New York Homeowner Shoots at Burglar, Ends Up Arrested

 In 2nd Amendment

Long Island, New York – Donald Cheshire,  a New York homeowner, has been charged with shooting a burglar who broke into his tool shed – twice- on May 28. The burglar sustained non-life-threatening injuries from a warning shot by Mr. Cheshire.

May 28

At about 4:11 p.m., Donald Cheshire of Riverhead, NY called police to advise that a burglar had broken into his tool shed. A police report was filed documenting the incident. Later that night, at around 10 p.m., the burglar returned and Cheshire once again called police.

This time, however, he fired a warning shot at the suspect with his shotgun. The burglar fled, and Cheshire allegedly followed him to Calverton Hills. In fact, the warning shot actually hit the suspect, causing a non-life-threatening injury.

Later, the suspect was transported to Stony Brook Hospital for treatment of his injury.  At the time, police had not yet connected the two incidents.

June 2

Police arrested Donald Cheshire, the homeowner, on a 2nd degree assault charge for shooting the burglar. He was arraigned in Riverhead Justice Court. The burglar himself will be arraigned later.

Donald Cheshire – police photo

New York

New York does have a Castle Doctrine, but it’s ONLY good for the actual residence IF the homeowner is not the original aggressor. The law contains a “duty to retreat” clause for any place outside the residence.

What is duty to retreat?

“In criminal law, the duty to retreat, or requirement of safe retreat, is a legal requirement in some jurisdictions that a threatened person cannot stand one’s ground and apply lethal force in self-defense, but must instead retreat to a place of safety.”

New York’s law allows the use of lethal force only for the residence itself, not for outbuildings. It is one of the weaker self-defense laws in the nation.

One lesson here is that homeowners need to know the laws of their state, especially in areas that are notoriously anti-gun. Had the burglar broken into Mr. Cheshire’s actual house, and he fired from inside the house, he’d likely have been in the clear.


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