DENVER (AP) — A Marine who was shot and killed by a Colorado homeowner after he forced his way inside a house mistook the residence for his own after a night of drinking, his family said.
Christopher Nelson, 32, was killed Friday, three blocks from his home in southwest Denver. Nelson’s sister Danielle Krehbiel told KMGH-TV this week that her brother was walking home from a bar after drinking too much and thought the house was his.
Krehbiel said her brother served in Iraq and Afghanistan and was studying sports journalism in college. She said she understands why the homeowner shot Nelson, because he broke into the home.
“It really is a horrible series of unfortunate events, but he really, he would understand,” she told the station through tears.
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An autopsy found Nelson died of multiple gunshot wounds, according to the Denver Office of the Medical Examiner. Police have not released documents detailing what happened when Nelson was shot.
The homeowner, who has not been identified, will not face criminal charges. District Attorney Mitch Morrissey announced Monday that the homeowner acted within the bounds of Colorado’s “Make My Day” law.
The self-defense law similar to those in other states allows homeowners to use deadly force if someone illegally enters their house and there’s reason to believe that person will commit a crime.
In May, prosecutors in Boulder declined to charge a 19-year-old University of Colorado student who forced his way into the home of a stranger and attacked the homeowner. The student was believed to be under the influence of drugs.
Last year, the law prevented another Colorado prosecutor from charging a man who killed an acquaintance during a drunken New Year’s brawl that spilled into his home. At the time, Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger said the shooting involving “foolish, drunken children” likely was not what lawmakers had in mind when they adopted the law.