Whittier Law Student Shot and Killed In Las Vegas In “Castle Doctrine” Case

1412376_10208878530344561_2265194252198044717_oRichard Rizal McGee, third-year law student at Whittier Law School, was shot and killed last week in another case involving a mistaken shooting under “Castle Doctrine” laws. McGee appears to have been drunk and banging on the wrong door in Las Vegas when the occupants warned him and then fired through the door four times. The shooter is unlikely to be charged in the killing.

McGee had been drinking all night after starting at the Hyde nightclub inside Bellagio. They left the club around 2:30 a.m. and took an Uber to the Crazy Horse, a strip club about 3 miles away. McGee had left a strip club with one friend but they had apparently forgotten the third friend at the club while he paid the bill. They took Uber to the complex and somehow were separated. McGee had only been to the apartment once and appears to have been very drunk and very confused on where the apartment was. He went into the wrong building and tried to get into an apartment. He kept pounding on the metal door despite the occupants telling him to go away and that they were armed. They called the police before the shooting. When he kept trying to get into the apartment, one fired through the door and hit him repeatedly, including in the neck and torso.

Here is the Nevada provision:

NRS 200.120 “Justifiable homicide” defined. Justifiable homicide is the killing of a human being in necessary self-defense, or in defense of habitation, property or person, against one who manifestly intends, or endeavors, by violence or surprise, to commit a felony, or against any person or persons who manifestly intend and endeavor, in a violent, riotous, tumultuous or surreptitious manner, to enter the habitation of another for the purpose of assaulting or offering personal violence to any person dwelling or being therein.

[1911 C&P 129; RL 6394; NCL 10076]-(NRS A 1983, 518)

Just this year, Nevada expanded the Castle Doctrine law to include the use of lethal force in vehicles and not just dwellings. It also added protections from civil lawsuit.

So long as the occupants can claim a reasonable fear that McGee was trying to break into their home, the shooting is treated as justified. Moreover, Nevada like some other states allows for the use of the power not just in the home but around its immediate exterior or curtilage.

The shooting is reminiscent of other such mistaken shootings through doors, including the notorious case of the killing of a Japanese student in Baton Rouge.

This is a terrible loss for McGee’s friends and family. There was a “paddle out” for McGee by his grieving friends in California this morning.

Source: Review Journal

66 thoughts on “Whittier Law Student Shot and Killed In Las Vegas In “Castle Doctrine” Case”

  1. Well Karen, If you think they are trying to break into your home, what the hell are they knocking for, thinking maybe you would just let them in and save the energy of breaking in, sorry I don’t think so. The home owner was just a damn coward.

  2. This is BS suppose it was a Flat-Foot (i.e. cop) and he just shot through the damn door. Sounds like the home owner was drunk as well

  3. You people supporting this crap are sick. Castle Doctrine’s already legalized murder(often of mere petty thieves or completely innocent people like in this case) to begin with, but now you sick murderous hicks are rooting for the guys who gunned down an unarmed man OUTSIDE the door WHEN the cops were already on their way?
    Go to hell.
    This action was as unjustifiable as it gets, and if were up to me, these twisted sob’s would get the electric chair.

    1. It is much easier Joe to access a situation in hindsight then it is during the actual event. Self defense is an important legal principle. From the article, in my opinion, there isn’t enough evidence to determine if the shooting were justifiable or not. You appear to be assuming that there was no malicious intent on the part of the law student. Based on the brief article, we do not know if there was any malicious intent or not. There could be much more to the story then we have so far been given. Sad outcome none the less. Banging on peoples doors in the middle of the night is not a good idea nor is shooting someone who is doing this if there was no malicious intent.

  4. The new American god: Glock bless America….. In Glock we Trust….

    1. Lloyd – personally I am a fan of the Colt 1911 .45 cal. If the bullet just grazes you it is taking you down.

    1. The shooter broke one of the cardinal rules of gun safety. He did not know where his target was nor what was behind his target before shooting. In fact, he didn’t even see his target. While he killed the fellow, he’s lucky no one else was killed.

      1. stevegroen – during WWII the average G,I, shot 1000 rounds before he hit someone. This guy knew exactly where his target was. 😉

  5. Thank goodness you remembered your “LOL” this time. I was beginning to think you’d forgotten what it stood for. I’ll bet you are one of those people who says it out loud instead of actually laughing. Calling me lame and “middle school”– quite the practitioner of the put-down.

    I think high school must have been your best years, because your attempts at discourse, insults and your overall level of defensiveness seems like a high school kid who thinks “we’re number one!” settles all scores.

  6. Humans like the law are imperfect. The thought of shooting a drunk person because he is knocking on your door is a bit drastic, especially in Vegas. I still think the law is good because of the potential ill intent of people. It suggests to me the wrong person might have died in this case. However just because he was a student in law school we as a society tend to side with him. All lawyers are of course very ethical human beings and never cause anyone any harm or malice. Don;t have enough facts. Sad loss none the less.

    Its the lame stream media’s fault for all the fear mongering. Lots more people are killed in traffic accidents.

  7. You don’t even know how to bust balls. Quite a lame and middle school attempt. LOL! You must have been raised by women.

  8. All one has to do is read through the comments here to understand how America has become a second rate nation and why the rest of the world shakes their heads and wonder what went wrong.

    America, first in killing and blowing up stuff, somewhere way down the list in just about everything else.

  9. Karen writes, “I neglected to add that if someone is trying to break in, and they know you are home, you can usually assume that they mean you harm.”

    Here, yes, there’s a legal presumption that someone breaking in is presumed to have the intent to cause great bodily harm. But if he or she climbed in the window only to discovery it wasn’t his or her house that was just entered, or if it’s a cop that’s breaking down the door within the scope of duty, the presumption of great bodily harm has been rebutted, and you’ll pay for pulling the trigger. Exercising castle doctrine requires at least as much premeditation as breaking and entering does if not being sued or incarcerated are on one’s list of priorities.

  10. It’s OK to kill someone for banging on your door?


    I don’t even think that would be legal in Westeros.

    1. Pomocrates – everything is legal in Westeros. Did you see that murder trial? Really!!!!

  11. I neglected to add that if someone is trying to break in, and they know you are home, you can usually assume that they mean you harm. Otherwise, thieves break in when the family is away. The possibility that it is a really nice guy just so drunk that he’s still ambulatory but unable to comprehend verbal instructions AND had a personality shift so complete he tries to break into an apartment is so minute. Are you really going to let some guy break in because he might be a 3rd year law student who’s drunk and lost?

    That reminds me of the commercial about the couple who’s lost, and the driver pulls over in front of an abandoned gas station, to ask the butcher with the running chainsaw for directions, and to please turn the chainsaw off because it’s hard to hear him. It was something about the importance of having a good map app so you don’t have to ask butchers standing in front of abandoned gas stations, with a chainsaw, for directions. Because according to the logic on this sight, clearly there’s a perfectly innocent explanation for a butcher to have a chainsaw at night, running, in front of an abandoned gas station. And you’d just be paranoid to make assumptions and avoid him.

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