Utah Community Defends Homeowner Arrested for Shooting at Burglar

Published 02/08 2013 10:47AM

Updated 02/08 2013 10:52AM

SALT LAKE CITY -  Residents in a northern Utah city are coming to the defense of a man who was arrested and faces charges for shooting at burglars as they drove away from his property.

Layton police arrested Clare Niederhauser, 64, last week after he fired one shot at a car and another at a fleeing burglar, said Layton Police Lt. Shawn Horton. He was arrested on suspicion of two counts of reckless endangerment.

The shots were unlawful because the burglar had dropped a crowbar and was fleeing the property, said Horton, who added that the shots could have endangered somebody's life.

"There is a responsibility of owning a gun: you need to know when you can lawfully use your weapon," Horton said. "You're not authorized to shoot a firearm at a car just because you don't want it to get away, or to scare them, or disable a tire."

Niederhauser's supporters said he is being unfairly punished for protecting his home. They said the arrest sets a precedence that homeowners can't protect themselves and have launched a blog urging people to call police to complain and contribute to a legal aid fund.

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