A man was shot early Thursday by a Covington homeowner who said he felt threatened and thought the man was breaking into his vehicle, according to the King County Sheriff’s Office.
King County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Sgt. Cynthia Sampson said deputies were called to the 25000 block of 160th Avenue Southeast in unincorporated King County around 2:07 a.m. after the homeowner’s neighbor heard a gunshot and a person yelling, “Call the police!”
The 49-year-old homeowner told deputies that he saw two men inside his vehicle, which was parked in front of his house, Sampson said.
One fled, but the homeowner “felt threatened by the second subject” and shot him, she said.
The homeowner told KOMO News that he thought the man he shot had a firearm.
“I came out, saw the guys, and literally caught them red-handed,” he told the station. “The guy turned around and he had what appeared to be a pistol in his hand, and he hid behind the vehicle and I just took cover beyond the 4-Runner and had to put him down because he was coming right at me.”
According to the sheriff’s office, a handgun was recovered at the scene from the wounded suspect. Detectives said the weapon was stolen during a car prowl in the City of Kent five days ago, according to statement from the sheriff’s office.
The injured man was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where Sampson said he is reported to be in stable condition.
The shooting is being investigated by the Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit and will likely be forwarded the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors who have handled similar cases have previously said people are allowed to defend personal property in this state but cannot use excessive force to do so. Under state law, a homicide is justifiable if the slayer reasonably believes the person slain intended to commit a felony, kill another person or inflict great personal injury — and that there was imminent danger that such harm would be accomplished.
Correction: This story has been updated to correct a description of state law regarding justifiable homicide.