Jefferson County man faces charges for firing at thieves

Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 6:25 PM CST
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JEFFERSON COUNTY (KMOV) - Charges are being sought against a 39-year-old Jefferson County man after he opened fire on thieves who had been breaking into cars. According to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the man fired several times toward a 2014 Nissan Versa driving on Ozark Lane, which is near Highway 21 and south of Fenton.

The man’s name has not been released because he hasn’t been charged. The occupants of the Nissan had been breaking into cars in the neighborhood. The man’s wife told News 4 that her husband only fired warning shots.

According to the sheriff’s office, the Nissan was found later after it was abandoned and it was determined that the vehicle was stolen. Also, there were three bullet holes in the Nissan.

People might be fed up with the level of theft from cars and car thefts across the region, but self-defense and conceal and carry instructor, Steve Sulze, cautions that the law only allows limited use of deadly force.

“What we tell people is that if you have time to think about using deadly force, then you probably shouldn’t be using it because it needs to be where your life is in danger. And that’s a last resort. You’re an unwilling participant, there’s no other means of retreat,” said Sulze.

Sulze owns Xtreme Self Defense in Fenton. He recommends gun owner take a training class so that they will better understand the law and won’t use their gun in a situation that might put them on the wrong side of the law.

“If someone’s breaking in your car in the driveway and you’re in the home, you need to stay at home, call 911. That’s their job. You need to barricade if you want to grab your firearm just in case they make entry to your home. Be ready. You know, lock yourself into a room,” he said.

Sulze said the law is clear about firing from your porch at thieves that are breaking into a car parked on the driveway.

“Illegal, you cannot go out and use deadly force for them stealing your CDs or whatever you got out there,” he said.

A spokesman for the sheriff’s office said a charge of unlawful use of a weapon will be sought from the prosecutor’s office.