This question and quotes below (emphasis added) come from an article in today's paper titled "‘He started crying like a little baby’: 11-year-old brags about shooting suspected home invader."
A known home intruder was taking some things from a house. An 11 year old, home alone (/with the dog) at the time, picked up a gun and ordered the man out of the house.
Once the man made it outside, Chris fired a warning shot. The man, who was carrying a stolen laundry hamper, began running. Chris emptied the magazine, firing off 12 shots by the time the intruder neared a fence in the family’s front yard...The final shot hit the man in the leg as he was hopping the fence.
The Hunstville Times reports that use of deadly force for self defense is allowed in Alabama under the following circumstances:
- About to use unlawful deadly physical force.
- A burglar about to use physical force.
- Engaged in kidnapping, assault, robbery, or rape.
- Unlawfully and forcefully entering a home or car, or attempting to remove a person against their will. (There are exceptions for people who used to live there and are under no injunctions or domestic protection orders.)
- Breaking into a nuclear power plant.
- Using or about to use physical force against an owner, employee, or other person authorized to be on business property when the business is closed to the public while committing or attempting to commit a crime involving death, serious physical injury, robbery, kidnapping, rape, sodomy, or a crime of a sexual nature involving a child under the age of 12.
Here, the alleged burglar was running away carrying some property, but which of the circumstances above does that fall into? Is "physical force" defined in the physics sense of accelerating mass? Is there another law which justifies this, that those articles missed?
Why is the shooter in that story an unprosecutable hero, and what set of conditions would allow someone else to justifiably shoot a fleeing burglar?
A comment has questioned the note about this shooter being "unprosecutable" but you can find support for that in the media coverage. The kid openly brags about what he did in international media and describes how the lesson folks are supposed to learn from this is "don't steal from us because we'll use deadly force in defense of our property," a use of force the state is showing is legal in practice. There is no discussion about prosecuting the shooter, from any relevant source (as far as I can find) and the only "suspect" referred to is the thief who got shot. The New York Post explicitly concludes, "The eleven-year old faces no charges, as Alabama law allows for one to use deadly force in the event of unlawful entry or burglary." All I could find from relevant sources was praise for the kid and his parents, who left the poorly trained 11-year-old alone with easy access to the loaded firearm. This source quotes an officer praising the boy's use of the weapon for self-defense and also asserts there are no charges pending.
All coverage gives the clear impression that the only action being considered as a violation of the law is the theft.
Yes, I am wondering in this question what makes it a justified shooting. What are the circumstances that make it OK (in practice) for a layperson to shoot a fleeing burglar?