A teenager is shot and killed by a Benton Harbor homeowner after, police say, the teen was trying to break into the man's home. It happened Monday morning in the 200-block of Hastings Avenue. That's near Benton Harbor High School.
Tonight, the homeowner is in police custody, but it's unclear whether he'll be charged with a crime. 16-year-old Corey Napier was pronounced dead when police arrived.
Police say the homeowner shot at the teen when he was attempting to break inside the home. Benton Harbor Police arrived at this home shortly before ten in the morning, responding to a call of a home invasion and shots fired.
“It appeared one or more shots were fired through a closed window, the blinds were pulled, victim was shot in upper body, says Benton Harbor Police Chief Al Mingo.
Police found the victim near the side of the home. Word of the shooting quickly spread, bringing dozens to the scene to see what was happening. “I'm sorry for families, all I can say right now,” says neighbor Michael Johnson.
Because the home where the shooting took place is just a block from here, police had school officials put Benton Harbor High on lockdown for just over an hour. School officials tell us the victim is also a student here. “We had a number of students very upset, had option of going to class, seeing counselors, or kids could leave if parents came to pick up kids,” says Virginia Maxwell, Assistant Superintendent of Benton Harbor Schools.
Although the investigation into exactly what happened here continues, some neighbors say they aren't blaming the homeowner, if in fact it ends up being self defense. “If you go in anybody’s house, they got the right to protect themselves. You know, if it was me, I'd be scared, I would have retaliated the same way probably,” says Martha Upshaw, a women who lives in the neighborhood.
“He didn't do nothing, he works, he was probably in the house sleeping. They thought nobody was at home, but somebody was,” says Johnson.
Newscenter 16 also spoke with Corey Napier's parents. They were obviously very upset and said this shooting didn't have to happen. They claim the homeowner was aware that the teens were coming to get drugs and money from his house and that the man made a conscious decision to shoot their son. She says she knows what her son did was wrong, but she said what the shooter did was worse.
The homeowner will be in court tomorrow, but it could be a few days before charges are filed, if any. The police have to get the report together and then hand it over to the prosecutors office for review.