You have the right to defend yourself with a weapon if your life and safety are in danger. In a worst-case scenario, this can mean causing the death of your attacker.
You also have a right to defend yourself if police see your actions as criminal. How you conduct yourself at the scene is important.
What to do after the shooting
Emotions and adrenaline run high at any shooting, so it is important to remain as calm as possible. Controlling yourself is a vital first step in proving you are innocent of any crime.
Call 911 immediately after a shooting. Provide your name, location and a brief description of the incident. Remember that police record 911 calls as possible evidence. The more you talk, the more likely you are to say something incriminating.
What to do when police arrive
Whatever happens, you should not be holding your weapon when police reach the scene. If officers see you with a weapon, a confrontation is likely.
Do not protest if police, acting out of caution, order you to lie face down on the ground. An officer may handcuff you, as well. This is routine procedure. They are securing the scene.
If police attempt to interview you, cooperate while limiting what you say. Make it clear you are the victim who called 911. You also can tell them you feel stressed and will answer all questions when you have had a chance to recover. This gives you time to collect your thoughts before making an official statement.
If you face charges for killing someone, even in self-defense, your own life is at stake. You should consider every possible strategy in defending yourself.
What to do to protect your rights
It is likely you have never shot anyone. As a responsible owner of a weapon, you may have thought about the possibility. Yet the consequences of a shooting can overwhelm you. You can take steps to preserve your rights and prove your innocence.