Three teen burglary suspects were shot and killed Monday by a homeowner’s son armed with an assault rifle in Oklahoma — which has a “stand your ground” law — and the alleged getaway driver in the case was arrested on felony murder and other charges, authorities said.
Authorities said they had not determined if the shooter, who was armed with an AR-15, would face charges. Oklahoma law presumes homeowners have a fear that justifies use of defensive force just by virtue of someone breaking into a home.
A decision on charges for the shooter as well as formal charges for the alleged getaway driver, would be determined in the coming days, prosecutors said.
“And at that time, there’ll be a final decision — I know there’s questions that have been posed regarding Stand Your Ground law as well as the application of the felony murder rule,” said first assistant district attorney Jack Thorp. “We hope to be able to answer those questions with our formal filing decision when we reach that decision.”
According to Deputy Nick Mahoney of the Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office, deputies got a call around 12:30 p.m. Monday about a possible home invasion with shots fired.
Today, Chief Deputy Les Young identified the 911 caller as Zach Peters, the son of the homeowner. They said he told the dispatcher that people had entered his home and that he’d discharged his weapon.
Mahoney said that when police arrived, they found three deceased male teenagers, ranging in age from 16-18.
Two were in the kitchen area of the house, Mahoney said; one appeared to have run from the home after being shot but had died in the driveway.
“These three individuals came to this residence, which we believe, with the intent to break in, to burglarize the home,” he said.
Mahoney said the males were dressed in black, wearing masks and gloves, when they allegedly forced their way through a glass backdoor. He said, there, the three allegedly encountered Peters, who was armed with a rifle. Police said today that multiple shots were fired.
Mahoney said Peters and his father, the homeowner, were in the home at the time but were not hurt. Police said Peters went to the Sheriff’s Office and was interviewed by investigators.
Mahoney said two of the deceased were considered armed. One had brass knuckles, he said. Another had a knife. Mahoney said the third suspect had not yet been searched by police.
Police with the Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office said today they’d arrested an alleged getaway driver who they identified as Elizabeth Marie Rodriguez.
Mahoney said that Rodriguez, 21, had turned herself in to authorities after the shooting, allegedly saying that she had information about the incident. He said she was interviewed and taken into custody. Police said today that Rodriguez had identified the three dead males in the house.
Rodriguez was arrested on three counts of felony first degree murder (for deaths that occur during the commission of a felony), one count of first degree burglary and one count of second degree burglary. Police said the last count was because the four had allegedly gone to the same home earlier in the day and then returned. She has yet to be formally charged.
Mahoney said he did not know whether Rodriguez had dropped the suspects off at the home or had planned to pick them up. Police said that the investigation was ongoing and that they did not know whether the burglary was random. They would not release the names of the three killed until they contacted relatives.
Rodriguez was scheduled to appear in court April 5.