By Ian Simpson
(Reuters) – An Oklahoma man shot and killed three suspected teenage burglars with an assault rifle when they broke into his home, and the 23-year-old is unlikely to be charged based on initial evidence, authorities said on Tuesday.
The three had forced their way into the house near the Tulsa suburb of Broken Arrow on Monday when the homeowner’s son opened fire with an AR-15 military-style rifle, Deputy Nick Mahoney, spokesman for the Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office, said by telephone.
The male intruders were wearing all-black clothing, masks and gloves, while one was armed with a knife and another had brass knuckles, according to authorities.
“This is a pretty uncommon thing for Wagoner County,” Mahoney said of the shooting.
Two of the youths were 16 or 17 years old while the third was 18 or 19, Mahoney said. Two died inside the house and the third collapsed on the driveway.
Neither the resident or the three intruders were named by authorities.
The trio’s suspected getaway driver, Elizabeth Rodriguez, 21, has been charged with three counts each of first-degree murder and first-degree burglary. Under state law, a person who commits a felony when a death occurs can be charged with felony murder.
Rodriguez was arrested after she went to Broken Arrow police to give information about the incident, Mahoney said.
Assistant District Attorney Doug Dry said the investigation was in its initial stages and any charges against the man would have to await such evidence as a coroner’s report.
“Right now there’s not anything that I know of that we have any reason to arrest the individual that was alleged to have shot the three individuals,” he said by telephone.
Dry said Oklahoma law allowed people to use deadly force in the case of a home invasion.
(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Andrew Hay)