“Now, kids, remember: If you break into a private home and someone there is armed, you risk getting shot.” It’s not a typical piece of parental advice, but in view of the growing spate of home invasions by teenagers who end up on morgue slabs, maybe it’s high time it became one.
The Merced (Calif.) Sun-Star identifies the most recent casualties as Steven Crider, 16, and, Michael Sambrano, 14, both of Sacramento. The two were shot and killed as they were exiting an upscale home shortly after they broke in around midnight last Sunday. It has not yet been revealed whether the shooter was the homeowner, described as in her 60s, or her 70-something-year-old brother, whom she had asked to stay with her owing to previous break-in attempts. Police have also refused to release details on how Crider and Sambrano got inside the home.
In an interview with CBS Sacramento, Lisa Sambrano, the older teen’s mother, said, “I just don’t understand why they were shot multiple times.” Christina Sambrano, a younger sister added, “They were on their way out the door, and I just think it was wrong that they were shot.”
But other community members are viewing the shooting differently. A neighbor named Robert Robinson, whose own home was burgled twice before, is quoted as saying, “Justice was served.” Another area resident, David Keck, told reporters, “He was not an innocent bystanderor “I’m sorry the little boys or teenagers were killed, but if it’s my family, my family comes first.”
Police have ruled the shooting an act of self-defense. Under California law, a person is free to use deadly force on anyone who unlawfully and forcibly enters their home if they have a reasonable fear of “imminent peril of death, or great bodily injury.”