MAYVILLE – Acting Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson has released a statement regarding the April 23, 2016 shooting incident that took place in Fredonia.
“After a complete investigation.. it is the determination of my office that no charges will be filed against the homeowner,” Swanson said in the statement. “With regards to the other parties involved, charges are forthcoming for an alleged criminal trespass in the second degree.”
Swanson also said that currently he is not at liberty to comment on the facts and circumstances surrounding the case against the two would-be intruders. He did, however, say that his office received a very thorough and detailed investigation into event, adding that the decision to not press charges against the homeowner – whose name is not being released – was not made lightly.
“This was a decision I felt need not be made in haste but rather after collection of, and reflection on, all the relevant evidence collected from the incident,” Swanson said. “This decision comes after a full and complete review of the facts as provided by witnesses and crime scene forensic technicians. In reaching this decision the relevant sections of the penal law were considered.”
Swanson also specifically cited section 35.20(3) of the state penal code, which is the section that deals with the particulars of justification when using physical force, and in this case, using potentially deadly force.
“It is the position of my office that the homeowner, who I will not name in an effort to protect their identity, did not operate outside the confines of the law when firing three rounds from a .45 caliber, properly licensed, handgun. It is the position of this office that the homeowner not only acted within the law, but also with discretion, as they shot only at the legs of the subject hit. While any self-defense class would teach otherwise, the homeowner probably spared a life when taking action in that manner. At the end of the day, no one wins in a situation such as this. On the one hand we have a person shot. On the other, we have a responsible gun owner having to take action in a way that no responsible gun owner desires. As a gun owner myself, I can tell you I hope to never find myself in a situation where I have to employ my weapon against another human being. I hope this brings some form of closure for the homeowner.”
Swanson also thanked the Fredonia Police Department and the Chautauqua County Forensic Investigation Team for their efforts and hard work on this case.
Following the April 23 incident, Fredonia police identified one of the two suspects as James Duman, who was shot by the homeowner after he and an unidentified female allegedly forced their way into the residence on Liberty St. in the village. The incident took place shortly after 2:20 a.m.
According to the initial police report, after coming into his enclosed porch and knocking on the door, the homeowner answered and the two allegedly forced themselves into his home. He then warned the two that he was armed and they then left his residence. However, it’s alleged when the homeowner went outside to get a description of the suspects’ car, Duman allegedly got out of the vehicle and charged the homeowner, who then shot Duman, causing him to get back in his car and drive away. He was located by Fredonia police a short time later.
After being treated at the Erie County Medical Center, Duman was transported to the Erie County Jail. Charges have yet to be filed against Duman, who remains in custody due to a parole violation.