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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 (191-200):
Naturewoman4
by Platinum Member on Mar. 22, 2013 at 12:05 PM
Yeah, I would like to know more about this case. Like why did the teen come at the homeowner. If the homeowner knew the teen, I wonder why the homeowner couldn't of just shoot the teen say in his leg. I'm sure the homeowner knew the teen was drunk & that the teen didn't have a weapon on him.
Quoting EireLass:

He knew the teen. He called him by name, and even let of one round as a warning. The teen continued to come at him.

That's why I continue to say I think there's more to the story than just a 'good athletic boy".

Quoting Naturewoman4:

So sad :(  When I was younger, I once mistaken a house for my grandpa's.  It was a Christmas get together & it was dark.  I went up to a door close-by my grandparents they were celebrating the Holidays as well.  They invited me in & I thought they knew me, even though I didn't quite know who they were lol.  I eventually figured that out lol.  I wish there was some way that the owner could of just pointed the gun at the teen & find out what was going on.  But, I suppose one never knows if that teen had a gun & could of killed them first.  Sad.



AimSnapHolz
by Member on Mar. 22, 2013 at 12:08 PM

This exactly. That homeowner didn't do any wrong IMO, but I can't imagine he feels that way now. It's a terrible tragedy and I'm sure he will live with guilt for the rest of his life. I feel sad for all involved.


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.



ms-superwoman
by Silver Member on Mar. 22, 2013 at 12:12 PM
btamilee
by Silver Member on Mar. 22, 2013 at 12:14 PM

Where did you read that he knew the intruder was the teenager from next door?  I had indeed read that 911 was called, and that a warning shot was fired yet the teen kept coming toward him, but nothing about him knowing the identity of the young man and calling his name out.  Can you provide a link to that information?  Regardless....I too think that there is more to this story.  I can't help feel that the parents of this teen have received more information about what exactly took place that night, and although grieving, are not holding the neighbor responsible for their sons death.  All indications are that the homeowner acted within the law..


Quoting EireLass:

He knew the teen. He called him by name, and even let of one round as a warning. The teen continued to come at him.

That's why I continue to say I think there's more to the story than just a 'good athletic boy".

Quoting Naturewoman4:

So sad :(  When I was younger, I once mistaken a house for my grandpa's.  It was a Christmas get together & it was dark.  I went up to a door close-by my grandparents they were celebrating the Holidays as well.  They invited me in & I thought they knew me, even though I didn't quite know who they were lol.  I eventually figured that out lol.  I wish there was some way that the owner could of just pointed the gun at the teen & find out what was going on.  But, I suppose one never knows if that teen had a gun & could of killed them first.  Sad.




Naturewoman4
by Platinum Member on Mar. 22, 2013 at 12:15 PM

Quoting tooptimistic:

Wow, he must have been very  drunk to not know where he lived.

If someone broke into my house at 2 am, my husband would hold them at gunpoint.


Naturewoman4
by Platinum Member on Mar. 22, 2013 at 12:19 PM
That's what I'm thinking is why couldn't the homeowner just hold him at gunpoint. Then, call 911. Didn't the homeowner see that the kid didn't have a weapon. Just I wonder sometimes if a homeowner could instead of shooting them dead, (in a case like this one), just hold them at gunpoint & call 911. Or even shoot him in the leg. Why point blank shoot him dead. The homeowner will now have to remember this for the rest of his life.
Quoting Naturewoman4:


Quoting tooptimistic:

Wow, he must have been very  drunk to not know where he lived.

If someone broke into my house at 2 am, my husband would hold them at gunpoint.



canadianmom1974
by Gold Member on Mar. 22, 2013 at 1:13 PM
According to the article he was grounded for not cleaning his room.

Quoting turtle68:

 I think you could be right....they didnt ground him for nothing.  IMO the parents taking these steps are trying to discipline their kids because they dont want them going down a lost track.  Maybe he had already been there? 


I just cant imagine accepting it as a final outcome.


Quoting EireLass:


I think there is more to the story that may come out. I think this 'wonderful athletic student' had a bit more going on. Why else would a parent not be too surprised?


Quoting turtle68:

 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 :-(




 

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canadianmom1974
by Gold Member on Mar. 22, 2013 at 1:19 PM
Depending on where I am in the house when I encounter him, a knife, a bat, golf club, various heavy objects I can throw (I'm picturing from the top of the stairs), my fists, feet, teeth. And of course my brain - in thinking my first line of defense in that situation would be to utilise a fire escape route and get the heck out.

Quoting EireLass:

I remembered you're on mobile...that's why no ads for you. Maybe someone can tell me how to get rid of them.

I have 3 dogs. They'd bark to alert me as well. We've been training dogs for 25 years, and I would never assume my dogs to attack.

"I defend myself with whatever means I have....." What are those means? What do you use?

We don't have police in this town. Very small town of 900. If we waited for the police, we'd be dead.

Quoting canadianmom1974:

I don't see the ads, sorry.



Ok, after I wonder what someone has against me that the want me dead ... if my dog hasn't turned them away/ripped their throat out (he's not for protection, but he is very protective, he even tries butting in/barks when hubby wrestles with the kids), I defend myself with whatever means I have until police show up.



In my home the dog barking would have woken us, and we'd have called 911, so even if the person harmed the dog and kept coming I wouldn't have long to wait for police. Especially since they just relocated the police station a couple blocks away from my house. They could walk over in about 2 minutes.


Quoting EireLass:

Any idea how to get rid of that row of ads on the right side of the screen? It covers the text. When someone breaks into your home and you're there, you don't know what their intent was/is until it happens. So if someone's intent was to rape or kill you...what do you do?

Quoting canadianmom1974:

It entirely depends on the people involved, and of course what type of ill intent. Do they want my stuff or do they want to harm me? Honestly though I can only think of maybe 2 or 3 occasions where a home invasion type thing occurred in the 20 years I've lived here - and that sort of thing is always big news because of it's rarity. In those 2 or 3 occasions there have been minor injuries at most. PS - I'm on mobile so I can't trim the tree, sorry :-(
Quoting EireLass:

I guess it really just depends on where a person lives, and what their lifestyle is. Where I used to live (a year ago), I believe we were the only ones with guns on our street. Where I live now...very small farm town. There are only 5 homes on my street. I've only met 1 neighbor...we've become very friendly. He does not have a gun. He is a hunter, and has only ever used a bow and arrow. So even in the environment I live in - the people I would expect to own, don't necessarily see the need. I've never put alot of thought into who does and who does not have a gun (and I don't know why that is). My husband keeps a rifle loaded in the dining room. We have animals, and live in an area of coyote, mountain lions, bear, etc. It's there for the quick stop of the animal. (I have a wrist injury and am not able to use the rifle. I have a handgun.) He thinks when I go out walking, I should carry a gun, for such instances. I don't. I've never locked my house, and have always kept my key in my car. Everywhere I've lived. I've always had the option of living in safe areas. I've never lived in fear. My stuff, is just stuff. In your area...if someone breaks in with ill intent and the owners are sleeping...how does the story end?

Quoting canadianmom1974:

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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canadianmom1974
by Gold Member on Mar. 22, 2013 at 1:23 PM
See, my mind goes to - he's drunk, confused, he's wondering why someone is in HIS house, he's thinking he needs to defend HIS family from this gunman. He thought he was home, why would he stop? Why wouldn't he try to stop the person HE thought broke in?

Quoting EireLass:

He knew the teen. He called him by name, and even let of one round as a warning. The teen continued to come at him.

That's why I continue to say I think there's more to the story than just a 'good athletic boy".

Quoting Naturewoman4:

So sad :(  When I was younger, I once mistaken a house for my grandpa's.  It was a Christmas get together & it was dark.  I went up to a door close-by my grandparents they were celebrating the Holidays as well.  They invited me in & I thought they knew me, even though I didn't quite know who they were lol.  I eventually figured that out lol.  I wish there was some way that the owner could of just pointed the gun at the teen & find out what was going on.  But, I suppose one never knows if that teen had a gun & could of killed them first.  Sad.


Posted on CafeMom Mobile
btamilee
by Silver Member on Mar. 22, 2013 at 1:25 PM

The homeowner did call 911 after the alarm system went off and he fired a warning shot....the young man apparently did not stop and kept coming toward him.  Since we don't know ALL the details, we can only go on what little has been said about that night     If the young man kept coming toward him, then holding him at gunpoint obviously was out of the question.  A split second decision was made. 


Quoting Naturewoman4:

That's what I'm thinking is why couldn't the homeowner just hold him at gunpoint. Then, call 911. Didn't the homeowner see that the kid didn't have a weapon. Just I wonder sometimes if a homeowner could instead of shooting them dead, (in a case like this one), just hold them at gunpoint & call 911. Or even shoot him in the leg. Why point blank shoot him dead. The homeowner will now have to remember this for the rest of his life.
Quoting Naturewoman4:


Quoting tooptimistic:

Wow, he must have been very  drunk to not know where he lived.

If someone broke into my house at 2 am, my husband would hold them at gunpoint.





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