ANNAPOLIS, Md. — He called to police to shoo away a group of juveniles gathered outside his home banging on his door, but when they returned as part of an even larger crowd, crying out threats and kicking in that same door, 41-year-old John Estep III opened fire.
“Mr. Estep fired shots at the male intruder’s lower extremities,” Annapolis Police Capt. Amy Miguez told us. “Mr. Estep states that he fired shots at a group of subjects outside his side window as well.”
Estep told police he fired at the lower extremities of a lone male who entered his home, consistent with a 14-year-old boy who suffered such a wound, but he also fired repeatedly at children gathered outside a nearby side window, and a 10-year-old girl was shot in the back during the frey.
David Jaros is a law professor at the University of Baltimore.
“You don’t have a duty to retreat inside your home, and actually, you don’t have a duty to retreat in the curtilage, which is the area right around your home, but the farther you get away, the more that changes,” said the professor.
Jaros says even if the homeowner fired off all 22 shots in a matter of seconds, his self defense claim goes away as soon as the children retreat.
At six foot, three inches tall and weighing 250 pounds, Estep would have presented himself as an imposing figure, but it obviously wasn’t enough to scare the children off any more than bringing in the police would keep them away.
“We do not have a system that allows people to take the law into their own hands even when it’s your own home,” said Jaros. “We do say when you’re in danger of serious bodily injury or death, you can use this type of lethal force, but not if people are just driving you nuts.”