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Teen fatally shot when he mistakenly went into wrong house

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Teen fatally shot when he mistakenly went into wrong house

Family members hold photos of Caleb Gordley in Sterling, Va. (Associated Press/Ann Heisenfelt)

A 16-year-old who lived in Loudoun County, Va., was shot and killed when he accidentally entered the wrong house.

Caleb Gordley, a popular athlete who had been living in a brick house with his parents and sister for about a year, sneaked out of his house to go to a party with friends after he'd been grounded for not cleaning his room.

When he returned around 2 a.m. he slipped into the house he thought was his. Friends said he had been drinking and mistook his neighbor's similar house two doors down for his own and climbed in through the back window.

When the burglar alarm sounded, the homeowner treated Caleb as an intruder, and shot and killed him.

Caleb's father, Shawn Gordley, told The Washington Post, "They have the exact same staircase as us, the exact same carpet. Caleb clearly thought he was in his own house." He added, "He probably stumbled around and was just trying to go to his room."

At Sterling Park High school in Sterling, Va., students mourned the loss of a talented athlete. The coach of the basketball team, Mike Koscinski, who had advanced Caleb to varsity this year, said of the junior, "He was the hype man. He got everyone hyped up before games."

A statement from the family reads, "Between the darkness and him being under the influence of alcohol, his mistake turned into the ultimate tragedy."

Police are continuing to investigate the shooting, but Virginia law gives "wide latitude to people who fear for their safety when someone breaks into their homes," according to The Washington Post.

 

 

by on Mar. 19, 2013 at 2:50 PM
Replies (171-180):
Carpy
by Ruby Member on Mar. 21, 2013 at 3:01 PM
1 mom liked this
You make it sound as though we just go around shooting them at random, rather than the real story, that he illegally gained entry into someones home in the middle of the night and disregarded two warnings before being shot.

Quoting canadianmom1974:

Actually I never said anything about pro or anti gun, nor did I say anything at all about police or military. I'm not sure where you pulled that from.



What I was talking about is the culture in the US where it is accepted and normal for almost anyone who wants, to own a gun. That is certainly not the norm here. And the people I know who do own guns (yes, I know gun owners) have not been brought up in that culture where shooting an unarmed teen is excused with 'he must feel awful'.




Quoting EireLass:

If there are Americans who hate guns.....well, right in this post if you pay attention.....how does being Americans make someone pro-gun? You don't believe police and military should have guns?

Quoting canadianmom1974:

American? You are American right?


Quoting EireLass:

What is my culture? hahahahahaha

Quoting canadianmom1974:

It's not the way I or anyone I know would react, so hardly 'anyone'. But again, that's part of your culture, it's not surprising to me. Saddening, but not surprising.


Quoting EireLass:

It isn't a shoot first ask questions later situation. He didn't shoot first. The kid broke in first. He reacted as someone who has someone breaking into his home in the middle of the night. Time doesn't wait. He reacted the same way anyone would react to a non-resident climbing in a window. Why would anyone wait around for introductions, which might involve weapons on the others part?

Quoting canadianmom1974:

You appear to know more than what is in the OP, it says nothing about a verbal warning or a warning shot. And either way we agree he didn't know who or what he was shooting at. You, having been raised in a culture where this is normal and acceptable, has no problem with it. I, not having been raised in that same culture, have a big problem with it. At any rate, I do not and will never understand a shoot first mentality. I find it incomprehensible and irresponsible.


Quoting DSamuels:

I am NOT telling you he knew he was firing at, but you seem to think you know. Either you have reading comprehension difficulties or you're obtuse. Someone who set off a house alarm at 2am, ignores a warning shot and/or verbal warning is usually there with malicious intent. If it was a friend or family, the first thing they would be saying is who they are, and telling you not to shoot. 

Quoting canadianmom1974:

So are you telling me he knew exactly who and what he was firing at? I hope not because that would mean he purposefully shot a stupid unarmed teenager. I'm saying he obviously DIDN'T know what he was shooting at, but in his frightened, half asleep (as described by another poster) state, he was shouting blindly. How is that right?


Quoting DSamuels:

Oh, I didn't know you were an eyewitness to the shooting. You seem to know EXACTLY what happened and why the homeowner fired his gun. SMH

Quoting canadianmom1974:

Morally, ethically wrong? He may not have known the boy wasn't there with malicious intent, but he didn't know he was there with malicious intent. Shooting without knowing who or what you're shooting at is, at best irresponsible, and at worst criminal in my opinion.


Quoting Lizard_Lina:

Morally and ethically what? If they knew he was not there for malicious intent and shot him anyway then I would be on your side with this. But they didn't. All they knew was at 2 am someone broke in their house. They were probably barely awake and panicked. They probably feel awful about what happened.


Quoting canadianmom1974:

Ridiculous. A kid made a stupid mistake and is now dead. Legally that homeowner may not have done anything wrong, but morally, ethically? I wonder how hard it is to live with the knowledge you shot an innocent person?


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sweet-a-kins
by Emerald Member on Mar. 21, 2013 at 3:07 PM
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 I think both sides of this argument have valid points, however, in the middle of the night...woken from a sound sleep to someone breaking into your home. We don't know how we would respond ...I have kids and that would be my first fear ...

I don't think the homeowner was wrong

canadianmom1974
by Gold Member on Mar. 21, 2013 at 5:09 PM
Is there not a huge controversy about gun control in your country right now? Gun ownership IS a part of American culture. I didn't say everyone owns one, but that for almost anyone who WANTS to own one, it is accepted and normal.

You may not be used to open carry laws, but I'm sure that it is not unusual for you to assume that your neighbour owns a gun, or that the woman next to you in line at the store may have a gun at home, or in her purse if she has a permit to carry a concealed weapon. I don't think it's unreasonable to think that any American would assume their neighbour may own a gun.

Very few Canadians would think the same. The people I know who own guns do so mainly for hunting and live mainly in rural areas. I am relatively certain none of my neighbours own guns, though admittedly I don't know them well.

For safety in my own life? I buckle up every time I'm in a vehicle. I usually lock my doors at night - though that's more for the safety of my stuff than my person. Honestly I don't go crazy with worrying or fear, I live in what's termed 'the core' (downtown, inner city, etc) area of my city, yet I regularly walk to and from my job, often late at night.

At the end of the day, if this story happens in my city, it has a different ending. Maybe not an 'and they all lived happily ever after' ending, but nobody dies.


Quoting EireLass:

I think you hear about a gun story, and it's assumed it's a 'cultural thing'. There are 8 in my family. There are only 2 of us with a gun. I don't think 'everyone' owns a gun. You're taking things out of context from the news report. You're writing it as if some guy walked up to his neighbor teen and open fired on him. 

I've recently moved to where I live now. It's legal to open carry....anywhere. I find that odd, it's not what I've ever been used to. I also know if I were in a grocery, pharmacy, etc, and someone walked in with a gun....I would leave immediately.

Everyone lives a different lifestyle. What things in your life do you do for safety's sake?

Quoting canadianmom1974:

Actually I never said anything about pro or anti gun, nor did I say anything at all about police or military. I'm not sure where you pulled that from.



What I was talking about is the culture in the US where it is accepted and normal for almost anyone who wants, to own a gun. That is certainly not the norm here. And the people I know who do own guns (yes, I know gun owners) have not been brought up in that culture where shooting an unarmed teen is excused with 'he must feel awful'.




Quoting EireLass:

If there are Americans who hate guns.....well, right in this post if you pay attention.....how does being Americans make someone pro-gun? You don't believe police and military should have guns?

Quoting canadianmom1974:

American? You are American right?

Quoting EireLass:

What is my culture? hahahahahaha

Quoting canadianmom1974:

It's not the way I or anyone I know would react, so hardly 'anyone'. But again, that's part of your culture, it's not surprising to me. Saddening, but not surprising.

Quoting EireLass:

It isn't a shoot first ask questions later situation. He didn't shoot first. The kid broke in first. He reacted as someone who has someone breaking into his home in the middle of the night. Time doesn't wait. He reacted the same way anyone would react to a non-resident climbing in a window. Why would anyone wait around for introductions, which might involve weapons on the others part?

Quoting canadianmom1974:

You appear to know more than what is in the OP, it says nothing about a verbal warning or a warning shot. And either way we agree he didn't know who or what he was shooting at. You, having been raised in a culture where this is normal and acceptable, has no problem with it. I, not having been raised in that same culture, have a big problem with it. At any rate, I do not and will never understand a shoot first mentality. I find it incomprehensible and irresponsible.

Quoting DSamuels:

I am NOT telling you he knew he was firing at, but you seem to think you know. Either you have reading comprehension difficulties or you're obtuse. Someone who set off a house alarm at 2am, ignores a warning shot and/or verbal warning is usually there with malicious intent. If it was a friend or family, the first thing they would be saying is who they are, and telling you not to shoot. 

Quoting canadianmom1974:

So are you telling me he knew exactly who and what he was firing at? I hope not because that would mean he purposefully shot a stupid unarmed teenager. I'm saying he obviously DIDN'T know what he was shooting at, but in his frightened, half asleep (as described by another poster) state, he was shouting blindly. How is that right?

Quoting DSamuels:

Oh, I didn't know you were an eyewitness to the shooting. You seem to know EXACTLY what happened and why the homeowner fired his gun. SMH

Quoting canadianmom1974:

Morally, ethically wrong? He may not have known the boy wasn't there with malicious intent, but he didn't know he was there with malicious intent. Shooting without knowing who or what you're shooting at is, at best irresponsible, and at worst criminal in my opinion.

Quoting Lizard_Lina:

Morally and ethically what? If they knew he was not there for malicious intent and shot him anyway then I would be on your side with this. But they didn't. All they knew was at 2 am someone broke in their house. They were probably barely awake and panicked. They probably feel awful about what happened.

Quoting canadianmom1974:

Ridiculous. A kid made a stupid mistake and is now dead. Legally that homeowner may not have done anything wrong, but morally, ethically? I wonder how hard it is to live with the knowledge you shot an innocent person?
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DSamuels
by Gold Member on Mar. 21, 2013 at 5:30 PM
1 mom liked this
Yes, it's much better to let them attack you first. SMH

Quoting lga1965:

 


Quoting Sagely:

Very sad. Taking the story at face value though, the homeowner did no wrong. It was just a very, very unfortunate situation.

If someone breaks into my home, I do not intend to make sure they are there with ill intent before I take action to protect my family.

That said, while I do feel the homeowner was totally justified, I imagine he must feel completely devastated to learn the boy's entry was accidental and not malicious in nature.

 Yes, which is why people need to stop thinking it is "okay" to shoot intruders before they know who it is.

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DSamuels
by Gold Member on Mar. 21, 2013 at 5:35 PM
1 mom liked this
Read the damn Washington Post article. I have c&p part of it twice now, once while quoting you.

The homeowner DID SPEAK TO CALEB FIRST. He then fired a WARNING SHOT. When Caleb continued to come at him, he shot.

Again, HE DID CALL OUT FIRST!!



Quoting Momniscient:

It's completely about gun culture. The mentality that everything is a threat. Since when is someone climbing through a window a threat? What kind of neighborhoods are people living in that they can't call out before shooting kids?

I've had my alarm go off. I did not run around shooting. I figured out what was going on and THEN reacted. I've HAD people come into my home one accidentally and I didn't shoot them. I figured out what the fuck was going on and took care of it. Calling out... who is there isn't going to make or break the situation. My parents had their alarm go off because my aunt didn't know they had an alarm, what if they would have just shot her? All based on fear.

THAT'S the gun culture I'm talking about. The one that tells people they should be afraid and they should shoot from the hip because everything and everyone is scary. Even drunk, disoriented neighbor kids.

Quoting stormcris:

The problem is despite not being there to rob or steal people can act in a very unpredictable and aggressive manner when on alcohol and certain drugs. Since he was thinking this was his house he could have acted as if they broke in. If they had picked up the closest items and beat him to death the result would have been the same. It is not about gun culture. And if you thought your life was threatened most often you will continue to try and subdue the threat.

Quoting Momniscient:

If you say so. I would think real responsible gun owners would be smacking their damn heads over this crap.



American gun culture seems to let the morons speak for it.




Quoting EireLass:

Oh it doesn't bother me. You can say I'm defending him if you want. I just didn't realize that if 2 people would act the same that means they automatically defend the other. I have not found this to be so in my life. But it doesn't really matter for this conversation.

Quoting Momniscient:

Perhaps you shouldn't present yourself that way if it bothers you.


Quoting EireLass:

I didn't realize if you feel that you'd do similar, you are automatically defending someone else.

Quoting Momniscient:

Interesting. So why are you defending the guy who just shot and killed a child who mistakenly made his way into the wrong house?

Quoting EireLass:

I handle my gun just fine. I have never shot a person yet. Anything I've killed, I've only ever needed 1 bullet to do it. Most people who know me don't even know I have a gun. It's not for them, it's for me. It's so I can continue to live the life I've created for myself. I already know I would shoot to maim, and when I could see better of who I shot, I'd either call an ambulance or shoot a 2nd time and be done.

Quoting Momniscient:

Nope.I am villifying the gun cultures ideal that their 'rights' are more important than logical thought and enlightened notions of how to handle guns.

Quoting talia-mom:

Kinda like what you are doing to the home owner.


Quoting Momniscient:

I didn't say he was wonderful.I said he was a child who was shot dead after making a mistake.You ever notice how villified people get after someone shoots them?

Quoting EireLass:

And one that does not live there. And one that is as big (by story) as the homeowner.Don't you ever notice how 'wonderful' a person becomes after their dead? I have a feeling the true character of the 'child' is not in print yet.

Quoting Momniscient:

Because apparently it happens that the person in your home at 2AM is a child.

Quoting EireLass:

Why would anyone sit around waiting to find out the character of the person in your home at 2am?

Quoting Momniscient:

I'm sure all the gun nuts will say 'well he was a bad kid and the homeowner was completely justified...'




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DSamuels
by Gold Member on Mar. 21, 2013 at 5:41 PM
Three if you count the alarm going off, unless there was one in his home too. But you would think if you thought you were in your home with an alarm blaring that someone would wake up and you'd identify yourself.

Quoting Carpy:

He had two warnings before he was shot.



Quoting Momniscient:

He made a mistake while being a complete dumbass.

And a gun owner shot first and asked questions later.

And a child is dead.

Wow. Way to put some ribbon on that pretty package.

Quoting btamilee:

 No matter how you paint it up, and try to make it sound like this *victim* was in no way responsible for what happened....it doesn't change the FACTS of what actually took place on that night.   I have yet to read anything from you explaining the behavior of the young man, and his responsibility in the events of that night.  But for his own actions....this event would not have happened.  I feel sad for all involved..



Quoting Momniscient:



Sigh.



Okay. Victim blaming is also another of those American ideals that is so charming.



Quoting btamilee:



 A teenager is indeed dead, and it is a very sad thing.  The teenager would be home, with his family...going on with his day to day life but for the choices that HE made on that night.   I am not convinced that the gun culture is excusing it.  I can't speak for anyone but me....but I see a tragedy here that changed two families lives......forever.  You seem to be excusing the teens responsibility in the events of that night, and placing all the blame on the neighbor.  Once again....this event would NOT have happened, but for the teens actions on that night.



Quoting Momniscient:



Because a child is dead.



And our gun culture somehow excuses that.



Quoting btamilee:



 They did NOT know WHO it was, but they did know that someone was coming through their window at 2 am.  Why are you so quick to place blame on the family, and none on the person who CHOSE to break into a house at 2 am.?  Where is the teens responsibility?  Neither of us know what took place during the time frame,  we don't know what events happened before or after the shooting.  I suspect that the teens  family may know what happened, and the mere fact that they are not holding the shooting against the neighbor....leads me to believe that they are aware of the details of what happened once their son entered the house.   This entire event would NOT have happened but for the decisions that young man made on that night, if he had obeyed his parents, and stayed home.....he would still be alive.  



Quoting Momniscient:



Yeah. Cause obviously his family was in danger from a kid who didn't know what house he was in...



Right.



Shoot first ask questions later. Fine example of American ideals being more important than alive people.



Quoting btamilee:



 Thank god I am not a gun *nut*!  I don't for one minute think that the young man was *bad*, but I do think that he displayed some behavior that led to the very sad events that occurred.  After being grounded, he made the decision to sneak out to a party, where there was underage drinking....he apparently became so intoxicated that when he returned back to his neighborhood at 2am...t he could not tell his house from his neighbors.  So....bad isn't the word I would I would chose for him, but....it was his own behavior that ultimately led to this very tragic death.  There would have been no shooting, if it wasn't for the choices he made on that fateful night.  I think the homeowner was within his rights to defend his house, and the safety of his family.  Legally...what happened was not a crime, but is......a very sad tragedy.  Just so you know....I do not like guns, never have.....never will.  But...that does NOT change the facts of this event....






Quoting Momniscient:



I'm sure all the gun nuts will say 'well he was a bad kid and the homeowner was completely justified...'



































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DSamuels
by Gold Member on Mar. 21, 2013 at 5:43 PM
Hell has just frozen over.
Quoting sweet-a-kins:

 I think both sides of this argument have valid points, however, in the middle of the night...woken from a sound sleep to someone breaking into your home. We don't know how we would respond ...I have kids and that would be my first fear ...


I don't think the homeowner was wrong

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lga1965
by Ruby Member on Mar. 21, 2013 at 5:53 PM

 well, no, but I think I have  much better chance of being hit by a bus than having to deal with a break in.....I'm, in a nice,quiet neighborhood and about 30 miles away from the cities where  crime is more common.

Life is so much more pleasant when one is not tense and always being afraid of break-ins which results in buying guns to defend against some kind of attack...  :-)

Quoting DSamuels:

Yes, it's much better to let them attack you first. SMH

Quoting lga1965:

 


Quoting Sagely:

Very sad. Taking the story at face value though, the homeowner did no wrong. It was just a very, very unfortunate situation.

If someone breaks into my home, I do not intend to make sure they are there with ill intent before I take action to protect my family.

That said, while I do feel the homeowner was totally justified, I imagine he must feel completely devastated to learn the boy's entry was accidental and not malicious in nature.

 Yes, which is why people need to stop thinking it is "okay" to shoot intruders before they know who it is.

 

turtle68
by Mahinaarangi on Mar. 21, 2013 at 6:38 PM

 Absolutely nothing.

I just find it sad that acceptance of your child being shot dead because its the first port of call for homeowners with guns.

Quoting illinoismommy83:

What good would it do for the family to harbor anger? 

Quoting turtle68:

 so much fear...so sad.

Even sadder when you hear the acceptance of the family of the teen :-(


 

btamilee
by Silver Member on Mar. 21, 2013 at 6:39 PM
1 mom liked this

 Actually...your post got me thinking about my daughter, and how she was raised in a very safe area (rural Maine).  Most people in our area use guns for hunting, or target shooting.  When my daughter graduated from HS, she decided that before her move to Florida she wanted to learn to shoot.  I had VERY mixed feelings about this.  She ended up taking a course with her dad, and eventually went on to get her concealed weapons permit.  So....she ended up in Florida, in an area that was not crime ridden, but nothing like her upbringing in Maine (where we don't lock out doors, and leave our keys in the car).  She spent almost two years alone in Florida, and I have to admit......I was VERY happy she took the courses, practiced and had a permit to carry that gun.  She never had to use it, but I felt better knowing.......she if she had to...she could.  I still am not into guns, and although my hubby and daughter have both tried to convince me to go target shooting with them, and take a gun safety course.....I have decided that its just not for me.  With that being said.....I think its a personal choice if you decide to have a gun or not.  What I have an issue with is when the people opposed to guns in general use this particular case to try to bolster their status.  It just doesn't fly with me.....because this case isn't realy about gun safety as much as it should be about.....lets say...underage drinking.  Lets put some focus on that issue.  If this young man (not a child, at almost 17 years old and six feet tall) had NOT been underage drinking to the point that he could NOT find his own home...then this event would never have happened.  Lets put some focus on the dangers of underage drinking....because that is what caused this horrible event.


Quoting lga1965:

 well, no, but I think I have  much better chance of being hit by a bus than having to deal with a break in.....I'm, in a nice,quiet neighborhood and about 30 miles away from the cities where  crime is more common.

Life is so much more pleasant when one is not tense and always being afraid of break-ins which results in buying guns to defend against some kind of attack...  :-)

Quoting DSamuels:

Yes, it's much better to let them attack you first. SMH

Quoting lga1965:

 


Quoting Sagely:

Very sad. Taking the story at face value though, the homeowner did no wrong. It was just a very, very unfortunate situation.

If someone breaks into my home, I do not intend to make sure they are there with ill intent before I take action to protect my family.

That said, while I do feel the homeowner was totally justified, I imagine he must feel completely devastated to learn the boy's entry was accidental and not malicious in nature.

 Yes, which is why people need to stop thinking it is "okay" to shoot intruders before they know who it is.

 


 

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