Police are not releasing the name of the victim in the shooting but tell FOX13 he was breaking into Alfred Kirkham’s car when he took notice. The teen tried to run, but the owner chased him and shot him multiple times.
I wonder though strictly from a Tenn law standpoint if chasing someone who attempted to steal property (in this case a car) is the same as actually successfully stealing and possessing the property? (this is assuming of course the teen didn't steal something out of the car before fleeing, not mentioned in article)Police say Kirkham is charged with Second Degree Murder. Legal experts say it should raise questions to the public about Stand Your Ground Laws.
Mark Mesler is a criminal attorney at Rosenblum and Reisen. He says the case of Alfred Kirkham is one that’s caught the attention of legal experts throughout Memphis.
“This is a situation where a person was defending their property and unfortunately used deadly force to defend it. In the state of Tennessee, you can’t use deadly force in order to protect property,” said Mesler.
Mesler says it’ll be difficult to argue the Stand Your Ground Law in this case. Memphis police say the 15-year old shooting victim didn’t have a weapon during the car break-in, but the shooter believed he was reaching for a weapon as he ran.
“It’s not illegal for you to chase someone. If someone was stealing your property, you can chase them. That’s not the problem. The problem is if you’re firing shots and the only way to justify that is if you reasonably believed they were reaching for a weapon,” Mesler explained.
I spend a lot of time in Tenn but never considered chasing after someone who either successfully or unsuccessfully stole something from me, unless it was something potentially dangerous to others, like a firearm. Then again, I rarely take long guns to Tenn, which would be the only guns ever left in a car temporarily. On the few occasions that I have the long gun is secured in a container, the container is hidden from view, the car locked, and usually parked where I can keep an eye on it. If someone were to try to break into my car and they run off without being able to steal my car or stuff inside it, problem solved IMO.