MEDFORD, Ore. — An incident NewsWatch 12 reported about a man who fired what he said was a warning shot toward a wanted felon has gained national attention.
The Medford Police Department and NewsWatch 12 have heard from people around the country. Many have expressed concern as to why police charged Corey Thompson who used his gun in what he said, to protect his property.
On Tuesday, Thompson told NewsWatch 12, 40 year-old Jonathon Kinsella was breaking into his apartment.
“He tried to kick in my door. My back door and come in. So, I stopped him from doing that. I engaged him and when I went out back, we had a shouting match. And I don’t know if he had a weapon or not, but he ran off and tried to break in my neighbors house and then I kind of ran after him,” said Thompson.
But police did not find any scuff marks or any evidence of a break in.
“If there was evidence to suggest a burglary, we would have charged Mr. Kinsella with a burglary. Guaranteed,” said Medford Police Chief Tim George.
Thompson says he told Kinsella to stop. When he didn’t, Thompson says he fired a warning shot toward the ground out in the parking lot.
“In most incorporated cities, you can’t just charge firearms. Unless you are authorized by Oregon law to do that in a specific instance,” said Chief George.
Chief George says even if Kinsella was attempting to break in, a person walking away is not justifiable grounds to shoot.
“We could do a lot of what ifs. But the bottom line is, there has to be a specific crime that has to be occurring at the time while you’re there or it has to be a threat of violence against you at the time that you’re there,” explained Chief George.
A certified National Rifle Association instructor, John Glassy, says firing warning shots is irresponsible.
“Warning shots in general they are not really effective and we never recommend that in our classes. The law is pretty clear on that. Don’t fire warning shots. If you’re justified, you’re justified to shoot to kill,” said Glassy.
The Jackson County District Attorney’s Office has not received the case yet. Thompson is still facing charges of Unlawful Use of a Weapon, Menacing and Reckless Endangering.