Homeowner's arrest for shooting man spawns debate over state self-defense law

Police say a homeowner shot a man who pointed a gun at his family, but the homeowner was arrested.

FRANKLINTON-  Wilson Glenn Rowell says he would do anything for his family, and he was forced to prove it last week.

He had offered to take a family friend, who had been staying at his home in Franklinton, back to Mississippi.  But when he got suspicious that friend was taking one of his guns with him, a confrontation began.

Authorities say the man pulled the stolen gun from his bag and pointed it at Rowell, his mother and his wife, who was holding the couple's baby.

That's when Rowell got a shotgun and said he fired a warning shot into the ground, then at the man while he was still holding the gun, and a final shot when the man started running, after dropping the gun.

The injured man was taken to the hospital, while the Washington Parish Sheriff's Office arrested Rowell for aggravated battery.

"I just had to protect my family," he said. "Do what any man should do."

Many people debating the topic on social media agree with Rowell, while others say Louisiana's "Stand Your Ground" law, or Castle Doctrine is clear.  It says despite the homeowner and his family feeling threatened, the case turned criminal when the accused gun thief removed the weapon threat by dropping the gun and then removed the physical threat by turning around and running away.

"If we're in imminent danger, on our property, and we feel that our life is threatened, then we have a right to defend ourselves," said Washington Parish Chief Deputy Mike Haley. "But once that threat is over, then legally we do not have a right to use force against the other individual."

Now, Rowell is back home with his family, acknowledging the law, but maintaining that he'd do anything for his family, regardless.

When the man shot in this incident is released from the hospital, authorities say he will be booked with theft of a firearm and three counts of aggravated assault with a firearm.

© 2017 WWL-TV


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