Home invasion leads to off duty police officer shooting burglary suspect

Tuesday, January 15th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Burglars break into a police officers home and get an unpleasant surprise. The off-duty officer, 23-year-old Mark Sole, shot of the suspects in the hand, the other suspect got away.

Tulsa Police arrested 29-year-old John Kays for first-degree burglary. Officer Sole and his wife were not hurt, the department is investigating.

Do you know the law when it comes to shooting someone in your home? News on Six crime reporter Lori Fullbright puts you to the test. Few things can be more terrifying than a person breaking into your home, your private, protected space. What would you do? What does the law allow you to do?

Can you shoot someone who's taking off in your car or rifling through your tools or sneaking out a window with your stereo? No, Oklahoma law says you can only use deadly force to protect life, not property. Tulsa Police Sgt Wayne Allen, Tulsa Police: "You'll need to convince a judge and jury that you were in fear for your life. If you shoot some guy in the back, you'll have a hard time convincing them of that because that threat is running away from you."

What about if the burglar has no weapon, no gun or knife or baseball bat, can you shoot then? Yes, the law says a stranger in your house creates a special circumstance of fear. Allen: "If you're a female, living alone and a big, burly guy breaks in and has no weapon, you can still be in fear for your life."

Does the ‘Make My Day’ law only applies inside your home? Most people have heard the saying, if you shoot the burglar outside, at least drag his leg inside, to make it legal, is that true? No, it's not the geography that matters, but the level of the threat. Allen: "You can shoot in your shed or in your hard, it's now where the person dies that matters, but, the threat that person's making toward you."

Police say your first priority should be protecting your family's life, but to make sure that's the case, because property can be replaced, but a human life cannot.

Police say if you aren't willing to take a human life, your family should come up with an alternative plan in case of a burglary, like how to escape the home, who's in charge of calling 911 and where to run for safety.