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Neighbors: Homeowner shot and killed suspected car thief

83rd Street homicide.jpeg
Posted at 6:48 AM, Jan 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-23 18:44:51-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Neighbors in the Marlborough Heights neighborhood say a deadly shooting Thursday morning occurred over a car.

Around 6:15 a.m., the sound of gunfire erupted on 83rd Street near The Paseo. The shots were heard by Kansas City Police Department officers patrolling the area.

"Upon arrival, they contacted a homeowner who stated that he was investigating suspicious activity outside of his house," said Capt. David Jackson, a spokesperson for KCPD.

Several neighbors told 41 Action News that the homeowner left his car running when someone allegedly tried to steal it.

The homeowner caught the suspected thief in the act and shot them, according to those neighbors.

In the process, the car rolled out of the driveway and slammed into a garage across the street.

"The homeowner is being very cooperative at this time. He's giving statements," Jackson said.

Criminal defense attorney Greg Watt told 41 Action News that because the alleged thief wasn't trying to break into the house, the "castle doctrine," which allows someone to use lethal force to protect themselves and others, wouldn't apply under these circumstances.

"If somebody was trying to take your car from you, you could use physical force to deter them or stop them, yes. But that's a large separation from lethal force," Watt said.

However, whenever a car is at the center of a case like this, it presents a unique factor, he said.

"The car is such a force to be reckoned with in terms of somebody's ability to provide for themselves and their family," Watt said.

Late Thursday afternoon, police have not said whether the person killed was armed.

"If that individual was armed and the homeowner was aware of that, it's going to give the homeowner far more rights to self-defense than he would have had otherwise," Watt said.

Once police complete their investigation, they will submit the case to the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office, which will eventually decide whether charges will be filed.

KCPD has not released the identity of the person who was killed and said the person was wearing so many clothes that officers were not able to determine if it was a man or a woman.