Sunday afternoon, May 22nd Virginia Morrison, 70 was confronted in her living room by an unknown, middle-aged male intruder.
Virginia immediately demanded to know who he was, what he wanted and what he was doing there. Standing there mute, the intruder did not reply. At that point, Virginia attempted to scare him off, striking the man in the face with the bristle end of a broom.
When her attempts failed, she shouted to her live-in companion, Charlie, 80, who was in an adjacent room, to get his gun.
Failing to dissuade the intruder with her broom, Virginia threw her cell phone at the man.
Upon Charlie entering the room and assessing the situation, he fired one round from is .45 caliber semi-automatic into the living room floor to frighten off the intruder. Again, the intruder was undeterred.
At that point Virginia retreated to get her own gun. Virginia then exited the home by the backdoor and circled the house to the front yard where she again encountered the intruder.
Standing in the front yard facing her assailant, Virginia again shouted to the man demanding to know who he was, what he wanted and what he was doing there. Again, her assailant did not answer. Virginia then warned him that she had a gun and was prepared to use it.
When the man advanced on her, Virginia fired one warning shot into the air. Again unfazed, the man continued to walk toward her. Virginia then pointed her .38 Special revolver at her assailant’s chest and fired a single shot, striking her assailant in the chest.
Clutching his chest and seeing blood on his hands, the assailant turned, took several steps toward the driveway and fell to the ground, where he died.
What Virginia Morrison did right:
- Called for assistance from her companion.
- Retreated from the room to obtain her gun.
- Exited the home.
- Fired one well-placed shot in her assailant’s center of mass, neutralizing the threat.
- Had a sufficient caliber gun to neutralize the threat.
What Virginia and Charlie did wrong: Oh my!
- Initially, tried to speak with and rationalize with the intruder.
- Initially, attempted to scare off the intruder with a broom, when her help was only feet away.
- Threw her only means of communication (cell phone) at the intruder.
- Charlie fired warning shot into the floor.
- Virginia ran from the home rather than aiding Charlie and firing on the intruder inside the home.
- When encountering her assailant again outside the home, Virginia attempted to rationalize and have a conversation with him.
- Virginia fired a warning shot into the air. Where did that bullet end up?
- Virginia fired only one shot. Rarely is one shot sufficient to neutralize a threat.
- Cooperative fully with law enforcement officers investigating the incident, without consulting an attorney.
- Gave a live interview with the news media, without consulting an attorney.
- At no time, during her recorded TV interview, did Virginia ever state that she was in fear for her life.
- Virginia only stated that she was sorry for what she did. She did what she had to do and she would do it again. She stated that she hoped God would forgive her for killing a man.
The bigger picture and time proven recommendations:
- In Florida, your home is your castle. Under Florida’s ‘Castle Doctrine’, your home is your castle. Anyone entering your home univited, armed or unarmed, is deemed to be there to do you harm and you are justified in the use of lethal force.
- You only fire your gun in defense of your life.
- There is no such thing as a “warning shot”, either inside or outside the home. Firing a “warning shot” can send you to prison for 20 years.
- You do not attempt to carry on a conversation with your assailant. He or she is not your friend.
- In most instances, you are dealing with someone who is:
- Stung out on drugs or under the influence of alcohol
- Mentally ill
- Extremely angry
- In the home, retreat to a ‘safe room’ and make a stand. Do not exit the home. Your assailant may have accomplices outside.
- When firing on your assailant, fire until your threat is neutralized. Resign yourself to firing a minimum of 3 rounds and re-assess. Rarely is one round sufficient to neutralize a threat.
- When law enforcement arrives, the only state you should make is: “I was in fear for my life.” “I want to speak to my attorney.” PERIOD and you say NO more!
- In such a situation, your only friend is your attorney. Your attorney is the only one who can keep you from spending the rest of your life in the state penitentiary.
- You absolutely, positively give NO statements to the media. Your only friend is your attorney. Your attorney is the only one who can keep you from spending the rest of your life in the state penitentiary.
DISCLAIMER: Nothing contained herein is to be considered to be legal advice. If you have questions regarding your legal rights, consult an attorney licensed in the state of Florida.