May 3, 2007
AUGUSTA, Ga.---Neighbors of Army Cpt. Barre Bollinger say he had the right to protect himself after an intruder broke into his home and stole his property.
Bollinger shot 29-year-old Errol Royal at least twice in the stomach. Royal later died.
Under the Stand Your Ground law in Georgia, the soldier won't face any charges...and some of his neighbors say he shouldn't anyway, because he was protecting what's rightfully his.
"I can't understand even the first time," said Bollinger's neighbor Dilbert Lloyd. "All it is, is somebody out there that don't have a job, and don't want to get up and go to work, and take what other people have worked so hard in their life and struggled for."
Dilbert describes the young Army officer as a hardworking, peaceful neighbor who takes pride in his property.
"I've seen him work continuously in his yard, and landscaping, because it is a nice neighborhood and we all want to keep it that way."
That's one of the reasons Dilbert believes his neighbor was justified in shooting 29-year-old Errol Royal.
Investigators say Royal burglarized the young Army officer's home yesterday, and then returned to the home in an attempt to steal more items. Tthat's when Bollinger shot him with a semi-automatic rifle.
"I tell my son and daughter and wife, 'Always be aware of your surroundings, because you don't know what is going to happen'," Dilbert said.
"I think anybody would react the same way to protect themselves, their family or their property," said Bruce Burns.
Bruce, Erica and Zoey burns just moved to the area. While the family is shocked that this happened so close to them, they say anyone in the neighborhood could have been the target.
"We just moved here," Bruce said. "Everyone seems real nice, so I don't think we regret moving here. It could happen anywhere."
"I think it's a good neighborhood regardless," said Erica. "Bad things happen anywhere."
Because it could have happened anywhere, Dilbert Lloyd has this message for Barre Bollinger.
"Keep the strength up. What you did is right to protect your property and yourself, because you didn't know what the outcome was going to be. And God bless you and good will to you."
Police searched Royal's home on Ramblewood Drive after the shooting and found two of Bollinger's guns.
The Stand Your Ground law is a statute that allows the use of deadly force to defend against forcible unlawful entry or attack. These bills significantly expand the boundaries of legal self-defense by eliminating a person's "duty to retreat" from an invader or assailant in certain cases.