Virginia teen Caleb Gordley was shot and killed by a neighbor Saturday night in what appears to have been a tragic combination of drinking, two identical houses and a homeowner with a loaded gun, the Washington Post reports.
It seems the 16-year-old mistook a neighboring home for his own the night of his death, in a case that will no doubt raise questions about the benefits and risks of gun ownership.
Caleb Gordley wanted to go to a party Saturday night. But the 16-year-old was grounded because he hadn’t cleaned his room. So he decided he’d sneak out of his Loudoun County house to be with his friends.
When he left the party about 2 a.m., Caleb needed to sneak home. His friends dropped him off and helped hoist him through a back window. But Caleb had been drinking and had gone to the wrong house. The brick homes on his street are similar, and Caleb was two doors down from his own.
The homeowner heard his burglar alarm sound, grabbed his gun and went to investigate. When the two met on the stairs inside the house, the man said he told the teen to leave and fired a warning shot, according to a law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation.
Caleb didn’t stop, and the home-owner fired again, striking and killing the teen, the official said.
According to Virginia law is largely silent on when a homeowner can shoot an intruder. But years of legal precedent give wide latitude to people who fear for their safety when someone breaks into their homes.
Read more at the Washington Post.