Santa Rosa homeowner fires shots at fleeing suspected burglar; two arrested

  • The driveway the the home at 4148 Bennett Valley Road in Santa Rosa where Sheriff's evidence markers can be seen on the ground on the left had side of the driveway on Monday, April, 1, 2013.(Scott Manchester/The Press Democrat)

A retired Santa Rosa man who interrupted an apparent burglary at his home over the weekend said he had no choice when the suspected thief tried to escape and drove her car straight at him.

He fired his pistol. Three times.

The bullets were intended to stop the car, said Jacques Cadgene, 72. The former auto mechanic aimed them directly into the engine block of a Honda Accord driven by Shaylin Kay Laumann, 36, according to accounts provided Monday by investigators and Cadgene.

"I'm an old man and when someone drives a car at me, I shot to disable the car," Cadgene said.

The car sputtered to a halt several blocks away, where police arrested Laumann. The shots damaged the power steering, the alternator and the exhaust manifold.

Cadgene acted within his rights to defend himself from what he feared was a threat to his life, Sonoma County Sheriff's Sgt. Mike Raasch said.

"What he did, based on what happened, where he was standing, he was justified doing what he was doing," said Raasch.

Firing a gun is always considered "deadly force" by the law, regardless of whether you're shooting at a person or not, said Paul Lozada, a criminal defense attorney who teaches at Empire College School of Law in Santa Rosa.

"The case law and statutory law supports use of deadly force when you feel in imminent danger," Lozada said. "That ultimately has to be the reason you did it."

The confrontation occurred Saturday at about 5:30 p.m. when Cadgene and his wife returned to their Bennett Valley Road home from running errands.

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