A Little Falls, Minnesota man, Byron David Smith, allegedly shot and killed two teens Nicholas Brady, 17, and his cousin Haile Kifer, 18, whom he says broke into his home on Thanksgiving afternoon seeking drugs. Smith maintains that he shot the teen-aged cousins in self defense.
Of course, some things are not adding up and the community has questions. The teens didn't seem to be notorious troublemakers and this was Mr. Smith's eighth robbery in the past few years. It's almost as if he had a "come on in" sign posted on the back door. And then there's the part where he left the kids' bodies in the basement overnight and didn't report the shooting deaths immediately. Um, what???
If you are innocent, wouldn't you call the cops right away if you shot someone in your home? According to his brother, Smith freaked out and wasn't sure what to do so he left the bodies where he shot them. I'm not sure what protocol is when you shoot someone in your home, but I'm pretty sure I'd call the cops, if nothing else to get the bodies out of my house. I can see how that seems a little suspect.
I'm not saying that this guy was a psycho who abducted these teens and then tortured and killed them in his basement, but let's just say I wouldn't be that shocked if that's what came out. However, for right now, the story stands that this man was in his own home tinkering in his basement when two teens allegedly broke in seeking drugs. It was then that he claims he proceeded with excessive force in self defense.
If Smith's story turns out to be true, then, of course, the table turns. No matter how wonderful these two teens were, if they did break into Smith's home, that is a crime, and by law, the homeowner is allowed to shoot them -- even if shooting them dead seems overboard to some of us. If this was the home of a family and these teens had been hardened criminals looking for drugs, people would say they deserved to be shot and that the person who shot them was only trying to defend his family.
Unfortunately, when the neighborhood loner who gives off a Norman Bates vibe shoots two teens without reporting it, things get a little suspect. Maybe he was just a lonely guy who felt threatened and snapped and it's all a case of those teens being in the wrong place at the wrong time -- or maybe there is something more to it.
Either way, it is a tragedy that these kids had to die in such a senseless way and I am sure their family is trying to make sense of all of this. I know that no matter the circumstances, a family is in mourning over the loss of their children. I hope the authorities sort out what happened and give this family some peace of mind.
If the teens really did break in, do you think this homeowner was within his rights to shoot them or did he use excessive force?
Image via Flickr/Sharon Drummond