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Cathedral City home invasion shooting prompts question of rights California homeowners have to protect their home

A home invasion suspect remained in the intensive care unit and in stable condition as of Monday morning after he was shot by a homeowner in the Cathedral City Cove community.

Police officers were called to a home along the 38200 block of Chuperosa Lane on the east side of the cove Sunday at 6:16 p.m.

The 85-year old homeowner said a man, who was a stranger, broke in to the home and told the elderly residents to leave his home.

According to police, they tried to diffuse the situation, but the homeowner retrieved a gun to protect himself and eventually shot the suspect.

"I heard a noise which I presume was the shot or whatever and I grab my dog and say, 'Hit the floor.' We were laying on the floor and I see some flashing lights on the ceiling of my living room and I looked out the window to the street out there and I saw a lot of police cars," said neighbor, Edward Anthony.

The disturbing confrontation happened feet away from Anthony's home. He said at first he didn't know what happened until Monday morning when neighbors told him.

"It was very scary, we don’t expect something like that to happen that close to our home. That’s why I have these signs up around my house. That why I have a pit bull," said Anthony.

"It’s a shock to the whole neighborhood. We can’t really believe it. It’s a wake up call because you never know," neighbor, Daniel Sergott said.

Police said the man that entered the home told an elderly couple

While the homeowners did not want to speak about the incident, one of them told News Channel 3, "We hold no animosity towards him and hope he gets the help he needs."

"We saw my neighbor sitting on his front wall because he was waiting to confess," said Sergott.

The shooting has prompted questions of whether homeowners have the right to defend themselves in the state of California. In general, criminal defense attorney with Law Offices of Soda & Greenberg said yes, people are able to protect themselves and that "the right to self defense has been enumerated in the law for a million years. It’s not going to change."

"Not knowing all the specifics of this case if someone was trying to break into that home, that gentleman’s home and commit a felony, do any harm to the home or that person, he is on solid ground. You are allowed to defend your home, your home is your castle, that’s codified in the California penal code," said Greenberg.

Greenberg added that presuming great bodily harm when someone is breaking into your home is presumption stated in the law.

"Even if it’s not all the indicators that you want, you are presumed to have great bodily harm done to you if someone’s trying to break into your home and that’s in jury instruction," said Greenberg.

It's unclear what type of mental state the suspect was in. Greenberg said the District Attorney could still bring the case to trial.

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Shelby Nelson

Shelby Nelson is a News Reporter for KESQ News Channel 3. She joined our team in September 2019 after living in San Francisco for 6 years. Learn more about Shelby here.

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