Off-duty Wichita police shooting sparks self defense questions

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A Wichita legal expert is weighing in on when and where Kansans can defend themselves with deadly force after an off-duty Wichita police officer shot and killed an intruder on Tuesday.

There are two laws specific to self defense. They include the Stand Your Ground Law and the Castle Doctrine.

The Stand Your Ground Law generally states that under certain circumstances, individuals can use force to defend themselves without first attempting to retreat from the danger.

The Castle Doctrine is similar, but it is typically limited to real property, including someone’s home or place of business. 

“Kansas law permits a resident to use such force as the resident believes is reasonably necessary to prevent or terminate an unlawful entry by an intruder,” explained attorney Dan Monnat. “Deadly force may be used by the resident under those circumstances only if the resident reasonably believes that such deadly force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to the resident or another person.”

Wichita police said an off-duty officer got into a gun battle with Christian Webb, 24, inside his home around 3:15 Tuesday morning.

“This is everybody’s nightmare to wake up to an intruder in your home with a weapon and threatening you and your family,” said Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay.

Chief Ramsay said Webb went into the off-duty officer’s home and began ordering the officer around. He said the off-duty officer was able to retrieve his service weapon and that’s when the shootout occurred.

“Numerous rounds were fired. We don’t know exactly how many at this time by the suspect as well as by the off-duty officer,” Ramsay said.

Webb died at the hospital. The off-duty officer was shot in the leg, but was released from the hospital on Tuesday. The officer’s wife and two children were not harmed.

“Obviously, this incident hits at the heart of many of us. We still don’t know if this was a targeted event or if it was random,” Ramsay said.

Monnat didn’t talk about the specifics of Tuesday’s shooting, but had the following to say:

“The unlawful, forcible entry with a firearm alone is justification to believe that deadly force is reasonably necessary to terminate that encounter and protect the resident of imminent death or great bodily harm,” Monnat said.

Wichita police believe Webb may have been connected to several car break-ins near the off-duty officer’s home on Tuesday.

Police add they are doing an internal and criminal investigation into the incident.

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