Skip to comments.Polk County homeowner shoots and kills intruder(FL)
Posted on 05/28/2012 6:54:43 AM PDT by marktwain
WINTER HAVEN --
Twice in three years, William Cornwell has had to draw his gun to ward off strangers who broke into his home.
Early Sunday, the U.S. Navy veteran and security guard at Winter Haven Hospital shot and killed Christopher Brian Deese, 40, of 119 Moss Road, Auburndale. Deese broke into Cornwell's home and challenged him to a fight after a night of heavy drinking, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office.
"You wanna fight?" Deese yelled, yanking off his shirt before charging Cornwell, who shot him once in the chest, according to the sheriff's office.
The men had never met, and it's unclear exactly what brought Deese to the Cornwell home, authorities said.
Shortly before 4 a.m., Deese banged on Cornwell's front door at 412 Lake Daisy Drive. Deese was screaming, cursing, demanding to be let in, the sheriff's office said.
Cornwell's wife, Traci, was asleep and woke up her husband, who got his handgun and yelled to Deese to go away, that he had the wrong house. Deese wouldn't leave.
Cornwell, 33, opened the front door and yelled again telling Reese to leave. Deese opened the screen door and ran into the home, deputies said.
After fumbling with his Bersa .380-caliber pistol, Cornwell accidentally fired into the floor. His second shot, with Deese running at him, found its mark.
The Cornwells' 3-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter were sleeping, deputies said.
Deese's fatal encounter with Cornwell followed a night of drinking with friends in Winter Haven, the sheriff's office said. The group started at Somewhere Sports Café, then went to The Grove Lounge. Friends told deputies Deese was "quite intoxicated."
A friend took Deese to a Winter Haven house, where Deese got into a fight and was told to leave. The friend then drove him to Lake Daisy Estates, because Deese said he knew someone there, and dropped him near the Cornwells' home.
Deese had a cut above his right eye. Deputies think it was from the earlier fight.
Deputies found blood on the patio of the home, next to Cornwells house, at 410 Lake Daisy Drive, where Reese went before banging Cornwells' door.
A woman there called the sheriff's office, saying she saw a man lying on her patio table, and that she had locked herself in her bathroom.
Deese then walked to the Cornwells' house. He didn't know anyone at either house, deputies said.
Cornwell had a right to shoot Deese, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said. "If there ever was a justified shooting, this is it."
"William Cornwell had every right to protect himself, his wife and his children from this irrational, out-of-control man who broke into their home. The mistake the suspect made by breaking into that home was a fatal one."
Judd cited the 2005 Florida Castle Doctrine, which says if a person fears death or great bodily harm to themselves or another, they are allowed to use deadly force while protecting their home or car against someone who has entered illegally.
The Polk County State Attorney's Office will review the case and decide whether to file charges.
The incident was an anomaly in what residents say is a quite neighborhood.
"This is too close for comfort," said Kimberly Persaud, who lives nearby. "It was just a shock to us because we consider this a safe neighborhood."
She said Cornwell did what he had to do. "The homeowner had the right to protect his family. It's sad that it came to a death, but you have to respect other folks and their property. You should not just try to come in and intrude."
Cornwell was involved in a similar incident March 18, 2009, when he lived in Lake Wales, the sheriff's office said. An intruder broke into his home, and Cornwell shot him twice. The suspect ran away but was later arrested. The shooting was deemed justified by prosecutors, who did not file charges.
In December 2011, Deese was arrested and held briefly in Polk County Jail on a contempt of court charge. In 1994, he was arrested for drunken driving in Mobile, Ala. Three years later received a speeding citation in Osceola County.
Deese's aunt, Rhonda Deese, disputed the notion her nephew was "an out of control criminal."
"He has a girlfriend that lives right down the road and he thought, because he was intoxicated, he was at her house. So he was at the wrong house. That explains why he was on the lady's back porch," she said.
"Knowing my nephew, he's never been a problem child, he's never had any type of criminal (actions) like that. He's never broken into anybody's house. Nor would he be there to break in. We're offended Grady Judd came out the way he did without all the facts being in."
Rhonda Deese is the sister of Christopher's father, Ronnie, who lives in Alaska. He has a sister Cheri, 38. His mother, Cheryl, lives in Alabama.
Sheriff Grady Judd isn’t known for his empathy towards criminals.
Don’t bring your fists to a gun fight.
Oh well, it was a good lesson, even if the pupil didn’t survive it.
Hey, I'll take a WAG: Excessive drinking.
The first sign of one that should not ever drink.
If your personality changes when you drink, don't.
If you just get more brilliant (as I do) then it's fine.
Someone who’s very drunk might not even remember what they did the previous night. Something just snaps and they act on an almost unconscious level. They do things they wouldn’t normally do. That’s why a person should not drink heavily or frequently. You never can be sure what will happen.
What is a "quite" neighborhood?
It is WHY we still call the mixture "spirits" because you are now available to be used BY them. Your personality does not "change" it is REPLACED by theirs.
Ahh, a teachable moment!
Never get into a fight with a man with a gun in his hand when all you have is your dick in yours and are drunk to boot.
Good shooting, Citizen. Civilization thanks you.
I love a happy ending, but do people really not lock their front doors?
The poor guy just wanted to have a few beers and play street fighter. Why did he have to shoot him?
Of course, once the shirt comes off, anything is fair game.
I noticed that Traci was asleep, and woke up her husband....methinks the writers and editors may be testing out the Deese motive and drinking excessively themselves....
As the man said..."'put your trust in God; but mind to keep your powder dry'
Ammo is cheap, Life is dear. Anything worth shooting once is worth emptying your mag into.....
The lesson here is always be trained, prepared, and properly equipped when the potential for life threatening bodily harm is present. This is not time to be "fumbling".
“Anything worth shooting once is worth emptying your mag into.....”
All his gun’s calibre start with a “4” because shooting twice is silly, but you’re right..... anything less than “4” should empty the mag!
I locked my front door but some sleazeball just kicked it in. Door was fine, the door jam gave way like a $2 whore.
LOL! Right you are, g15!
If both men were white it would be written up as it's written.
If the homeowner was black - and the drunk was white, it would be covered by most newspapers and picked up by AP.
If the homeowner was white and the drunk was black - Jesse Jackson, Sham-ton and assorted other poverty pimps, Southern Poverty Law Center and MSNBC would descend like vultures on the town.... It would be on the front page of every newspaper...
” “You wanna fight?” Deese yelled, yanking off his shirt before charging Cornwell, who shot him once in the chest, according to the sheriff’s office. “
Cornwell didn’t want to fight.....he wanted to go back to bed.
***Someone whos very drunk might not even remember what they did the previous night***
I had a Sargent in the military who was that way. He could not remember how he got scraped up real bad while home on leave.
Later he got drunk again and remembered every detail of what happened to him. Lucky he didn’t end up in prison, but his gun was empty when he drew down on another unarmed man.
I like the Bursa .380. It is reasonably priced, reliable and has a safety so is a good bed side pistol. I like the Ruger LC9 more as it has similar features and shoots the 9mm.
Fairness and 0400 hrs has nothing to do with the situation. Training, training, training. Everyone with a firearm needs to know how to use it under all circumstances.
Here is a drill for you.
Set your alarm clock for 0400. When is goes off, grab your readily accessible firearm, make sure you can check the safety in the dark, make sure it is loaded, and clear your entire house, room by room. Do it often. You will understand what I'm talking about.
LOL! The “A” team has spoken.
People who primarily get their news from the MSM don't have their number... then again, those were the same people who didn't understand why there were so many 'dog eating' jokes at the Correspondent's Dinner....
Mushrooms: kept in the dark and fed sh*t...
But, you're right FJ - folks who get their news off the net 'get it' - and OUR numbers are growing.
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