Florida’s evil Castle Doctrine laws claimed yet another victim on Tuesday as a man was shot and killed on a front porch in Big Pine Key (30 Miles East of Key West).
Wait, sorry, let me re-phrase that in a manner that will undoubtedly anger many gun control supporters: A Good Guy With A Gun on Big Pine Key, Florida (30 miles East of Key West) defended his wife and in-laws from an intruder who was dismantling the homeowner's front door in an effort to gain entry to the house.
Andrew Grzych, 29, of Little Torch Key, was extremely upset with the homeowner, Patrick Wunsch, 31, as he believed that Wunsch was engaging in an affair with Mrs. Grzych. According to police, Mr. Grzych decided that confronting Mr. Wunsch in his home at 11 o’clock at night was a smart idea and, when Mr. Wunsch would not open his door, thought breaking in would help resolve matters.
Unfortunately for Mr. Grzych, in Florida (and many other states) there is a thing called Castle Doctrine. Loosely explained, it is the principle that a person’s home/car/person is their castle and they should be free from unwarranted intrusions thereupon. It forms the basis upon which many self-defense laws rest: that your person and domicile are inviolate without due process (AKA: A warrant or Probable Cause) and that you have the right to defend yourself from a threat.
In the case of our victim, Mr. Wunsch, it is quite likely that Florida Statute 776.013(1)(a) or (b) applies:
776.013 Home protection; use or threatened use of deadly force; presumption of fear of death or great bodily harm.—
(1) A person is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another when using or threatening to use defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another if:
(a) The person against whom the defensive force was used or threatened was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove another against that person’s will from the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle; and
(b) The person who uses or threatens to use defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred.
In short, you can’t repay a misdemeanor committed against you (adultery, a 2nd degree misdemeanor, $500 fine) with a felony (breaking and entering, a 1st or 2nd degree felony, punishable by life in prison; depending on whether he succeeded in committing his assault or battery on Mr. Wunsch).
Right now, Mr. Wunsch is free to continue with his life. The police have currently ruled it a self-defense shooting and there have been no charges filed.
What lessons can we take away from the sad case of Mr. Grzych? Several.
1. Remain calm. This is one of the most difficult lessons to teach, and one of the hardest to learn. In Mr. Grzych’s case, he would be with us today if he had been the master of his emotions, instead of a slave to them.
Is it possible that Mrs. Grzych was indeed having an affair with our hero? Possibly. It’s The Keys. Lots of weird stuff going on down there. But it’s also irrelevant to the shooting. The fact is that Mr. Grzych tried to force his way into Mr. Wunsch’s home in the middle of the night and was met with appropriate force.
2. DON’T. OPEN. THE. DOOR. TO. YOUR. ASSAILANT. In this case, all reports point to Mr. Wunsch NOT opening the door until after he had shot Mr. Grzych and that he waited until Mr. Grzych began dismantling the door in order to defeat the lock.
If these reports are correct, regardless of how much Mr. Wunsch may have deserved a beating, he was still well within his rights to defend the rest of his family (wife, in-laws) with force from someone who was known to him, but had unknown intentions.
The point of this is, if your door defeats your assailant, and they go away, GREAT! Nobody’s injured and the police will be there shortly to take some prints and a statement from you. If your door fails, it is up to you whether to retreat to a more defensible position or make a stand where you are.
3. Even on a small island, police response takes time. Plan accordingly. You Are Your Own First Responder.