There has been some debate this week about whether a Yukon-area homeowner was justified in shooting a suspect who allegedly tried to break into his vehicle.
Oklahoma City police were called early Sunday morning to a home in the Deer Run Addition near N.W. 50th and Sara Road. The residence, in the 4600 block of Doe Run Drive, is in Oklahoma City limits although the address is Yukon.
Reports indicate the resident had confronted an armed man, later identified as Travis Welch, 23, and shot him to death on his property.
The questions are: Was this a justifiable homicide? As the confrontation ensued, did the suspect point his weapon or lunge violently toward the homeowner? Was the resident in fear of death or great bodily injury? These are questions that the investigation will help reveal.
We have a right to protect our homes from invasion (see “Make My Day” law), but it will be interesting to see whether police determine the Deer Run homeowner was justified in discharging his weapon to thwart off a would-be auto burglar. It will depend on whether he feared for his life.
Having your vehicle broken into is one thing. That is not worth risking your life or having to face a jury after being charged with murder.
Being legitimately afraid that you will be killed or seriously injured is another discussion altogether.
Ultimately, guilt or innocence is decided in our courts. Should police determine the circumstances justified this shooting, the district attorney most likely would not file criminal charges.
But even that couldn’t stop the family of the deceased auto burglary suspect from filing a civil action against the shooter.
Many people are speculating, but none of us should jump to conclusions when a tragedy like this occurs.
This situation provides all of us a good lesson. Almost all late night/early morning auto burglaries occur because people have left their vehicles unlocked parked in front of their homes.
What these burglars do is walk through neighborhoods after most people have gone to bed simply looking for unlocked cars. They will pull up on door handles to see if they have easy access inside.
Be smart and lock your cars at night! And don’t leave valuables in your vehicle if you park at your house or apartment, whether in the driveway, parking lot or on the street.
Leaving valuables like a mobile phone, game system, wallet, jewelry, or money in plain view inside your car is like ringing the dinner bell for these thieves who surf through our neighborhoods under the moonlight.
They are praying for easy targets (unlocked vehicles) to claim goods that they can sell or pawn for cash, often to feed a drug habit.
* * *
Now that the holidays are over, a spirited race for a seat on the Yukon City Council has started. You surely have noticed campaign signs starting to pop up around Yukon and social media postings by some of the candidates running for office.
There are six people seeking the at-large seat on the five-member council. Incumbent Earline Smaistrla is being challenged by five other contenders, including former council member Ken Smith. Other candidates are Jim Davis, Stephen Kerr, Jeff Wootton, and Jim Ketcher.
Several of the office-seekers have been making the rounds at community events to meet voters. Unlike the city council ward elections, this at-large election covers all of Yukon. All registered voters are eligible to cast their ballots in the Tuesday, Feb. 12 primary election.
With six people running for office, it will be difficult for one candidate to receive a majority of all votes cast in the primary. In that case, the top two vote-getters will square off in the general election on April 2 with the winner taking office in May.
The next month will be interesting as all candidates share their positions and discuss their qualifications with Yukon citizens. You will see candidates use all sorts of avenues to reach voters, including direct mail, fliers and brochures, news articles and advertisements, social media, videos, and maybe even some good ole’ door knocking.
Yukon is on solid financial footing and in a period of strong growth, so it’s refreshing to see people running for city council for the right reasons.
* * *
Hopefully you read our news report recently about Yukon’s sluggish sales tax collections over the last half of calendar year 2018. Many people were surprised because they see all these new retail businesses, restaurants and busy shopping centers around Yukon.
And that’s the point. Much of this retail growth is “around” Yukon, but in Oklahoma City limits.
Remember Yukon only receives sales tax revenue from stores inside Yukon city limits. Everything south of N.W. 10th Street and Interstate 40 is Oklahoma City limits. Think about that the next time you shop.