Pegasus 2013

Warning shot?

A veteran in Oregon has some trouble to deal with after he ran a scumbag off his property. The problem is that he fired a warning shot in doing so. It sounds like the guy he ran off was certainly bad news, so why the problems?

On May 26th, 2013 at about 11:21 p.m., Medford Police officers were
dispatched to a report of a 911 hang-up at an apartment at the above
listed address. Officers arrived and determined there was no evidence of
criminal activity. However, while the officers were on scene, they heard a
gunshot and saw a male running. Officers chased down the male and
identified him as Jonathan Kinsella, a wanted felon.

Officers determined that another male, Cory Thompson, 36 years old,
fired an AR-15 Assault Rifle at Kinsella after he found him hiding in his

The investigation revealed that Kinsella saw the officers on scene and ran
knowing he had a warrant. He ran into the backyard of Thompson’s
apartment and tried to climb a fence, but fell down causing a crash.

Thompson went to investigate with his AR-15 rifle. Thompson pointed the
rifle at Kinsella and told him he was armed. Kinsella began walking away
and Thompson fired one round in Kinsella’s direction. Kinsella ran and
was encountered by officers shortly thereafter. No one was struck by the

The investigation revealed that Thompson was not justified in shooting at
Kinsella. Thompson was cited and released for various crimes. His gun
was seized as evidence.

This is actually pretty simple. Warning shots are not a good idea and often not legal. If the bad guy was coming at him and Thompson believed he was in danger, i.e. "feared for his life or the life of others", then he can shoot the intruder. Period. That is the standard for self defense. The standard for warning shots doesn't exist and hence the problems Thompson now faces. If he admitted the guy was walking away as the police report states, then he had no reason to shoot. If the guy was coming at him, then he may have. Essentially the standard for legally firing a warning shot defaults to the standard for self defense. Hopefully Thompson is and was smart enough to make that disctinction. If he was firing at a guy who was already leaving, then he probably deserves the trouble. If not, this is an overreach by law enforcement.