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I am just reading the St Petersburg Times and this story and the reactions that follow it really highlight the differences between the UK and the US.

"ST. PETERSBURG - When Michael Allsop heard his bedroom window shatter, police said, he ran into his bathroom and called 911.

But when he saw two hands reach into his house, he put down the phone and picked up his 9mm pistol.

The 59-year-old homeowner opened fire Wednesday morning, wounding a would-be burglar.

The burglar ran away. Minutes later, a man showed up at Bayfront Medical Center with two gunshot wounds. St. Petersburg police said that's where they arrested Michael Patterson, 30, on a charge of burglary of an occupied structure.

"I'm glad he's alive," Allsop said. "Maybe he'll tell his friends not to come back.

"I don't want to kill anybody."

Allsop has had plenty of experience with burglars. Wednesday's break-in was the sixth burglary reported at his home at 1926 Seminole Blvd. S in the five years he's lived there, police records show.

Allsop said he heard a knock at the door about 9:40 a.m. but didn't answer it because he wasn't expecting anyone.

Then he heard the bedroom window shatter.

He fired three or four times when he saw the burglar trying to enter, police said.

It was the same window that was damaged when, police said, three men tried to get into his house on the evening of Aug. 23.

Allsop said he and his son were in the bedroom when that break-in occurred.

Allsop grabbed his weapon and fired several shots at the burglars from inside the home, police said.

He also ran outside and fired one last shot at the retreating burglars. No one was injured or arrested. Police told him that everything he did was legal until he ran outside and fired at the men as they ran away.

A police spokesman said Allsop appeared to have done nothing wrong in Wednesday's shooting.

Under Florida law, people can defend themselves with deadly force if they have a "reasonable fear of imminent peril" from someone "unlawfully and forcefully" entering their residence.

Allsop is a native of Trinidad who immigrated to the United States in 1989. He came to Florida from New York with his son, now 6, about five years ago. He has no criminal record in Florida.

Soon after arriving in Cromwell Heights, he felt he had to buy a handgun.

His home was burglarized twice in 2005, once in 2006 and twice more in 2009, records show. After being victimized again Wednesday, the widowed, single father said he just doesn't feel safe.

"At this point, I'm seriously thinking about moving," Allsop said.

Patterson of 2464 14th Ave. S was treated at the hospital for gunshot wounds to his hand and upper body, then was booked into the Pinellas County Jail.

In 2007, he pleaded no contest to charges of grand theft and larceny, court records say.

He was adjudicated guilty and sentenced to time served.

In January he was arrested on a petty theft charge, to which he has pleaded not guilty".


These are just two of the comments on the Newspaper's Web Blog.

peter goesinya wrote:

@ NATIVE and CWB, it is legal to shoot them in the back as long as they are still INSIDE your home or vehicle. Once they are outside, you will be charged with murder or at best, assault with a deadly weapon. CWB, the way to solve the prolbem with the intruder grabbing the barrel of your shotgun is this, 1st, NEVER allow yourself to get withing range of them being able to grab or lunge at your weapon. 2nd, fire as soon as you ID your target. You are not required to fire a "warning" shot or even give a verbal command to the intruder. It is totally legal to shoot first ask questions later if you feel you or someone else is in danger or their life is at risk. Prolbem solved.

Feb 25th, 2010 2:09 PM20Report Abuse

Native44 wrote:

I believe that with the latest clarification of Florida's Castle Doctrine, it is perfectly legal to shoot at a person that has attacked you, or were attempting to break in to your house, EVEN IF THEY ARE RETREATING. It USED to be illegal to shoot a retreating attacker but that stipulation was clarified by the Florida courts and it is now legal to shoot them in the back, IF you feel it is necessary.
It used to be that the felon could call off the attack and run away with the "understanding" that he would not be shot in the back. The new ruling means that the homeowner is the only one to decide when the attack has ceased. The courts decided that there was every possibility that the attacker is going to get another weapon or will return to finish what he started. Now, the homeowner decides when the attack is over and can legally shoot the intruder in the back while he is running away. Criminals need to be aware that you are no longer "safe" if you turn and run.
 

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Mid England Retrims.
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shows what pussies the uk law system is , over here the shot burgler would get compensation and a nice state handout for the rest of their scumbag life. i have always said that you should be able to defend yourself in your own home with what ever force you feel reasonable. i look at this way , if a low life theiving scumbag decides to break in to your house , theres a 100% chance he has`nt told anybody he is going to do this. so if he is there and nobody knows he is there , whos going to know where to start looking for the body????? he gets in through the window , he goes out in a roll of carpet to the tip. simple. :finger: . i will do time to defend my family from the lowlife wankers out there.
 

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I totally agree. Too many scumbags but no wonder when they know they can get away scot free.
 

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shows what pussies the uk law system is , over here the shot burgler would get compensation and a nice state handout for the rest of their scumbag life. i have always said that you should be able to defend yourself in your own home with what ever force you feel reasonable. i look at this way , if a low life theiving scumbag decides to break in to your house , theres a 100% chance he has`nt told anybody he is going to do this. so if he is there and nobody knows he is there , whos going to know where to start looking for the body????? he gets in through the window , he goes out in a roll of carpet to the tip. simple. :finger: . i will do time to defend my family from the lowlife wankers out there.
Totally agree with you there
 

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The real problem here is that once the burglar has got in your house - and got away with your stuff, he's likely to come back again once insurance money has replaced the stolen items - he already knows the layout of your place, and even if you have put addiional security in, he will still get back in. Get yourself a seriously nasty dog, don't feed him - let the burglar be his meal:pmsl:
 

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I do like the way the paper published the would be burglar's address! Our laws are so unreasonable in what we are able to do to defend ourselves.
 

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Dave Cameron did say he would change the law to allow victims of crime more self defence but even if he did I bet the European Court and all the 'human rights' brigade would fight all the way to stop ordinary citizens having more rights than criminals.
 

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richard rawlplug
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They way I look at it if someone put one toe inside my property uninvited they will gets what they deserved.

Bob..
agreed.....
 
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