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Man shot Saturday morning off Highway 28; self-defense claimed

SAINT ROBERT, Mo. (Dec. 6, 2008) — Pulaski County deputies are investigating an early Saturday morning shooting at a home off Highway 28 north of St. Robert.

Details remain unclear, according to Sheriff J.B. King, but initial reports indicate that a man found an intruder in his house and shot the intruder in what he believed was self-defense. The street on which the house is located and the names of the parties involved are being withheld to avoid identifying the homeowner or the alleged intruder since no one has been charged.

No motive is yet known for the person being inside the home, King said.

“We know the guy was in the house; it’s not his house. What’s he doing there?” King said. “We didn’t get a coherent interview with the guy who got shot, so we just don’t know.”

The incident began about 3:30 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 6, according to sheriff’s logs, when the homeowner went outside to investigate a prowler.

“He went outside, and then somebody yells at him, ‘The guy’s not out here, he’s in the house,’” King said. “He went back in the house, was suddenly confronted by the guy at short range, the guy advances on him. There may have been a struggle and during the course of the struggle the gun fired.”

That gunshot led to an emergency call from a cab driver at 3:34 a.m. reporting a shooting, according to sheriff’s logs. Pulaski County Ambulance District paramedics were dispatched two minutes later and the person who was shot was taken to the emergency room of General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital for treatment, where medical personnel reported some information at 5:50 a.m. to a sheriff’s detective.

King said it’s not clear how many times the gun was fired. The person shot was hit in the hand and possibly had a bullet crease his skull, King said.

There’s no reason to believe anyone involved in the incident was a service member, King said.

“The fact that a person goes to the Fort Wood hospital does not automatically mean they have a connection with the U.S. Army, or any military branch for that matter,” King said. “The General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital is a local area hospital that has long been used by Pulaski County emergency services as a first-line hospital to stabilize all kinds of victims of accidents or injuries. After they are stabilized, they will be transported to the appropriate civilian hospital.”

King said he doesn’t know the current medical condition of the person who was shot and isn’t sure where he’s now being treated.

“He was fairly well intoxicated and hurting,” King said. “With a round to the hand, I would assume some discomfort but not life threatening, but I have not heard a medical report.”

The man’s intoxicated condition early Saturday morning made it difficult to get details, King said.

“Obviously this is all very preliminary; it is so preliminary that major facts in this one could easily change,” King said. “We’ll have to do some follow-up to get a coherent story.”

A recent change in Missouri law that established what’s commonly known as the “Castle Doctrine,” meaning residents no longer have a duty to retreat before using a weapon when confronted by an attacker in their home, is likely to be an issue in how the case is handled, King said.

“The Castle Doctrine will certainly play a part in this one, but until such time as we have a coherent understanding of what happened, I really don’t like to speculate,” King said. “At this time there are no charges I am aware of. There would have to be a careful review before any charges would be recommended.”

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