Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said they have arrested a store owner who shot and killed an alleged burglar who broke into a business.
The owner of the American Beauty and Garden Center called 911, saying that he saw a burglar inside via a security camera, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The man, a few minutes later, called 911 again and said he shot someone in the business.
When police arrived, they found 20-year-old Justin Tyler Anderson, who was shot, outside at the back of the business. They also found the store owner, 49-year-old Alan Brett Corder, standing nearby, according to the report. Anderson was pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene.
Later, Corder was charged with voluntary manslaughter, the newspaper reported.
Investigators said that it appeared that Anderson broke into the business after smashing the front door. When Corder arrived, he ran out and was then shot by Corder.
An attorney said that Corder was within his rights to shoot the burglar, WSOC-TV reported, but the victim’s family does not agree.
“Unfortunately, this gentleman decided to play judge, jury, and executioner all in the same moment,” attorney Justin Bamberg, who represents Anderson’s family, told WSOC.
Bamberg said that Anderson was shot in the face and back, and he noted that the back gunshot wound could make the difference in the case. A gunshot wound in the back would suggest that Anderson was running away and wasn’t a threat to the store owner.
Bamberg added that Anderson was unarmed.
“There is no evidence between these two there was a confrontation of any type,” Bamberg told the station. “In that moment, shooting is not self-defense.”
Corder’s defense attorney George Laughrun, meanwhile, said that Corder had no choice but to defend himself.
Neighbors said they were stunned.
“Personally, I would’ve just tried to scare him away,” neighbor CJ Williams, who works nearby, told WSOC. “I don’t know if I would’ve done all that and taken a life, but I understand you’re trying to defend your business.”
‘Stand Your Ground’ Law?
Former federal prosecutor Kathleen Nicolaides, who now teaches at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, said that critical questions in the case entail where Corder was standing, whether the shooting occurred on private or public property, or if the victim was unarmed. “Will he be charged, because the law here in North Carolina is you cannot use deadly force to protect your property,” she told the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.
According to a local law firm Kirk Kirk Law, “Citizens of North Carolina had the legal right to defend themselves with deadly force in their homes, vehicles, and workplace without the ‘duty to retreat.'”
“A person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat in any place he or she has the lawful right to be if either of the following applies” if one “reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another,” the law firm said. The other instance where one can use deadly force is when “you are in your home, vehicle, or workplace and that the person against whom the defensive force was used was an unlawful intruder or was attempting to forcibly and unlawfully enter one of the above.”