Woman who shot intruder likely won’t face charges

(WAVY/Lavoy Harrell)

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — The Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office continues to investigate the case of a mother who opened fire on an intruder in her Grace Drive home.

As WAVY.com reported Thursday, the woman could be charged for firing at the man. But the president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League said that is highly unlikely. While Virginia doesn’t have a “stand your ground” law clearly spelled out in code, self defense is allowed.

“We’ve had a stand your ground law since 1604 in Virginia,” President Philip VanCleave said. “It goes all the way back to the first British Settlers.”

VanCleave said he’d be shocked if the woman who shot an intruder inside her home Wednesday night is charged. The woman called police just before 10:30 that night when a man began banging on her door. While on the phone with 911 dispatchers, she went for her gun.

“By the time I got to the edge of the hallway right there, he was in the house, coming at me, so I shot him,” the woman told WAVY.com.

Common law assumes someone breaking into a residence at night is more of a threat than in the daytime.

“If somebody breaks into your house and night, common law says that the assumption is that they’re breaking in to harm you,” VanCleave explained. “They’re not breaking in to steal something, they’re breaking in to harm you because they’re trying to catch you unaware in your sleep.”

A representative for the Commonwealth’s attorney’s office said they could not give an update on the case Friday. They will have to review all the evidence before making a decision on any charges. Still, VanCleave believes it will wrap up quickly.

“Having been in the house and coming at her, she should be in very good shape,” he explained. “She appears to be in the kind of situation that the common law was meant to protect.”

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