STANISLAUS COUNTY (CBS13) – Authorities have identified the man who allegedly broken into a home near Modesto who was shot and killed by a homeowner - the second such incident last week in Stanislaus County.
The most recent incident happened a little after 12:30 p.m. Friday at a property along the 4200 block of West Service Road.
According to the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Office, it appears that a homeowner was alerted about a possible break-in at the property. The homeowner showed up, found someone on his property and went inside the house.
Deputies say 41-year-old Rodney Lee Martin shot at the homeowner multiple times, and the homeowner was able to return fire. He immediately reported the incident by calling 911 as he left the property.
When they arrived on scene and went inside the house, deputies found Martin who had sustained a fatal gunshot wound.
The homeowner is fully cooperating with the investigation, and no arrests have been made, according to the sheriff's office.
They said the gun Martin used was previously reported stolen.
Sheriff Sgt. Erich Layton encourages homeowners to call law enforcement first if you think a crime is being committed.
"Whether or not you can be there in a short time or it's going to take you an extended amount of time to get there, call law enforcement," he said. "Law enforcement has more knowledge and experience in that area because this is what we do for a living, so we can address those issues appropriately based on what the law allows us to do."
CBS13 asked criminal defense attorney Linda Parisi if the homeowner could face charges. Parisi said charges could be possible depending on the actions of the homeowner.
"Did it turn into a situation where the homeowner was reasonable in fearing for their safety? Did the homeowner do something to create this tension? Those would all be factors that a district attorney would look at," explained Parisi.
California state law gives homeowners the right to use deadly force to protect themselves inside their homes. Parisi explained the case for self-defense is not clear-cut under these circumstances.
"It is absolutely more complicated, much more nuanced because it's not where I wake up in my home and there is an intruder, and there is an exchange. So, I use deadly force to protect myself," explained Parisi.
Parisi said a district attorney will look at several factors to determine if the homeowner was justified in his actions.
"Why did you go to the danger? When you got there, what did you do? Did you do something to escalate? Or were you attempting to deescalate?" she said.
Despite the potential complications to the case, Parisi explained the law is still on the homeowners' side.
"It's a recognition that you have the right to feel safe in your own home," she said.
Back on Tuesday, another suspected home intruder was shot and killed by a resident of a home along the 3900 block of Blue Gum Avenue. In that incident, investigators say the early indications point to the shooting being an act of self-defense.
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