Thursday, September 17, 2020

NC: Suspect Shot Attempting to Break into Occupied Car at Remote Location

Public domain image from wikicommons, taken November, 2013 of Craggy Gardens Parking

A man attempting to break into a car at 3 a.m was reported to have been shot on Friday morning, near Milepost 364 on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina.


A man was shot while trying to break into a car Friday morning along the Blue Ridge Parkway, according to the National Park Service.

The owner of the vehicle was the shooter, officials said.

Craggy Gardens is the National Park Service facility located at milepost 364 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. There are no sleeping facilities near that location on the Parkway. There is a parking area and a visitor center.  From

Sleeping and Eating:

Craggy Gardens Picnic Area: Pack a picnic basket and grab a table. The picnic area is open seasonally; check the opening schedule for specific dates. When you visit Craggy Gardens, we ask that you Leave No Trace.

Craggy Gardens does not offer any sleeping options. See nearby towns for accommodations. Along the Parkway, the closest campground is Crabtree Falls, 25 miles north.

Speculation: A person was sleeping in their vehicle, likely in the parking area of Craggy Gardens. At 3 a.m., an intruder attempted to break into the vehicle. The vehicle owner called 911; but responders were too far away to intervene. The owner, had a firearm then shot the intruder in self defense.. Craggy Gardens is one of the most popular spots on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is 469 miles long.

The screen shot of the vehicle from video at, cropped and scaled by Dean Weingarten.

The image of the vehicle, shown in dense fog, suggests that visibility was severely limited at the time of the shooting.

The National Park Service schedule for Craggy Gardens lists a store which is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Monday, closed on Tuesday and Wednesday.  No one would be expected to be at the facility at 3 a.m. on a Friday morning. 

These sort of remote rest areas/picnic areas are natural attractants for criminals. Prostitution, illicit sexual activity, drug dealing, even robbery and worse are not uncommon.  A woman  was sexually assaulted on a Craggy Gardens trail in 2016.

The sparse details of the shooting on Friday morning, 4 September, 2020, suggest it was a valid case of self defense. The owner of the vehicle was the shooter. They claim the person shot was attempting to break into the vehicle, which, if they were sleeping in it, would also have been their temporary residence. 

No motive for the suspect has been released. The suspect was transported to a hospital and required surgery. The car owner has been identified as a man, as has the suspect. 

Under North Carolina Statute 14-51.2, a lawful occupant of a motor vehicle is presumed to have a reasonable fear of imminent death or serious bodily harm if someone is attempting unlawful and forceful entering.

Persons who are defending their home or motor vehicle are presumed to be justified in using force to stop the threat. A person who is found to have been justified in such a situation, will be immune from civil and criminal liability, with some exceptions. 

The shooter is being held as part of the investigation. The Buncombe County Sheriff's office will be the lead investigating agency in the case. 

The shooter, and owner of the vehicle being broken into called 911 immediately to report the incident and is currently being held by investigators.

The Buncombe County Sheriff’s office will be the lead investigative agency with assistance from the National Park Service.

The author and Ammoland are not attorneys and do not give legal advise. The reference to statutory law is for educational purposes only. 

Update, defender has been released. Two suspects, brother and sister, 23 and 24 years old, are in custody.

©2020 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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