Rochester girl, 16, shot by grandfather; he thought she was breaking into his house

Categories: Tragedy
9 mm.jpg
A case of mistaken identity culminated in a grandfather shooting his granddaughter late last night.
When does being vigilant in protecting your home against crime go too far? When you end up shooting your own granddaughter, that's when.

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In the words of police, a 61-year-old Rochester man is "extremely shaken" after shooting his 16-year-old granddaughter in the upper torso just before 11 p.m. last night. The girl is in critical condition but is expected to live.

The Rochester Post Bulletin provides more information:
The man said the couple had been asleep when they heard a noise outside, the report says. The man grabbed his 9 mm handgun and told his wife to call the police as he went to investigate, according to Rochester Police Capt. Brian Winters.

The homeowner saw a figure at the back door and fired at least two shots, one of which struck the 16-year-old girl in the upper torso, Winters said...

The teenager has been living with her grandparents for a couple of months, Winters said. The couple said the girl had been home earlier, and they thought she was there when they heard the noise outside.
Winters characterized the shooting as "just a tragic event," but added authorities' investigation "will follow a systematic, thorough path."

The grandfather had a recent burglary at the nearby Rochester Recreation Center on his mind when he grabbed his 9 mm last night, Winters said, according to the Post Bulletin report.

The Rochester shooting comes just weeks after Byron Smith brutally and somewhat controversially gunned down two teens who had broken into his Little Falls home. Minnesota law stipulates that shooting an intruder is legally warranted if the shooter has a reasonable belief that doing so prevents a felony from occurring in their home. But as the Rochester grandfather learned the hard way last night, reasonable belief is one thing -- accurate belief is another.

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43 comments
MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

If only the granddaughter would have had a gun.  Plus, why didn't the grandmother have a gun?   She sees some stupid fool shoot her only granddaughter and she doesn't shoot him?   This is what is wrong with your liberal society fools.  More guns would have stopped this or at least more people would be dead and we'd be safe!!!!!!!!!!

BatmanJesus
BatmanJesus

Acceptable outcome. It is better that we shoot all of our granddaughters rather than lose the right to shoot all of our granddaughters.

swmnguy
swmnguy topcommenter

Maybe Gramps should swap out the Gat for a Kirby Puckett Bat Day replica Louisville Slugger, a can of long-range wasp spray, and an iPod track of a big dog barking.  Since he was already awake, and Grams was already calling 9-1-1, and Gramps had the advantage of knowing the terrain, if it had been an intruder he could have sat by a window or door; maybe even flicked on a room light; and any would-be burglar who didn't take off right then might have high-tailed it when he heard a loud dog bark.  If not, then a faceful of RAID followed by a volley from the little bit of aged, kiln-dried ash would stop any progress through a door or window.

Of course, that's all hypothetical.  Because there was no intruder at all.  Just a naughty grand-daughter coming back inside from having a heater.

People say I'm nuts for living in the inner city and leaving my wife and young kids alone when I travel for work, and not owning a gun.  This is exactly why we don't have a gun in the house.  And anyone who thinks that's crazy hasn't caught a load of bug spray in the face or seen my wife with one of those little bats coming their way.  Nobody has come into our house in 20 years.  The "turn on the light" trick works wonders, too.

Oh, and we haven't shot any of our friends, family or neighbors, either.

Jonathon Richter
Jonathon Richter

Ridiculous to suggest we should take away all the guns. Is it tragic? Absolutely I agree, and those who do own guns for personal protection should identify before shooting. But taking away arms I believe violates Federal law. You're entitled to arm yourself, but one shouldnt go shooting at every little thing they deem threatening before using common sense. This and the deaths of those teenagers from a few weeks ago should show us that. Very sad situation, I pray for that family.

Michael Tejeda
Michael Tejeda

"The government is trying to take control over all of us and rid us of all of our freedom. When the day comes and people are trying to raid your home because food and water are scarce you damn well better have a fire arm to protect your home and your family." ---- Someone is paranoid!!

mark.gisleson
mark.gisleson

Grandparents could shoot a grandkid every day for ten years and the gun nuts would still huff and puff about a 2nd Amendment that does not give anyone the right to own a handgun.

Dee Finkelson
Dee Finkelson

the story like this make gun owners look soooo bad. We dont know the whole story yet. Pray to the family. We dont know what ppl is going to react in 'life threatening' situation. He might made simple mistake by not asking "who's that? I have a gun!". Simple mistake could be fatal......

Jesse Schneider
Jesse Schneider

Good call on the "who's there"....give up your location to the person who just committed a felony by breaking into your home. Flip on the light...good way to get shot dead. Call 911...I agree with that...but by the time anyone gets to you, your body could very well be cold already. While what happened here is tragic, and obviously a terrible accident, it shouldn't be a black eye for law abiding citizens who choose to have the ability to protect themselves. There are a lot of bad people in this world, and you never know when you are going to be their next victim.

Mackenzie Kramer
Mackenzie Kramer

Getting rid of guns is hog wash! We the people of the United States are suppose to have freedom. Freedom of speech and freedom go bear arms. The government is trying to take control over all of us and rid us of all of our freedom. When the day comes and people are trying to raid your home because food and water are scarce you damn well better have a fire arm to protect your home and your family. Accidents happen. More times than non it is laziness and lack of putting the gun in a safe place locked so children are not able to get ahold of it. In this scenario it is sad however, the man was in No wrong.

Bill Seurer
Bill Seurer

"what if it was a burglar and he stopped a triple homicide by defending his house" What if it was the NEXT HITLER!?!?! We should shoot everyone just in case!!!

Dee Gee
Dee Gee

All guns should be secured, period; anyone who uses a gun for any other kind of shooting should risk losing everything they own in the same way they would be liable for a car accident.

Dee Gee
Dee Gee

Sandy Miller - well said. But any gun - and there are people who shoot skeet instead of hunting, or do other kinds of sport shooting that should be respected - ANY and EVERY gun should be secured, and only used as a last resort, not the first resort, which was the problem in this instance.

Dee Gee
Dee Gee

Since 911 had been called, and no one was as yet inside, there were plenty of other alternatives. Triple homicide my ass. Is it your position then that one near homicide is better than an unlikely triple hypothetical homicide? That is stupid thinking, of the kind that results in people being shot.

Dee Gee
Dee Gee

Because she had a key and had been living there for the past 3 months. Do YOU knock when you enter the place you live?

Meg Nathan
Meg Nathan

So we know that the granddaughter had been home earlier, and that her grandparents didn't know she'd left again. If she hadn't been sneaking in at that hour, her grandfather wouldn't have grabbed his gun to begin with. Maybe he should have called out "who is there?"...but maybe the girl should have let the grandparents know she was leaving!

Melissa Barnes
Melissa Barnes

What happened to calling 911? I don't own a gun and that's what I would do if someone was snooping around my back door. Poor girl.

Matthias Weigel
Matthias Weigel

This is why you should need to pass a basic "idiot test" before being allowed to own a gun. So sick of these stories - just last week the one kid killing the other.

Jen Woods Antila
Jen Woods Antila

... and then there's that uncomfortable conversation: "Pops, we need to take your car keys, you can't drive anymore, and oh yeah about that gun..."

Charlie Seto
Charlie Seto

LEO's don't shoot first and ask questions later. So why are people doing it?

Dee Gee
Dee Gee

No doubt the excuse 'but I was scared' is all the justification he would need under shoot first laws. So.....why didn't he turn on a light, wait for the police, etc.? Guns seem to suck the IQ out of people in a crisis, or potential crisis.

Dog Gone
Dog Gone topcommenter

This is what is wrong with shoot first laws, and Castle doctrine when it removes the very reasonable and historic provision of a duty to retreat.  The duty to retreat requires that people make every effort to avoid taking a human life, including avoiding an intruder, rather than shooting them through a locked door when police are on the way.

THIS is exactly why the police are better at handling this kind of event than the home owner, despite the absolute and unwarranted faith that gun nuts have they won't miss and they won't make a mistake, and that they are BETTER or at least as good at making these kinds of decisions as police.

Leo Boots Alberti
Leo Boots Alberti

Though it doesn't appear to be the case here, this makes me wonder whether domestic homicides will begin to "clash" with cries of, "I thought they were a burglar!"

Sara Diedrich
Sara Diedrich

Why do "imbecile" and "gun owner" seem to frequently be used in the same sentence? Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Alan Musielewicz
Alan Musielewicz

... add dementia, depression, paranoia, and forgetfulness ... and you have a toxic cocktail for this kind of stuff. On the other hand, 'Gramps. I am going out now and will be back later about ten or so.' That would have worked wonders. On the other hand the first two rounds should be blanks. That will send most people scurrying for cover. If they keep coming after two blanks, then they are serious about messing with you.

Jason Szabo
Jason Szabo

what if it was a burglar and he stopped a triple homicide by defending his house? Gotta take the good with the bad.

Nicholas S. Goers
Nicholas S. Goers

The old man should have shouted out "who's there" I am armed" Like he's suppose to. Could have been avoided, BUT too many idiots with guns who don't respect the laws and their rights!

Sande Miller
Sande Miller

This is why we DON'T need GUNS in our homes unless ONLY for hunting.

A1batross
A1batross

Yes, quite unexpected. Encourage every imbecile in the country to own a gun and be terrified of everything, and such shootings will be completely unexpected.

Bob Alberti
Bob Alberti

Yes, quite unexpected. Encourage every imbecile in the country to own a gun and be terrified of everything, and such shootings will be completely unexpected.

jack_sprat
jack_sprat

@Dog Gone Tell that to the guy whose family grew cold waiting for the cops to come by. It happens more than you imagine.


Well, to be fair, mostly not in the communities where the prosperous live. It must be nice to be able to afford all of the police protection that you need and then some.

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