The county attorney said he is not seeking charges against a Leavenworth woman who fatally shot a burglar.

Updated: 4:35 p.m. Nov. 29, 2018, with additional information

 

The county attorney said he is not seeking charges against a Leavenworth woman who fatally shot a burglar.

The shooting occurred early Saturday morning at 604 Chestnut St. A 74-year-old woman reportedly shot Ralph Byrd Jr., who was pronounced dead at the scene.

County Attorney Todd Thompson said Thursday that state law recognizes a person may have a reasonable belief that deadly force is necessary for self defense in the case of a break-in.

Thompson said the woman fired only one shot from a .22 caliber handgun.

“She hit the man in the head,” Thompson said during a news conference.

Thompson said the woman apparently had obtained the firearm about a week before the shooting because of an earlier attempted break-in at her residence.

The woman suffered a heart attack Saturday following the shooting. But Thompson said the woman has been released from the hospital and he believes she is doing OK.

On the night of the shooting, the woman called 911 to report the break-in. She was still on the line with dispatchers when the shooting occurred.

“She was home alone at the time,” Thompson said.

The woman fired the shot after she confronted Byrd at the top of stairs.

Thompson said he believes Byrd had been acting alone when he forced entry into the home.

Even though the woman’s actions are considered justified, Thompson said it had been important for the Leavenworth Police Department to complete an investigation of the incident.

Leavenworth Police Chief Pat Kitchens was present Thursday for Thompson’s announcement.

“I think it was an appropriate decision,” Kitchens said after the news conference.

According to a Kansas Department of Corrections website, Byrd was convicted in March of burglary and drug charges. The crimes occurred in December 2017.

According to the website, he absconded from his probation supervision in July.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR