Police take many risks when they break open a door to a small space or apartment. They cannot always predict what will happen when they enter the space. The same is true for any occupant of the space who hears the police warn about breaking in. If the defendant is armed, he (or she) may well open fire out of fear of being either arrested or mistreated by the police. A recent occurrence of domestic disturbance in Clinton resulted in the wounding of a police officer and a woman who lived in the apartment.

Police responded to an alert about an unfolding domestic violence incident. In several 911 calls, they were told that a male occupant of the premises had been firing his gun inside the apartment. When police knocked on the door of the apartment, they received no response. They could, however, hear a woman yelling for help. The police decided that the woman may have needed emergency medical assistance, and they relied on this conclusion to break open the door.

As the officers entered the room, one was shot in the foot. The suspect then jumped from a second-story window to the ground. He was arrested without further incident. In most police departments, including then Clinton department, officers are justified in shooting the suspect. The Clinton police chief complimented his officers in resisting the impulse to open fire. The wounded woman, who was later identified as the suspect’s wife, is hospitalized with critical but stable injuries. The wounded officer was treated and released.

The defendant in this case will undoubtedly be charged with serious crimes, but he, like all defendants, is entitled to be presumed innocent unless and until he is convicted by evidence that leaves no reasonable doubt as to guilt. Anyone facing similar charges may wish to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney for an evaluation of the evidence, an analysis of the criminal charges and an estimate of the likelihood of reaching a satisfactory plea agreement.