This is an interesting story that might make you ponder, especially if gun rights are important to you. In this case, a man had to use a gun to protect himself and his property. The way in which the incident unfolded is instructive, as it allows us to think about how we would react in a similar circumstance.
La Puebla resident, earlier this week, apprehended suspected burglars who were attempting to steal their tools. After a short struggle and until the arrival of law enforcement authorities, he held him at gunpoint. Edward Montoya was arrested for aggravated assault and burglary. This is just one more criminal record that he has.
This is how it happened:
A La Puebla resident told Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Deputies that he had prevented a burglary suspect from taking his tools on Friday. He then stopped the intruder’s escape.
Meyer told the newspaper that he discovered Montoya after noticing his dogs yelping and an unknown car parked in his driveway.
The report says Meyer, armed with a pistol, went to his garage and found Montoya, who was holding his drill and toolbox. Montoya offered to “just go” and dropped the items, before trying to flee.
The report says that Meyer chased Montoya and they had “a small scuffle” during the incident. Meyer called 911, then dropped his cell phone during the chase.
The report claims that Montoya bit Meyer’s arm. Meyer then pulled out a gun and fired an alert shot at a flat piece of land while screaming for help.
Montoya told law enforcement that he went to Meyers’ house because his car was not working properly. He said he didn’t go into the garage unless the homeowner asked him to.
Doesn’t this sound like a very traumatic experience? Some might find Meyer’s actions commendable, and even necessary to protect Meyer’s property. Others might be concerned about the legal and potential risks involved. We’ll take a closer look.
Meyer protected his property on the one hand by confronting and stopping the burglar from leaving with the stolen tools. Meyer’s actions showed a willingness and ability to protect his possessions, which could discourage future theft attempts. It is also our right to defend ourselves and our property when threatened.
Meyer’s rapid response allowed him to confront and inform law enforcement of the intruder. This quick action increased the likelihood of capturing and preventing the suspect.
Meyer’s actions sent a strong message to criminals, that the community was vigilant and ready to defend its property. This could act as a warning and deter future burglaries. Let’s be honest: A burglar will be more cautious if he knows that you are armed with a gun.
Meyer’s own risk to his life is something worth considering. The risks of confronting a suspect criminal are inherent. Meyer was at risk for injury in this case because he engaged in a physical fight with the intruder, after chasing him. After he had been bitten, he fired a warning shot. Engagement with dangerous people can escalate the situation, posing a danger to your personal safety.
Meyer may have intended to protect his property but the use of force might raise legal issues. Individuals may be held accountable for their actions even if they had the best intentions, depending on the jurisdiction and circumstances. Meyer did not shoot Montoya but fired a warning at the ground. It is against the law in some states to do so, but I couldn’t find out how New Mexico’s legislation addresses this situation. It is worth considering, particularly if you’re not sure if warning shots are allowed in your state.
The confrontation with a criminal could escalate the situation, leading to more violence. Meyer’s firing of a warning shot, and his physical altercation and the intruder would have increased tensions. Both parties could have been at risk for serious harm. New Mexico is “stand your ground”, so Meyer did not have to flee before using his gun. It could also be a problem to chase Montoya as he ran away, but Meyer may be safe if he had a genuine concern for his safety, which is understandable in this situation.
Meyer could be facing legal problems if his account of the incident is true, especially if he lives in a district where the district attorneys are not supportive of self-defense. It is possible that Meyer would not face charges because he did not shoot or harm Montoya.
This story shows the importance of understanding how you would act in a similar scenario. Would you chase after the intruder, or would you let the police deal with it? What would you do if it was your choice?