SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WJBK) - There are a select few ways that you can justifiably shoot your weapon at another person and, in the wake of a teen who stopped to ask for directions nearly being shot, we're taking a closer look at your rights.
Last week, a Rochester Hills teenager trying to go to school stopped to knock on a door and ask someone for directions. He was met with a shotgun, the man holding the gun shot it as the boy was running away. The 14-year-old avoided being hit by the gunshots and ran and hid.
Brennan Walker's story is now a national one after he was nearly by a man authorities identify as Jeffrey Zeigler, a retired Detroit firefighter charged with assault with intent to murder.
The question everyone, gun-owner or not, should know the answer to is this: when is it okay to use your gun for personal protection? We took that question to William Kucyk, a retired police officer, lawyer, and concealed pistols license instructor.
We threw several scenarios at him, very few of which actually justified the use of a gun.
In the Rochester Hills incident, Zeigler claimed his wife was hysterical saying the teen was trying to break into him home. Surveillance video apparently tells a very different story. Walker's mom saw the video but authorities have not released it yet.
"If this young man was running away as I have been led to believe, then you're not facing risk of immediate injury or death. You're not facing a risk whatsoever and a firearm is not an appropriate response to that," Kucyk said.
He says you can't shoot someone over stolen property - and the law even considers pets property.
"They are going to have to be forcing their way into their home, unlawfully, with the intent to enter your home," he said. "You can only use your firearm to protect yours or another life."
Even firing a warning shot to scare someone off is illegal, even for police. Kucyk offers advice that if you think that something looks suspicious, or even if someone is breaking in, don't open the door.
In his CPL classes - using lethal force is always taught to be the very last option and isn't something to be taken lightly even for the most skilled with a firearm.
"If I'm really trained in my firearm and I know I'm really competent with it, I don't have to make these panic decisions," Kucyk said. "You should go to great lengths to avoid shooting another human being."