Killing of 3 teens during burglary may test Oklahoma 'Stand Your Ground' law

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Three teenagers dressed in black and wearing masks were killed by a resident when they broke into a home, Oklahoma authorities said. (WLS)

The killing of three teenagers involved in a burglary may test Oklahoma's "Stand Your ground" Law, and the alleged getaway driver in the case was arrested on three first-degree murder and three first-degree burglary warrants, authorities said Wednesday.

It all began when three teen burglary suspects were shot and killed Monday by a homeowner's son armed with an assault rifle in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, which has a "Stand Your Ground" law.

Officials said they had not determined if the shooter, who was armed with an AR-15, would face charges. Oklahoma law presumes homeowners have a fear that justifies use of defensive force just by virtue of someone breaking into a home.

A decision on charges for the shooter, as well as formal charges for the alleged getaway driver, would be determined in the coming days, prosecutors said.

"And at that time, there'll be a final decision. I know there's questions that have been posed regarding 'Stand Your Ground' law as well as the application of the felony murder rule," said First Assistant District Attorney Jack Thorpe. "We hope to be able to answer those questions with our formal filing decision when we reach that decision."

According to Deputy Nick Mahoney of the Wagoner County Sheriff's Office, deputies got a call around 12:30 p.m. on the day of the crime about a possible home invasion with shots fired.

Chief Deputy Les Young identified the 911 caller as Zach Peters, the son of the homeowner. They said he told the dispatcher that people had entered his home and that he'd discharged his weapon.


Mahoney said that when police arrived, they found three deceased male teenagers, ranging in age from 16 to 18 years old. Authorities would not release their names until they contacted relatives.

Two were in the kitchen area of the house. One of the suspects appeared to have run from the home after being shot but had died in the driveway, Mahoney added.

"These three individuals came to this residence, which we believe, with the intent to break in to burglarize the home," he said.

The teens were dressed in black, wearing masks and gloves when they allegedly forced their way through a glass backdoor. The three allegedly encountered Peters, who at that point was armed with the rifle. Multiple shots were fired, Mahoney said.

Peters nor his father were injured in the incident.

Mahoney added that two of the deceased were considered armed, one of whom had brass knuckles, he said, and another had a knife. The third suspect had not yet been searched by police, according to authorities.

Police with the Wagoner County Sheriff's Office said they'd arrested the alleged getaway driver, identified as Elizabeth Marie Rodriguez.

Rodriguez, 21, had turned herself in to authorities after the shooting, allegedly saying that she had information about the incident. After being interviewed, she identified the three dead teens in the house, police said.

Rodriguez was arrested on three counts of felony first-degree murder (for deaths that occur during the commission of a felony), one count of first-degree burglary and one count of second-degree burglary.

Police said the last count was because the four had allegedly gone to the same home earlier in the day and then returned.

Mahoney said he did not know whether Rodriguez had dropped the suspects off at the home or had planned to pick them up. Authorities were working to determine whether the burglary was random as the investigation continued.

Rodriguez has not been formally charged and is scheduled to appear in court on April 5.

ABC News' Rachel Humphries contributed to this story.

Related Topics:
home invasionshootingburglaryteen killedu.s. & worldOklahoma
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