Damn, this is a hard lesson to learn. I will summarize for you. Homeboy gets drunk and goes beating on the backdoor of what he thought was his house. The homeowner thinks he is a criminal and shoots his ass dead. If your gonna get drunk, you better be careful. I say the homeowner was within his rights, what do you think?
Sean Kennedy had been drinking at a Broncos party in Colorado Springs on Sunday night when, according to his father, he drove to the wrong home, pounded on the back door and was shot dead.
Police said Monday that they would turn the case over to the district attorney's office to determine whether the homeowner will be protected under Colorado's "make my day" law. The law is designed to shield residents from prosecution if they use deadly force to protect themselves against intruders.
Grant Kennedy, also of Colorado Springs, said his 22-year-old son was no burglar.
His son had moved into the neighborhood four months ago and apparently was confused about which house was his because the homes look similar, the father said. Sean Kennedy lived about a block from the house where he was shot.
"He had had too much to drink, as boys that age will do, and he apparently went to the wrong house, rang the doorbell and went to the back door and was pounding pretty aggressively, I guess, to wake up his roommates," Grant Kennedy said.
"I guess the people inside were fearful of him. It's just a tragedy."
Patrol officers were called to the home in the 3200 block of Virginia Avenue at 9:50 p.m. Sunday on a report of a burglar trying to get in through the back door. They found Kennedy in the backyard. He had been shot once. Police said two people were in the home. Their names have not been released.
Sean Kennedy was an assistant golf pro at Kissing Camels Golf Course in Colorado Springs who "has never given us a bit of trouble, not even a speeding ticket," his father said.
He was to begin competition next month in The Gateway Tour, a developmental golf league for the PGA Tour, his father said.
"People have a right to protect themselves in their homes, but this is just a tragedy," Grant Kennedy said.
The Colorado legislature passed the state's make-my- day law in 1985.
The law does say a resident of a home must "reasonably" believe the "other person might use any physical force, no matter how slight, against any occupant."
Rohn A. Robbins, a Vail Valley lawyer who has written and lectured on make-my-day laws, said Colorado has an "across-the-threshold" standard, meaning the aggressor must enter the home in most cases.
The law varies in other states, he said. In California, for instance, there has to be no other reasonable alternative than to kill.
Reasonability is often determined by a jury, but in general it means "what would a reasonable person do," Robbins said.
Colorado legislators have tried several times to expand the law, including in 1995 when a bill would have given private citizens the right to use deadly force to stop a fleeing suspect.
In each of the last three legislative sessions, Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Yuma, has sponsored unsuccessful "make-my-day-better" bills to expand the law. He said Monday night that he would try again in the upcoming session.
"Obviously this is a tragic incident," he said of the Colorado Springs shooting, "but it's an isolated incident. A homeowner has a moment or an instant to determine if his life is in danger. He doesn't have time to check IDs or do a field sobriety test to figure out what's going on."
Since 2001, there have been at least seven fatal make-my- day cases in Colorado.
Most recently, 10-year-old Auralia Cisneros was shot in the head by her father's gun in November 2007 when four men broke into their apartment and a gun battle ensued.
Her father, Leo Cisneros, was denied make-my-day protection because prosecutors said he was dealing drugs out of the home.
Joey Bunch: 303-954-1174 or firstname.lastname@example.org