The owner of Gibbons Auto Service confronted Zielke
and shot her in the leg before police arrived.
But when is it legally okay to defend yourself or
property with a gun or other weapon if you find yourself
in the same situation?
News 8's Madalyn O'Neill joins us now with the answers.
Mike and Martha ...
Under the castle doctrine in Wisconsin .
you can shoot in self defense if someone forcibly
breaks in to your property .
but you can't use deadly force if you're just protecting
It may sound black and white in theory, but in real
life situations .
there is a lot of grey area.
It doesn't happen often.
They try to do it when no ones home so they dont get
But if you're ever face to face with an intruder in
your home, business, or even car, and have a weapon
to defend yourself .
you don't want to be shooting in the dark.
If you in the eyes of the law, if you didnt have their
right to shoot someone you could be charged with any
number one of a number of felony convictions.
Holmen business owner, Dave Gibbons lives above his
auto shop .
and went downstairs after seeing 37-year old Amy Zielke
on security cameras.
Gibbons says Zielke dropped a crowbar .
and he shot her in the leg.
Thanks to Wisconsin law .
prosecutors have decided he was in his rights to do
It appears to me that DA has made decision that property
owner was defending himself, apparently wife was upstairs,
his wife and property and under those circumstances,
the castle doctrine comes in to play.
Lawyers say according to Wisconsin's Castle doctrine
if someone unlawfully and forcibly entered another's
property, the property owner can use deadly force
if he or she has reason to believe that it was necesssary
to prevent great bodily harm.
939.48 Self-defense and defense of others.
If an actor intentionally used force that was intended
or likely to cause death or great bodily harm, the
court may not consider whether the actor had an opportunity
to flee or retreat before he or she used force and
shall presume that the actor reasonably believed that
the force was necessary to prevent imminent death
or great bodily harm to himself or herself if the
actor makes such a claim under sub.
1 and either of the following applies:
The person against whom the force was used was in
the process of unlawfully and forcibly entering the
actor's dwelling, motor vehicle, or place of business,
the actor was present in the dwelling, motor vehicle,
or place of business, and the actor knew or reasonably
believed that an unlawful and forcible entry was occurring.
Despite the law .
there's no clear cut answer for every situation.
it's abosoutely a case by case thing.
It's all how the situation unfolds at that exact time
and what that person perceives at that exact time.
So make sure you think before you pull the trigger.
The first they should think of is do I really want
to confront this perosn or do I want ot let the police
do their job? .
you need to think very hard about if I do confront
this person am I criminally and civilly lable for
what my actions are?
According to La Crosse County's district attorney,
the business owner will *not* face any charges for
the shooting .
because the D-A determined he was within his rights
to use force under the castle doctrine.
As mentioned, prosecutors determine if the castle
doctrine applies on a case to case basis.
Laws vary from state to state.
any use of force must be reasonable under the specific
circumstances of each case