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The laws of self-defense shootings

By Meaghan Smith, msmith@wcyb.com
Published On: Aug 27 2013 05:00:30 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 27 2013 02:18:05 PM CDT

In the past few weeks, deputies say there have been two different situations when a person has shot someone, claiming to defend themselves.

In the past few weeks, deputies say there have been two different situations when a person has shot someone, claiming to defend themselves.

Last week, deputies say a Washington County, Virginia woman shot a man trying to get into her home; he was arrested. Click here to read more.

Just days ago in Washington County, Tenn. officers tell us a woman shot her sister-in-law, Kristin Cutshaw Bennett, after she threatened her with a knife. Click here to read more.

Officers say Bennett will be charged once she is released from the hospital; right now the shooting appears to be justified.

Sullivan County Sheriff's Office Captain Joseph Strickler sat down with us on Tuesday to explain when someone can legally pull the trigger. "If someone is threatening you, or they have the means to harm you and you fear for your safety, or fear for someone else's safety, then you don't have to retreat," says Capt. Strickler.

Captain Strickler says it's not black and white, and each case is different.

District Attorney General Barry Staubus echoes his statements and says it all boils down to two things: did that person believe they were in imminent harm or death, and were they reasonable?

We also spoke with Sheriff Fred Newman in Washington County, Virginia. He says in the state of Virginia, you also have to be in fear of your life or someone else's to use deadly force.