Indiana Tech Professor weighs in on ‘use of force’ debate

Police investigate a shooting in the 3600 block of Dupont Road.
Police investigate a shooting in the 3600 block of Dupont Road.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)- A shooting at a north side gas station over an Xbox has stirred up some conversation about gun laws. Many debating whether or not the shooter at Lassus Handy Dandy was within his right to do so.

Director of Criminal Justice at Indiana Tech, Dominic Lombardo, said the law is very clear. Deadly force can be used as a defense when primarily when you are in fear of your life or someone else’s life, he said. That cannot be used in defense of property.

According to Fort Wayne Police, a man was shot in the gas station parking lot near the 3600 block of East Dupont. Police who were called to the scene found David Walters on the ground suffering from a gunshot wound.

Walters and another man set up a meeting to arrange the purchase of an Xbox, according to police. While talking over the sale, Walters grabbed the Xbox from the man and ran towards the vehicle he had arrived in. The man then fired one shot, hitting Walters.

“I think the person who did the shooting could possibly be in a lot of trouble,” said Lombardo.

Police have not said if the man trying to steal the property had a weapon, but Lombardo said if the perpetrator had a gun present during a robbery the use of deadly force would be justified.

The same holds true if someone steals from your home. If the intruder is already off the property and does not pose a threat then the gun owner does not have the right to shoot, according to Lombardo.

“If you come down stairs a two o’clock in the morning because you heard a noise and a guy is going down your sidewalk with a TV and you shoot him ? At that point your life is no longer in danger.”

There is an exception. If the intruder is still on your property, Indiana’s stand your ground law (The Castle Doctrine) gives homeowners the right to protect their home even if it means using deadly force.

As for the gas station robbery, authorities have not confirmed if the shooter was licensed to carry the firearm or if he could face charges in the shooting.

“There could be some other circumstances that we are not aware of yet,” said Lombardo. “So it all depends on the police investigation and what the prosecutor decides to do.”