Orangeburg, South Carolina — A property owner went to investigate his neighbor's reports of a squatter living on his property and ended up being threatened with a garbage can which prompted him to fire a warning shot into the air.
After several different people reached out to the property owner to say that it looked like someone appeared to be making his home on the property, the man and a friend visited to investigate for themselves.
Upon arrival at the Centre Street property, they found what looked like a small shelter erected on the man's land.
Another man appeared and allegedly said he'd kill the two friends if they moved his belongings.
He reportedly grabbed a nearby garbage can and began to walk with an aggressive demeanor towards the two friends with the can in his hands.
The property owner fired a warning shot from his revolver into the air and at some point during this ordeal, though it's unclear when, the police were called.
At some point later, police caught up with the squatter and placed him on a trespass notice for the property.
The news story ends there.
From a tactical standpoint, firing a warning shot can be dangerous for numerous reasons. First, a warning shot lessens your effective round count. Meaning that if you're a bad shot and the aggressor turns more aggressive, you're now down a round.
Even if you're an excellent shot if you're now dealing with more than one squatter or a squatter who is on a controlled substance, or a squatter with an angry dog, you have one less round to your advantage.
Making matters worse, revolvers are usually 5 or 6 shot handguns (except for this one, which is an 8-shot), already giving you limited resources for self-defense.
Also, what goes up must come back down. Firing a warning shot into the air may seem like a good idea at the time, but if it comes down on someone else's head or property it can only cause damage. The saying that you own every shot that leaves the muzzle of your weapon is true.
And, this is also true for anyone who thinks it's better to fire a warning shot into the ground. The truth of the matter is that bullets can ricochet off things and travel far at lethal speeds for a quite a while.
Be responsible and don't fire a warning shot.
On a different note, going to investigate is also rarely a good idea because it puts you in a position where you may need to defend yourself from someone with unknown circumstances. There are too many variables that you don't know like how many people are actually there, if they're armed, if they're high on meth, if there is a protective dog in the vicinity, etc.
Yes it is your property and you have the right to keep trespassers off it, but doing it the right way by letting police go investigate it for you would have been the best course of action for this property owner.
It's just the responsible thing to do and takes away any legal ramifications from you.
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