Hercules Champaign III grabbed his cane, and walked across the quiet neighborhood in South Carolina and walked to his neighbor’s house and started beating up the dog according to the Post and Courier.
Champaign refused to leave when the resident confronted him, deputies said, so with his 10-year-old daughter in the house, the resident fetched a handgun and fired twice, wounding Champaign.
Investigators said it was the latest instance of a tri-county area resident using deadly force in self-defense under the S.C. Protection of Persons and Property Act. Colloquially known as the “castle doctrine,” the law permits people to employ such force in preventing injury or a violent crime.
“There was a series of events leading to this,” sheriff’s Chief Deputy Sam Richardson said Monday. “The way (Champaign) acted out was the zenith of that.”
Champaign’s wounds were serious but not life-threatening. He was stable when paramedics took him to Medical University Hospital, where a spokeswoman said she could not provide an update on his condition Monday.
Investigators were expected to charge Champaign, Richardson said, but had not done so yet because he remained hospitalized.
The homeowner was listed in an incident report as the victim of a crime.
In the community south of Pine Forest Country Club on Monday, cars filled a yard that was teeming with deputies a day earlier. A woman who came to the home’s door said she could not talk about what had happened there. Two dogs – a boxer and a smaller one – stood by her.
“It’s pretty raw,” she said, “so we’d rather not comment.”
Across the street and two houses down, Champaign’s house seemed empty. A basketball hoop was toppled in the driveway, its backboard resting on the patio where neighbor Raymond Watson, 35, said he often saw Champaign sitting.
He first met the man who shot Champaign two years ago, when Watson’s family moved to the community. The man introduced himself to the newcomers and offered his help, Watson said.
He saw less of Champaign, who sometimes struggled to get around with a cane. But Watson said he didn’t notice Champaign starting any confrontations.
“This is a good neighborhood,” he said. “Everyone is friendly, and I didn’t see any bad blood between them, so I don’t know what sparked it.”
Deputies had not been called for any disputes between the two.
Dispatchers fielded only a medical call at Champaign’s address in 2009, sheriff’s Capt. Tony Phinney said, and deputies went to the other man’s home in 2011, when vandals targeted a car there with eggs.
Though he had been arrested twice in 2003, Champaign had no criminal convictions, according to the State Law Enforcement Division.
Investigators have not revealed exactly what might have led to the confrontation in which Champaign was shot Sunday afternoon. Earlier, Champaign had been “bothering other neighbors in the area,” Phinney said.
One resident, who later called 911, told detectives what he saw just before the shooting. He provided only his first name, Terry.
“I saw (Champaign) walking up the street with what looked like sticks in his hands,” he said. “Then I heard two gunshots, and (the homeowner) yelling, ‘Oh my God.'”
Champaign had walked into the home without permission and used a curved cane to hit a dog inside, Phinney said.
The resident told Champaign “numerous times” to get out, and when the intruder stayed, the homeowner got a handgun and shot him twice, according to an incident report.
Deputies later found Champaign lying face up near the doorway. He was bleeding from his face and his right side as neighbors came to his aid.
The deputies saw a gun lying near the driveway, their report stated.
Other loved ones huddled around the homeowner and cried.
The dangers of trespassing on property are clearly shown in this story. Would you have done anything differently?