Homeowner’s Self-Defense Shooting of Chainsaw-Wielding Man Deemed Justifiable

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SOUTH BEND, IN – In an incident that occurred last month on Beale Street, the St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s Office has determined that no charges will be filed against a homeowner who shot a man threatening him with a chainsaw. The decision comes after a thorough investigation by the South Bend Police Department and the Violent Crimes Unit into the shooting that resulted in the death of 68-year-old Richard Davis.

The event took place on the evening of December 14, 2023, when the homeowner and his wife returned home to find their security system triggered. The homeowner, leaving his wife in the vehicle for safety, approached the rear gate of his property to investigate. It was then that he encountered Davis, brandishing a chainsaw above his shoulders in a threatening manner.

Fearing serious injury or death, the homeowner, whose identity remains undisclosed, fired his handgun once at Davis, subsequently instructing his wife to call 911. Both the homeowner and his wife remained at the scene, fully cooperating with the investigation.

Evidence collected at the scene, including video footage, security system logs, and the chainsaw, which belonged to the homeowner and had been stored in his garage, supported the homeowner’s account. An autopsy confirmed that Davis died from a single gunshot wound.

Under Indiana Law, a homicide is defined as a death caused by another person but does not automatically imply that it was unjustified. In this case, the law states that a person is justified in using deadly force if they reasonably believe it necessary to prevent serious bodily injury or death. The Prosecutor’s Office concluded that it could not disprove the homeowner’s claim of self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt, leading to the decision not to file charges.

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