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After 13-year-old boy’s fatal shooting, legal experts say deadly force typically can’t be used to defend property

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Protecting property does not typically justify the use of lethal force under Washington, D.C., law, legal and criminal justice experts said as police investigate the fatal shooting of a 13-year-old boy in Washington over the weekend.

Karon Blake was shot shortly before 4 a.m. Saturday by a man who left his home with a registered firearm to investigate what he believed was someone tampering with vehicles in his neighborhood, police have said. The two had an “interaction” before the man fired his weapon, striking the boy, police said.

While additional details about the interaction have not been released and the shooting remains under investigation, outrage has been brewing from area community groups and others who have criticized the use of lethal force in response to an alleged property crime and demanded the release of the man’s name and any visual evidence.

Legal experts agreed that deadly force is not a legally justifiable way to defend property, except, perhaps, in cases of self-defense or home intrusion.

“I know of no law that allows for deadly force purely in the defense of property,” NBC News legal analyst Danny Cevallos said. “It’s always been the case that you can’t…

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