Police lights

The fatal shooting of a man in Belle Mina around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday appears to be in self-defense, an official said.

Limestone County Sheriff's Public Information Officer Stephen Young said a resident in the 24000 block of Garrett Road came home to find an intruder inside the residence. Young said the alleged intruder then attacked the resident, who shot him.

Limestone County Coroner Mike West identified the shooting victim as 65-year-old David Lee Walton, also of Garrett Road. It was unclear Wednesday if the resident and alleged intruder knew each other.

The law

More than half of the states in the United States have stand-your-ground laws that allow a person to fight rather than retreat from a threat. According to Alabama's law, "a person who is justified ... in using physical force, including deadly physical force, and who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and is in any place where he or she has the right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground."

Deadly force is legally justifiable if the person using said force believes one of the following is true about the person killed:

They were using or about to use unlawful deadly physical force against them;

They were using or about to use physical force against a resident while attempting to commit a burglary of the residence;

They were committing or about to commit kidnapping, burglary, robbery, forcible rape, forcible sodomy, first-degree assault or second-degree assault;

They were using or about to use physical force against someone on business property while the business was closed to the public and they were attempting to commit a crime involving death, serious injury, robbery, kidnapping, rape or sodomy; or

They were illegally entering a location or vehicle, attempting to sabotage a federally licensed nuclear power facility or trying to remove someone against their will from a location or vehicle.

In the final scenario, the person who used deadly force cannot use the stand-your-ground defense if the victim has a right to be in the location or vehicle, the victim is the legal custodian or guardian of the person being removed, the person using the force is engaged in unlawful activity at the time or the victim is a police officer who was there as part of their official duties.

Other exceptions to the law include provoking the victim or engaging them in "a combat by agreement not specifically authorized by law" prior to using deadly force against them.

Recommended for you