DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Two 17-year-olds are dead after police say they were shot by a homeowner while trespassing on his property.
The Montgomery County Coroner has identified the teens as Devin Henderson and Javier Harrison.
Thursday afternoon, Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl spoke publicly about the case:
A homeowner called 911 around 9:30 pm to report he had shot two people in his garage in the 800 block of Conners Street.
Police say the resident heard noises outside of his home. When he went outside to investigate, he saw a light coming from a car in his detached garage.
He encountered three people in the car and fired several shots from a .38-caliber revolver, killing two of the car’s occupants. Chief Biehl could not confirm if the teens were shot while they were still inside the car.
The third occupant fled the scene.
Police confirmed Thursday that drug activity was occurring at the time, but say it remains unclear what the teens were doing or intending to do with those drugs.
The homeowner then called 911 to report the shooting. When police arrived, he was taken into custody for further questioning but has since been released.
Once police and emergency crews arrived, the third person returned to the area and was subsequently arrested for breaking and entering.
Chief Biehl says the department has been consulting with the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office to discuss “significant” recent changes to Ohio law in relation to justifying self-defense.
“The recent change in that law deals with the burden of proof,” he said. “The burden of proof is now on the state, which includes our detectives and prosecutors to prove that the case was not a case of self-defense, whereas in the past, the burden of proof was on the homeowner or person claiming self-defense.”
He adds that although the homeowner’s garage is considered part of his property, there is question about whether the Castle Doctrine applies in this case.
April Smith says hearing gunshots in their neighborhood is not unusual, but she was surprised when they sounded so close last night.
“I’m right there, the shooting is right there so all of a sudden you hear ‘pop pop pop,’ but I kept hearing voices and stuff. I kept laying down because I’ve got to get up early, so I don’t have time for that, okay?” she said.
“It’s sad now, two 17-year-olds gone. They hadn’t even lived life yet,” Smith said.
She says the homeowner normally has cars in his garage, with police saying last night a car was towed from the scene.
“Don’t nobody hang in there, because that gate is always locked. There’s a chain on there. Only time that gate is open is when he sets his trash out or to cut his grass,” Smith said.