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Camp Lejeune Marine Shoots, Kills Intruder; Gets No Jail Time

by Richard Nance   |  May 31st, 2012 82
Ernie Lee

District Attorney Ernie Lee informs the media that no charges will be filed against a Marine who shot and killed an intruder in April. (Photo by Chuck Beckley/The (Jacksonville, N.C.) Daily News)

When you consider that a Marine recently shot an unarmed man in the back, killing him, you might assume that the Marine would be headed to prison, but you’d be wrong.

According to District Attorney Ernie Lee’s account of the incident as presented by The (Jacksonville, N.C.) Daily News, 22-year-old David Darling’s own actions contributed to his death.  Therefore, no charges will be filed against the unidentified Marine who shot Darling.  The following is a summary of the events that led to the April 8 shooting, as outlined by Lee:

Darling, a civilian who was married to a Marine, was walking up and down Fieldcrest Drive in Jacksonville naked, shouting that he was high and that he did not want to kill himself or “her” — it was not clear who else Darling was referring to. Darling, who lived at 113 Fieldcrest Drive, ran to 111 Fieldcrest Drive when someone at that residence turned on the porch light.  When a female resident opened the door, Darling asked her for a cigarette and a lighter.

The female, who was the wife of a Marine and mother of two small children, who were asleep inside the residence, was understandably concerned for the safety of her children. She closed and locked the door and someone from her residence called 911.

Darling yelled for the Marine at the residence (whom he apparently did not know) to let him inside. The Marine armed himself with his 45-caliber Model 1911 pistol as Darling began trying to force open the front door to the residence.

The Marine told Darling that he had a gun and ordered him to leave. In response, Darling said that he wanted a gun too. When the Marine went to a window to attempt to communicate with Darling, Darling ripped through the window screen and dove head first through the open window, into the living room.

Obviously, fearing for his safety and for the safety of his family, the Marine shot Darling three times in the back as Darling dove through the window.  Despite the Marine’s efforts to render aid to Darling, Darling died.

Lee summed the incident up by stating, “Based upon my review of the facts in this case, the occupants of the residence were justified in using deadly force against Darling because the actions of Darling caused the occupants to reasonably believe it necessary to use deadly force to protect their lives.”

Despite the fact that this case involved the defender shooting an unarmed man in the back, it was perfectly justified in light of all the facts and circumstances. Would a reasonable person legitimately fear for their safety and the safety of their family based on Darling’s actions? Absolutely! Can you imagine what the outcome might have been had the Marine not been armed?

Despite the fact that the intruder was unarmed, his actions and the actions taken by the Marine and his wife clearly illustrate the judicious use of deadly force. What are your thoughts?

  • Karl

    This better demonstrates a DA on the side of decent people.

    • 3rd Bat. 1st Marines

      Agree with you Karl. I know for sure that our brother had all the right to defend himself but foremost his family. I know that I would have pulled my M1911 as well if some drugged up hippie broke through my window thinking he was Batman. Hell, I would have pop him with my 10 gauge! jajaja!

    • BILLIE


    • Newspeaktogo

      I fully agree with you Karl. The DA is a professional individual who is interested in doing his job. That is, he protects the public and their constitutional rights.

      • Aristotle

        Not true… a DA's job is to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law. It is the Public Defenders Office that protects the pubic and the constitution. It's funny how no one wants to fund the Public Defenders until Johnny Law comes knocking on their door.

        • Gary

          Wrong!!! the public defender does NOT protect the citizens of this country. The Police are not required under their charter to protect you they ONLY have to clean up the mess

    • GIA

      Amen brother

  • Dana

    why would you even ask "are his actions justified"? Hell, yes. He warned the intruder, told him to stay out of his house, had 2 children in the house and his wife, the guy jumps through the window. Totally justified.

    • Charlie3374

      The only question needed was how tight was the 3 shot group???

    • SkyRat

      I applaud the marine for his trigger control, as I would have shot the guy all 7 times, in a nano-second! Empty the gun fast an accurate. Never can tell just how wired up on dope a guy like Darling may be.

      • uppdben

        You are not an experienced firearm user. Anything more than the three shots MIGHT have triggered (no pun intended) charges, or at least a run through a grand jury. Shooting an unarmed guy seven times, after the first three shots stopped his advance/assault could easily be perceived as overkill, or better said, a desire to kill. The Marine did well, the D.A. observed it all corrrectly.

  • Tito

    If a man broke into my home, particularly after I warned him not to, I would protect myself with my handgun/shotgun as well.

  • Bruce

    Semper Fi David Darling. I would of done the same thing. Take my guns away and he would be able to make a coffin from the splinters from my baseball bat. I do not see the safety of warning someone not to break in to your home. The idiot should of known not to break into a home. My wife and children don't deserve it and I certainly am not going to attempt to analyze it. Click Bang

    • Armed Citizen

      Darling was the intruder bud. The Marine remains unnamed

    • Haywood J'Blowme

      Typical, not knowing the facts and then spouting off at the mouth….LOL gee I think before I speak..

  • Dave

    How can there even be any question on this? This was a bona fide HOME INVASION! Plus, the homeowner gave the perp every chance to leave. My goodness, this is a complete no-brainer. So what if the perp got shot "in the back"??? He was shot as he was INVADING THE HOME! End of story.

    • Blake

      Exactly, if you shoot someone in the back who is not making an attempt to flee, it's self defense.

  • Shawn O'Loughlin

    Armed, unarmed, does not matter. Intruders forfeit their lives by being intruders. That's why we have doors and door bells, to give permission to enter if the occupant so wishes. When someone enters without permission, against your will, etc, that is when the occupant decides how much force is required to repel the intruder and is completely justified in doing so. I'm surprised the Marine showed so much restraint in only firing three rounds, I would have probably fired all nine rounds into the dirtbag.

    • Killa B

      LOL, I hope you have a relative that doesn't I.D. themselves as they enter your home and doesn't heed your words and then what….?

      • guest

        I never had a relative dive head first naked through MY window.

      • mikey D

        He's DEAD

      • Tim S

        He would be a deceased relative.

  • Riley

    If the blood tests from the dead Marine come back with drug traces then find the drug dealer and charge him with murder. These folks profiting from others misery should be held accountable.

    • ken

      person who died was not a Marine.

    • Dave

      Sorry, but this is poor logic. Should we be charging the liquor store owner with murder because some idiot got drunk and killed someone??? I think not. People need to take responsibility for THEIR OWN actions.

      • Tim S

        What a novel concept – people taking responsibility for their own actions

      • ron

        heck with that if the gov can sue the gun companys we can sue the dope dealers

    • Guncontrol=Twohands

      You are stupid, no one makes you stick drugs into your body but your own self and like Dave said, would we then charge Anheuser-Busch for ALL the deaths and then charge Glock, Colt, Browning, et al, for all the death committed with a gun? You stupid inbred hick, you are the reason why people don't value guns as self-defense….

      • Eugene Lisbonne

        Let's not forget the ignorance of Riley… There's no dead Marine in this story, there's a Marine who shot a drugged-up intruder. Do people even read the articles before posting their ignorance? I see several comments here of people who weren't paying attention.

        Bottom line, my family is my life, and I defend it all to the fullest extent of my ability. You break in, I shoot to kill. 'Nuff said.

        Good Marine, for trying to save Darling's life. I don't think I would have. Darling probably would have sued the Marine…and won, given our nation's track record of stupid law suits.

  • DWP

    Well, I am sure you posted the story before the Miami incident, but we now know that a naked drugged man can do serious damage just with his teeth and hands. Why wait to get eaten or worse by some drugged out naked person before defending your children and wife?

  • johnny

    Hell yes I would havedonethe same.Sempir Fi marine!!!!!!!!!!!!1111

  • Gawie Botha

    he is a fast gun,,,,at short distance,,3shots,,,,,good!,,,did he dived back or did the bullets throug him back the way he came in?

  • Bingo

    A mans home is his castle and we have the right to defend our castle! What if they find he was hopped up on PCP, That crap make you super human like,You feel nothing! If he had hesitated that idiot he shot might have killed him and his family then went after someone else! But I wasn't there so I still tip my hat to the marine for doing what he was trained to do, PROTECT!

    • chuck

      first, I agree, a man's home is his castle and we should have the right to defend it by any means necessary and our loved ones within. secondly, should a person decide to invade another person's home, they have already decided that the safety of the people with in doesn't matter, so why should their's?

  • J.R.

    Well done Marine; It's too bad another chose to go this path with their life, but when they do, its good to see some folks are able and ready to clean things up. Scumbags beware.

  • Tracy Thorleifson

    This cut and dried. The marine's actions were totally justified. When somebody breaks into your home, you are under no obligation to allow the nutcase to regain his feet and put himself in a position to do you harm. Your first obligation is to protect yourself and your family, and that means taking down the assailant at the first opportunity as quickly as possible. If the bad guy happens to be on his belly for a moment, you put three rounds through his back into his boiler room – you do not wait for him to turn over, or get up. When your life and those of your loved ones are on the line, there's no such thing as a fair fight.

  • Alan_T

    I suppose this story was posted to start a debate ….. but if you seriously pose the question was it justified , then you have no mental capacity to ask that question in the first place . OF COURSE THE MARINE WAS JUSTIFIED IN SOOTING DARLING ! FRONT or BACK ! ! ! The fact that the Marine tried to render aid to Darling proves how upstanding the Marine was . I know the episode will probably haunt the Marine and his family the rest of their lives and I'm sorry they have to live with that ….. but he did the absolute right thing .

  • GMAC

    It's ok kids go back to bed. Dad has this under control. Great job Marine, protecting you and yours!

  • Stephen J Maloney

    Entering someone's home uninvited is , BY DEFINITION, A CRIME!!! Entering when warned away by an ARMED resident is just plain STUPID!!!!! Either way, he forfeit his life the SECOND he entered the man's house!!! Shot in the back, chest, leg, or even head, IT DOESN"T MATTER!!! He ATTACKED, he DIED!!! Case Closed!!!

  • tdg

    Gosh…doesn't anybody care about Darling's upbringing? I mean, he had to have been treated badly at some time in his low life. Society should be held to account for Mr. Darling's actions. I'm sure the poor fellow was one of the .99, but hey…f m. ANYBODY coming across my threshold or thru a window without my permission had better hope I am not home, cause like the man said:

    Click, bang.

    • TonyG

      Hell Yea !
      Thank God there are still some places in the US you can defend you family and yourself and some people (DA) stll have common sense.
      I'm sure even though it was justified, that Marine didn't want to shoot, but it sounds like he had no choice and no time. You simply cannot wait to see what's gonna happen, If you do it may be too late for you or a family member.
      Semper Fi Marine, you did what had to be done.

  • HAM

    If the Marine had been unarmed, he would have beatent the stuffings out of Darling. Combat ready Marine vs crazy intruder….my bet is on the Marine.

  • Jon D Weatherspoon

    It's unfortunate for him and his family, but this Marine did what had to be done, as the facts were presented. The Prosecutor should be 'wined and dined' at every opportunity…buy him a burger, a soda or mow his yard grass, by any God-fearing, Freedom-loving, gun-toting Patriot in that local area as they encounter him. Too much might not go over well with the DA himself, let alone the libtards that are want to take away your 2nd Amendment responsibilities. FINALLY, a DA without an agenda. Maybe there is hope in America!

  • Guest

    I love stories with a happy ending. The Marine did right; the DA did right and the bad guy goes to hell. He was probably free from some instutition or on an early release program from jail anyway. If this happened in New York state the DA would go after the Marine for murder. The bad guys family would sue for damages and take away any property and income from the Marines wife. Thats why it's called the criminal justice system, criminal justice from criminal politicians.

    • Mark

      It's not a happy ending; I would have done the same, but that messy situation lingers on. Don't forget it was inside the home.

  • Jeepers Creepers

    No BRAINER! It was justified. Need to ask Mr Obama what he would have done? Where is Wolvie?

    • Jeepers Creepers

      There must be some people out there that like OBAMA.
      When he takes away your right to defend yourself. Do not cry.

  • terz

    A credit to his profession.
    Note the Marine in question tryed to render aid and 911 was called.

  • stacy peck

    hell yes i own a buisness next to my home and anytime after dark someone comes up i have a m&p .40 or 1911 in my hand you just never know and i would give my life for my wife and kids thank god it was a marine and not a 80 year old grandma funny you did not hear this on fox guess it was not black/white or white on black

  • Larry

    A shotgun is better home defence for the family!

  • Dave Hicks

    to the marines credit
    after he shot the intruder
    he rendered aid as any prisoner is due
    SEMPER FIDELIS brother

  • warthog

    I am a former criminal prosecutor. When I was an Assistant District Attorney in Brooklyn, NY in the 1970's, it is most likely that a homeowner using a gun to protect himself in circumstances such as set forth herein would be prosecuted. Given the anti-gun laws in New York City, that might still be the case today. I now live in Michigan where the laws are much more realistic. We have a castle-doctrine statute here which would protect a homeowner. Whenever an intruder breaks into a residence, it can be presumed that he will expect to meet a homeowner and that he is prepaered to kill that homeowner. Having a gun is one of the best ways for the innocent homeowner to protect himself or herself friom an intruder. People should understand that those who obtain guns legally are not likely to use those guns illegally.

  • brockster

    When you see that little red dot center mass, you know your break in days are about to end.

  • Buck

    Well, the Marine did not have to be so hasty. He knew that Darling was high and could have made Darling a pot of coffee to help calm Darling down. Instead, the Marine all but invited Darling to jump through the window by taunting the poor strung-out guy by talking through an open window. If the Marine had called the proper social assistance reps then they could have all sat down and talked this out. For all we know, Darling just wanted to express his gratitude for the Marine who had acknowledged Darling's existence. Now that opportunity has been missed. A sad day indeed.

    • Snakeman

      I believe this comment was meant as sarcasm, but in my opinion it is not amusing. This Marine and his family need positive support.

    • ezern55

      what a dumbass!!!

    • guest

      Wow, Buck, I think you found the answer to all crime. I think I'm going to trade my shotgun in for a good coffee maker. You have to remember though, when only seconds count, a fresh pot of coffee is minutes from being done.

    • connor

      are u serious thats the most foolish thing ive ever heard if some sob breaks into my house im going to protect my family u never kno what these crazy junkies are gonna do im going to shoot first ask questions later i have a daughter to protect my priorites are with her safety not the intruders

      • tim

        you call a man a junkie when he don’t have drugs in his system,

    • MARINE

      I don't know what planet you are from,But I gather you have never had to deal with a dope head. I have.

  • opar5

    This is a no-brainer. Of course the shooting was justified – unless someone sees political merit for prosecuting, as happened in Florida: the "poor Trayvon child" kicking the whatevers out of the "white Mexican" (whatever that is) who managed to rectify the desparity of force with a single 9mm round from an inexpensive Kel-Tec that the police had previously advised him to carry for self-defense. This was a classic case of self-defense that the local authorities can still find no evidence to support a criminal indictment. Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz believes the prosecutor "should be prosecuted" Not unlike Soviet Russia, we're now having political trials – that NEED PUBLIC DISCUSSION and analysis.

  • Douglas Wycoff

    Semper Fi Brother, the result would be the same at my House.

  • DRZ

    Tragic, but necessary. When anyone enters your home by force knowing the home is occupied, use of deadly force is clearly justified.

  • Peter

    I think this Darling guy should get a Darwin award. BNE is generally frowned upon at Camp Lejeune.

  • Antonio

    Add to any scenario the possibility that the antagonist might be on one of these new super drugs, like bath salts, even a good beating with a baseball bat might not stop him/her until they do some serious damage to you and your family. When it comes to protecting your family, I say, err on the side of aggression.

  • Anishinabi

    A bullet in the back of an intruder should never be an issue. If some guy broke in my house and I confronted and shot him in the back, it could reasonably be assumed he was not retreating but simply looking for cover and regrouping. Would you shoot someone in the back of his head or bash in his skull if he was raping your daughter. Hell yes you would. A guy on crack, or meth or bathsalts or whatever is a deadly threat whether he is armed or not, naked or clothed once he forces his way into private property. Family safety FIRST.

    • guest

      No I wouldn't shoot a guy in the back of the head while he was raping my daughter. I'd put it through his ear in case of over penetration.

  • Scott

    I'm in Jacksonville NC (Camp Lejeune) and I applaud the DA. And the Shooter. I might be wrong but from my understand once someone attempts to break in. (When he has trying to burst through the door, The shooter was justified. I think it is about time people defending their family and property got a fair shake. Again I see no fault in the shooters actions.

  • Darrell

    Home Invaders need to be shot…Period!

  • Mack Missiletoe

    These people with completely absent self control… I will never understand them. Be honorable and don't throw your life away like this fool.

  • Not-Face-Eater

    There is now one less naked drug addict (?) running around, possibly polluting the gene pool. That has to account for something.

  • Dan

    Simple! One breaks the barriers of my domicile UNINVITED, ONE DIES!!!

  • Tim

    Good job Marine.

    And best of wishes to you and your family. Oh and sue the scumbags family for the cost of cleaning and replacing the screen.

    • tim

      comments like yours make you thee scumbag, Especially for talking like that about anyone.

  • MMcQuown

    I've had an intruder in my house twice within a week. Both times he got out before I saw him. Cops think he was after my water meter. I have a .45 loaded with Mag-safe ammo. If he comes in again..
    As far as the Marine story goes, there are a lot of ifs and maybes..Guy was drugged-up and naked. If the Marine had been alone, maybe he could have pistol-whipped the guy into submission, but people on drugs aren't always pain-sensitive. The woman and child changed the equation. Shooting was the only choice.
    I always have to think twice about shooting because I live in Philadelphia, where they once considered prosecuting a blind man who had killed the mugger who attacked him on the street.

  • Norman

    Threaten my family in my house or out of it you deserve what you get.

  • Nathaniel James

    The people within the residence took the necessary precautions to keep any deadly force from being used by first notifying the police of the man's actions and threatening presence. The Marine took the next responsible precaution to protect himself and his family by securing his service weapon and giving Darling sufficient notice that he had a gun and that he should leave. Had the police arrived or had Darling headed the warning given to him there would be no article to read. Upon choosing to ignore the warnings give he showed himself to be sufficiently belligerent and dangerous to require the use of his weapon upon Darlings entry into his house. To think that there are DA's anywhere that don't see it quite this way is appalling. I live in California and to know that there are places this Marine could have faced jail time is angering and leaves me fearful of my rights to protect myself. God bless the Marines and this DA.

  • Bob Nelson

    I don't understand why this guy was even judged in any way. What he his with his .45 ACP is what he bought if for.

  • Bob Nelson

    I don't understand why this guy was even judged in any way. What he DID with his .45 ACP is what he bought if for. Pardon my typo in the first post.

  • tim


  • Liv

    The marine was in the wrong shooting an unarmed man in the back three times why not just use hand to hand combat like most military if not all are trained to do instead taking another life and now getting applauded for it you guys who support him are all idiots if you must read the rest of the story about mr darling on google there were no drugs or alcohol in his system all marines are morons he could have pinned David down till the police got there instead all you trigger happy assholes are shoot the unarmed man so what he tried climbing through the window he’s naked what do you see on him that is dangerous nothing the wife should’ve ignored him and not cause attraction to herself if someone who seems on a bad trip outside don’t turn on your light and try to talk to the stranger her and her husband belong with each other they’re both idiots that those poor kids have to be raised by think before you act people

    • Jim

      Ok so it was the wife’s fault for turning on the light and opening the door? Turning on the porch light and checking to see whats’s going on isn’t illegal. Attempting to forcibly enter someone’s home is illegal. Let’s forget for a minute the man was a marine and put yourself in his shoes. Your wife hears yelling and checks out what’s going on. After seeing a yelling naked man she locks the door and calls 911. The naked man then tries to force his way into the home where your kids and wife are. What would you do? Make him coffee like suggested earlier or proceed to engage in hand to hand with a intruder? If I was in his shoes with access to a firearm I would’ve done the same thing. If he was to be over come by the then intruder during hand to hand what’s stopping the naked man from harming his family? It’s real easy to sit and judge the actions of others when your yourself are safe in your home. It’s unfortunate that this happened but the blame solely belongs to the man who decided to break into the house.

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