Case of mom fatally shooting intruder sparks debate

Case of mom shooting intruder sparks debate

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A mother who returned to her Portland home with her two children early Sunday morning shot and killed an intruder who was inside.

Tara-Alexis Ford, 33, found a stranger in one of her children's bedrooms inside her home in the 4100 block of Southeast 118th Place at about 1:45 a.m. Armed with a handgun, she shot and killed the man, who has been identified as David Daniel McCrary, 59, from Gresham.

The Oregon State Medical Examiner determined that McCrary died of a single gunshot wound.

Detectives don't know why McCrary, who has no significant criminal history, broke into Ford's home. There is no connection between Ford and McCrary, and he is not from the neighborhood. A recent report indicates that McCrary may have dealt with mental health issues.

According to detectives, McCrary broke into Ford's home through a back window. He was found by Ford in the bedroom of her 10-year-old daughter, where the shooting happened. Ford's daughter and her 5-year-old son were in a different bedroom at the time.

Neighbors who spoke with KGW say they think Ford did the right thing.

“I would be scared. I would be scared,” said neighbor Linda Ternes-Kent. “But she had to do what she had to do. I would have done the same thing.”

Ford remains cooperative with investigators and was not arrested. The investigation, which is ongoing, will determine whether she acted in self defense and if she'll face charges.

Prosecutors say the investigation is routine, and it takes time.

Local defense attorney Edward Kroll says, given how the laws are written in Oregon, he’d be shocked if Ford was charged because a homeowner has the right to defend themselves in most cases.

In other words, he says, if the homeowner reasonably believes an intruder is in their house to commit a crime, they can use deadly force to protect themselves.
 
He says exceptions come into play when the intruder is a known to the homeowner and, perhaps, has been invited over before.
 
“It's like Kramer in ‘Seinfeld’. That's a good example,” said Kroll. "When Kramer slides into Jerry’s apartment, he's not there to commit a crime. He's welcome there. It's a normal thing. So jerry couldn't pull out a gun and shoot him under Oregon's laws.”

For a more detailed explanation, Kroll points to ORS 161.219.

Any member of the public who has information about this case is invited to contact Detective Anthony Merrill at 503-823-4033 or anthony.merrill@portlandoregon.gov.


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