Community Rallies Behind Homeowner Arrested for Shooting at Burglar
Sorry I feel bad for the man for almost being robbed, but this is another example of a responsible gun owner.....you can't just pull out your .357 Magnum and start shooting blindly to 'hit tires' - God knows where those bullets could have ended up or who he could have killed. Then he would be in REAL trouble.
They were fleeing - not IN the house at the time, this is not self defensive..it's pissed offedness.
Community rallies behind homeowner arrested for shooting at burglar
Published February 08, 2013
FILE: This photo shows Clare Niederhauser, 64, a Layton, Utah homeowner arrested on suspicion two counts of reckless endangerment.
SALT LAKE CITY – Residents in a northern Utah city are coming to the defense of a man who was arrested and faces charges for shooting at burglars as they drove away from his property.
Layton police arrested Clare Niederhauser, 64, last week after he fired one shot at a car and another at a fleeing burglar, said Layton Police Lt. Shawn Horton. He was arrested on suspicion of two counts of reckless endangerment.
The shots were unlawful because the burglar had dropped a crowbar and was fleeing the property, said Horton, who added that the shots could have endangered somebody's life.
"There is a responsibility of owning a gun: you need to know when you can lawfully use your weapon," Horton said. "You're not authorized to shoot a firearm at a car just because you don't want it to get away, or to scare them, or disable a tire."
Layton police said they also have arrested the man suspected of burglarizing the house, Robert Santos Cruz, 47. Investigators are searching for a woman who drove the car that was leaving the driveway when Niederhauser shot at it.
Niederhauser, a concealed weapons permit holder who used a .357 caliber handgun, didn't immediately return phone messages from The Associated Press. He told detectives that he aimed to shoot the tire of a car leaving the driveway and later to scare Santos Cruz as he ran away. Niederhauser came home to find a car in his driveway and Santos Cruz leaving his house holding a crowbar, Horton said.
Niederhauser's supporters said he is being unfairly punished for protecting his home. They said the arrest sets a precedence that homeowners can't protect themselves and have launched a blog urging people to call police to complain and contribute to a legal aid fund.
The blog supporting Niederhauser says at the top, "Support Clare Niederhauser. A good man did the right thing."
"He tried to act in a way that is responsible and compassionate and keep his head about him," said Loran Hubbard, 53, of Layton. "We have the right to defend ourselves when we are confronted with a lethal weapon. If a big crowbar isn't a lethal weapon, I haven't seen one."
There had been two other burglaries in the neighborhood in the past three months that had Niederhauser on high alert, said neighbor Teuvo Jones. The shot he fired at Santos Cruz was a warning shot near a hollow, Jones said.
"You would have to have all the laws of physics changed to make that a danger to anyone," said Jones, basing his assessment on Niederhauser's account. "It was far from reckless."
The Layton City Attorney's office is working with Niederhauser's attorney to reach a plea deal, said assistant city attorney Steve Garside. The agreement will likely be made official on Tuesday when Niederhauser makes his first court appearance.
Niederhauser's attorney, Mitch Vilos, confirmed that a plea agreement is in the works but declined to discuss specifics. He said he and Niederhauser will speak to the media after the Tuesday afternoon court appearance.
Layton is a city with about 68,500 people located about 20 miles north of Salt Lake City.
Clark Aposhian, a firearms instructor and chairman of the Utah Shooting Sports Council, has been following the case closely and believes the arrest was appropriate.
"I can understand the guy getting caught up in the moment, but he's got some explaining to do," said Aposhian. "It's not that he was shooting at the person necessarily, but the reckless endangerment is because he fired his gun when the rounds could have gun anywhere."
pissed offedness and a 357 are not a good combination for sure. But I would have shot at them too or run after em with an iron skillet or something! Pissed offedness does strange things with pissed off! lol
LOL, I know you’re being facetious. For all I care, it wouldn’t have bothered me at all if he had killed both of them. But the fact is, he was reckless and could have very easily hurt or even killed innocent people. Especially with a 357 Mag.
They were fleeing - not IN the house at the time, this is not self defensive..it's pissed offedness. That's exactly right.
I understand Niederhauser being pissed off, I don't know the situation when he shot at the burglar, but his life was not in danger at the point when he fired the shot at the car, and his bullet could of hit anywhere or anybody. Conceal Carry doesn't mean anything goes, and sounds like Niederhauser is learning that the hard way...
I was being facetious, but the fact is not every gun owner is this guy. I'm certainly not and its getting a bit worn out that the anti gun lobby is doing all it can to portray anyone owning a gun as some dolt running around with reckless abandon.
There was no mention of the million or so gun owners who went shooting on this particular day and there were no accidents. There was no mention of the 10 million gun owners who didn't shoot at anyone.... none! That is kind of a problem. 1 idiot out of 10 million plus legal gun owners shoots at a car and the story portrays this as an every day event.
When you look at it that way, the thing is almost non existent. If you were told you had a 1 in 10 million chance of getting shot today, you'd still go outside.... It's a BS story.
Adding to the above, the article clearly says "but this is another example of another responsible gun owner"..... What is responsible about what this guy did? NOTHING.... This guy was clearly not responsible, so why label him that way?
A responsible gun owner would not have flirted with the idea.
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