Okay, we have had this question a few times before and I am going to give the same answer(s):
Self Defense is just that: self defense
. At no time should you persue the person who may be threatening your person or property. There are basic rules of self defense. In the event an intruder enters your dwelling you should look for the following avenues in the order listed.
1.) Evade the intruder and possible confrontation by removing yourself from the situation. If you hear an intruder ransacking your home. Get yourself out the window, back door etc. and go to the neighbors and call the police.
2.) If evasion is not possible (3rd floor apartment, no backdoor, etc.) then you should arm yourself and call the police immediately and explain the situation. Many times they will keep you on the line until they arrive. Tell the dispatcher you are armed and in what part of the dwelling you are in. At this point you may choose to call out to the intruder and announce that you are armed and the police have been contacted and dispatched. Stay in your secure room (we'll assume this is your bedroom), armed of course.
3.) If the intruder attempts entry to your secure room, which by now you should have locked. Announce again that you are armed and will use deadly force if he/she enters. The intruder enters and is clearly armed and moving toward you in a threatening manner. At that point you may choose to defend yourself with deadly force.
These scenarios are very generic I know, and each real one could happen in a 1000 different ways, but the general rules apply. Notice the one thing that did not happen in these cases: you (the would-be victim) never went on the offensive.
If you successfully chase the intruder from your home - STOP! He is gone and police are on their way. You have successfully deterred an intruder and possible assailant. At this point the police can search the neighborhood for the intruder (I would bet a couple cars or more would be dispatched in this case - with the second and third setting up in the area to intercept).
If you chase the intruder from your home and continue to persue, you become the assailant and in the event of an exchange of fire resulting the death of the intruder, you just opened a big can of trouble for yourself.
The NRA reports that if you are involved in a shooting where you are the victor in the duel, you can expect, on average, to pay $75,000 in legal fees. Remember it isn't just a judge and jury you will have to contend with. The kids parents, or the man's wife, or whomever may be close to the fallen criminal who may see this as an opportunity to Easy Street, will be after your hide and your money. Even if it was ruled as justifiable and you do not have to defend yourself from a judge and 12 peers, you will more than likely have to fight lawsuits from loved ones. Now....is all that worth a car stereo or a TV? You may think, "Well....it's the principle of the thing. I shouldn't have to cower in the corner of my room while I am being robbed." And you would not be alone in those thoughts, but you must think past the "here-and-now".
This may seem hard to swallow, but this isn't the Old West. Self Defense means defense
. You can't go after a punk-assed criminal and shoot him down. Even if the world would benefit from this persons demise and the bells of justice ring out with joy upon your shooting him down doesn't matter. You chased a guy down the street and killed him - you're going to jail. Once you cross that line (however fine it may seem), you go from upstanding citizen to criminal.
By all means arm yourself for self-preservation, but stay cool, use your head and don't play Rambo. Stay alive my friend and refuse to be a victim!