Portsmouth homeowner could face charges after shooting burglar

Posted at 11:40 PM, Feb 10, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-10 23:40:13-05

Portsmouth, Va. - A burglar breaks into a Portsmouth town home and is shot by a man inside of the house. The homeowner didn't want to tell NewsChannel 3 what happened.

He wasn't physically hurt in the early Sunday morning burglary.

The man also wouldn't tell NewsChannel 3 how the burglar broke in, if there were any threats made, or what condition the burglar was in before he pulled the trigger.

Investigators say Sunday at 3 a.m., a call came in for an active burglary.

The investigation is active and police won't comment on it. The homeowner who shot the burglar could face charges.

Jarrett McCormack is a defense attorney in Virginia Beach. He says what it comes down to is whether the man felt threatened by the burglar.

"You have a reasonable fear for your family or yourself," McCormack said.

The key to that is if the burglar was armed, something police aren't saying.
Virginia does not have a castle doctrine, which allows people to use deadly force in defending their home.

That proposed law has been defeated multiple times by leaders in Richmond.
In Sunday morning's case, the burglar was hurt and had to be taken to the hospital but is doing fine now.

McCormack says, especially since the burglar wasn't seriously hurt, it's unlikely any charges will go against the shooter.

"It's really rare in these cases," McCormack said. "I think commonwealth attorneys often times shy away from it because when somebody breaks into a house, they're not the most sympathetic victim."

Police are not saying when they expect the investigation to wrap up.