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No charges will be filed against mother, son who claimed self-defense in fatal shooting of suspected home intruder

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JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images

No charges will be filed against a mother and son who claimed self-defense in the fatal shooting of a suspected home intruder in Minneapolis last month, WCCO-TV reported.

What are the details?

Martin Lee Johnson, 30, was shot in the chest in the backyard of a residence in the 3300 block of 25th Avenue South on Feb. 22, the station said, citing police.

Police added to WCCO that Ring camera video showed Johnson hopping a six-foot-tall backyard fence before trying to enter the home through a rear patio door. He is then seen entering the detached garage through a backyard service door, the station said.

The 53-year-old mother and her 26-year-old son told investigators they initially thought the man had left their property after seeing him on camera, WCCO reported. With that, the mother said she grabbed her handgun, for which she has a permit, and asked her son to grab her rifle in their basement in case the intruder entered through an egress window, the station said.

The mother and son said they opened their patio door and noticed their garage service door was open, WCCO reported. The homeowner fired several “warning shots” in the air, and she and her son called out to the intruder to go away, the station said.

But Johnson walked into the backyard and wouldn’t leave, the homeowner and her son said, according to WCCO. Plus, they said he soon began walking toward them “with his hands near his waist area,” despite more warning shots and demands for him to leave, the station said.

Johnson was then shot in the chest, and police say the family members “remained at the threshold of their patio door” during the incident, WCCO said.

Police said officers responded after the son called 911, the station said, adding that Johnson, who was unarmed, was pronounced dead at the scene. Police added to WCCO that the homeowner willingly gave investigators access to her Ring camera video.

Police and the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office stated “it cannot be said with absolute certainty” if the mother or son fired the fatal shot, the station said.

But a KARE-TV video report — which aired prior to the decision to not press charges against the mother and son — cited search warrant information saying the intruder was shot with a rifle. KARE's story, citing the county attorney's office, reported that the homeowner's son was in possession of a rifle at the time of the fatal shooting.

The KARE video report added that the rifle and spent rifle cartridge casings were found inside the home, and three spent cartridge casings were found on the deck, presumably from the handgun.

The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office on Tuesday didn't immediately respond to TheBlaze's request for comment regarding why it can't be definitively stated if the mother or son fired the fatal shot.

No charges

The county attorney’s office said it’s “declining to issue charges” after reviewing the police investigation of the shooting, saying the mother and son's self-defense claims were valid, WCCO reported.

The attorney’s office added to the station that it couldn't “disprove valid self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt," family members gave Johnson reasonable warning as he was approaching them, and the mother and son didn’t have “a duty to retreat” since they were technically inside their home when the fatal shot was fired.

About two weeks after the deadly shooting, Johnson’s family held a press conference to demand more information about the case from police. At the time, the family disputed the claim that the homeowner promptly called 911 after the shooting.

The following KARE-TV video report on the fatal shooting aired earlier this month, prior to the decision by county attorney's office to not file charges against the mother and her son.

Homeowner claims self-defense in fatal shooting of alleged burglar youtu.be

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