Will the killer of a homeless man be protected by Colorado’s “make my day” law?

Colorado’s law on self-defense in residences was the first of its kind and remains one of the strongest in the country.

Prosecutors are still deciding what to do about the Jan. 19 fatal shooting of Donald Wayne Russell, 37, in the basement of an apartment complex in Colorado Springs, as The Gazette reports.

Russell had been sleeping in the basement of the complex for some time, as one witness told The Gazette, when a resident woke him up and confronted him. Russell reportedly started “cursing and throwing things,” before the resident shot him to death.

Colorado’s “make my day” law says that people are justified in using “any degree of physical force” when they reasonably believe that an intruder will commit or has committed a crime in the building besides trespassing.

The shooter also has to believe the intruder might use “any physical force, no matter how slight.”

Colorado does not have a “stand your ground” law, which would allow gun owners in certain situations to shoot people on public streets even when they could have retreated.

However, Colorado’s law on self-defense in residences was the first of its kind and remains one of the strongest in the country, as The Denver Post reported.

Andrew Kenney

Author: Andrew Kenney

Andrew Kenney writes about public spaces, Denver phenomena and whatever else. He previously worked for six years as a reporter at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. His most prized possession is his collection of bizarre voicemail. Leave him one at 303-502-2803, or email akenney@denverite.com.