The householder who shot and killed a University of South Carolina student who tried to enter the wrong home on his street near campus was justified, say police.
Nick Donofrio, 20, died in the early hours of Saturday morning after he banged and kicked at the front door of the wrong house and was shot when he broke a window and grabbed the door handle, according to the Columbia Police Department.
Police said that the shooter legally owned the gun and was protected by the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law and no charges will be filed.
“After consulting with the Fifth Circuit Solicitor’s Office regarding the circumstances of the South Holly Street fatal shooting last weekend, charges will not be filed against the homeowner. As a result, the homeowner’s name will not be publicly released,” the Columbia Police Department said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The Columbia Police Department (CPD) and Solicitor’s Office have deemed the incident as a justifiable homicide under the Protection of Persons and Property Act.
“The determination is based on several factors to include evidence gathered at the scene, review of surveillance video that captures moments before the shooting, audio evidence, and witness statements.”
Investigators say that the incident took place just before 2am, when officers were called to respond to a home invasion in progress.
When they arrived at the scene they found Donofrio’s body on the front porch of the home, which is situated on the same street he lived on.
Police say that the student “mistakenly went to the wrong home and attempted to enter by repeatedly knocking, banging, and kicking at the front door while manipulating the door handle.”
While a woman at the house called the police a male went to grab his gun. And when Donofrio broke the glass and tried to get into the house he was hit by a single shot which hit him in the upper body.
“This is a heartbreaking case for all involved. Our lead investigator has diligently worked to gather all the facts surrounding this incident. He has also maintained contact with the Donofrio family throughout the investigation,” said Chief WH ‘Skip’ Holbrook.
“We at the Columbia Police Department extend our deepest condolences for their immeasurable loss.”
Donofrio’s mother, Dina Dinofrio, says her whole family is shocked at her son’s death.
“It’s just hitting me now. He was a sweet kid. He was funny, he was intelligent, he was just a good person. He had a good heart. He had a good soul,” she told The New Haven Register.“I think anybody would be proud to have him for a son.”
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