Rochester girl, 16, shot by grandfather; he thought she was breaking into his house

A case of mistaken identity culminated in a grandfather shooting his granddaughter late last night.
A case of mistaken identity culminated in a grandfather shooting his granddaughter late last night.

When does being vigilant in protecting your home against crime go too far? When you end up shooting your own granddaughter, that's when.

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In the words of police, a 61-year-old Rochester man is "extremely shaken" after shooting his 16-year-old granddaughter in the upper torso just before 11 p.m. last night. The girl is in critical condition but is expected to live.

The Rochester Post Bulletin provides more information:

The man said the couple had been asleep when they heard a noise outside, the report says. The man grabbed his 9 mm handgun and told his wife to call the police as he went to investigate, according to Rochester Police Capt. Brian Winters.

The homeowner saw a figure at the back door and fired at least two shots, one of which struck the 16-year-old girl in the upper torso, Winters said...

The teenager has been living with her grandparents for a couple of months, Winters said. The couple said the girl had been home earlier, and they thought she was there when they heard the noise outside.

Winters characterized the shooting as "just a tragic event," but added authorities' investigation "will follow a systematic, thorough path."

The grandfather had a recent burglary at the nearby Rochester Recreation Center on his mind when he grabbed his 9 mm last night, Winters said, according to the Post Bulletin report.

The Rochester shooting comes just weeks after Byron Smith brutally and somewhat controversially gunned down two teens who had broken into his Little Falls home. Minnesota law stipulates that shooting an intruder is legally warranted if the shooter has a reasonable belief that doing so prevents a felony from occurring in their home. But as the Rochester grandfather learned the hard way last night, reasonable belief is one thing -- accurate belief is another.

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