Scenario Legality Question

I had a question into the legality of a scenario played out in a micro lesson video. Yall talk about about castle doctrine and when to shoot and when you may not be justified in shooting. In the season 6 episode 5 micro lesson video with warrior poet society they play out a scenario in which the female retreats to a position at the top of the stairs and overlooks the stairs from over the balcony. The perpetrator who has entered her house begins to walk up the stairs which at this poiint is the first time she lays eyes on him besides a camera. once he is in full view she shoots him multiple times in the back. she doesn’t say anything like “HEY< WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!” or “GET OUT OF MY HOUSE”. From that angle i imagine it would be hard to tell if he is even armed and having his back to her and on the stairs below her, he does not pose and immediate threat. Would shooting him in his back be a justified case or would she probably be in a bad situation using her firearm here?

Personally, I won’t shoot anyone in the back.

Bad optics.


The way it was explained to me, she would likely be OK in my state because she has a great deal of latitude to use lethal force defending her home. I would give 2 caveats to that.

  1. While my state is very pro-2A, my county is not. She could be looking at a lengthy and expensive defense.

  2. A lot depends on how the situation is articulated, which is why USCCA teaches us to contact an attorney before giving our statement to the police. If a subject is leaving the house, I can’t very well justify shooting him in the back, can I? But as I read this scenario, given that the subject was proceeding up the stairs to where the defendant had already retreated, I would think that a competent attorney could help her explain that she feared for her life and had no other alternative. Yes, it would look better if she had given him a warning or shot him in the front as he advanced towards her, but the laws in my state do not compel the home owner to give an intruder the chance to make the first attack.

Your state may be different.

EDIT: 3rd caveat. If her statement to the police is along the lines of “I forgot the plumber was coming to fix the upstairs bathroom,” she’s probably going to jail. Front or back, know your target.


In a lot of states (not all), castle doctrine allows you to defend yourself without seeing any sort of weapon when someone breaks into your house uninvited. You don’t have to tell the intruder that you’re there.

NOT ALL STATES allow that. I believe there are still some states that require you to retreat before you defend yourself even in your own home.

Shooting someone in the back isn’t the best “optics” as @BeanCounter points out, however, there is a time and place that it could be legally OK. For example, if someone is in my house uninvited in the middle of the night and at my 2 yo granddaughter’s bedroom door, I’m going to do what I have to do to defend her. And yes, my daughter and I have a plan in place if she comes home earlier than expected.

Outside of the home, if someone is running away from you but still shooting at you, can you shoot them in the back? :thinking:

Double-check your state laws on the USCCA Reciprocity Map here.


You broke in my house, you’re a threat.


Soooo…this perp is walking up the stairs backwards? He probably ain’t sneaking around in her house at night to deliver a Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes check for $300,000,000.


If it’s dark can you tell if the perp’s back is facing you?


“Castle doctrine” and “no retreat” are similar and different. In this case being it her residence she does not need justification under castle doctrine. The “no retreat” means one can meet force with force inside or outside of the home. Once the aggressor attempts to retreat you are no longer justified in public.