DA Determining Charges in Homeowner’s Shooting of a Child

A 13-year-old boy was shot in the face and lost his right eye after throwing a rock at a home on Quincy Street. The homeowner, who fired his 20-gauge shotgun at the then 12-year-old boy and his friends, called police to report the shooting and that he believed the boy was attempting to burglarize his home. Criminal defense attorney Barry Covert spoke to WGRZ about the incident and about what charges can be filed against the homeowner, if any. The full story is available on the WGRZ website and by watching the video below.

District Attorney gathering facts

According to WGRZ, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn says he is currently gathering information about the case. “It’s a very fact-specific inquiry that the District Attorney’s office has to make now to decide whether to bring it in front of a grand jury, whether to bring charges in some form,” Mr. Covert explained.

Right to defend your home

Mr. Covert went on to say that the DA must determine whether or not the homeowner was justified in firing his weapon, saying, “On the one hand we sympathize with the homeowner, you don’t want your home to be attacked, you don’t want window broken, you don’t know what’s happening. On the other hand, is it an appropriate reaction from a reasonable person when all you know is that the window was broken and you shoot out the window?”

“If you are protecting your home, you are allowed to use physical force and, if you are protecting it from a burglar or arson, you can use deadly physical force,” Mr. Covert told WGRZ. “You are allowed to defend your home. Your home is your castle.”

About Barry N. Covert

Mr. Covert is a senior partner in Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria’s Criminal Defense Trials and Appeals Practice Area. He is known for his aggressive representation of clients in the areas of New York State and federal criminal trials and appeals; driving while intoxicated; constitutional law, including First Amendment, civil rights actions, and federal False Claims Act; defending against allegations of scientific misconduct and fraud, research misconduct and fraud, plagiarism, and fabrication of evidence; and professional licensing defense. Mr. Covert frequently provides legal analysis for WGRZ and other media outlets.