After breaking into a backyard armed with a handgun and machete, a pair of teen boys exchanged fire with the homeowner. Now that police have announced whether the homeowner will be charged, the family of one of the teens has just six words that sum up the incident.
In a tragic turn of events, police announced a decision regarding a Colorado homeowner who fatally shot two teen boys who had broken into his yard. The Northglenn Police Department confirmed that 15-year-old and 16-year-old boys broke through a residential fence to steal leaves from a marijuana plant in the owner’s backyard, KDVR reported.
Armed with a pistol and a machete, the boys began “cutting the leaves and branches” of the plant at around 2 p.m. when the homeowner caught them. After grabbing a .45 caliber handgun, the resident walked outside and yelled, “Really? Get out of here!” to the teens, who then ran into the shed-like structure attached to the home.
Police say the boys then fired multiple gunshots at the resident, who returned fire. Both teens suffered gunshot wounds while the homeowner was unharmed. Detectives confirmed that one teen died at the scene and the other died later at the hospital.
“He saw muzzle flashes aimed in his direction and heard several gunshots come from inside the shed. The resident then returned fire. The two male teens were inside the shed when this exchange of gunfire occurred,” said the DA and NPD in a statement.
After investigating the incident, the Northglenn Police Department and the 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office announced that the homeowner would not face charges.
“The outcome of this incident is tragic. Two teenagers are dead, and their loss is heartbreaking. The District Attorney’s Office and the Northglenn Police Department must follow the law and the evidence, however, and the evidence clearly shows that the resident of the home acted in self-defense when he returned fire after being fired upon multiple times. Therefore, the resident will not be arrested or charged in this incident.”
Despite the ruling, family members of one of the teens believe that the homeowner crossed the line. In a heartbreaking interview, 16-year-old Ismael Cordova’s relatives insisted that “he didn’t deserve to be shot.”
“I don’t know what he was thinking that day. I don’t know if he’d intentionally made the wrong choices, but he didn’t deserve to die. He didn’t deserve to be shot. Neither did the other child,” Ismael’s stepmother, Natasha Rodriguez, said.
Ismael’s stepmother and great-grandmother are adamant that the homeowner should have exhausted all other options before using lethal force against the teens.
“If you tell somebody to leave your yard and they don’t, then you don’t do drastic measures like that,” Ismael’s great-grandmother, Shirley Gallegos, explained. “It’s just not right, especially these young kids, you know, they’re just beginning their lives. Now, at 16, he’s gone.”
While police made it clear that the teens engaged in “an exchange of gunfire,” family members are still placing the blame on the homeowner.
“It’s senseless. He didn’t have to lose his life over this, he could have given them a warning. They were kids,” said Celestina Cordova, Ismael’s grandmother told CBS News.
The boys are suspected of burglary at another residence nearby. The homeowner says that an airsoft gun was stolen and that she was concerned about how the thieves might use it. Still, the boy’s family seems to be in denial about his behavior and how it may have contributed to his untimely death.
“He was a good kid,” Christina Cordova, Ismael’s mother, said through tears.
As heartwrenching as the loss of a child is, the homeowner is not to blame in this situation. There would be no way for him to know the ages of the intruders and, when faced with gunfire, such a detail is secondary.
The teens’ risky behavior ultimately led to their inevitable demise. While we can sympathize with their families’ grief, we can also acknowledge that it was the boys’ bad decisions that are responsible for their tragic deaths.