Lawyers for a Texas man who shot and killed a woman’s ex-husband after a heated confrontation outside their home say the killing was a “justifiable homicide” under the state’s self-defense laws.
Police have not laid any charges against William “Kyle” Carruth, who shot and killed Chad Read, 54, in the north-western city of Lubbock on November 5, local media reported.
Two videos of the deadly incident, one released by Read’s widow and one by Carruth’s lawyers, depict the confrontation between the two men moments before the shooting.
In the videos, Read is seen arguing with a woman, identified as his ex-wife, over a child custody issue.
Carruth tells Read to leave, before stepping back inside the house and returning with a gun.
The men go head-to-head as Read yells at Carruth to “use it, motherf***er because God damn it I’ll take it from you and f***ing use it on you”.
Read then grabs the gun and swings Carruth, who steps back off the porch and fires two shots, killing the other man.
“I told you, I told all of y’all to leave,” Carruth says to the woman filming from the car, as Read lies on the ground beside him.
Carruth’s lawyer, David M Guinn, told the Everything Lubbock news outlet the shooting was self-defense.
“All Texans may lawfully brandish a firearm to protect themselves, their property and their business,” he said.
“When Kyle did that, Chad Read advanced on him, and instantaneously, he tried to take the gun away from Kyle. In doing so he was powerful enough to sling Kyle 180 degrees around on Kyle’s patio.
“Raising his left leg, he was continuing his advance on Kyle, threatening him and posing an immediate threat. Kyle responded. This is a justifiable homicide.”
The lawyer praised the Lubbock Police Department’s handling of the case.
“It is my opinion, because of their knowledge of all the facts and the Texas Castle Doctrine and having done a thorough job, LPD knew this was a justifiable homicide,” he said.
“They knew they lacked probable cause, and did not arrest him. I’m sure this and other information will be provided to a Lubbock County grand jury for further review. Kyle co-operated with law enforcement. Our hopes are that a Lubbock grand jury will do a thorough investigation of all the facts and will clear Carruth.”
He added that “everyone regrets the entire situation”.
“Though Read came unarmed, he announced his intent to kill Kyle Carruth with Kyle’s own gun and took immediate powerful action to do so,” he said.
“[It] was unsuccessful. Careful study of the video showed Kyle’s gun was brandished but never pointed at Read. It was only after Read said ‘I’ll take your gun,’ and slinging him across the patio like a scarecrow – then stepped toward him – that Carruth pointed the gun at Read.”
Read’s widow Jennifer Read earlier this week filed a petition seeking custody of his children from their mother, Christina Read.
“Because the new Lubbock Public Access System makes this information available to the public, and the likelihood of the information contained in her petition and affidavit being obtained by the media, she has decided that it is best to simply release the information directly instead of waiting for it to be discovered,” her lawyers said in a statement published by Everything Lubbock.
“The decision to take this step has not been easy, and she respectfully declines any requests for interviews at this time. There has been a lot of speculation in the media, and on social media, regarding the events of November 5, 2021.
“Rather than restating what is already stated in her petition, and affidavit attached thereto, Jennifer Read is releasing the video of Kyle Carruth’s shooting of her husband and allowing the video and affidavit to speak for themselves.”
A number of states in the US have so-called castle laws.
“The doctrine comes from the idea that a ‘man’s home is his castle’, and a person should not be forced to retreat from a place where they should feel safe,” writes lawyer James Luster.
“It is a concept that expresses basic human values of justice and fairness – a person should be able to protect themselves at home and not suffer the consequences of someone else’s crime.”
Luster notes that Texas has “some of the strongest self-defense and defense of property laws in the country”.
“The castle doctrine in Texas presumes that using force is reasonable and justified when another person … unlawfully and with force enters or attempts to enter your habitation, vehicle, or workplace … or attempts to remove you, by force, from your habitation, vehicle, or workplace,” he writes.
“There are two major exceptions to the castle doctrine – the person seeking to claim protection under the law cannot have provoked, or started, the incident. This is also known as being the ‘aggressor’, and it is not permitted under Texas law. The person must also not be engaged in criminal activity at the time the incident takes place.”