Burglary victim investigated for shooting at suspect

A south Bakersfield man sees a man breaking into his car and confronts him with a firearm.
BAKERSFIELD, CA - Behind the gates of a Calcutta Drive apartment complex, several renters say they've been burglary victims. Early Monday morning, one victim decided to confront the man he saw breaking into his car.

"The victim of the vehicle burglary was armed with a firearm," said Bakersfield Police Sgt. Joe Grubbs. "And, ordered the suspect of the burglary to remain where he was while he called police."

The suspect decided to run instead.

"The suspect made some movements that to the victim, appeared to be threatening movements," said Grubbs. "He wasn't sure if he was armed or not. The victim of the vehicle burglary ended up firing a round at the suspect."

The car owner ended up firing twice at the suspect, but the man got away. Police said they haven't found evidence that anyone was struck by a bullet, but they have to investigate whether the burglary victim broke the law.

"I think what people need to understand is, that the use of the firearm is deadly force, so the person using it must feel some imminent threat."

The debate over deadly force erupted this summer during the trial of George Zimmerman in Florida for the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman was acquitted under Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, but California has no such law.

"Each one of these cases is weighed case by case," said Grubbs. "And the circumstances, what that person felt was going on at the time."
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