ROYAL PALM BEACH, Fla. - A 19-year-old with a criminal history is dead after police say he was shot while trying to steal a motorcycle.
The man who pulled the trigger won't be charged by sheriff's deputies.
It all started at 4:00 a.m. Thursday morning when police say the owner of the motorcycle heard them, grabbed his rifle and opened fire.
"I knew it was real close from how they sounded," said the man's neighbor, Chris Grear. "It was boom, boom, boom, boom."
He says his next door neighbor fired more than a half-dozen bullets.
Benjy Young, 19, was killed.
Police say Young was one of three men trying to load the man's motorcycle onto a pickup truck they had just stolen.
Police say the homeowner acted in self-defense.
"They turned to him and pointed something at him in a gesture, like a firearm," said Sheriff's Deputy Eric Davis.
Legal analyst Michelle Suskauer says Florida has what's called the "stand your ground" law.
Passed in the mid-90s, it allows people to protect themselves when their property, like a vehicle, is entered, and the threat of bodily harm is made.
If this had happened 20 years ago, the outcome could've been different.
"In the past, you would not be able to use deadly force," said Suskauer. "You would have to retreat, before you would use deadly force, call the authorities, call for help."
Ironically, Suskauer says the people who could be jailed for Young's death are his own accomplices.
Because Young died in what police say was the commission of a separate felony - stealing a motorcycle and a truck - the two accomplices could face murder charges.
"Those other individuals, who did not pull the trigger, pursuant to Florida case law, are responsible for that death," said Suskauer.
Neighbors said they are glad the homeowner isn't facing charges.
"If someone were pointing a gun at me, I'd do the same thing," said Grear.
Police said the man who fired his gun does not feel like a hero, but instead feels a range of emotions because someone lost a life.
They are protecting his identity for fear of retribution from the suspects still on the loose.
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