A Sherwood man shot into the air to scare off burglars at his home. The next day, a body was found in a creek on his land. Now police and the homeowner are trying to figure out if those warning shots killed an 18-year-old man.
Larry Staley says all he was trying to do that night was scare off the men he saw in his yard. He never planned to hurt anyone when he fired the shots and he hates to think that he may have taken someone's life. "I feel like I probably shot him because of where he's at. But I never saw him. I don't know how he got there."
The body of 18-year-old Bryant Cross was found face down in the creek behind Staley's home.
Staley heard a noise outside his home the previous night. He went to the backdoor and saw one man go into his garage and another at his daughter's bedroom window.
Staley says he screamed for the man to freeze. Then “I fired 5 or 6 times into the top of the pine tree out there with a .22 automatic pistol. He continued running to my neighbors where we have a creek.”
By that time Sherwood police were there. They searched the area but didn't find anything. The next day Staley's wife discovered the body in the creek.
Police aren't sure if one of Staley's bullets hit the man but Staley's praying he didn't. "I'm just hoping like heck he drowned because I hate the thought of taking a human life."
Staley says what he's puzzled about is how his wife, getting into her car, could see a body all the way across the yard in the creek when the night before police with search dogs couldn't see it.
Ryan Baker of the Sherwood Police said, “It's a low visibility area, and like I said, our officers were concentrating on what they saw and what the homeowner said with the suspects fleeing to the west. The body was found south. We didn't have any reason to look in that area at that time."
Police say they caught up with the second man they believe was on Staley's property. They've questioned him but no charges have been filed so far.
The law for use of deadly force changed earlier this year. Previously, if you were outside your home, you had to retreat into your home before using deadly force. Now, if you're threatened with bodily harm anywhere on your property you can protect yourself.