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(Updated) That Wasn't a Raccoon: Couple Shoots Female Intruder Initially Thought to be Animal


Update: Intruder believed to be drunk college student

When you hear a noise outside your window, it's often safe to assume it is a nocturnal animal of some sort. That's what a Boulder, Colo., couple initially thought, until the thing entered their bedroom.

The Denver CBS affiliate reports that the wife realized the intruder was not a raccoon when their bedroom door opened in the wee hours of Wednesday morning. They yelled and warned for the intruder to leave. When the person continued toward them, the husband fired a shot.

When the lights were flipped on, it revealed a woman unknown to them. The woman was hit in the thigh and taken to the hospital.

Watch the local report:

Police are investigating who the woman is and why she entered the home in the first place.

Interestingly, the Denver Post reports a nearby couple saying they have had a similar experience with a female intruder before, who they believed was intoxicated at the time but non-violent:

College Avenue neighbors Fanta Watson and Sergi Gomis said they had similar experiences when they lived near 11th Street and Baseline Road, when they didn't lock their doors at night. One night they heard a loud noise in their living room, and when Gomis went downstairs to investigate, he said, he encountered a confused young woman who believed she was in her own home.

"This woman was dressed very nicely and she said, 'We go way, way back. Why are you throwing me out?'" Gomis recalled. "She was really upset about it."

According to the Post, it is yet to be determined if Colorado's Make My Day Law will even need to be applied in this case:

Under Colorado's Make My Day law, homeowners are allowed to use deadly force if a person enters their residence uninvited and either has committed a crime other than trespassing in the residence or intends to. Homeowners are also within their rights to use deadly force if they reasonably believe a trespassing person intends to use any measure of physical force on any occupant of the home, under the law.

Residents protected by the law are immune to criminal prosecution as well as civil liability, according to Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett.

Authorities are also still determining if any charges will need to be filed.


The intruder is not believed to be a drunk college student who might have just stumbled into the wrong house and was too intoxicated to realize it or respond. The Denver Westword blog has more:

The featured players in a Boulder "Make My Day" shooting could hardly be more unlikely: Zoey Ripple, CU student and ultra-perky food blogger, and the pair of Timothy Justice and Doreen Orion, whose saga of traveling the country for a year in a "glorified tin can" is told in the book Queen of the Road.

Justice won't be charged. But Ripple, who was ultra-drunk at the time of the incident, isn't out of the woods yet.


Ripple, a CU student listed on the university's website as majoring in speech, language and hearing sciences, is hardly a notorious scofflaw. The Camera discovered that she'd pleaded guilty to shoplifting in Broomfield in 2010, but her record was cleared after she successfully completed a deferred sentence. Her LinkedIn profile lists her as "Food and Beverage Intern Manager" at Columbine Country Club, and she's also blogged about food for the website Bite Into Boulder. Her most recent review, a June 2011 analysis of Khow Thai, features lines like "Thai food is one of my absolute top favorite foods" and "So BEWARE, those who cannot handle the heat, stray from the items on the menu with chili peppers by their name!"

The presumption at this point is that Ripple was simply so out of it that she mistakenly wandered into the wrong house and was unable to respond to Justice before he sent a chunk of lead in her direction. But in a prepared statement shared by the Camera, Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett also offered compassion to Orion, whose online bio describes her background as a psychiatrist and appearances on Good Morning America and the Discovery Channel, and Justice.

Also, the full 911 call has been released. You can hear it below:

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