Man Found 'Not Guilty' for Firing Warning Shot at Police Mistakenly Entering His Home

Man Found 'Not Guilty' for Firing Warning Shot at Police Mistakenly Entering His Home

A homeowner in Portsmouth, Virginia, has been found “not guilty” after firing a warning shot at what turned out to be police officers jiggling the handle on this back door.

According to NBC 12, Brandon Watson remembers hearing people in the backyard on January 3, 2013 and grabbing his family and his gun and running upstairs. From upstairs, he and his family looked down to see “guys in all black” in the yard.

Watson then ran back downstairs, shielded himself with a wall, and shouted: “Who is that? Who is that? I have a gun.”

After announcing his presence, Watson looked down to see “red laser beams on his chest” so he fired a warning shot.

Having fired the shot he ran to cross the street to get help from a neighbor who was a law enforcement officer. But once he got out of the house he was arrested for shooting at an officer. A trial ensued in which Watson “learned that the dark figures in his backyard were Portsmouth police officers who had not announced themselves.”

Portsmouth Commonwealth Attorney Earle Mobley admitted the officers were in the wrong yard when the exchange with Watson took place. He said they mistakenly went to Watson’s townhouse after finding an open gate and thinking that gate marked “the house” for which they were looking.

The jury deliberated charges against Watson for “only 47 minutes” before returning a verdict of “not guilty.” 

The jury ultimately thought Watson’s claim of firing a warning shot was supported by the fact that he only fired once.

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