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Published: Tuesday, 4/10/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

Shooting burglary suspect justified

Police cite state law that upholds action

BLADE STAFF

Toledo police say a Point Place homeowner who shot and injured a man he said was burglarizing his home was justified under state law.

The suspect, Victor Stubblefield Jr., 49, of Toledo, was upgraded from serious to fair condition Monday in Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center and will be charged with aggravated burglary upon his release from the hospital, said Sgt. Joe Heffernan.

Todd and Lisa Dings were sleeping in their home on Hoops Drive near Suder Avenue early Saturday morning when Stubblefield broke the glass to a side garage door, according to court documents. He then unlocked the door and entered the home, carrying with him a crowbar and a screwdriver.

Sgt. Heffernan said when Mr. Dings was confronted with the suspect in the hallway, he feared for his family's safety, and fired his pistol twice, hitting him in the arm and chest.

"He's perfectly justified in what he did," the sergeant said. "Under Ohio law, you are entitled to protect yourself in your own home.

"If an intruder comes into your house and it's your opinion they are there for a criminal purpose ... and you feel threatened, you are allowed to use force, including up to deadly force."

Ohio is a state that falls under the Castle Doctrine, which states that a person is allowed, in certain circumstances, to attack an intruder without being liable for prosecution.

The law is incorporated in some form in most states. Sergeant Heffernan said Ohio does not contain a "duty to retreat" clause that says a person has the duty to safely retreat instead of using force if they are able to do so.

Sergeant Heffernan said Mr. Dings did the right thing by holding him at gunpoint while Lisa Dings communicated with authorities on 911.

"It was very helpful to us; When we arrived on scene we already knew what happened and were able to take control," he said.

The sergeant said the homeowner surrendered his pistol to police after the incident. The couple's 7-year-old son was also home, and sleeping in bed, but stayed in the bedroom during the incident, Sergeant Heffernan said.

When reached at her home Monday, Mrs. Dings did not want to talk about the incident.

"We just want to move forward," she told a reporter at her front door.



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