GEORGIA — A Georgia homeowner shot and killed three masked teens as they approached his residence with their faces covered, authorities said.
The three victims, one 15-year-old and two 16-year-olds, were all from the area but did not live in the specific neighborhood they were in, the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office said.
The teens approached three residents at the front yard of a home early Monday morning and attempted to rob them, authorities say. One of the would-be robbers took out a gun and fired shots at them, before one of the residents returned fire.
“The victims of the attempted robbery were all uninjured, but the three attempted robbery suspects were all shot during the exchange of gunfire and succumbed to their injuries, one on scene and two at a local hospital after being transported,” the sheriff’s department said in a press release.
One neighbor told CNN affiliate WSB he heard someone asking for help.
“I heard a guy yelling for help. ‘Help me help me, I’m dying, I’m dying, help me, help me,” Brian Jenkins told the affiliate.
Another neighbor said they ran out to help after they heard what sounded like five shots from a handgun.
“Then I heard somebody have an assault rifle,” Carlos Watson told WSB. “And it was a slew of shots that came out.”
Georgia is one of at least 10 states with self-defense laws that include language stating a person may “stand his or her ground,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Stand your ground laws allow people to respond to threats or force without fear of criminal prosecution.
Georgia Code states that “a person is justified in using force which is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm only if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent death or great bodily injury to himself or herself or a third person or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony. ”
No charges have been filed against anyone at this time, authorities said.
The investigation is still active, according to the sheriff’s department.