Man shoots, stops burglar

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Sep 17, 2007
Tampa bay, FL
September 26, 2007
Man shoots, stops burglar
ST. PETERSBURG -- Derrick Pittis was watching television in his home about 10 p.m. Tuesday when he heard the garage door slam. He went to check out the noise and grew worried because of a recent rash of home invasions in the city that ended in murder.

So Pittis, 27, got his semiautomatic handgun and went to a bedroom door that leads to the garage of his home at 1710 13th Avenue N. He fired through the door. On the other side, police said, was 23 year-old Tarvaris Johnson. Johnson was hit twice in the upper body but managed to flee before ending up at St. Anthony's Hospital. He left a .38-caliber revolver at the scene.

Johnson faces a charge of home invasion, police said. Two people have been killed in home invasions in recent weeks.

Pittis said he just got his handgun recently. He was still shaken from the incident this morning.

"I've never been through anything like this before," he said. "I just remembered what I heard about all that's happening on the streets and I didn't want it happening to me."

- Abhi Raghunathan, staff writer

September 26, 2007 in Pinellas | Permalink

I like seeing this in the news....
Bad-guy-control works! :)

The home owner faces no charges? Shooting through the door might lead to some problems without stand-your-ground laws.
Not really, no. "Stand your ground" is the popular name for the statutory elimination of the duty to retreat that existed at common law. However, one's domicile was an exception to the duty to retreat (with the exclusion of one particular case in Massachusetts that receives a lot of outrage in gun nut circles).

Florida legislatively eliminated this duty to retreat requirement which is now the minority rule in the USA. Other states, e.g. Indiana, judicially eliminated the common law duty to retreat requirement over 150 years ago.

Shooting through a door or at a noise or any violation of Rule 4 is always hazardous as it may be UPS or the Avon Lady.
Glad to hear he is ok and the perp is out of action,but 'fired through the door' is not so good,imho.
Really bad,actually,in most cases.In this case it sounds as though he 'assumed' the noise was a bad guy.
Kind of like hunters who fire into the brush at noises 'assuming' it's a deer or other prey.
I"m still glad that he had the means to defend himself and whomever was in his home.,
but 'fired through the door' is not so good,imho.
Really bad,actually

This is the 3rd "shoot through the door" incident we have had in as many weeks here on THR. This one seems like the least justified of the 3.

As I said with the others, hindsight is 20/20 and we weren't there, but for those of you that say you should never shoot through a door at a threat, what are you going to do when that door pops open and one, two, or multiple armed criminals are coming at you or shooting?

Obviously this is a hypothetical, but the more I have thought about it since these incidents, if someone is trying to kick in your door, has been asked to stop, and has been warned that you are armed, as was the case in the other 2 stories, I would be hard pressed to just let them kick it in, and THEN start defending my home, family, and self.
It kind of bugs me that I can't find anything about this other than that article. You'd think that the local news outlets would be covering this a little better considering the very real possibility that the burglar in this case is the guy responsible for the other two home invasion murders.

Before we jump too hard on the homeowner we should maybe wait for a better description of events. It never says that he fired through the door without warning - for all we know there was a discussion along the lines of:

Good Guy: "Whoever is in my garage needs to get out right now, I have a gun."
Thug: "So what, man, so do I - and I'm gonna use it on you!"
Good Guy: "Get out now!"
Thug: "I'm about to bust down this door and kill you!"

It doesn't say how many shots were fired, but if he got two hits on a guy through a closed door that's a pretty good argument for the bad guy to have been right up against the door. There's also the possibility that there were no words said but that the bad guy was in the process of trying to kick in the door already. If it's me, at that point I'm going to assume that it isn't a neighbor coming over to borrow a cup of sugar.
The home owner probably watched to many movies where they shoot through a wall blindly and kill the BG on the other side. While I don't recommend this type of defense in certain circumstances it can work very well. As already stated we don't know the whole story. I do wish the home owner would have kept firing as now we have a BG in a hospital receiving expensive medical treatment that he will more than likely never pay for. When he gets out he will get a slap on the wrist and be back on the streets soon. This makes me feel so good when I write my $700 check each month for medical insurance!! Enough soap boxing, glad the Good Guy walked away on this one.
10 p.m. Tuesday
Anybody starts beating on my garage door(which I gather from the article means the BG was already in the garage) at ten at night on a Tuesday is going to be up to no good. Neighbors knock on the front door, they don't break into the garage. What is with this shooting through doors recently. If this keeps up it's going to be SOP.
I hate to be a Monday morning quarterback, but shooting through a door in which you have NO idea whats on the other side is just plain dumb and irresponsible. I guess I'd like to know more about this guy(i.e. does he have a wife or kids). I am glad to hear that it was a bad guy and not one of his kids sneaking in or out, or his wife tripping over something.
I can't imagine ever firing through a door myself....but then again, I've not been on the anvil between the hammer and tongs.

If BG left the .38 at the scene, the .38 was likely in his hand and dropped.

If home owner opened the door he would have one hand on the knob and be at a disadvantage (assuming he's like me and hasn't taken "Tactical Door Opening" classes).

I doubt BG would have hesitated to shoot through the door if he saw it being opened.

It will be very interesting to see the balistics run on the .38 and see if this is indeed the guy who committed home invasion and murder just down the block.
It's the media I am sure they left out the part of the guy tried to barge through the door yelling and carrying on and in a moment of sheer terror the guy did what he had to, need full details before passing judgements, kudos to homeowner.
ummm. . . . . .

my aunt in West Palm beach has a high security (wrought iron) screen door as her inside garage door for when she leaves the garage door open during the frequent bouts of gorgeous Florida weather. If the homeowner in this instance fired through one of those it is likely he recognized the threat and did not fire blindly as some of you have opined. Perhaps we should get ALL the facts before passing judgement on Mr. Pettis.
Some one beat me to it- what if the "door" was glass, or had a window in it , or was screen or wrought iron? Still a door, but now you can still obey the 4 rules and get the BG.

IMHO shooting through doors is still pretty dumb- gotta see the target.:neener:
went to a bedroom door that leads to the garage of his home

Anyone else think this was strange? How many houses have bedrooms that open into the garage? :confused:

I'm of the opinion that shooting blindly is not a good idea under most circumstances, but I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, especially if there were recent home invasions/murders. I suspect that the article would have mentioned if he was facing charges. I'm surprised at how unbiased the article sounds, kudos to the reporter for leaving politics at the door.
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