Can I Shoot a Burglar in Self Defense?

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on January 05, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A widowed teen mom in Blanchard, Okla. made a tough decision on New Year's Eve when she shot and killed a man trying to break into her home.

Sarah McKinley, 18, was home alone with her 3-month-old son on the afternoon of December 31 when she saw two men trying to force their way in. She grabbed her shotgun and called 911 for help.

And then she asked the emergency operator if she could shoot the intruders.

The operator couldn't give her an answer, but still told her to "do what you have to do to protect the baby." She did.

When one of the armed intruders kicked his way through the door, Sarah McKinley shot, reports ABC News. The other man fled but was later caught.

Though the District Attorney will need to review the case, Police Detective Dan Huff told KOTV that McKinley was in the right. As he, and other legal experts explain in the following video, "the right to your home is absolute" in Oklahoma:

Oklahoma has what it calls a "Make My Day Law." A person has full authority to shoot a home intruder if he or she reasonably believes the intruder will cause great bodily harm to the home's occupants. The law was also recently expanded to include business owners and employees.

Once the armed suspect kicked through Sarah McKinley's door, she had a reason to believe he would harm her and her son. She most likely will be found to have acted under the color of the law.

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