sort of "home invasion's" are people who are all involved in the same sort of "business" if you catch my meaning.

Not that that should minimize the death of that poor little girl.
Depends on where you are.

We've had a lot in my region targeting immigrants who distrust the banking system and the government... They're easy pickings, and it's not always reported.

But... yeah. Lots of 'em are people targeted for what they're involved in (drugs, gambling, unlicensed businesses of several sorts).

As to the OP -- Virginia doesn't require any training to buy a gun. Personally -- I'd like to see a basic safety class, and maybe a skills class be required. In my mind -- it'd be a one-time thing, before you could purchase your first gun. LE and security training would satisfy; I'm not 100% sure about military only because I don't know that they cover at-home safety very much.
 

K-man

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A tragedy indeed. I posted a scenario in the "Glad I don't live in Australia" thread pointing out the possibility of accidently shooting a family member. Two months later we have a real situation. Now it's the fault of the intruders? Yes, they shouldn't have been there but when someone picks up a gun, closes his eyes and pulls the trigger, it's hardly responsible.
Two of the burglars are being prosecuted for murder - even though they did not fire the shots that killed the little girl, they were the original cause of the incident and in the USA, they can be held criminally liable for the results; just like a person who commits arson on an abandoned building can be charged with murder if there is someone inside he didn't know about and didn't intend to kill. It doesn't matter - you're responsible for the consequences of your actions.
Interesting. I would have thought that that law would be hard to prosecute. Say I were to cause a traffic accident. Someone driving past looks at my accident, instead of watching the road, and hits and kills a pedestrian. Who is responsible for the death?
 
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Bill Mattocks

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A tragedy indeed. I posted a scenario in the "Glad I don't live in Australia" thread pointing out the possibility of accidently shooting a family member. Two months later we have a real situation. Now it's the fault of the intruders? Yes, they shouldn't have been there but when someone picks up a gun, closes his eyes and pulls the trigger, it's hardly responsible.

From the report, the men came into the house firing weapons. The victim should not have done what he did - firing back with his eyes closed. However, the risk of people dying from gunfire was already present.

Interesting. I would have thought that that law would be hard to prosecute. Say I were to cause a traffic accident. Someone driving past looks at my accident, instead of watching the road, and hits and kills a pedestrian. Who is responsible for the death?

In the USA, when a person commits a felony, they are responsible for the consequences of that act. We have put people to death for murder when the merely drove the 'getaway car' and did not pull the trigger themselves nor intend that anyone be killed. They intentionally committed the crime; any reasonable person could foresee that death of innocents might occur. Under US law, they are as responsible as the person who pulled the trigger. This is mostly used in arson cases, but it has been used in murder cases as well.

This is a legal term known as 'proximate cause'.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felony_murder_rule

The concept of felony murder originates in the rule of transferred intent, which is older than the limit of legal memory. In its original form, the malicious intent inherent in the commission of any crime, however trivial, was considered to apply to any consequences of that crime, however unintended. Thus, in a classic example, a poacher shoots his arrow at a deer, and hits a boy who was hiding in the bushes. Although he intended no harm to the boy, and did not even suspect his presence, the mens rea of the poaching is transferred to the actus reus of the killing.
 

jks9199

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A tragedy indeed. I posted a scenario in the "Glad I don't live in Australia" thread pointing out the possibility of accidently shooting a family member. Two months later we have a real situation. Now it's the fault of the intruders? Yes, they shouldn't have been there but when someone picks up a gun, closes his eyes and pulls the trigger, it's hardly responsible.
Interesting. I would have thought that that law would be hard to prosecute. Say I were to cause a traffic accident. Someone driving past looks at my accident, instead of watching the road, and hits and kills a pedestrian. Who is responsible for the death?
It's called "felony murder." Briefly, during the commission of certain crimes (generally, felonies like burglary, robbery, murder, etc.), you're criminally responsible for deaths that occur as a result of the underlying offense, even if that wasn't your intent or plan. Say you decide to commit a robbery, but you don't want to actually hurt anyone so you're using a fake gun. But... the guy you accost has a heart attack and dies. Felony murder. Or, I go with you as a lookout & getaway driver. You go into a bank, and commit a robbery, shooting the bank guard dead. I get to go on the murder ride with you, because I was involved in the crime.

And -- yes, you can find yourself charged with murder under the felony murder rule if you're the lookout, and the robber gets shot and killed by the guard.

The underlying idea is simple; make it a really, really bad idea to commit felonies and have someone killed during them.
 

K-man

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Now if we read the report carefully there was just ONE intruder, the other two persons were outside. The inference is that he was not even in the house when the man shot his step daughter. So one of the guys who didn't enter the house and didn't fire a weapon is charged with a murder his associate didn't commit directly and who possibly wasn't even present when the killing occurred.

Then another intriguing piece "
Burton has been granted immunity from prosecution by prosecutors in his exchange for his testimony in this case."

I will be very interested to hear the outcome of the case.
 

Archangel M

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I'm betting that all involved (excepting the little girl) are "dirty".

Call it a gut feeling.
 
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Bill Mattocks

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So one of the guys who didn't enter the house and didn't fire a weapon is charged with a murder his associate didn't commit directly and who possibly wasn't even present when the killing occurred.

Yes, that is correct. That's the entire theory of proximate cause. It's nothing new here, I assure you.

http://www.dispatch.com/live/conten...rial.ART_ART_08-15-08_B2_I4B1IUK.html?sid=101

2007 fatal shooting
Driver of getaway car guilty in murder


http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2011/jan/27/court-upholds-murder-conviction-man-who-drove-geta/

Court upholds murder conviction for man who drove getaway car

http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/16771512/detail.html

Getaway Driver In Burger King Murder Convicted
 

Bruno@MT

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But it does not bring the poor little girl back. I'm sure the step-father will live with this on his conscience forever. If you own a firearm for self-defense; take this to heart. Learn to use it properly, learn when to use it and when not to. Practice with it. Be as safe as you can be with a deadly weapon.

He is the step-father. If it turns out this happened because he was dirty, the rest of his life might be very short indeed if the actual father shows up. I know that I would be angry enough already at this moron if it was an honest accident. If it turns out it is crime related, he 'd best flee the state and change his name.
 
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Bill Mattocks

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He is the step-father. If it turns out this happened because he was dirty, the rest of his life might be very short indeed if the actual father shows up. I know that I would be angry enough already at this moron if it was an honest accident. If it turns out it is crime related, he 'd best flee the state and change his name.

Dunno, but found this:

http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/...ld-home-invasion-by-accident?odyssey=nav|head

bilde

John Edmond (right), biological father of Amaia Edmond speaks with Amaia's step-father LaVar Burton prior to a Candlelight Vigil July 26, 2010. Amaia was shot and killed in a home invasion when the assailants opened fire and Burton returned it, wounding Amaia in the crossfire. / Kevin W. Fowler | For the Lansing State Journal
 

Bruno@MT

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That is commendable. I honestly don't know if I would be man enough to do that.
Although I wonder if that feeling will last, should there be foul play on the part of the step father.
 

Archangel M

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GANG IDENTIFICATION 101
-NEW YORK YANKEE: Blue, usually worn by CRIPS (hats and jackets)
 

Bruno@MT

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So the color of the clothes denotes gang affiliation? How does that work for other people? I mean, if the crips have blue, and blood have red (or something else), that leaves all non gang people with only green and yellow to wear?
 
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