Another Tragic Test for the Castle Doctrine?

by lizard

Last night, a 17 year old kid was shot and killed after breaking in to the garage of a home up Grant Creek:

Police responded to a house in the 2600 block of Deer Canyon Court – in the Grant Creek neighborhood – shortly before 12:30 a.m. Sunday after receiving a report of a shooting.

On arrival, officers found the male and female residents in front of the house, with a 17-year-old male in their garage with a gunshot wound.

The male resident of the house reportedly found the intruder in his garage after an alarm went off, and shot him with a shotgun. The victim eventually died from the injuries.

However this ultimately went down, the result is a teenager died, and that’s tragic. Now cue the commentary.

I don’t know how I feel about this story. With my recent decision to purchase a handgun, I’ve brought the lethal capacity to deliver death to a would-be intruder into my home. I’m still not altogether comfortable with that, and I keep the gun in our new safe while storing the ammo separately.

I’ve also been that punk-ass kid breaking into garages.

When I was a teenager in the late 90’s, I went out on a handful of late-night excursions to prowl suburbia with a few mischievous friends. We looked for houses where residents had accidentally left open their garages. We called it “garage hopping”.

Snatching beers was primarily what motivated our hooliganism, but really we were just bored suburban brats looking to get a few rushes of adrenaline from doing something we knew we shouldn’t be doing.

We got chased one time I remember, and the guy was pissed. He got in his car and drove the streets looking for us as we hid like rabbits in the bushes. Looking back, it was incredibly stupid, and I still feel guilty about some of the idiotic shit we pulled.

With last night’s shooting death of a teenager, there is only speculation. We have no idea the circumstances that led to this deadly confrontation. My parents actually live in this neighborhood, and they said there’s been talk of multiple break-ins lately, whatever that may mean.

Here’s more from the initial report:

Police arrested and booked Markus Kaarma, the 29-year-old male resident of the house, on suspicion of deliberate homicide. No charges have yet been filed, however.

Police Sgt. Travis Welsh said it will be up to the Missoula County Attorney’s Office to determine what charges, if any, will be filed against Kaarma.

Welsh said the incident remains under investigation. There is no indication that the intruder was armed, he said.

However, “we wouldn’t arrest someone without probable cause a crime had been committed,” he added.

It’s way too early in this case to be able to say much of anything. As the case moves through the criminal justice system, individuals who work within the system will have to make decisions about whether or not this case will be prosecuted, and how. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.


  1. d.g.

    Had the human in the morgue tonight been a 21 year old…a 34 year old….a 58-year-old would deadly force sit better? If the body waiting for family was chronically homeless….would it have been “better”? The commentator’s “wait-and-see” attitude belies the fact that we can influence gun laws and the enforcement– if not interpretation–of those laws. Do we split hairs on corpses or do we admit that most people who own guns lack the need if not the good judgement to use them “appropriately”. Hell, most Missoula “robbers” could be driven off with the flash on a cell phone camera. I hope you will rewrite your response to this killing.

    • lizard19

      the reason I think the age of the shooting victim is important is because, if you actually read the post, I described the stupid, impulsive behavior I myself engaged in at that age.

      but really we don’t know anything other than the age of the dead teenager. we don’t know if the shooter knew the victim, for example.

      as to your assertion that “most people who own guns lack the need if not the good judgement to use them “appropriately”” I’m wondering how you came to that conclusion? this is just a hunch, but I would assume that there are more people who own a gun who don’t use it to kill another person than there are gun owners who have irresponsibly used their gun to kill someone.

  2. Buzz Feedback

    Umm …

  1. 1 The Deliberate Homicide Charge That Could Take on the Castle Doctrine | 4&20 blackbirds

    […] I wrote this post yesterday, nothing was known about what happened. That has changed, […]

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