Vigilante justice backfired for six Washington residents who are now in trouble with the law. One was arrested and held in jail in lieu of $250,000 bond and the others were questioned by police about a home invasion.
The incident was the result of a woman being burglarized. The woman learned from a relative that her stolen belongings, including a gaming system and a flat-screen television, were in a man's trailer home about an hour south of Seattle. The relative had been in the home and took photos of her missing property. The woman gave the photos to the police along with the name of the suspect, but because sheriff's deputies did not act on the tip as quickly as the woman had wanted, she took matters into her own hands.
Earlier this month, the woman enlisted the help of five friends, who armed themselves with baseball bats, two BB guns and real gun and drove to the suspected burglar's trailer in the middle of the night to retrieve her property. The group reportedly knocked on the door of the trailer first. When they got no response, two of the friends broke in - one crawling through a window to open a door for the other.
The man who lived in the trailer and his girlfriend were sleeping when they were awakened by noises. They looked at a surveillance monitor and saw the group of people surrounding the trailer. The resident grabbed a handgun before opening the bedroom door and finding two men in his living room. When he yelled at the men, one of them shot at the resident at least twice, hitting him in the chest and pelvis.
The two men ran outside and drove off with the other four friends while the homeowner shot at them as they sped away. The injured man was driven to the hospital by his girlfriend. When interviewed by deputies, he denied stealing the gaming system and TV. He told them he purchased the electronics from a man he did not know.
The group of would-be home invaders was identified by deputies from footage recorded on the man's surveillance system. The 18-year-old who fired the shots was arrested and charged with assault and burglary, both in the first degree. He was jailed on $250,000 bail even though he claimed he was protecting himself from the resident of the trailer.
A person is guilty of burglary in the first degree if he or she enters a building with the intent to commit a crime and are armed with a deadly weapon or assault a person. A person is guilty of assault in the first degree if he or she, with intent to inflict great bodily harm, assaults someone with a firearm or any deadly weapon or by any force or means likely to produce great bodily harm or death. Both are Class A felonies, punishable by up to life in prison, or a fine of up to $50,000, or both.
Everyone has lapses in judgement. Regardless of the circumstances, anyone charged with a criminal act deserves the best defense. If you have been arrested and face criminal charges, call the Seattle law office of Steve Karimi at (206) 621-8777 or contact him online.
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