Lawyers agree that residents have rights on lethal force

by New Hampshire.com  |  published on December 11, 2012

At a community meeting in Bedford Thursday, a resident asked the police chief under what circumstances a resident could use lethal force against a burglar.

“Say you’re asleep, you hear a noise, glass breaks, you hear somebody in there, you know they don’t belong,” said the resident, who didn’t provide his name. “Are you expected to ascertain whether they’re armed if you have the ability to take them out legally?”

Joking that he’s not a lawyer but has been accused of being one, Chief John Bryfonski sidestepped the question, saying it’s inappropriate for him to provide a legal opinion.

“The RSA is there,” Bryfonski said. “I think that folks should read it. Understand it. If they don’t fully understand the aspects of the use of force or deadly physical force by a civilian . . . then you should seek your own legal guidance.”

The meeting was called a week and a half after an assault at an upscale Bedford home. Dr. Eduardo Quesada and his wife, Sonia, were both hurt in the attack, which occurred after they entered their home. Quesada, an anesthesiologist at Elliot Hospital in Manchester, was in critical condition and remains hospitalized. His wife was released last week.

Citing crime data, Bryfonski said Bedford is the second-safest town in the state. But the home invasion has some residents on edge. A Wallace Road resident who lives a stone’s throw from the Quesada house expressed fears on Monday.

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