Ravalli County Sheriff Chris Hoffman told the Montana Standard that the resident said he was startled awake by noises just before 4 a.m. on Monday morning. The man armed himself and went to investigate, leading him to a man climbing through a broken window.
The man then reportedly ordered the suspect not to move. However, the suspected burglar apparently turned his body towards him, causing the resident to shoot the intruder with his handgun.
After being shot, the suspect climbed back through the window and ran away, police said.
“When sheriff’s deputies arrived, they found the man lying on the ground a short distance from the house. Paramedics rendered aid immediately, but the intruder could not be revived and was pronounced dead at the scene,” according to the report.
Though Sheriff Hoffman said it’s too early in the case to determine if the resident’s actions are covered under the state’s “castle doctrine,” he said a “person has every right to protect him or herself in their home if they fear for their life.”
“They are in no obligation to hide out or call 9-1-1. If they are in fear for their life, they have every right to defend themselves or use deadly force,” he added.