Man who shot suspected burglar could face charges

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, January 29, 2008

AUGUSTA, Ga.---A man who says he shot a burglar in self defense could face charges.

"I'm shocked actually," said Michael Thurman, in response to learning he could faces charges.

He admits to shooting a burglary suspect in his yard, but says he did it to protect him and his wife.

He says he didn't do it because he thought the burglar was breaking into his truck, but because he didn't know what might happen.

"He moved quickly to a dark area where he could've had a weapon he could've had friends, he could've had anything. That's why he got shot," Thurman said.

The suspect, Jeffery Whitt, went to jail after investigators say he broke into three vehicles Sunday.

Now Thurman could face charges, too, for shooting the suspect.

"The D.A. should not prosecute him at all. They should give him a medal actually,"said Michael Rigdon, who lives nearby and heard the gunshots Sunday night.

He thinks Thurman was in the right and says he probably would've done the same thing.

"I think a man has a right to defend himself and his property. And I think it sends a message to the criminal element in this town that if they're gonna break into people's stuff, they better be willing to suffer the consequences," he said.

Carolyn Weaver says she disagrees.

"I would venture on the side that I think this was a bit excessive," she said.

She says she doesn't own a gun, and believes the owner could have done things differently.

"If charges were filed against this man maybe people will stop and think a little bit before turning to a firearm as their first alternative,"

But an alternative is something Thurman says he didn't have.

"All i was doing was protecting myself," he said.

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